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

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to navigation Jump to search


Language/image warnings

Should Wikinews give warnings (but not remove or otherwise censor) on pages that display images such as this one? (Note - potentially disturbing photograph)


(this was brought up at the WC a few months ago, but the discussion stalled due to lack of input.) I recently stumbled upon {{language}}. It doesn't seem to have been used in any of our articles, but I was wondering whether we should start using it. I know that many professional news organisations place notices on articles that might have potentially offensive words. Although we do not censor for expletives, perhaps we should consider doing so as well (and perhaps use similar notices for articles with potentially disturbing/offensive images)? I was thinking that, since many people find it unpleasant to stumble upon text with profanity or graphic images, it would be nice to warn them of this and give them a chance not to scroll down. Open to thoughts. Tempodivalse [talk] 21:23, 29 December 2009 (UTC)

Have we ever published articles with profanity? Benny the mascot (talk) 21:44, 29 December 2009 (UTC)
yes Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 21:46, 29 December 2009 (UTC)
I see...I don't think it's appropriate to flag potentially offensive material. Where are we going to draw the line between profanity and acceptable language? "Stupid" is generally acceptable but can be considered offensive among preschoolers, for example. The same applies to other words that may have varying levels of offensiveness in different parts of society. Benny the mascot (talk) 22:15, 29 December 2009 (UTC)
  • Wikinews is not censored; and, they're just words and what does it matter if people find them offensive? If someone uses them, it's part of the news, we report it. --Brian McNeil / talk 22:20, 29 December 2009 (UTC)
I'm of the opinion it might be appropriate in articles with very disturbing images/text (a swear word is not enough imho. A graphic description of a violent crime might be, the pictures related to Abu Ghraib torture stuff, etc). Bawolff 00:45, 30 December 2009 (UTC)
  • Words? Never. See w:Marquis de Sade. "snuff"-type images? Possibly. Abu Ghraib, as far as leaked images I saw went, no; there were no images that I found particularly disturbing after I'd read text on the torture. If a warning label should have gone anywhere it was on the individuals responsible so they could be recognised as "deeply offensive". --Brian McNeil / talk 00:52, 30 December 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, I agree most profanity probably isn't enough to warrant a notice as the meaning of what is "offensive" can be rather subjective (except maybe the f-bomb); the content disclaimer probably should cover everything. I saw this being used at the Russian Wikipedia recently, that gave me an idea I thought I'd just throw out here for consideration anyway. (Although, we have used language warnings occasionally in the past, for instance at Teräsbetoni frontman J. Ahola on representing Finland at Eurovision 2008 & more). Image warnings, I think, are something we could look into more, e.g. the torture stuff is definitely not something I would want to accidentally stumble upon when casually browsing through articles; I would appreciate a courtesy notice on pages with pictures like that. Tempodivalse [talk] 04:37, 30 December 2009 (UTC)
To be honest, I doubt I'd leave a warning like that nowadays. The key image example I can think of is that Virgin Killer thing, where we ran with an image supposedly illegal in a Western jurisdiction without any warning. Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 10:31, 30 December 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, I think that's an instance where a warning would have been appropriate. Another idea, we could post notices next to external links that contain graphic content, we used to do this frequently in the past: for example, this article or this one. I know a lot of professional news organisations, such as the BBC, frequently use external links warnings. Tempodivalse [talk] 16:19, 30 December 2009 (UTC)
Wikileaks tells Wikinews why they published Danish child porn censorship list is the only time I've ever warned for an external link. Deciding what's graphic enough is a key issue. A knife claimed to be used in a murder, such as the Kercher show trial in Italy? Blood on a mangled car? Bodies covered with only newspaper, their feet sticking out? Maimed people and decapitated corspes after a bombing? It's hard to draw that line. Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 16:31, 30 December 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, the line might be a bit hard to draw, but it's ultimately something I feel we should have - at least for very extreme cases. I certainly don't like inadvertently bumping into pages with horrific images, and I'm sure a lot of other people feel the same. Anything that is obviously disturbing to many people - e.g. decapitated corpses - is probably enough to warrant a warning. For more borderline cases like the ones you mentioned above, we wouldn't necessarily use a warning. We probably should decide things on a case-by-case basis. Tempodivalse [talk] 16:45, 30 December 2009 (UTC)
I'd say that blood is all right, but internal organs or severed body parts need a warning, and that frontal nudity (female nipples, genitals of either gender) should also have a warning. Profanity and graphic descriptions in text are fine, in my opinion. I would suggest that, as well as a warning, it would be a good idea to collapse qualifying images, but that is not as important. Dendodge T\C 16:54, 30 December 2009 (UTC)
I think Dendodge's idea for collapsing images is a good one, that gives people the option of still reading an article without having to look at the picture (and doesn't violate our policy of no censoring, since the image is still there). I'd also agree with his description of what qualifies as sufficiently offensive or disturbing. Tempodivalse [talk] 17:09, 30 December 2009 (UTC)
Just FYI, I removed the warning from the heavy metal interview. Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 23:10, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
  • Nudity? Eh? Godamn prudish Americans! Numerous European television broadcasters think nothing of running shower gel product adverts where women's nipples are clearly shown. And I do not mean after some sort of "watershed"; I've seen that in daytime and children's programming. This is an example of differing cultures; strict Islam would have us put warnings on any woman shown not wearing the head-to-toe garb they're known for. This is why I am generally opposed to any sort of warning because it assumes the reader's cultural prejudices match your own. Wikinews is not censored for minors; it should not be censored for anyone. An article's title is all the warning you need. --Brian McNeil / talk 12:57, 31 December 2009 (UTC)
  • I would not even have put a warning on the Danish child porn link from Wikileaks; I already put "Wikinews is not responsible for the content of external sites." in the disclaimer, displayed on every page. That particular link requires you to click it to visit Wikileaks, and then actively click a link within Wikileaks to attempt to access blacklisted content.
I've had the misfortune to once be anonymously emailed a short kiddie porn clip – presumably by someone attempting to discourage my participation in a heated online debate. Hard core pornography is freely available on the Internet, to anyone of any age, who is prepared to tick a little checkbox claiming to be over 18 or 21. Content filtering is the user's responsibility and Wikinews should be free to use whatever are the most appropriate images for a story, or the actual words that someone spoke. Fuck is in very common usage in Western countries; it would be a remarkably sheltered child who reached the age of seven or eight without having heard it and discovered part of the available meanings which can be attached to it. --Brian McNeil / talk 13:12, 31 December 2009 (UTC)
I felt somewhat obliged on the child porn thing. It's not just taboo to many cultures; it's ilegal in virtually every jurisdiction and I think the net of international law may clamp down on it as well. It's not like graphic gore or extreme fetish porn; following that link puts you one click away from what is widely held to be a serious offence. Sentencing is generally moronic for this kind of thing; creators serve too little time and viewers serve too much. Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 19:51, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
I don't think we would get complaints from concerned parents if we were to show a bit of blood, or use profanity, but I can imagine a few rants if we publish particularly gory torture scenes or nudity "where any child can see it". I figure a warning (and possibly a version of the article that is free of such images) should kerb this. I know Wikipedia's absolutely no censorship of any images whatsoever policy has provoked a few angry comments, and, while they are very easy to ignore, remove, or respond to politely, we should strive to please our readers by pre-emptively introducing measures such as warnings to combat this. Dendodge T\C 20:28, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
If that kind of thing shocks your child then s/he sould not be on the internet, or you should supervise him/her/it. What if 4chan, specifically /b/, is in the news, as it is from time to time? What if I decide to cite a terrorist website like PalestineSons.com? Think of the children is a kneejerk reaction that does not hold up when scrutinised. SomebodyThinkOfTheChildren.com Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 20:40, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
I'm not saying these "concerned parents" are right, just that they exist. If we can please one group at a minimum of inconvenience to others, we should do it. A few false positives won't hurt, and, likewise, the coverage of the warnings does not have to be comprehensive, but any warning helps. I'm not sure if we should have any hard policy on this; it would probably be better to decide on an per-image basis (erring on the side of caution, rather than dragging out discussions on whether a particular image is offensive or not). Dendodge T\C 20:52, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
I tend to side with Dendodge on this. I'm not even thinking about young children, just people in general. My reasoning is: a sizeable portion of our readers, even if a minority, are very uncomfortable or find it unpleasant, at the least, to come upon certain images, especially without warning. They might be put off from reading or contributing to the project because of this, and we could get complaints. A small, indiscreet notice would not harm anything or cause inconvenience, imho, it would only be beneficial. I think it'd be best to decide on a case-by-case basis whether or not a warning is appropriate. Tempodivalse [talk] 21:30, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
  • Really, if it comes down to the sort of issues you're apparently thinking of then we would be remiss not to use the image. The link to the Wikileaks censorship list is a good example - I have no objection there to adding a caution to the link. Wikinewsies should, themselves, be aware of the risks of prosecution in their jurisdiction if they access such links for research purposes. However, it would have been a most appropriate use of the list to look for images from a blocked extremist site appropriate to illustrate the article. Such sites are blocked for reason of the politics they promote; their blocking is an encroachment from the "thing-of-the-children" principle. Goatse is on the URL blacklist; nobody should be allowed on the Internet unsupervised until they've seen that. Afterwards the remnants of a car bomb before they pick up the bits of corpses won't bother you so much. --Brian McNeil / talk 21:45, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Per the nudity/organs/other disturbing images, I support the idea of collapsing images. I've seen blood in Disney and local news stuff, so I'm sure there's no problem with blood. Nudity is pixelized in nearly every instance. And per child porn, that is a very serious offense in the US. See http://www.missingkids.com/missingkids/servlet/PageServlet?PageId=1504 . --The New Mikemoral ♪♫ 21:56, 1 January 2010 (UTC)

re: Censoring images/text on Wikinews: Wikinews:What Wikinews is not Wikinews is not censored. This is policy on this project.

However: There are almost no justifications for crude or offensive images in news reporting on Wikinews. Full Stop. An image cannot, itself, be a news article - it needs must be written about. If an image is so intrinsic to the story, most likely it will be copyright as a news image and, thus, not possible to be hosted on Wikinews as it would violate our fair use policies. Crude and offensive images are nearly always included for their shock value rather than their ability to illustrate a news article, and as such are not essential to reporting the news and should be omitted.

Use common sense, do not use images except to illustrate a story, and there will be few if any problems. Those which arise should be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

Finally: do not create solutions to problems which do not exist. This thread is a classic example of creating a conflict where none existed. Very bad for community health. - Amgine | t 22:11, 1 January 2010 (UTC)

Um, Amgine, is this thread creating a conflict? Sure, there wasn't any problem to begin with, I had just come up with an idea and wanted to share it with the community for feedback. Is there something wrong with that?
Anyways, back on topic, the issue here isn't to censor certain images (I'm flatly against that), but rather to warn readers of them, or make them harder to come upon inadvertently. And there are occasions (although uncommon) where images of human anatomy/gore might be appropriate to better illustrate an article, especially if it has original reporting. This comes to mind, for one. Tempodivalse [talk] 22:25, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
Is there an existing problem which this thread addresses? You just came up with an idea - not a bad thing - and you want to know if it would violate policy - which you indicated you already knew it would when you first posted it. So, yes, there is a problem with that. (You didn't address the question of "is this technically possible", but I assume you knew that it was due to the Wikipedia pseudo-implementation of this.)
Censor: one who censures - that is, blames, criticizes, or condemns as wrong. If you decide what others may see on Wikinews, you are a censor. What you are proposing is censorship. You cannot avoid that in your suggestions. This is not necessarily wrong (or right,) but it is censorship. How you think it best to implement it does not change its basic nature. - Amgine | t 22:56, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
Once again, I'm not suggesting we wholesale remove potentially disturbing images. I'm just suggesting we add an inconspicuous warning to articles including them, while still displaying the image below, for everyone to see. I don't think that is tantamount to outright censorship or contrary to WN:NOT, and we're not blaming, criticising or condemning anything - just providing a courtesy heads-up that some readers might find it disturbing. No biggies though, ultimately I don't feel very strongly about this, I thought I'd just throw this out as an idea for community consideration. Cheers, Tempodivalse [talk] 23:07, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
This does not alter the fact that you are proposing someone judge what is offensive, crude, disturbing, or otherwise 'wrong'. That's what the definition of censorship is. Even if it's merely a courtesy heads up, or a full-on proof of age/identity/legal status to view the image. - Amgine | t 23:16, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
Eh, maybe you're right, I dunno. *shrugs* I just thought this would be better for the benefit of our readers. This thread has turned into a bit of a storm-in-a-teacup, I almost wish I hadn't brought it up now that everyone's flogging it. Cheers, Tempodivalse [talk] 23:24, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
Ah! I think I see a communications failure. Censorship is not removing an image or text from an article. It is judging that an image or text should not be displayed. Removal is after the fact of censoring. I believe there is consensus for users who wish to be insulated from potentially offensive material to use filtering software on their own computers, rather than for Wikinews to determine what they should not/should see, would not want/would want to see. - Amgine | t 23:31, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
Yeah, that's right, my bad. I didn't know the full meaning of the word "censorship", I thought it referred to the actual removing of something, not the judging of it. Tempodivalse [talk] 00:01, 2 January 2010 (UTC)
  • The "polite" answer is, yes, to tell people to use their own filtering software. That can be as simple and blunt a solution as turning off image rendering in your browser. The reader, as an individual, can self-censor in whatever way they see fit. If parents, their children's browsing habits are their concern. Obviously, if you're at work and Internet access is provided as a perk they can force you through a proxy - even one with a "too much pink" filter. Take the time to research what censorship is, the examples where it has led to encroachment of tyranny, and the strident arguments by those who realise you have to defend the really bad sometimes. Look up the Richard Stallman videos on Commons; he talks of a movie he found deeply offensive but would not seek to prevent anyone from seeing – as long as they got the opportunity to be informed about the subject/content. The title of a Wikinews article is all the warning you'll get. If you want training handles and rubber bumpers on the Internet you add them yourself. --Brian McNeil / talk 23:43, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
To repeat a comment on my userpage, I believe this is a useful discussion. While I am vehemently against censorship, I can understand that many members of the community might not realise the benefits of flying in the faces of the likes of the PMRC nd the unintentional harm censorship causes. So please, don't be disheartened. Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 23:34, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
  • I fully agree with the way Amgine has laid this out. If an image is an appropriate illustration for an article it should be used, provided it fits within the project's Fair Use policy. Mike's missingkids link points to the US law on the issue, and here I point to a specific witchhunt aspect of it (emphasis added as appropriate) "What is Child Pornography? [...] the visual depiction is a digital image, computer image, or computer-generated image that is, or is indistinguishable from, that of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct;" This makes virtually all pornographic manga which uses childlike faces on bodies with over-developed sexual characteristics illegal. Now, read w:Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? and ask yourselves why Wikinewsies should consider breaking the law. Link it to the leaked blacklist; who exactly is getting to decide what the public can and can't see? Why can't I look and see what Islamic extremists post on their recruitment websites? It is news – would anyone disagree with that? If you think I'm actually advocating re-publishing child porn then you're stupid. The interview with Wikileaks tries to make the point I'm making here; if we consider a democratic and free society important then we might just have to review what authorities deem illegal and challenge them on it. --Brian McNeil / talk 22:33, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
  • I think the key point here - that perhaps hasn't really been touched on - is that reality is tough. It is one thing to sit and hear or read written/spoken details of some attrocity, but people need to see for themselves what's actually going on. For example, there was a case recently in Zambia. The government was covering up how bad healthcare was so a journalist started sending a picture she took of a woman giving birth to a stillborn child in a car park. She was prosecuted for her efforts with some colleagues, but the court refused to convict and the public gained a real understanding of just how out-of-order their rulers were. That's an extreme example of why news sources should publish hard-hitting photographs: People need to understand the reality of life for a good many people. And no, it isn't pretty. If you are disturbed then you should do something about it; sign a petition or give money or join a protest march. Don't bury your head in the sand and hope it goes away. It won't. It gets worse. Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 23:01, 1 January 2010 (UTC)

New single source exception

Can we introduce an exception to single source issues when {{Broadcast report}} is used? Obviously, if you were doing something like listening to the news another source is required, but I think watching a football match should be acceptable. After all, it is little different in terms of what can be gleaned than turning up at the event and doing some OR. Thoughts?

Also, note that WN:CS says not a word about single sources. Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 14:15, 3 January 2010 (UTC)

Single sources are allowed "for original reporting, breaking news, or local stories". Broadcast reports count as OR, IMO, but the exceptions do need to be listed on the content guide. Benny the mascot (talk) 14:56, 3 January 2010 (UTC)
Boradcast reports do not count as OR. We decided that some time back. Again, though, that's something never actually updated into the documentation. Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 15:05, 3 January 2010 (UTC)
  • Single source, in any circumstances without credible corroborating original research, I think should not be allowed. The issue with a broadcast report is how "managed" is it, and how many Wikinewsies saw it? Live coverage of a match or notable event has less opportunity for the producers to stage manage it. --Brian McNeil / talk 15:02, 3 January 2010 (UTC)
  • Broadcast report does already require some level of trust in the user. Controversial or interesting bits of live coverage show up again in slow motion anyway. Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 15:05, 3 January 2010 (UTC)

Popular articles

And as well as the news in pictures section, the popular articles template has been broken for at least two months now and it is still not fixed yet. Can anybody please fix this problem? I would be very grateful for it. --Rayboy8 (my talk) (my contributions) 11:47, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

I think it relied on something in the toolserver which died. And isn't coming back. Sorry. We've lost the individual popularity links on articles as well. Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 12:29, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
So the bot (or a possible clone of it) isn't ever going to work again due to the toolserver? It's a pity, that was one of my favourite "gadgets" on WN. Tempodivalse [talk] 14:24, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
Yes, we are one of the few news websites that doesn't have a popular pages feature. It's a shame, since that is one of my main methods of navigating the BBC website (the news website I use most frequently). There seems to be an extension that could do it for us at mw:Extension:TopTenPages, but it's listed as being in its beta stage, so I'm not sure if the powers that be would let us use it. Dendodge T\C 15:01, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
That extension looks interesting, but it's in beta stage and seems to have been written by someone not completely proficient with such things. I'd be willing to try it, when and if we're sure it's reliable. Tempodivalse [talk] 15:04, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

The basic statistics are still being generated and are available at http://dammit.lt/wikistats/ afaik - the trouble is they need parsing etc. And each file contains information about all Wikimedia projects, making about 60 megabytes of data. I might take a look at doing this myself soon, but I can't make any promises. the wub "?!" 15:25, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

I have a shell script that parses them and edits {{Popular pages}}. See user:Bawolff bot. Your welcome to use it if you want (I'd do it, but don't have an always on computer). As far as i know, the bot isn't on the toolserver, but run directly by melancholie, who dissapeared. The extension would not work, as the internal mediawiki hit counter is disabled for preformance reasons. Bawolff 21:09, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
Can we not put your bot on the toolserver? That would allow it to run indefinitely without anyone here needing an always-on computer, wouldn't it? Dendodge T\C 21:15, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
Well as long as the toolserver up (toolserver tends to die a lot, but it would work most of the time). That would require a toolserver account, something which i don't have. I'm not really sure offhand how difficult it would be to get one. Bawolff 21:21, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
[1] describes the process. It doesn't sound too hard, as long as you have a legitimate reason (which you do). Dendodge T\C 21:24, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
  • The MediaWiki extension cannot be used as many requests are handled by front-end squid caches and not actually available to the back-end database. It shouldn't be difficult to get a toolserver account but whatever script is set running there must have very robust recovery/restart abilities. --Brian McNeil / talk 21:25, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
I have a toolserver account already, so I can try and get Bawolff's script running there. I'm not used to shell scripts though, and it might take some fiddling - I'll hopefully get it done between Christmas and New Year. Definitely easier than writing my own though! Bawolff, if you want a toolserver account for yourself they're not too much hassle to get. My request sat idle for a long time, but that's mainly because I was shy - pressing the admins seems to be key. the wub "?!" 22:05, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
Hmm, I might consider trying to get one. Some warnings about that script. It was written before i really understood how to easily edit mediawiki from a script, so it relies on a modified pywikipediabot script to do the updates (if i was writing it now i would just use wget). Also the version that most recently ran (melancholie's) only displayed articles that were on main page (filter out stuff like special:recentchanges). The shell script version does not. Cheers, don't hesistate to ask if you have any questions about the script. Bawolff 05:38, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
  • Any updates on this? I'd really like the popular articles to be returned if possible. Tempodivalse [talk] 04:54, 30 December 2009 (UTC)
See the request at Wikinews:Bots#Popular articles bot. Sorry for the delay, I had an unexpectedly busy holiday, and the bot took longer to do than I thought because I'm quite new to shell scripting. the wub "?!" 22:20, 5 January 2010 (UTC)

No Trolling/ No Personal attacks policys

As seen in the recent discussion at Wikinews:Deletion requests#Comments:Shooting in Finnish mall leaves four dead, Wikinews needs a real anti-trolling. Although WN:E kinda addresses it, its not a firm policy. Cocoaguytalkcontribs 22:36, 2 January 2010 (UTC)

Actually, WN:BP states that "Admins can block users or IP addresses who... [a]re trouble-makers who are not contributing to our goals." We don't really need any more than that, I think. Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 22:39, 2 January 2010 (UTC)
That policy allows admins to only block users, not delete their edits. Perhaps we should add "trolling" to WN:SD. Benny the mascot (talk) 22:44, 2 January 2010 (UTC)
Hmm, I was thinking of implementing something like Wikipedia:Wikipedia:Deny recognition, I know its not a policy, but I think that entire discussion above kinda provides gratification for a would-be vandal/troll. Cocoaguytalkcontribs 06:38, 3 January 2010 (UTC)
  • Stop trying to make policy never-before needed. It's ammunition for semi-sentient trolls to WikiLawyer with. --Brian McNeil / talk 10:03, 3 January 2010 (UTC)
    Eh, couldn't WN:IAR cover areas like this where we don't have firm policy? Common sense ultimately should rule, and reverting trolls seems like common sense. And WN:SD allows speedy-deletion if an article is "vandalism", would that apply to troll posts too? Maybe we should write up a guideline based on wikipedia's policy of revert-block-ignore, and discourage people from bringing attention to them. Tempodivalse [talk] 15:13, 3 January 2010 (UTC)
In regards to the above, I feel this is massively instruction creep. WN:E sets out guidelines for ettiquete, violations should be dealt with as appropriate to the specific situation. We don't need, nor is it a good idea to have a policy on everything under the sun. Bawolff 17:13, 3 January 2010 (UTC)
  • I don't see the need for additional policies to deal with this situation and fear doing so would just be instruction creep - Cartman02au (Talk)(AU Portal) 07:53, 4 January 2010 (UTC)
  • It would seem I'm not the only one that remembers we've had similar discussions in the past. Let me look to make one little change (If I can remember/find where) and see if everyone's happy. --Brian McNeil / talk 10:41, 4 January 2010 (UTC)
  • WN:SD doesn't even mention disruptive trolling, however. I think it should be added to the "other pages" section. Benny the mascot (talk) 23:09, 4 January 2010 (UTC)

Category:Wackynews: neutral enough?

I've been wondering about this for some time. Although I personally find it kinda funny, is the "wackynews" category appropriate or neutral enough for wikinews? Imho, it seems to be too subjective to be applied consistently or neutrally. Some people might think a story is "wacky", others might think it's not. This, for instance, was marked as "wackynews", so someone must have though it was an odd story, but it certainly didn't seem that way to me. Or this story, which was also marked as such, but it seems a bit tasteless to call a murder "wacky". So, my question is: since it's subjective and depends on personal POV, is it possible to apply this category neutrally? Thoughts? Tempodivalse [talk] 21:18, 2 January 2010 (UTC)

I think we should get rid of it. The really funny articles can be placed in Category:Comedy. Benny the mascot (talk) 22:31, 2 January 2010 (UTC)
  • The Indian one is obviously someone expressing a political opinion. The guy eating his girlfriend's corpse is weird/bizarre, it might qualify as "Wacky". You'd really need to define criteria to evaluate candidates for the category, newspapers and magazines have a long history of grouping the strange and unusual of news into similarly named categories. Yes, it can end up applied very subjectively and as an expression of someone's POV. I think this and this qualify as "Wackynews". --Brian McNeil / talk 23:35, 2 January 2010 (UTC)
The problem is, as I see it (if we want to be super-objective), is that Wikinews should not have an opinion on whether something is funny or "wacky". That's something up to the reader to decide. The category can also be used to express political POV, as seen with the Indian technology story mentioned above. I actually briefly considered nominating it at WN:DR, but seeing as it's a large category, I thought it'd be better and would avoid drama to have a discussion here first. Tempodivalse [talk] 15:33, 3 January 2010 (UTC)
  • Yes, I understand the problem. The conflict is that it's an "expected" category of news. --Brian McNeil / talk 15:42, 3 January 2010 (UTC)
I agree. But, there are a lot of other things that news sites are "expected" to have, yet we don't have, i.e. Category:Editorials or Category:Reviews. Let's face it, there are some things MSM have that we can't mimic if we want to keep to our NPOV policy. Tempodivalse [talk] 16:23, 3 January 2010 (UTC)
  • The idea behind the top-level layout is that almost every last article should fit into at least one of the broad categories, plus a county or two (counting 'world' and 'space' as countries for that). For that reason I don't want to remove the cat, but I'm unable to work out what we should do to address the problem. Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 15:47, 3 January 2010 (UTC)
  • Does anyone have any objections to me listing this at DR, or should we discuss it some more here first? I ultimately don't think this is a category we can have due to NPOV, nor is there any way to determine criteria under which it should be used due to its inherent subjectiveness. Tempodivalse [talk] 14:59, 9 January 2010 (UTC)
IMHO, the only thing with any potential for further discussion here is Blood Red Sandman's point about the category serving a useful function as a sort of "miscellaneous" major category. My take on this:  (1) it's not miscellaneous because it's called "wacky".  (2) Template:Wackynews infobox is a public menace; we'd be better off without it (it's only transcluded on two articles?), and without an infobox, is a "major category" major?  (3) If we really, desperately need something like this (which I doubt), perhaps "bizarre" would at least be a less toxic word choice than "wacky". --Pi zero (talk) 17:28, 9 January 2010 (UTC)
Maybe "unusual" would be more neutral. An article can be considered unusual without any comment being made on the subject matter. (If you want a pun, how about "unewsual")? Dendodge T\C 17:39, 9 January 2010 (UTC)
"Unusual" is still too subjective and based on personal POV, imho. How do we define what is "unusual" so that everyone will agree on it? That's the biggest problem with non-concrete categories like this. Tempodivalse [talk] 17:42, 9 January 2010 (UTC)
  • {unindent} Just a note, i've listed the category for deletion at WN:DR since nobody was flatly against removing it here. Tempodivalse [talk] 14:00, 18 January 2010 (UTC)

Abbreviated Citing US Representatives and Senators

What is the official policy on citing members of congress? In WN:SG#Names of people and organizations does not mention it, maybe the names should include their political party. For example: Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), instead of, Senator Charles Schumer of New York, Democrat. Cocoaguytalkcontribs 22:29, 8 January 2010 (UTC)

Most news sources use the first option. Maybe we should add something about honorifics into the style guide. --Thunderhead 22:35, 8 January 2010 (UTC)
I'd like to add a note on abbreviations: I don't like it much. At the very least, the title and the point the person is first mentioned should use the full word (if the author chooses to attach the title at all), then it can be abbreviated. I don't want anything done before that since it assumes the whole world understands the system of representatives and senators - something it doesn't. Nobody's political system is well-known outside their nation. I'd go with citing party like that as ideal. Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 22:37, 8 January 2010 (UTC)
Agree with Sandman. "D-NY" isn't very clear to a non-Yankee. We should, imo, make thinks as clear as possible for an audience anywhere in the world, since we are international. Tempodivalse [talk] 22:39, 8 January 2010 (UTC)
I agree, abbreviations are not clear to me at all. Bawolff 01:56, 9 January 2010 (UTC)
Couldn't agree more. --Александр Дмитрий (Alexandr Dmitri) (talk) 13:48, 9 January 2010 (UTC)
  • As others state, "D-NY" is kinda meaningless to non-USians. Wikinews is supposed to cater to an international audience. --Brian McNeil / talk 13:57, 9 January 2010 (UTC)

A related question. (I too agree that the abbreviated form isn't suitably international.) Which of the following works better?

--Pi zero (talk) 14:13, 9 January 2010 (UTC)

I prefer the parenthesised version; it's shorter, and clearly sets off the additional information from the rest of the text. Dendodge T\C 14:20, 9 January 2010 (UTC)
  • The latter seems a slightly encyclopedic way of citing their political affiliation and area represented. Within reason I'd prefer to see it done as prose with appropriate links to Wikipedia so people can do background reading on what a Senator or Congresscritter is, the individual politician, and the area represented. --Brian McNeil / talk 14:42, 9 January 2010 (UTC)
  • Both variants are OK, I think, although i prefer the first one for reasons expressed by Brian above. Tempodivalse [talk] 14:54, 9 January 2010 (UTC)
Ok, just to be redundant, same goes for Representatives right? ex. Congressman Peter King (Republican, New York) Cocoaguytalkcontribs 18:20, 9 January 2010 (UTC)
On the latter question, I'd say yes, whatever goes for Senators should go for Representatives too.
Actually seeing the parenthesized form in its natural habitat, though, gives me a fresh insight into the abbreviations: they convey information that might not be worth more than a few letters in parentheses. A longer form would be more disruptive and therefore would need greater justification. In the Newark Airport story, Lautenberg's political party doesn't really matter, although his state is relevant enough to mention (and his party can be found by following the link on his name, if the reader is interested in that background information); so in that article it probably works better to say
That actually does read better, IMHO, than
--Pi zero (talk) 23:16, 9 January 2010 (UTC)
  • You make a good point. This, I think, is why formalising how you identify 'actors' in articles by political affiliation should not be codified into the style guide. It is not always relevant to the news story and you potentially step onto treacherous ground when you choose to affiliate political persuasion with a newsworthy event where an elected official is involved. --Brian McNeil / talk 23:35, 9 January 2010 (UTC)

News on Wikipedia Homepage

Who decides what news goes on the Wikipedia front page? Is there a policy regarding it? I haven't been able to find such a policy, and the standards for noteworthiness seem to change over time. 128.151.23.55 (talk) 21:29, 29 January 2010 (UTC)

Wrong project, Wikipedia controls that. Wikinews is mostly independent of wikipedia. However, w:Wikipedia:In the news is the page you're looking for i believe. Bawolff 21:32, 29 January 2010 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Are you referring to this project, Wikinews, or our sister site Wikipedia? We're not a part of Wikipedia, and totally independent from them. If it's the former, then no, we have no set policies on what can and can't go on the front page, although there are some "unwritten" rules about it, such as that the story should not be very local, and that the leads should be kept reasonably fresh if possible. Tempodivalse [talk] 21:34, 29 January 2010 (UTC)