Wikinews:Water cooler/policy/archives/2011/October

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Disclosing action

Hi all, For transparency purposes, I'm disclosing here that I deleted a comment tonight, and also deleted the revision. You can find it in my deletion log, of course. I believe the comment to constitute hate speech of a type that's unacceptable on WMF servers and so took the action. Philippe (WMF) (talk) 08:31, 12 September 2011 (UTC)

That was an acceptable deletion. Thanks for the anti-vandalism help. Gopher65talk 12:40, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
Both acceptable and unacceptable. Even hate speech is generally allowed in the comments namespace (sometimes semi-affectionately known as Trollspace). Distasteful though it is, morality dictates etc. However, more importantly that's just simple vandalism and so cleaning it up was the right move. I'd delete that happily. Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 16:34, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
No, i'm sorry, I disagree - as does our legal team. The nature of the comment (I'm not sure whether you've seen it) was simply such that we would not allow it to remain. Philippe (WMF) (talk) 15:21, 16 October 2011 (UTC)
I believe, if you read my response, I commented upon the nature of the vandalism and said it should go; obviously, it should go. I also warned against automatic removal of all distasteful content. As far as legal issues go, we do our best to comply with US federal and Florida law but this is an international community. If your legal team is aware of relevant precedent as regards the First Amendment, I'd urge you to share that so we can make more informed decisions. Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 11:26, 19 October 2011 (UTC)

Minimum age?

Is there a minimum age for a person to register as a contributor here? Bddpaux (talk) 17:40, 15 September 2011 (UTC)

No, that I've ever heard of. Though we also don't censor our content. User:Kayau was iirc in his tweens when here, quite successfully, but I'll grant he always struck me as mature for his age. --Pi zero (talk) 18:28, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
I was 15 when I started here, and 13 when I started editing Wikipedia. There's no age limit, as long as you're mature. DENDODGE 01:42, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
Technically the Wikimedia Foundation probably has to comply with Child Online Privacy Protection Act which means nobody under 13 is supposed to be registering. -- IlyaHaykinson (talk) 08:05, 2 October 2011 (UTC)
IANAL, but I believe that COPPA does not apply to most nonprofit organizations. :) --Moonriddengirl (talk) 18:31, 3 October 2011 (UTC)
Moonriddengirl is correct. It's the position of our legal team that in most things, we voluntarily follow COPPA-like provisions, but we are not bound by COPPA itself. Philippe (WMF) (talk) 15:22, 16 October 2011 (UTC)

Changing copyright policy

Why does Wikinews, on 25 September 2005, changed licensing policy from public domain to CC-by? Consider changing it to CC0! I think nothing is free except things in the public domain. (talk) 07:04, 2 October 2011 (UTC)

We changed from public domain to CC-BY due to some advice that public domain releases by wikis such as Wikinews were not likely to hold up given any legal scrutiny. CC-BY was deemed to be the least intrusive CC policy that we could use. CC0 was only released in 2009, well after our transition. I think that this is a reasonable request to look at other policies, but I think that CC-BY is also a quite small limitation that has not been a problem in most people's reuse of content. -- IlyaHaykinson (talk) 08:04, 2 October 2011 (UTC)

I think it is a problem because you must attribute the original author(s) in all derivative works, thus making release them to the public domain is legally impossible without permission/consent. (talk) 12:03, 2 October 2011 (UTC)

You don't have to attribute every author. While it is nice, you only have to attribute Wikinews. (Oh, and we're not trying to make it easy for you to release it into the public domain - we do want some recognition for our work, and saying "This is from Wikinews" isn't exactly difficult.) DENDODGE 14:55, 2 October 2011 (UTC)
  • The derogatory term for what is being asked - if not demanded - here is being a "freetard". You've obviously never read what is displayed when you edit, your contributions need only be credited to Wikinews when reused. Hardly onerous, hardly unreasonable. When you've actually contributed a quality article or two you will appreciate why people want to not have their work vanish off all over the net, unattributed. --Brian McNeil / talk 16:07, 16 October 2011 (UTC)
    • A less-rude term is freevangelist; there is no call to be unpleasant when no one has offered unpleasantness. Something to keep in mind is Wikinews held a project-wide vote on choosing a new license. There is nothing preventing the project from again holding a vote regarding licenses, other than inertia. (Personally I'm rather enamored of the WTFPL) - Amgine | t 04:25, 19 October 2011 (UTC)

the presumption of innocence and the word "allegedly"

Mainstream media often uses words like "alleged" and "suspected" to describe someone that has been charged with a crime but has not been convicted. It's often argued that these terms are overused, but they're often used for legal reasons: if a newspaper states that a defendant killed someone, and the defendant is acquitted, then (s)he can sue for libel. After all, people are generally considered innocent until proven guilty. Are we (as Wikinewsies) supposed to use words like to "alleged" to describe people who are awaiting trial?

This brings me to my second question: the media sometimes directly states the "facts" in such cases even before the legal proceedings have occurred. This is especially true for cases of self-defense (e.g., officer-involved shootings): I've never seen the news say things like "Officer X allegedly shot and killed a man at place Y" unless the officer clearly acted in a criminal manner. I guess this is because the question is generally "did he do it?" for regular citizens, whereas it's usually "did he act in self-defense?" for the police. Nevertheless, should we treat all homicides/shootings/etc. the same way? Or can we safely state that X killed Y if it is an obvious case of a justifiable homicide? --Ixfd64 (talk) 07:06, 25 October 2011 (UTC)

We'd pretty much go with the presumption of innocence - offences are alleged until convictions come in (if reporting on serious claims of a miscarriage of justice, the neutral term would be 'convicted', noun 'convict'.) The facts of the case should be considered carefuly on a case-by-case basis; I've never been a great fan of the trial-by-media often conducted in the states - where I am (UK) it is even illegal for the media to prejudice a trial. Newspapers can be fined and individuals imprisoned.
Generally speaking, if the evidence to be used is presented in the press, attribute it if possible - "John Smith, a prosecution attorney, said 'We have DNA evidence from the scene proving guilt'" is infitnitely better than "Smithson's DNA was found at the scene".
In certain cases, basic facts are already well known - police shootings are a great example; it is generally accepted from the start that the pfficer fired his weapon, and this is usually reported before the press even hears of suspicion of a crime. A policeman in London - where I already mentioned prekudicing trials is illegal - an officer caught on film hitting a man at a protest is soon due to go on trial. The case garnered attention for years; the film is already well-known here and so no press outlet refrained from showing footage at the time of the charge. In short; caution and common sense should be exercised. For the record, Wikinews is hosted on servers in Florida so the project as a whole need not worry about the tight standards where I am (whereas I need to be very aware). Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 14:00, 25 October 2011 (UTC)