Wikinews:Water cooler/policy/archives/2010/December

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Template:Main headlines

The main headlines template was just modified to show archived articles. I reverted that, because I see it as a betrayal of both our status as a wiki (it displays on the main page stories that cannot be edited by anyone) and our reputation as a news site (it presents stale stories as if they were current).

If we wanted to disguise our low output —we're a news site, we shouldn't want to disguise facts— by filling out the main page with stale news passed off as current (can you tell I don't like this idea? :-), the way to do it would be to increase the archive time from one week to two. That's easy enough to do, although (surprise) I'm not in favor of doing it.

Anyway, that's my take on it. Anyone else care to chime in? --Pi zero (talk) 18:45, 14 December 2010 (UTC)

I have been thinking that does it matter if you can't edit on it? Probably would keep us clear of vandalism if some look at the older archived articles, wouldn't it? I also think that it is too short (which can be helped by creating new articles and publish them, but the wiki has slowed down). However, it would display old news, which isn't good. I'd leave it alone at your revision, and maybe the progress of the site will improve in time. Nascar1996 18:53, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
I did it, but I'm not particularly bothered by the idea. I just thought the whitepsace looked nasty, and that it would be a relatively minor change that didn't require a great deal of discussion. The best way to reduce whitespace, of course, would be to increase our output, but I decided removing two lines from a DPL was easier. As I said, I don't mind leaving it how it is, I just think it looks better with a longer list. Δενδοδγε Tinsel\Christmas! 19:23, 14 December 2010 (UTC)

Virginia man arrested for plotting to bomb Washington DC metro

Is this an article about an event that happened eight days ago? And if not, how did it get published while claiming to be about an event that happened eight days ago?

How did this get past two different reviewers without these questions being asked? --Pi zero (talk) 00:16, 15 December 2010 (UTC)

Anything can pass, with newer sources, correct? The source was created today. Nascar1996 00:45, 15 December 2010 (UTC)
It would be stale if it didn't have newer sources to bring it back to life. Nascar1996 00:47, 15 December 2010 (UTC)
To be precise, the event must be within seven days, and new details must have come to light within two to three days. The actual date of the sources doesn't matter in itself unless those sources are themselves revealing something new about the event.
In this case, if the arrest is the news event, the article is stale no matter how recently new information about it has come to light. If the whole thing just came to light, that would indeed (as Bobby122 has pointed out on the article talk) rescue the article, provided the news event itself is something that happened within the past seven days.
I can't figure out, from the sources, why it is that the story is breaking in the press now. Depending on the nature of the coming-to-light, that coming-to-light might itself qualify as a news event. The article isn't written that way, though; it's written around the arrest as news event, which is why I looked at it and perceived an article about an eight-day-old event. --Pi zero (talk) 01:40, 15 December 2010 (UTC)
He was caught on Dec 7, but he was arrested today. (arrest = news event, not stale) correct? Nascar1996 02:12, 15 December 2010 (UTC)
Alas, no. He was arrested on Dec 6 according to the CNN source, Dec 7 according to the FOX source (which attributes that date to the Washington Examiner). --Pi zero (talk) 02:26, 15 December 2010 (UTC)
Then why were those sources created today? Nascar1996 02:27, 15 December 2010 (UTC)
Apparently, they only just found out about it; the CNN article says as much in its first paragraph, though without clearly explaining why that was. --Pi zero (talk) 02:57, 15 December 2010 (UTC)

┌───────────────────┘
So would it be stale, and need deleted? Nascar1996 03:13, 15 December 2010 (UTC)

The article should be fixable — and even if not, deletion somehow seems disproportionate. A correction notice seems a bit odd. It would be nice if we can just fix it (within 24 hours of publication) and not have to worry about what to do otherwise. Since we're post-publication, perhaps we should go for the smallest change satisfying propriety. It might even suffice to add a statement in the lede of what happened Tuesday — but we don't know what happened on Tuesday, and without knowing we can't usefully rephrase what CNN said to respect CNN's copyright.
An easy Google search turns up this, suggesting the court documents were placed under seal. Supposing that's reliable, it still wouldn't confirm the seal was lifted Tuesday, but it's a start. --Pi zero (talk) 04:36, 15 December 2010 (UTC)
  • Why don't you just change the event? The current event is man arrested. Change it to 'FBI announces arrest', or whatever would be factually accurate. Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 12:10, 15 December 2010 (UTC)
For either change, we have to have a source for what happened on Tuesday, and so far, we don't. We still only have speculation as to why the story of the arrest is only coming out now. We need a source. --Pi zero (talk) 12:50, 15 December 2010 (UTC)
Timeline:
  • The documents were unsealed on the 9th, according to JIDF's site, here.
  • The only thing that happened on Tuesday was that, according to this, the story was broken by the Washington Examiner (that would be this).
I don't find it remotely plausible to refocus on the breaking of a five-day-old story by another news organization. I'm also not enthused about refocusing on an unsealing of documents that took place five days before anyone noticed it had happened.
If the arrest actually took place on the 7th, as some sources say, then it's within seven days of publication. The reason some sources say the 6th seems to be that that's the date on the arrest warrant; I'd like to get that straight and be sure the date is right within the 24-hour horizon after publication, regardless of whether we really think the 7-versus-8 days is worth raising hell over at this late stage of things.
If the new-details-coming-to-light is the breaking of the story by the Washington Examiner, then that's within two to three days (in fact, it's within less than one day). I have no problem with that, though I'm wondering whether-and-how to explicitly mention it in the article. --Pi zero (talk) 14:16, 15 December 2010 (UTC)
Maybe "It is/has being/been reported that..." Or "Reports say..." Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 14:33, 15 December 2010 (UTC)
I've submitted a change to the article, about what happened Tuesday. --Pi zero (talk) 15:41, 15 December 2010 (UTC)

Alexander Lukashenko re-elected for the 4th time as President of Belarus

I'm guessing the primary author simply didn't understand what they should be doing (which goes to how our Howdy template does not serve the needed function of instantly getting through to newbies). What they actually created was an article with three sources, one of which was VOA but unused, and the other two of which were just the same article being carried by two outlets — and the body of this Wikinews article was a copy-and-paste of the first three paragraphs of the non-VOA article. Well, except that a word "its" had been incorrectly changed to "it's".

A bunch of Wikinewsies worked on neatifying the article, but since they weren't reviewing it, I'm neither surprised nor bothered that they didn't look at the sources and notice these, er, problems. I'm feeling less charitable toward BarkingFish, who published it and then two other articles in the space of three minutes; but I'm interested to hear what xe has to say for xyrself. --Pi zero (talk) 05:42, 21 December 2010 (UTC)

  • I did notice the published revision needing hidden; that is very, very bad. How, exactly, does use of the same syndicated report as two 'supposed' sources get past any reviewer? I, too, will wait on that being explained. Howdy, I'll cover below. --Brian McNeil / talk 06:21, 21 December 2010 (UTC)
    • Firstly, Pi Zero, I'm not surprised you're pissed off with me passing that one. I enclose below a log of the conversation which took place prior to it: It should be noted that due to Cspurrier's toolserver account expiring, we presently have no feed in #wikinews with regards to articles needing review, so reminding in the channel is the only way we know what's out, other than checking manually.

BarkingFish I know I'm pissing people off, if I start working through the review queue, will someone PLEASE review the Brian Hanrahan story before midnight, so it goes out same day?

Badmin +1 D

Dendodge I'll do it, I suppose. :(

Dendodge But only if you review all the other stories

BarkingFish i've done 3, the fourth i know fuck all about.

It should be noted that I don't know whether Dendodge was joking or not, but shortly after I posted that i'd reviewed the outstanding 3 that I could, Dendodge did indeed complete the review as noted.

I'm not in the clear, I know I'm not, and I will be making an application at RFP shortly after posting this, requesting that my reviewer bit be removed effective immediately. No vote, nothing like that. What you do with this now is entirely your decision. Personally I wouldn't blame you if you blocked me, I fucked up, I accept that. BarkingFish (talk) 17:31, 21 December 2010 (UTC)

  • I'd strongly oppose a block. You know what you did was a mess, and while it was a serious error you've handed in the bit. This shows, to me, that you're taking responsibility and will remain a net positive to the project now you won't be reviewing. Anyone wondering what the Badmin line is about - it's me, agreeing to a bit of silliness not logged here, just before reviews were discussed. It's irrelevant.
Fish, you've held up your hands and taken the hit. I believe you mean it. I support letting you stay around, I very much support second chances. As many know, I'm on my second chance. Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 18:14, 21 December 2010 (UTC)
  • With no malice involved, this isn't a blocking offense. Blocking is not punitive but preventative, and I see nothing plausible for blocking to prevent. --Pi zero (talk) 18:39, 21 December 2010 (UTC)
  • I'd go further than Pi; you're embarassed, possibly a little shamed by this. A little 'due diligence' in tagging articles as-if reviewed, and I'd support a speedy re-grant. I've mused over the review process I personally apply, I could've come close to the same. I think, and suspect many will agree, that you develop a 'gut feel' for sniffing out copyvio. There's telltales, too-good-to-be-true on a first contribution, correcting from use of another publication's MoS,... Sometimes, just sometimes, you *know* a phrase pulled out the middle of an article and stuffed into GNews is going to trigger alarms. The IRC discussion would've been better construed as 'attack the Brian Hanrahan article'. But, we all know what online, text-only, communications can be like.
Incidentally, I'll bet Bawolff has a toolserver account. Shaka? Definitely. --Brian McNeil / talk 22:15, 21 December 2010 (UTC)

Howdy not helping

I feel a little pained at the above dig at the {{Howdy}} template. If it is to be improved, then it is constructive criticism we require. Does it lack needed information? Does it need to 'intimidate' people into reading any specific texts/policies? Should it assume everyone lacks clue? --Brian McNeil / talk 06:21, 21 December 2010 (UTC)

  • Comment I take zero responsibility for the bolded "tour" link, nor what is provided therein; I got halfway through the first page of that waffle, and would consider it an effective non-prescription cure for insomnia. The format is nice, the content fatuous, vacuous, insipid, non-newsie waffle. --Brian McNeil / talk 06:40, 21 December 2010 (UTC)
Of the half-dozen or so welcome messages I've gotten on different WMF projects, {{Howdy}} is (except for the "tour" :-) my favorite. Friendly, engaging, informative. Perfect for the user who takes the time to read it. Recalling a fragment of a recent comment by Gopher65 (from this thread):
The problem ... is that some users are done their first (very crappy) article before that 2 hour period is up.
I don't think {{Howdy}} as it exists will help with those users. They already know what they want to do, they want to get on with it, and that welcoming cup of joe implies a time-consuming read that they might get to later. For now, I doubt they'll read past "more involved."
What could possibly so command their attention at first glance, while they're busy doing what they'd already determined to do, that they would keep reading for more than a sentence? I've been hoping to try my hand at this, in my copious free time. A blunt short list of succinct, numbered steps, with a label at the top something like How to write an article, might just do it. I pretty much have a tentative list of steps in mind. What I'm still puzzling over is how to do this with no loss of pre-existing functionality. --Pi zero (talk) 08:42, 21 December 2010 (UTC)
I like the Howdy template the way it is, except for what Pi zero mentioned in his last few sentences: most people won't keep reading past the first line.
As it stands right now the Howdy template is informative, and is a great resource for those who want to learn everything about Wikinews. I think that most of the current content (and format) of the template should remain the same, in part due to the fact that the policy pages referenced in the template can be somewhat difficult to find, especially for those who aren't familiar with wikis in general.
All that I think we need to do is replace the current first tab. Pi zero's idea of a short, bulleted list of the absolute minimum article requirements is great. In my experience people are more likely to read and respond to short bullet points than they are a paragraph of text. This list could be prefaced by a short sentence stating something like this: "This list is a bit of what you need to get started. To learn more about how to have your contributions published on Wikinews, click on the tabs above."
Here's how I see the bulleted list looking:
  1. Don't copyvio.
  2. Use at least 2 sources for your article.
  3. News needs to be fresh. The event that you're writing about shouldn't have taken place more than 2 days ago.
  4. When completed, place the {{Review}} template at the top of your article. It will be reviewed by an impartial fellow editor.
  5. If your article fails review, you will be given a reason and a list of things to fix. Then resubmit for review.
  • Click here for premade article template.
And that's about it. A key point to remember here is that people don't necessarily have short attention spans, but they do have short focus spans. The more we employ the principle of "economy of words", the more likely people are to pick up the key points we have to say. Less is more, in this situation. Gopher65talk 16:23, 21 December 2010 (UTC)
I'd consider a fifth: "If you want help, ask!" Ask should be linked somewhere appropriate; I'd also like the peer review template to state, in the case of a failed review, that if the author wants more help they can use the article talk page. Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 16:29, 21 December 2010 (UTC)

Howdy - how-to approach

My thought was, even a list of admonishments would be "yeah, yeah, you have a bunch of rules" which would then be ignored in the same spirit that people click the "accept terms" button when installing software. But step-by-step instructions to do this, then do this, etc. might just get through to them if the instructions are ruthlessly simple and are for doing just what's wanted.
Here's my first real crack at it. Of course it was lots easier for me to say I had a list in mind than to actually write one.


How to write an article (quick steps for your first)
  1. Choose a current news event — something definite that happened within the last day or two.
  2. Find two or more independent sources — that is, independent of each other.
  3. Read them before you start writing, so you can write using your own words and structure.
  4. Choose an article name that tells the most important and unique thing about the event.
  5. Write a first paragraph that briefly answers most or all of who, what, where, when, why, and how about the event. The first sentence should very compactly answer at least several of those.
  6. Add more paragraphs, getting into gradually more depth about the story. At least three paragraphs in all.


Not a recipe for a Pulitzer, but I'll happily sacrifice detail to increase market penetration. --Pi zero (talk) 17:40, 21 December 2010 (UTC)
Huh. I was glancing at my other monitor while reading this list, so I wasn't concentrating on the list. My attention started to wander after the 3rd item. I wonder how representative that is of our average user? Anyway, it looks good so far. Gopher65talk 19:08, 21 December 2010 (UTC)

How about a few links?

How to write an article (quick steps for your first)
  1. Choose a current news event — something definite that happened within the last day or two.
  2. Find two or more independent sources — that is, independent of each other.
  3. Read them before you start writing, so you can write using your own words and structure.
  4. Choose an article name that tells the most important and unique thing about the event.
  5. Write a first paragraph that briefly answers most or all of who, what, where, when, why, and how about the event. The first sentence should very compactly answer at least several of those.
  6. Add more paragraphs, getting into gradually more depth about the story. At least three paragraphs in all.
  7. If you need help, ask!

That way, anybody who wants more information on any of those points can get it easily, and we're subtly directing users to our key policies at the same time. I also added a link to the water cooler/assistance at the end. Δενδοδγε Tinsel\Christmas! 20:27, 21 December 2010 (UTC)

[DD, sorry I borked your sig, hit edit char limit for phone-in-pub]

Perhaps more specific links, so that if you want clarification on one of these points and therefore click on a link, you aren't immediately plunged back into time-consuming-read mode.
How to write an article (quick steps for your first)
  1. Choose a current news event — something definite that happened within the last day or two.
  2. Find two or more independent sources — that is, independent of each other.
  3. Read them before you start writing, so you can write using your own words and structure.
  4. Choose an article name that tells the most important and unique thing about the event.
  5. Write a first paragraph that briefly answers most or all of who, what, where, when, why, and how about the event. The first sentence should very compactly answer at least several of those.
  6. Add more paragraphs, getting into gradually more depth about the story. At least three paragraphs in all. When your article is completed, put  {{Review}}  at the top of it.
  7. If you need help, ask!
  • I tried to work in {{Review}}, part of Gopher's suggestion above that wasn't extant, without increasing the number of steps, because the list seems already pushing the upper end of useful length.
  • I'd meant "your own words and structure" as a single unit, to underline that avoiding plagiarism is more than just choosing synonyms. If only WN:Plagiarism were ready for prime time yet, that would be a better link here than WN:Copyright.
--Pi zero (talk) 22:23, 21 December 2010 (UTC)

Howdy - alt approach

We're getting wordy again, but thanks to people for the template's praise.

I think we need, in less than 15 words, something that stops people dead; then, a condensed version of the above bullet list.

A news-related joke? --Brian McNeil / talk 21:40, 21 December 2010 (UTC)

  • Thoughts,... Some links are within the template, courtesy of Bawolff. How's about one to the create tab, where a title can be entered?
  • Do we want DPLs in that tab? Pending, developing. &c?
  • The 'submit for review' can be dropped from above; tweak it in the developing template, stick that up-top (radical, but...). --Brian McNeil / talk 21:52, 21 December 2010 (UTC)

Howdy - third draft

{{plink}} to the rescue,...

How to write an article
  1. Pick something current?
  2. Use two independent sources?
  3. Read your sources before writing the story in your own words?. Do choose a unique title? before starting.
  4. Follow Wikinews' structure? for articles, answering as many of who what when where why and how as you can; summarised in a short, two- or three-sentence opening paragraph. When complete, your article should be at least three paragraphs.
  5. If you need help, just ask?

Okay, based on the suggestions above, and by use of the {{plink}} template, I've 'hidden' additional content. What are peoples' thoughts on this approach? Any specific word changes? Can it be trimmed (outwith the mouseover)? --Brian McNeil / talk 12:55, 24 December 2010 (UTC)

When using plink like that, just be aware that 90% of people don't notice or read tooltips. I actually had an interesting talk with a newbie today who had trouble with the welcome message. When of the things he said was that the help stuff he read did not mention the 5 w's, so i think its good that we're mentioning such things. Bawolff 13:00, 24 December 2010 (UTC)
  • I'm going to tweak plink, so there's an option to put a superscripted question mark. Since we've had one call in 2h20m, I'm sure I'll be able to re-draft howdy today. --Brian McNeil / talk 10:19, 25 December 2010 (UTC)

IMHO we're in the late stages of refining something good.
  • Unfortunately, I doubt mouse-overs can be made to answer my reasons for recommending more specific links (i.e., links to more compact instructions). I still favor links WN:CG#What is 'news'? rather than WN:CG, and WN:SG#Headlines rather than WN:NC. Clicking links is always going to be the primary way to look for more information, so the mouse-overs will almost always be missed.
For those great intermediate-level-of-detail mouse-overs to be successfully delivered to the newcomer in a hurry, they would have to use the dominant click-on-the-link vector, which I suppose would mean either a separate page for each of them, or a separate page for all of them collectively. The extra page/s seem like yet another thing to trip over; I think I'd still rather just make the links a bit more specific as described above.
My pessimistic view of the superscripted question marks is that the user will be puzzled by them; won't recognize them as indicators of mouse-overs; and will click on them (as they would on footnote links), causing them to entirely miss the intermediate level of detail.
  • The "You can use this tab ..." link doesn't degrade gracefully when Javascript is turned off.
--Pi zero (talk) 16:15, 25 December 2010 (UTC)
  • Right. Can you list the specific links, or simply put the direct-to-wherever ones into my sub-page template. I agree mostly with Bawolff and yourself regarding tooltips, but a superscripted question mark is a standard for indicating presence of tooltips. Sadly, there's no easy way that I know of to make disabled Javascript degrade gracefully on the inter-template links.
The only last little tweaks I'd like are: a little whitespace around the bottom section of the primary tab; a horizontal bar, appropriately coloured, after the 5 points. Do you think it should be a numbered list, or simple bullet points?
Aside: someone else may well have to complete this, I'll only be back on the mobile and the template is too big to edit via it. --Brian McNeil / talk 16:52, 25 December 2010 (UTC)
I made two links more "specific".
Numbered list, as now, is better. Strengthens the impression of instructions.
--Pi zero (talk) 18:14, 25 December 2010 (UTC)

Help, my article isn't being published!

My latest article, Matt Cardle wins X Factor final; tops UK singles chart, has not been published and has just been marked as stale, even though there is a source from one day ago and the news is still technically news. Can someone please improve, edit and/or review my article? --Rayboy8 (my talk) (my contributions) 22:53, 29 December 2010 (UTC)

  • And, it isn't going to be published. I checked the edit history; not one edit indicates you drew a single factual item from that source. Do not try to "game the system", especially not for "Bread and Circuses" stuff. --00:47, 30 December 2010 (UTC)
In my defence, I would like to state that the first three failed reviews were for minor mistakes that could have been easily rectified. The next three reviews then all said the same thing: "Stale". However, I won't bother trying to get the article published anymore. I therefore give up on this article. --Rayboy8 (my talk) (my contributions) 03:01, 30 December 2010 (UTC)