Wikinews:Water cooler/proposals

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To Firefox users — those who review and edit[edit]

Hello,

At this page there is several Firefox add-ons, each with description and screenshots, which give you

  • a shortcut to dupdet an external link against current article (context menu)
  • source template fill helper (sidebar)
  • a feed reader which seems sensible (new tab)
  • web page annotator which stores the notes in localStorage so that you don't lose them from a web browser crash (sidebar)
  • ...I am looking for a web page highlighter which does not lose data between tab closes and browser restarts. If you find it please link and I would add it to this collection also (and possibly also use it a lot).
  • ... Soon I will also release an add-on which opens a hyperlink in a new tab with reading mode on by default (context menu). I will add a note about this here and will also add it to the collection.

The goal is to make it a lot easier to author, copyedit, and review. Please test them and share ideas for improvement.

If you need any of them for another web browser, please let me know. --Gryllida (chat) 05:38, 11 September 2018 (UTC)

Wow, thanks for these! —Justin (koavf)TCM 18:53, 11 September 2018 (UTC)
Hello Justin (koavf). Did you have a chance to test any of these add-ons? What are your thoughts? What feels like the most daunting part of news writing for you?
(I'm currently trying to work out how to reorganize the source fill helper so that it sorts by date automatically; work in progress, expect to make a release next month, so that merely ticking the boxes is sufficient for adding the sources to the article.) --Gryllida (chat) 06:34, 19 September 2018 (UTC)
Sorry, I haven't been able to use these--just install them. The most daunting part of writing news is the bottleneck of time. :/ —Justin (koavf)TCM 02:38, 21 September 2018 (UTC)
Justin (koavf) thank you for this observation, it is really helpful. Do you have time to read news in the current arrangement? How do you usually do this? Perhaps I can make a quick shortcut from your news reading app (Firefox? an RSS reader? a mobile? something else?) to an article creation request at Wikinews. --Gryllida (chat) 01:35, 24 September 2018 (UTC)
I don't read the news at en.wn but at other mainstream and alternative sources. The problem is that it's actually too easy to digest news here since the project is so moribund. :/ Mostly I read news via a web interface RSS reader. —Justin (koavf)TCM 23:16, 26 September 2018 (UTC)
Hello Justin (koavf). Pretty advanced setup. :-) Did you know that identifying news is often difficult, with volunteers needing to go through a few tens of headlines before they find something interesting? I think you may already be doing a big part of this onerous task, with only one minor step left: requesting the article creation, which may take as little as a few seconds. Perhaps you may wish to bookmark this link and keep it around for a few days, and after using it a few times share your insight on its usefulness. --Gryllida (chat) 06:13, 27 September 2018 (UTC)

Hello,

Updates here:

  • The 'show source in reading mode' addon is still under development. (Adding internationalization)
  • These are available to mark the article with 'editing' or 'abandoned' or 'under review' (reviewers only):
    (They are inspired by User:Microchip08/vector.js)
  • w:User:Gryllida/js/weAddCommentButton.js is now available for leaving remarks 'between the lines or at the margin' of a draft. It adds a toolbar button which marks the selected text and provides a place where to add a comment for it. (I recommend to post the commented version to the talk page -- not into the article directly -- as these comments may be difficult to remove.)
    • example output
    • mw.loader.load( 'https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=User:Gryllida/js/weAddCommentButton.js&action=raw&ctype=text/javascript' ); // [[:w:User:Gryllida/js/weAddCommentButton.js]]
  • I've found Firefox's "add to bookmarks" feature, with tags, highly useful for organising thoughts about what to report on and how it is developing. The 'recently tagged' smart folder is helpful with this. However there is room for improvement, as currently bookmarks do not have a date or place attached. This with some means to visualize the timeline or map may be a thought for a next addon or script.
  • I would like to know what you use for reading news. Please share. I want to experiment with creating a path from an RSS reader or any news reader to Wikinews: tick a few sources, type a new headline, and these sources are pre-filled at the end of the article.
  • I am looking for ideas about hosting code, an issue tracker, and a mailing list for any Wikinews-related scripts, across multiple language projects. Personally I am considering http://savannah.gnu.org as many other hosting solutions are proprietary (see [1]). Does Wikimedia Tools Labs offer hosting of software? If you have ideas, please share them here.
  • Have another idea? Please share it here.

--Gryllida (talk) 23:41, 4 November 2018 (UTC)

Moving to summaries[edit]

The rate of published article creation on Wikinews is horrendous. It has not been a useful news source for a long time (possibly ever), and I think that its current form is not serving anyone at all. I think that the site has utterly failed in its value of being a free news source. So, I propose the following:

  • archive WN at some other URL (old.en.wikinews.org?) and ensure redirects work or whatnot
  • change the site to automatically ingest the contents of Wikipedia:Portal:Current_events and reformat it for our use.
  • encourage editors to expand these summaries with additional context (more text, links to older events, themes, etc)
  • curate these news items by topic, i.e. take each story and put it in a separate category to allow people to follow their preferred category feeds

This would mean the end of WN as it exists now -- a dead community that most every newcomer misunderstands. But this might regain a useful place in the world, as an entry point into the news that's already captured by the rest of the wikimedia ecosystem. Thoughts? -- IlyaHaykinson (talk) 06:24, 21 September 2018 (UTC)

A bold move. Why would we archive the current contents? —Justin (koavf)TCM 06:38, 21 September 2018 (UTC)
Fresh purpose, clean slate. -- IlyaHaykinson (talk) 07:48, 21 September 2018 (UTC)
This suggestion is based on the false premise that going through a slow time means "failure". A Wikinews project isn't here to provide the sole source for anyone's news; no-one should get all their news from a single site, the single-source news audience is a pre-internet notion. We continue to serve our function by being available when someone wants to submit something for review, and it's possible to learn tremendously about writing and journalism and fact-checking and news neutrality and what-not by submitting here. What we need is to greatly soup-up semi-automated assistance for all stages of the process, for which there are plans on how to go about it; a major obstacle for me has been finding time to develop the semi-automation technology required while also keeping up with review demands, and frankly a slow moment like this is an advantage to me in that regard; I've finally gotten moving again on the semi-automation in the past week or so after a long period during which the only progress I made on the tooling was a fix for the wiki platform's poor support for non-ascii text. --Pi zero (talk) 11:59, 21 September 2018 (UTC)
Yes, my suggestion is based on a premise that publishing 10 articles a month is failure. We're not here to be the sole news source, but we're not even a real news source at all -- just a repository for fairly random information. I think that the value of Wikinews as it exists right now is much lower than what it could be if this site was repurposed to be a better current events portal from Wikipedia -- which is a reasonable news source, actually. I think there's value built up over the years of applying NPOV to news, and developing original content policies that don't exist elsewhere -- these are all great. But right now they're not really serving anyone's needs except the few editors who feel vanity from having an article published here. Instead, I propose that this site be re-created with an eye towards what the user (reader) actually wants, which (imho) is news. -- IlyaHaykinson (talk) 16:05, 21 September 2018 (UTC)
Several of those points are, well, horsecrap. Obviously we want higher output; duh! But some points to keep in mind.
  • Wikipedia is not remotely capable of journalism, and is appallingly oblivious to its unsuitability for the purpose. Wikipedia's current events portal does harm rather than good, by misleading people into thinking that Wikipedia articles can be news. In its entire history, Wikipedia has produced zero news articles; it is structurally incapable of producing a news article, and always will be because the very concept of an encyclopedia is incompatible with news production. I don't hold out any hope that Wikipedia's handling of current events can be rescued —at least, not until we turn Wikinews into a thriving success that points the way for them— but, even if it were rescued, whatever it's good for should certainly be hosted on Wikipedia; it'd be a total waste, and pointlessly clumsy, to try to host it here.
  • It's not a matter of "applying NPOV to news". Wikipedia's neutrality policy has partly failed on Wikipedia, but totally fails to apply to news. News neutrality is based on a different principle that I, at least, have not so far been able to figure how to apply to an encyclopedia.
--Pi zero (talk) 16:47, 21 September 2018 (UTC)
With honest respect for your qork here, Pi, but imho Wikipedia hatred clouds your judgment. There can't be any reasonable doubt that Wikipedia produces more up-to-date content in one day than Wikinews in several months. If not for the effing license problem, such stuff could be ported here, get some additional copyediting, and news output could be vastly increased. That's something to be seriously considered, and, pls excuse my frankness, your personal hate of Wikipedia shouldn't stand in the way of productive improvements. Gray62 (talk) 14:30, 5 October 2018 (UTC)
It might feel comfortable (I mean that practically, not pejoratively) to imagine hatred on my part, but it's utter fiction. I care deeply about Wikipedia. The situation on Wikipedia is fiendishly subtle, with positive aspects of the project accompanied by profoundly deep-seated problems that most Wikipedians are clearly not only blind to but react violently to hearing mentioned, apparently an instance of the general principle that people have trouble accepting that there can be flaws in things they're emotionally invested in. --Pi zero (talk) 16:51, 5 October 2018 (UTC)
Oh, btw, the crack about "vanity" is imho quite off-base. --Pi zero (talk) 16:47, 21 September 2018 (UTC)
Coming to the defense of Ilya, it's my impression, too, that English Wikinews has become the vanity project of a few longterm admins/bureaucrats. That kind of identification with a project is not necessarily a bad thing, but becomes a major problem if necessary changes don't happen because someone assumes ownership in the status quo. That someone then owns the failure, too. Again, I'm sorry for being offensive, but that's how the situation here looks to me. Gray62 (talk) 14:30, 5 October 2018 (UTC)
There's not much to say about that. You're wrong. Those of us intimately familiar with the project naturally understand things about it that outsiders don't, that's all. It seems you're starting with assumptions about what the problems are and what needs changing, and being mistaken about those things is a difficult trap to climb out of. --Pi zero (talk) 16:59, 5 October 2018 (UTC)
I think there's a difference between news and journalism — WP does far better than WN at news, since the current events portal is almost usable (even if poorly organized and not rich enough and also too rich in some areas). WN has built a reasonable approach to journalism but one that doesn't scale. I think that it's better to be useful at news than to publish 10 random articles in a month.
As for your other points — I am aware that WP NPOV and WN approaches are not compatible. That's why I think what WN has is valuable — experience with applying balance in covering news. My point about vanity was a bit low, but it's not the least of motivations for people contributing, and given no real other use for this site as-is it's probably surprisingly high on the list.
I see no reason to continue to hope that this site, in its current form, is anything other than a project whose goals will never be reached. Rather than attempting to stick to the conservative notion that what exists is good if only it had some more resources, I think it's better to admit defeat and reinvent and design something new and try again. -- IlyaHaykinson (talk) 17:12, 21 September 2018 (UTC)
  • The trouble isn't that it doesn't scale, but that it hasn't scaled, yet. We know (well, I know) what the problem is; it's a weakness of the wiki software, and there's no hope of getting any insightful improvements to the platform out of the Foundation so we have to do it ourselves, which I'm, what, five or more years into doing.
  • The whole community of human civilization on the internet is suffering from contageous undercomprehension of neutrality and fact-basedness, which are central to what we do here and are, alas, not central to Wikipedia. Wikipedia has, of course, had some good effects as well as some bad effects on the global community; it's had, I'm sorry to say, some very toxic effects for which a successful Wikinews would be our best chance at a cure.
  • I don't know what distinction exactly you have in mind between news and journalism, but I doubt the two are as separable as you're supposing, and that inseparability implies that Wikipedia is unsuitable for both.
  • You see no reason to hope because you're not on the inside seeing the processes involved and the potential means we're working on for addressing them.
  • We've already figured out what the problem is. You're apparently supposing that if we started with a clean slate we could find a problem to address, and address it; but Wikinews is addressing the right problems already, and doing it spectacularly well — that is, spectacularly well on a relative scale if one appreciates the magnitude of the challenges involved. A whole bunch of problems of mainstream news/journalism need to be dealt with in a non-commercial setting, which we're uniquely suited to do, and part of that is that we can take the time to develop the infrastructure to make it work whereas software development in a commercial setting today is incapable of producing really high-quality solutions because rushing to market is the only way to not go out of business. I'm acutely aware that the software development I'm doing here could never be done in a commercial setting because it takes too long.
(Btw, I've managed to reply promptly a few times today, but I fear I'll likely have to be offline for a while later today because I ate something this morning that doesn't agree with me.) --Pi zero (talk) 17:42, 21 September 2018 (UTC)
IlyaHaykinson: we review short news as Briefs, Shorts, and accept short article creation requests. In each case the contributor is encouraged to note the 5Ws and an H, which the Wikipedia Current Events portal fails to do.
A few weeks ago the requested article link has been added to the site notice. If you have ideas how to further encourage contributors to engage themselves in writing such short submissions and gradually engage in the writing of longer pieces after they became better at identifying legitimate news, these suggestions are very welcome. --Gryllida (chat) 20:33, 21 September 2018 (UTC)
Gryllida, thanks! I definitely realize that we're trying hard to entice people to participate. The trouble is that people are not, and even during the years when I was active (2004..2007) there was trouble generating sufficient interest and participation to keep the site always useful. We were producing on the order of 10 articles a day, I think, and felt that it was not sufficient and that growth was just around the corner if we only tried harder. That didn't happen though.
Pi zero, I appreciate the background. I apologize in advance for the criticism -- I know that you've worked really hard for years, and your contribution to keeping WN alive and developing cannot be overstated. But, as you say, I'm not seeing the results of this work. It pains me to see that WN has slowly slid into irrelevance after not even being as relevant at the beginning as we all hoped it should be, and I hope you forgive me for feeling unenthusiastic about the prospect of waiting just a bit longer, since that's essentially the argument we WN people have made since the days I was a bureaucrat on this wiki. I know that the problems exist and that MediaWiki capabilities are to blame (the DPL extension that we built was done for that same reason), and that one way to fix those is to invest the limited time awesome volunteers like you have into building something new.
I'm proposing a discussion about an alternate way. Instead of saying that "Wikinews" must take the model that has existed for years but is hard to scale given the tools that we have at our disposal, what if we instead say "what is the most useful news-related wiki that can exist given the tools that we already have?". I recommended starting with content that WP creates because it's already done at scale, and it's done daily, and it's high quality. It's also insufficient to have just that content on a news site, for the reasons that you outline and also because it's simply made to be an awkward encyclopedic page rather than a news feed. But it's there, and it's a far better approximation (for me) of what WN should be at the very least than what I have seen from WN for the last year.
So my question (or challenge) here is: would the community be willing to entertain a wholesale change of the model? Could such a model be based on ingesting / synchronizing with some of the WP-derived news feeds and building an ecosystem of content around that, rather than continuing our current focus on long-form? I'm not at all suggesting that we throw away the mechanisms for collaboration that we've built -- only that we consider applying them to something new. -- IlyaHaykinson (talk) 08:00, 22 September 2018 (UTC)
  • You're simply wrong about irrelevance. The fact that you could see the trend going on years before we adopted the modern review regime —which does not at all surprise me— is a reflection of a couple of things I've been aware of for years: that modern review is not the cause of the problem, and that fixing the problem, if one supposes it's a matter of the adjusting the values of some of the constants in the dynamic equation of the project, would require a surprisingly small adjustment to those constants because it's actually been a long slow decline in project activity (if the constants were way off, I'd expect the project to have tanked rapidly). I have, btw, observed that when, from time to time, we have increased review capacity for a while, and a few articles to "prime the pump" and draw attention to the project, people from outside start trying to write articles, and in fact things can get moving — until, sooner or later, we're unable to sustain the increased output. I draw two conclusions from that observed pattern:  (1) if we could do things that significantly and permanently increased our review capacity per reviewer (or to put it differently, per unit of review labor), we could sustain a significantly increased level of output, and  (2) there's plenty of demand out there for what we're offering, if we can take the edge off the difficulty of contributing and if we can substantially increase our review capacity. In fact, I've observed that the potential demand for what we're offering is sufficiently vast that however much review capacity we can provide, after a while for word to get around, the demand will exceed our capacity. Plans for the future must take into account that once things get rolling here (as they do from time to time) the project is in a permanent state of demand-exceeding-supply of review labor; that is the sustained operation conditions we want the project to be able to smoothly function in.
  • What you're not seeing is what's going on behind the scenes (or an alternative metaphor would be "beneath the surface"). Re my own efforts, note that you're putting the cart before the horse: my efforts to keep the project afloat are an appendix to my efforts to develop the means for a resurgence of the project; forging tools, as it were, by which to tinker with those constants in the dynamic equation. There was a moment, some years back, when I had to make a conscious decision either to step into the review gap, or to stand aside and let the project die. At that moment, I clearly saw about six major hazards in the attempt (things like the danger of my personal preferences leaking into project style); and one of the hazards was not having an exit strategy. The personal sacrifice I'd have to make could only be justified if it was an intermediate step on the way to a future in which I was personally not needed by the project. The goal is that future, not the day-to-day survival of Wikinews. I see us continuing toward that happy goal... behind the scenes. The day-to-day operation of the project, which must be maintained, consists centrally of availability for review, rather than actual review; and note that the availability for review is not directly visible during the slow times such as now (as you talk about not seeing things).
--Pi zero (talk) 12:56, 22 September 2018 (UTC)
  • I am grateful to you for coming back to propose a change, IlyaHaykinson. Do you speak any language apart from English? Perhaps a non-English version of Wikinews is more receptive to trying a different model, and English Wikinews could draw from that.
  • The 'request an article' approach, which may simplify the learning curve, got more exposure just last month via a link in the banner. I am still hopeful it would work ... with people just needing to share an URL and look away. Simpler than the model at English Wikipedia, huh?
  • We had one contributor who submitted an entry a few times and were excited to see it implemented in a published article but then they started submitting the entries at the rate of one per day, which was too quick, and one of their entries was rejected entirely as analysis. So far we haven't heard back from them...
  • People seem to expect everything and their dog to be publishable and when this does not occur, they walk away. I am not sure whether publishing everything under the Sun -- including submissions without the 5Ws, or biased aubmissions -- would actually help. What do you think?
  • I'm trying to aid the process via Firefox-addons, and dialog tools is available for those who don't know of their existence. However, to me it seems that the barrier is in the wired in the brain somewhere. Another approach is to make quizes such as this or that, perhaps also weekly quizes could be created with practical (not theoretical) questions based on the reasons for recent not-ready review motions and edit history of reviewers for either published or rejected articles, so that people can draw little bits and pieces of critical thinking from that.
  • Do we need a process which encourages and keeps peoples' interest after their submissions are rejected somewhere early on the way? P could this be done?? --Gryllida (chat) 05:32, 23 September 2018 (UTC)
Lowering publication standards was tried by the fork of the project, some years back, and failed utterly; in essence, without our high standards there's no reason to submit. --Pi zero (talk) 09:04, 23 September 2018 (UTC)
Looking at Wikipedia:Portal:Current_events, I don't think these one line news alerts can be a reasonable substitute for real news stories. However, there's up-to-date newsworthy content produced at Wikipedia every day, that could be reused here as a base for news story creation. Some copyediting and additional sources, and voilà! But this is prevented by the annoying license problem. Does anybody have an idea what can be done about this? Gray62 (talk) 14:43, 5 October 2018 (UTC)
You appear to be missing what news is. When I said Wikipedia is structurally incapable of producing a news article, I meant it. The content on Wikipedia is inherently not useable for news, not because of licensing (though there's that), but because it's fundamentally... well, there are other aspects to the situation (it's complicated), but an important aspect is that it's fundamentally hearsay. One of the definitive properties of news is that it's vetted before publication; don't publish mistakes is fundamental to journalism; rather the opposite of Wikipedia's philosophy of 'publish first, trust that it'll eventually drift toward higher quality'. And how Wikinews makes vetting work in an open wiki is fascinating and, as one begins to understand the ubiquity of the principles involved, downright humbling. Wikipedians who get fundamentalist about the principles they associate with Wikipedia sometimes get hooked on the notion that various aspects of our infrastructure, optimized for vetting, are inherently evil because they're not sufficiently Wikipedia-identical, but that's a complete distraction from useful activities for making Wikinews work better. --Pi zero (talk) 17:39, 5 October 2018 (UTC)
IlyaHaykinson (t · c · b), I had another thought: consider w:Portal:Current events a pit for ideas for writing an article. Here is its current contents with my remarks added, and sorted fresh events first:
  • Lion Air Flight 610 crashes off the coast of Java, Indonesia, killing all 189 people on board. -- Oct 29
  • Jair Bolsonaro (pictured) is elected President of Brazil. -- Oct 28
  • In baseball, the Boston Red Sox win the World Series. -- Oct 28 is the date of the last game
  • A shooting at a synagogue kills 11 people in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States. -- Oct 27
  • Michael D. Higgins is re-elected President of Ireland. -- Oct 26
And now it is October 31. Only one is newsworthy here, and that is two days ago.
Is there a place at Wikipedia which is more focused on something fresher than this? Gryllida (talk) 01:13, 31 October 2018 (UTC)

IlyaHaykinson: I'll try to learn writing 'Shorts/Briefs' (=5W + 2 sources). Never wrote this before. (What is the right name for it?). Would you like to try this also if not for publications then at least for evaluating the barriers and potential improvements to the process? --Gryllida (chat) 04:26, 10 October 2018 (UTC)

My own experience: Briefs, from what I've seen in the archives, were summaries of stories already published here in longer form, not really standalone articles at all. Shorts are a form I've found does not work very well in the modern era. --Pi zero (talk) 04:44, 10 October 2018 (UTC)
Shorts ≠ Briefs? Which is which and what is the difference? (I am not interested in the version which summarizes stories already published here in longer form, this just doesn't relate to the current goals.) --Gryllida (chat) 04:47, 10 October 2018 (UTC)
To make it clearer: I am interested in knowing of something short and publishable without putting the effort into writing full 3 paragraphs. (Maybe it is a wrong way to think about it, maybe 3 paragraphs truly is the bare minimum required for an article, but if the current system allows shorter submissions it would be nice to know.) --Gryllida (chat) 05:03, 10 October 2018 (UTC)
My assessment: Briefs I find to be summaries of longer stuff already published, not really independent publications at all. A shorts article is a collection of several (should be at least three) one-paragraph items, but each item has to have pretty much all the properties a minimal standalone article would have, and several of them in one article creates lots of problems, as writing it really requires nearly as much work as writing that many minimal standalone articles would, reviewing it requires neary as much work as reviewing that many minimal standalone articles —which can be an excessively large lump of review labor—, and yoking the items together may allow problems with one item to hold up the other items. Generally only an inexperienced writer attempts such a thing, and if they're inexperienced, any mistakes they make are apt to be multiplied by the number of items. But even apart from the problems caused by yoking together several items, to write any one item for a shorts collection you really have to apply almost all the writing principles that would be needed for a minimal article, and you have to investigate the story about as much as you'd need to for a minimal article. It also seems to me that writing good shorts items develops slightly different skills from writing ordinary standalone articles, likely to result in some bad habits that would then need to be unlearned later, lengthening the usual learning curve for Wikinews writing. --Pi zero (talk) 05:54, 10 October 2018 (UTC)
OK, I guess we have the premise that anything shorter than "5Ws + two more paragraphs" is not publishable. I question this. Encouraging people to write one accurate plagiarism-free paragraph with 5Ws in it is a separate skill which may be interesting to the readers, too. I propose that we allow this, without merging them together in a 'today shorts' and without requiring that a separate full story is published about them. --Gryllida (chat) 06:29, 10 October 2018 (UTC)
Something I thought was contained in my previous comment appears to have been lost. Much of my point was why about why it doesn't make sense to publish items below minimal length, regardless of whether they're yoked together into a shorts article. --Pi zero (talk) 22:10, 10 October 2018 (UTC)

Review outcomes: levels of 'not ready'[edit]

Hello all,

Previously we had review outcomes 'failed' and 'published'. Then we moved to 'not ready' and 'published'.

Would there be merit in making it more granular?

For example:

  • Level 0: completely failed - this is not news, too old
  • Level 1: current, but only one source provided
  • Level 2: current and two sources provided, but the first paragraph is incomplete as either "some of the 5Ws are missing" or "it is biased or wrong" (or both)
  • Level 3: current and two sources provided and the first paragraph is complete but the rest is not as "it does not follow inverted pyramid" or "it is biased or wrong" (or both)
  • Level 4: current and two sources provided and all paragraphs completed - success (optional remarks on cats, infoboxes, images)

The goal here is to ensure that people who are getting started are clearly shown their progress: for example if they learned to identify what is current and relevant then this is acknowledged. Then if they learned to include two independent sources then this is acknowledged. Then as they learn to identify the 5Ws then this is also clearly shown to them.

If we want to proceed with this then the levels of 'not ready' need to be defined, making sure that priority is given to the skills which people need to develop earlier. Then we can simply create a {{not-ready-level|N}} template and a documentation page to which it links, and append it at the end of the review comment (so that the changes to the templates and review gadget are minimized).

--Gryllidamsg/chat 01:21, 7 October 2018 (UTC)

Perhaps {{peer reviewed}} already lists the required things which people need to accomplish, perhaps the order is even correct (first they need to learn to not copy, then learn to identify what is current, then write only verifiable information, ...) but in my view it does not emphasize the inverted pyramid and 5Ws sufficiently, for example in my view first people need to learn newsworthiness, followed by sourcing, followed by 5Ws free of bias, followed by IP continuing free of bias, followed by style. Just pointing out the differences from this existing template. --Gryllidamsg/chat 01:36, 7 October 2018 (UTC)

More detailed list:

  • newsworthiness OK
  • headline is free of bias and is free of plagiarism
  • at least two sources provided (without checking whether the content is verifiable)
    • sources filled using source template (not sure whether to require it this early ... kinda important because people need to know who the information is coming from and what was its date??)
  • 5Ws answered in the first paragraph
    • the first paragraph is free of plagiarism
    • the first paragraph is free of bias
    • the first paragraph is accurate (verifiable)
  • following paragraphs follow inverted pyramid
    • following paragraphs are free of plagiarism
    • following paragraphs are free of bias
    • following paragraphs are accurate (verifiable)
  • style: wikilinks, infobox, categories, images, maps

--Gryllidamsg/chat 01:36, 7 October 2018 (UTC)

I distantly call, years ago when a bunch of us were brainstorming about review (on the water cooler, I think; this would have involved a bunch of folks predating me on the project), someone (quite possibly me; not sure though) floated the idea of allowing review to be separated into parts in the hope that while one reviewer might almost never have time to do a full review all at once, they might have time to do part of a review, leaving other parts for others. The verdict from that massive pool of accumulated knowledge was, as I was given to understand, that the overhead complexity created by trying to separating a review into parts is way more than any labor savings. The model I came way with was that, basically, the reviewer becomes more and more immersed in the material as the review proceeds, which allows them to move more and more easily through the review process as they go along. I can confirm, from many, many reviews, that that's how reviews go, starting out slowly and then getting more and more efficient later in the process. If a review gets interrupted, it's a lot more work to restart; and if more than one person were involved in partial reviews of an article, they'd be much less efficient (as well as probably less effective) because each of them would have to separately go through this acclimation process and each one would probably never reach the level of efficiency of a single reviewer doing a full review.

Hence my focus on semi-automated assistance to streamline a single monolithic review rather than trying to separate it into parts. The sort of separation we were discussing at the time isn't quite the same as the type you're talking about, but the drawbacks seem to apply. (I might later try to comment on some of the specifics you mention; tomorrow my time, maybe; but those seem secondary to these general considerations.) --Pi zero (talk) 02:03, 7 October 2018 (UTC)

I am not proposing to separate a review into parts: rather, once the review is completed, I am proposing to show to the article author(s) the current level of skills at which this writing sits. Unlike the current template which does not tell people in what order to achieve a list of article properties such as newsworthiness and verifiability and style etc, I am suggesting to order the required skills in a way that helps learning ('learn infoboxes and cats first, then newsworthiness at the end' would, for instance, be a bad order). --Gryllidamsg/chat 02:22, 7 October 2018 (UTC)
Granted, it's not exactly the same thing. I do think the problem of complexity is likely to apply. Another view on the thing that concerns me separately, and kind of turns out to be a different view of the same complexity concern, is that it feels rather bureaucratic. Though that does bring up the fact that writing good review comments is extremely difficult. Beyond perhaps a very trivial level, I've never seen two reviews that are the same, which make me doubt a codification of what to say. When I do a review, I try to keep track of problems I've found, and when I feel it wouldn't be practical for me to go any deeper —there can be different reasons for that— I write up all I've identified. Unless there's something really huge and prohibitive, such as widespread copyvio that would therefore require everything to be rewritten, I try to push things well along, finding multiple problems, because it can be really discouraging if each time the writer fixes a problem they go through another whole round of review only be told of yet another problem; better to tell them about as nearly everything at once as one can manage. But just what I'll encounter isn't fixed. For example, I can't say that an article is free of copyvio (term of art, including plagiary) early in the review; I do a preliminary check for similarities to source, aided by automation giving me clues where to look, but sometimes I discover copyvio much later in the review, due to my in-depth comparison of the sources with the article during verification. So at the midpoint of a review, all I can say about copyvio is that my preliminary check didn't turn up anything obvious; only at the end, after maximal immersive study, do I clear it on the copyright citerion, which of course dosn't mean there isn't something I missed, but is the point at which I can honestly say I've done my due diligence and didn't turn anything up.

Of course, the five criteria are a sort of granular review; and while on one hand those five are actually quite well chosen I think, I very commonly find myself, in a not-ready review, having to make rather arbitrary decisions about which of the five headings to put a particular difficulty under. I do have in mind, particularly, that a good subtask of review for semi-automation would be taking notes during review, for use in writing up comments at the end of the review regardless of whether it's a passing or not-ready review; but as I think through the design of that I'm striving mightily to avoid restricting the reviewer's fundamental flexibility of thought. It's an interesting challenge, and I suspect may even be an important testbed for the principles of how to provide semi-automated assistance without degrading the human aspects of a complex task. --Pi zero (talk) 04:24, 7 October 2018 (UTC)

Btw, reminder: Wikinews:Tips on reviewing articles#Checklist. --Pi zero (talk) 04:26, 7 October 2018 (UTC)
They are all unordered lists: the style guide, the content guide, the peer reviewed template used to leave review comments, the checklist you just linked. I'm questioning does it matter in what order people learn things. Do we need to tell them newcomers the correct order. Do we need to praise them for achieving a next skill (from the ordered list) in their next submission. --Gryllidamsg/chat 05:23, 7 October 2018 (UTC)

┌────────────────┘
This could look like this for example: "The article has been reviewed by ... X passed ... Y failed ... review comment ...

Article creation scale (basics first):

  1. YES - identified a newsworthy event (fresh and relevant)
  2. YES - wrote the headline, in sentence case, in present tense
  3. YES - identified at least two sources
  4. YES - wrote the leading paragraph with WN:5Ws without bias or plagiarism, in past tense, accurate without falling for wrong assumptions
  5. YES - wrote the rest of the article body in Inverted Pyramid without bias or plagiarism, in past tense, accurate without falling for wrong assumptions (with attribution if needed)
  6. YES - added maps, images, infoboxes, categories, other extra items from the checklist"

Then the reviewer uses {{scale|N}} to specify one level out of 6. They don't need to fill in each field. For the author is is excellent because it allows them to see what is the next thing they need to learn.

Perhaps I would even argue that once something on the list has failed the reviewer does not need to check the rest. Then the author will understand that they need to work out one thing before moving to the next one. However this is a separate question (there are some good things about complete full reviews).

--Gryllidamsg/chat 05:50, 7 October 2018 (UTC)

Maybe, like you said, it's too bureaucratic for article talk pages where reviews take place. But I personally recommend to praise people (on their personal talk pages possibly) for each new thing they learn compared with their previous attempt. If you have ideas how to keep track of this, in personal notes maybe, this would be really helpful. --Gryllida (chat) 04:36, 10 October 2018 (UTC)

Site notices[edit]

I am proposing that this item is added from MediaWiki:Sitenotice to MediaWiki:Anonnotice:

  • Want to know how Wikinews works?
    Walk into our Newsroom!

Possibly also add this to both files:

--Gryllida (chat) 09:22, 11 October 2018 (UTC)

I perceive a flaw in this. I have noticed (for years now) that our newsroom really doesn't come across, to me anyway, as aI'e good place to go to learn how Wikinews works, despite the item on the sitenotice. Newsrooms are currently a big deal, so I gather; a regional journalism professor (whose blog I follow, despite my disapproval of some of his political thinking) particularly laments as digital media giants, acting as chop shops buying up and making quick profits off local newspapers, close newsrooms and expect journalists to work from home. We, of course, expect everyone to work from home, physically speaking; but this is part of my larger view that —to properly preserve sapient minds in the internet age— we need to cultivate the sense of immersion that comes from being in a physical place. On Wikibooks I'm reaching for the sense one gets from being in a physical library, and here, the sense of being in a newsroom. Here's a scene that takes place in a newsroom: [2].

Meanwhile, I wonder if we'd be better off directing people to Wikinews:Pillars of writing, which I routinely recommend to people, in comments, as "a compact overview of what we do here". --Pi zero (talk) 12:45, 11 October 2018 (UTC)

I agree with linking to the pillars. Gryllida (chat) 23:57, 11 October 2018 (UTC)
What about maintaining a WN:Todo with content similar to what I put in notes at my subpage here (4 todo items) then people know what needs improvement and how, at a glance. A reviewer or author would need to fill in this todo after article status changes. If this is useful then it could be linked from the site notice. Gryllida (chat) 23:57, 11 October 2018 (UTC)
This still needs doing. Gryllida (talk) 00:38, 8 November 2018 (UTC)

Proposal to modify the welcome template[edit]

Add this line

Questions about the above? Looking for help? Ask now.

...to the bottom of the first tab. (I enclosed it into the big tags because the font size at the welcome template is really tiny.)

Perhaps people find it easier to ask questions then.

--Gryllida (chat) 03:58, 26 October 2018 (UTC)

It's a plausible idea. That said...

Our welcome template is transcluded on somewhat more than two and a half million pages (because we usually don't substitute it). It's therefore far more genuinely expensive to make any edit to it that to change any of the other templates that we minimize edits to on grounds that they're used "a lot". (A template that's used on every single one of our published articles would have less than one percent of the transclusions that {{Howdy}} does.)

Some history. The template was originally written by brianmc in late 2008 (a few months after my first edits on the project). I always liked it, but in about 2010 I suggested that, nice though it was, most people were evidently failing to pick up any of the basics of writing articles from it, so maybe we should try adjusting it to say some things up-front that would get the basics across to people. Brianmc made that change. It doesn't seem to have helped much, though. After that, I wondered if it would help if we put the instructions right under the user's nose when they're actually doing things. That's one way of understanding what the dialog tools are for. But also, for a while now I've been wondering if we should revise the {{Howdy}} template again. Given the expense of changing it, I've hung back, waiting for a clear vision of what to propose.

Here are some ideas I've been knocking around.

  • I always meant WN:PILLARS to be an ideal first place to look for an overview of the project, and I routinely recommend to everyone that they read it first, but there's no link to it from {{Howdy}}. Maybe we should add it somewhere.
  • Every sister project afaik, not just Wikinews, has the problem that most people ignore the welcome template, though gobs of effort go into designing for each project a template that packs in all the very most important and useful stuff about that project. I once had someone on Wikibooks lambaste me for putting a welcome template on their talk page, saying that they'd been to lots of different sister projects and therefore knew that all the projects were the same, and the projects all insisted on spamming people's user pages with these blasted welcome templates. That seemed a spectacularly clear demonstration that this person had not read those welcome messages (since if they had they'd know all those projects are very different from each other). My impression of the grand old version of brianmc's welcome template was of inviting the user to settle down with a cup of coffee for a long study session. So I've been wondering if the the template we put on everyone's user talk page shouldn't be called a "welcome" at all, but instead should be somehow presented as stuff the user needs to know.
  • I've also wondered if, as an alternative reaction to the inadequate effect of the current version of the template, we ought to go back to something more like the original version.
--Pi zero (talk) 02:41, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
Two ideas for this.
1) Perhaps the welcome template needs to be a short one line version at first -- link to WN:PILLARS and a place where to ask for help (without the rest of information) -- and then about a day after people receive a second long message which shares with them several more links (more like the current version).
2) Perhaps the first message can have a button, "click [HERE] to view more tips on news writing", which when clicked automatically adds the longer version to their talk page. If people ask for the information perhaps they are more likely to pay attention to it. Gryllida (talk) 03:21, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
I feel we need to be more forceful, but those are some interesting ideas. I'm imagining something that mixes some some of your ideas, some of the ones I just mentioned, and some that are in the current template. I could almost write a mock-up of something... but of course not right now. It's almost midnight here (and tomorrow is Halloween, which... might mean I'm going to be quite busy). --Pi zero (talk) 03:39, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
A possible prototype: User:Gryllida/WelcomeThing/1 Gryllida (talk) 04:47, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
This still needs doing. Gryllida (talk) 00:38, 8 November 2018 (UTC)

Transform buttons[edit]

Atm we have one button for changing the state of an article, the "submit" button which is provided on templates {{develop}} and {{tasks}}. That button used to be implemented as a javascript function MediaWiki:Common.js, but two years ago that was replaced with a dialog button implemented by template {{Assistant:Submit}}.

Any number of simple buttons of that sort should be creatable "by hand", i.e., without waiting on my grand plans for a meta-assistant. We mostly just need to work out

  • what article states the button should go from and to,
  • where the button should appear,
  • what conditions have to be met for the button to proceed (for example, a user who isn't a reviewer shouldn't be allowed to put an article {{under review}}),
  • and what templates should be added, removed, or modified.

Here are a few I can think of:

I feel there should be a lot of others, that I've thought of on past occasions, but I'm having trouble thinking of them now. Suggestions? --Pi zero (talk) 00:54, 5 November 2018 (UTC)

Yes, and how do people go from {{review}} to {{editing}} (if they are not a reviewer)? --Gryllida (talk) 02:12, 5 November 2018 (UTC)
How about this: from {{review}} to {{editing}} should double-check that that's really what you want to do, but shouldn't work if the article is under review. And removing under review shouldn't be supported by a button unless you're the one who put it under in the first place (I think the tools can check that). --Pi zero (talk) 02:39, 5 November 2018 (UTC)
OK, if you could do that it would be great in my opinion Gryllida (talk) 02:41, 5 November 2018 (UTC)
Keeping in mind, I've two other infrastructure tasks I should be working on. --Pi zero (talk) 12:22, 5 November 2018 (UTC)
The existing submit button is at {{Assistant:Submit}}. --Pi zero (talk) 02:44, 7 November 2018 (UTC)