Wikinews:Water cooler/proposals

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Activity of "water cooler" subpages[edit]

Lately, the activities of "water cooler" subpages, like "policy" and "proposal", has dwindled down. Shall we mark all of them as historical and then use WN:Water cooler instead as the main forum? --George Ho (talk) 00:06, 6 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Just because they are not being used at the moment does not mean there is an actual need to throw them out of the window -- the classification exists for a reason and I don't see how marking them as historical is going to serve any helpful purpose.
•–• 06:58, 6 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Yep. For the moment, let's leave them alone.--Bddpaux (talk) 22:39, 6 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Publishing proposal[edit]

This is an idea I’ve been thinking about for a while but this discussion has prompted me to write it down.

Quite a few draft articles I’ve deleted, over the past couple of years, were one paragraph long. They were started by new users, and then abandoned. If they’d been expanded, they might have become viable and publishable articles. Our current guidance at WN:LENGTH is that publishable articles should be a minimum of three paragraphs (presumably with 50-80 words each, as mentioned in WN:Lede). The deleted articles were often by newbies, who don’t necessarily want to write more than that one paragraph. We have also had a shortage of published articles recently.
For a trial period of three months, it is proposed to suspend a couple of rules as follows:
  • reduce the minimum requirement to one paragraph;
  • at least a hundred words long;

We would still encourage people to write longer articles if they can but I think this trial might help us to publish a little more. Thoughts and modifications welcomed. [24Cr][talk] 19:16, 12 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]


  • Back when I was active here there were a thing called briefs which would (hopefully) encourage someone to come along and expand on. I see the policy is now marked as historical - see Wikinews:Briefs - Cartman02au (Talk)(AU Portal) 03:32, 18 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
They are the basis of this proposal. The main problem in the past has been a haphazard approach. We have had several names used including Briefs, Wikinews Briefs, Business Briefs, Technology Briefs, and Wikinews Shorts. Sometimes there have been a lot of them and other times very few. See the list I’ve put at the foot of Wikinews:Briefs. Although it is marked as historical, I’ve been trying to gather them in one place so we don’t have too much disparity. I’d also like to see the revival of other projects like Wikinews:Audio Wikinews, Wikinews:Print edition and some sort contest at some point in the near future. [24Cr][talk] 01:04, 25 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • It's been almost a couple of weeks since the last vote. Shall other votes be awaited before the trial can proceed? --George Ho (talk) 23:47, 24 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
@George Ho: I think we should give it until 31 January 2022 to close the discussion. Then we can start the trial from 1 February to 30 April, which is a clear three months. We can review the results in early May. [24Cr][talk] 10:59, 25 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
@Xbspiro: I had not thought much about that until now but the Czech page would look quite good if there is something published each day. I think it would make sense to publish brief articles in the list on the right side under "Latest news". I’m not sure if it would make sense to put such articles on the lead templates unless perhaps we restrict Lead 4 and Lead 5 to have just the headline, so it’s at least worth readers clicking to read a one paragraph story?
On my mobile phone, there is a large empty space to the right of Leads 3 and 5, although I won’t see it in desktop mode till I get home later today. That list of latest news is the {{Main headlines}} template, which shows 10 articles but it could be extended to show up to 20 or a higher figure. We would have to suspend the rule of 10 at the foot of WN:Archive conventions.
In the longer term, I think we should look at redesigning the main page. When I looked at it just now, it seemed to have too much prose. I feel it might be more attractive with less descriptions. For example:
  • What if we reduced all the leads to just the headline and a photo?
  • Do we need a whole paragraph in the "Write an article" box, or the "About Wikinews" box?
  • Why do we not have the three content boxes further up the page?
"Wikinews's best work", "Recent interviews" and "Original reporting".
I might add a further proposal for these thoughts. Thank you Xbspiro for prompting more ideas! [24Cr][talk] 11:32, 25 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
      • You are welcome. If you think about retrofitting the main page, when you find yourself a desktop, take a look at the Spanish Wikinews and English Wikivoyage. They use attractive, big pictures for leads. - Xbspiro (talk) 12:20, 25 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]


  • Support as proposer. [24Cr][talk] 02:07, 25 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support It's perfectly valid to have news briefs. What matters is that they are up-to-date, factual, NPOV, and sourced (or have original reporting that is verified with notes). —Justin (koavf)TCM 02:04, 13 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support ...Sure, why not? Three-month trial isn't that bad. We would see how it goes, and we can analyze and compare the results. --George Ho (talk) 21:22, 13 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support I don't think it can go horribly wrong. It reminds me of Wikinews Shorts such as this. For a stretch, I tried to make sure Wikinews had at least a mention of the biggest stories of the day every day. Cheers, --SVTCobra 01:00, 25 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Neutral While it may not be a bad idea, I personally don't think that having shorter articles will resolve the week-long queues we've been seeing lately. Since it is a trial, I cannot oppose for us to try, so my vote will stay neutral. Henrymyman (talk) 02:19, 25 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support, News briefs won't provide much information but it would surely freshen up Wikinews. There can be news briefs daily about all kinds of news around the world, that would be great! 2006nishan178713t@lk 03:50, 25 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support, people are generally time-poor. Although Wikinews:Newsworthiness#Freshness is a goal, longer time and greater tolerance are required in practice. Setting a democratic precedent (talk) 17:16, 25 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support I've wanted this for a long time. I like it.--Bddpaux (talk) 15:15, 26 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Reviewer proposal[edit]

This is another random thought:

Recently we have had a shortage of reviewers and reviewing of articles. One of the reasons for the lack of candidates for reviewer is the length of the process to gain the permission (currently at least seven days). Another reason is that the criteria are quite heavy with requirements like having had many articles published. We also have a new method of testing potential reviewers with co-reviews with existing reviewers. Whilst I am still in favour of co-reviewing, I think it can be time consuming.
1. It is proposed that for a trial period of six months, we should relax some of the more stringent requirements and instead have the following:
  • A candidate should have:
- a registered account;
- made at least 500 non-automated edits;
- been active in the last thirty days (perhaps at least 50 edits/actions?);
- made at least 75 edits in the previous 45 days;
- not been blocked from editing on this wiki in the last six months.
2. It is further proposed that the vote for each candidate should last a minimum of three days (as opposed to the current seven days).
3. On a permanent basis, we should ask for the Reviewer group to have two additional permissions added at Special:UserGroupRights:
- Add group: Reviewer
- Change semi-protection settings and edit cascade-protected pages (semiprotect)
The effect of this would be that rather than wait for an administrator or bureaucrat, any existing reviewer could close the request and add the Reviewer permission to the account of the candidate. However, removal of the permission would still be an admin task.
The second permission would allow non-admin reviewers to semi-protect published articles so only autoconfirmed users could edit them (as is our standard practice at the moment). Kudos to User:Xbspiro for this suggestion (see comments below).
Any thoughts, comments and suggestions would be welcome. [24Cr][talk] 02:05, 25 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]


A sidetrack, but adding page protection privileges to the reviewer group might make sense. (Not all reviewers are admins.) - Xbspiro (talk) 12:25, 25 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Good point. I think we would have to ask for a reduced version to allow non-admin reviewers to semiprotect (allowing autoconfirmed to edit) rather than fully protect (only admins can edit). I’ll put this into the proposal. [24Cr][talk] 13:30, 25 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Quick question: how long shall their Reviewer rights last amid the trial? Shall the rights last the same period as the trial, one year, or what? --George Ho (talk) 15:42, 25 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]

@George Ho: I am not sure yet but was thinking possibly for them to keep the rights until they’ve carried out 3 or 4 reviews without any major objections about their conduct or the quality of the review. If there is no issue, then a reviewer, admin or bureaucrat would leave a note on their talk page saying it was now permanent. If they hadn’t done any reviews in perhaps in the first 3–6 months, we could ask if they wanted to keep the permissions? I feel it would be more important to measure for review quality than time quantity, if that makes sense. Obviously I’m happy to hear other opinions. [24Cr][talk] 16:27, 25 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
@George Ho: There are undoubtedly aspects I’ve not considered, which is why I said I’m open to suggestions and improvements. I thought you might reply with suggestions, so I’m a bit surprised about the oppose vote. Could you expand on your vote and say what you’d like to see? The issue we are facing is a long delay in reviewing, which has lead to much fewer published articles lately. One of the reasons for this is a reduction in the number of available reviewers. I believe this is partly due to some of us becoming busy in real life. I also believe it is partly due to some of our processes having become a little too restrictive. In the last six years there have been just four successful new applications for reviewer (Acagastya, LivelyRatification, JJLiu112 and myself). I don’t think that is a good position to be in. Some of the applicants in the last six years were clearly too soon but others were put off by us setting the bar too high. We badly need more reviewers and I think we should try different ways off doing things to see what works. I see it being less harmful if we can encourage candidates to show us they can do the task if we give them a chance to use the tools. When I did a co-review with JJLiu112, they were clearly enthusiastic and able but had never known that we use a semi-automated tool (EZPR) to carry out reviews. It would have been far easier to do a co-review if they had been able to use EZPR and then semi-protect the page if it was successful. As far as possible abuses, this is why I included the point about no blocks in the past six months. Even with a rogue reviewer, there is nothing that could not be undone. [24Cr][talk] 19:44, 25 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
I appreciate your concerns and sentiments about the Reviewer shortage, and there are rights ways to resolve this. As-is, this proposal wouldn't be it. I was hoping that expire date is set for those amid trial. In other words, you should propose their rights lasting six months until expiration. That way, I may change my vote. Indefinite duration I won't support. --George Ho (talk) 21:27, 25 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
@George Ho: Could you formulate a version which you could accept/welcome? - Xbspiro (talk) 14:01, 26 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
I'm thinking it's almost the same as Cromium's, but their Reviewers rights should expire in six months, i.e. when the trial ends. I hope I formulate well, right? George Ho (talk) 14:25, 26 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
@George Ho: So, if I understand it correctly, your objection is that anyone who becomes a reviewer through this proposal should have it removed at the end of the six months? If so, then what about this process?
  • A candidate creates a new request page at WN:FRRFP.
  • An admin or a current reviewer checks the application page.
  • If the candidate is found to meet the minimum criteria (which might change per Bddpaux's suggestion below), voting on the application does not take place immediately but is postponed by the admin or current reviewer.
  • The admin or current reviewer adds the Reviewer group to the candidate account and asks them to review one article in the queue.
  • The candidate carries out a review (with assistance if required).
  • If the review is satisfactory, the candidate's application voting can begin and lasts for at least three days.
  • If the vote is in favour of the candidate, the application is closed as successful by an admin or a current reviewer and they keep the reviewer group.
  • If the review is not satisfactory, the candidate is asked to improve their understanding and their application is closed. The reviewer group is removed from their account immediately by an administrator.
  • If the candidate does not carry out a review within a week of receiving the reviewer group (or if the queue is empty, within 24 hours of an article being put in the queue), the application is closed as unsuccessful and the reviewer group is removed.
  • If the candidate misbehaves with their reviewer permissions during this time, they can be warned/blocked/permission_removed as appropriate.
  • At the end of the trial period, any candidates who don’t have approval by a vote of at least three days, will have the reviewer group removed.
  • After the trial is finished, we will have a community discussion about how to proceed in the future.
Thoughts? [24Cr][talk] 13:40, 27 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]

"At the end of the trial period, any candidates who don’t have approval by a vote of at least three days, will have the reviewer group removed."

Maybe either that, or... Wait, do you have expiry tools? That is, I mean, stewards have given others short-term adminship for their local wikis. Do you have tools providing short-term rights/access the same way stewards have given others? There must be other wikis giving others short-term adminships. Right? This wiki should have tools setting expiry dates. Right? --George Ho (talk) 16:18, 27 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Yes, that’s a good point. When most permissions are added to an account, the default option is "does not expire" but this can be changed to anything from 1 day to 1 week, 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year or a specific date. Shall we say it is set for 1 week in the first instance? [24Cr][talk] 17:35, 27 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
One week may be short, but I suppose it works. What about second instance? --George Ho (talk) 18:50, 27 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
I guess we could make it two weeks in the first instance. More than that would seem a bit much. A second instance would be situations like there were no articles in the review queue or the candidate was unable to review for external reasons e.g. illness. In such circumstances they would be given a second week. If they still cannot do a review, I think the application should closed unless there really are no articles to review (in which case an extra week should be given until there is an article to review). [24Cr][talk] 19:16, 27 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
One week or two weeks... Either is fine. You're kinda right about excess. But extra week wouldn't hurt if there are no remaining articles to review. --George Ho (talk) 05:24, 28 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • I propose active for the last 45 days, with a minimum of 75 edits. Reviewing properly is an important task here.--Bddpaux (talk) 15:16, 26 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
@Bddpaux: I’m fine with that. @George Ho, Xbspiro, 2006nishan178713: do you have any objections to changing it to 45 days active and a minimum of 75 edits in this 45 days? [24Cr][talk] 13:40, 27 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
No objection. Xbspiro (talk) 13:49, 27 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
No objections either. --George Ho (talk) 16:04, 27 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
45 days and 75 edits is a good threshold and the processes and rules laid by @Cromium can be agreed upon. No objections! 2006nishan178713t@lk 16:38, 27 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]


  • Support as proposer. [24Cr][talk] 02:05, 25 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support seems like a viable option to me. 2006nishan178713t@lk 10:02, 25 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Reviewer access is not something to be toyed with. Without knowing how long the rights will last, especially after the trial ends, someone may potentially abuse it. Furthermore, a more concrete trial proposal would've been better. --George Ho (talk) 18:19, 25 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Weak support, the proposal is great and I fully support it but the point raised by George Ho is of greater significance.2006nishan178713t@lk 18:34, 25 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]