Wikinews:Water cooler/proposals/archives/2009/December

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Reboot of Print Edition

` I also came across this, which makes print newspapers from an RSS feed. Their basic, trial version results in this for Wikinews-[1]. Unfortunately, in order to use it, it cost $59 a month. I asked the owner and he said he would do it for half price for non-profits etc. Implementing something like this would rejuvenate the print edition, as it could be automatically created every day/every week for people to download. So, thoughts?   Tris   09:37, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

All that produces is what's contained in the feed. It doesn't reproduce entire articles. And he seriously expects us to pay anything for that?! No thanks. Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 11:46, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
Meh. I tend to agree with BRS, all it does is produce little blurbs that don't provide much info - and it doesn't have any more info than the feed. If it made entire articles, i think that would be something to look into, but not when it copies the first few sentences only. Tempodivalse [talk] 14:39, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
The fact that it is only a section is because that is how the RSS feed is. I'm sure it would be pretty easy to get a full article RSS feed and only use it for the Print Edition. Yes, it's only doing what's in the feed but it's putting it into a nice format, it would all be Wikinews branded and we would have a daily paper without anymore extra effort. If you read the archives on the Print Edition, the problem is that it takes ages to compile and even then, in my opinion, didn't look as good as this. Also, if you read the archives you'll see that it can and does act as a very good marketing tool-if everyone left a few of PE's a day in their local library, reception etc.   Tris   16:17, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

What's to stop us creating our own autoversion, based off of Category:Published? Set up a DPL and get some code to follow the links. Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 16:22, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

lack of people contributing code. Otherwise we definitly could have something crawl cat published, feed it through latex or something, and auto make pretty output. (The idea was tossed arround in the talk page of the print eddition a couple times). The only thing stopping us, is that no one has done it. Bawolff 18:30, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
  • I still have a copy of the OpenOffice template Craig used to use to create the print edition. Mail me if you want a copy, the job is supposed to take ~10 minutes per day. If we can get 3-4 people working on it I think we could keep it going for a while. --Brian McNeil / talk 18:59, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
    Here's a test File:Print-edition-test.pdf. Done in about half an hour, but is a first attempt. --Brian McNeil / talk 20:52, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
    For a first attempt, it looks pretty good. If you had a bit more time, I presume you'd do something better with the images and try to avoid so many widows and orphans (as well as finding a way to get those last two boxes onto the page before), but the format looks good to me. I'd be willing to help if you need somebody to do it (I've not been very active this month due to other commitments, but from next month onwards, I'll be able to devote all my attention to Wikinews and, by extension, the print edition). Dendodge T\C 21:00, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
    Email me to get the template. --Brian McNeil / talk 21:14, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
    OK, email sent. Dendodge T\C 21:18, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
  • I've uploaded a replacement test, just today/yesterday, and added Commons PotD. 00Brian McNeil / talk 22:07, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

This is all looking good. One suggestion, Brian: You might as well delink everything. Some (most/all?) printers will reproduce the blue link, which looks crap on a paper version. Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 22:09, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

Yes, I was going to mention that, but decided that this was probably intended to be a demonstration of the layout, rather than the content, and that it went without saying that the links would be removed in the real versions. Another complaint I have, albeit a minor one, is the large amount of whitespace on the last page. Could this be filled with something else, perhaps? I would also like it if the bottoms of the boxes were correctly lined up, but that makes virtually no difference and is hardly worth the effort involved. Dendodge T\C 22:49, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
  • I'll see what I can do to delink stuff. For the last page, there is a real problem getting a balance. Anyone ideas on how to put as much of this on a page as possible ready to quickly cut and paste in? The latest version took about 10-15 minutes tops. --Brian McNeil / talk 23:10, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

V2 hackery

I'm working from the template I've got Z(just sending you updated copy DenDodge). Plus Main Page/PrintEd. From that page I cut and paste leads into the template. You select from the end of the text up until the picture is included in the section. Then, move on to the list of recently published, view each story, cut/paste headline, cut/paste text sections excluding IBs/imgs/quoteboxes. The WP FA is from their main page, as are the Wikiquote, Commons, and Wiktionary snippets.

If there's some way to change the template to allow the hyperlinks without blue & underline, let me know - I've done very little with OOo. --Brian McNeil / talk 23:27, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

You can highlight all the text, then change the colour to black and turn off underline (I think you may have to click the underline button twice, since the first click underlines everything, then the second turns it off for everything). That's the quickest way, I think.
As for filling in the last page, I don't really have any ideas. Maybe we could just shove some request for donations or something there, if we can't think of anything else. At least it's better than whitespace. Dendodge T\C 23:38, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
So, we work on taking a number of days articles (for current uploaded version, 2). Add up to 1 story to fill whitespace, and have a column's worth of deletable filler to neaten up. That filler including fundraiser stuff. Does anyone know how to set OOo documents to "track changes"? This could be done a lot faster on the wikinews-l mailing list. --Brian McNeil / talk 00:05, 30 November 2009 (UTC)
  • I'm very glad that this has caused the Print Edition to be reconsidered. Is there anyone who could make a bot to do it automatically, because although it's relatively easy by the look of it at 10 minutes a day, if it could be done automatically, then it would make it all much easier and mean it was properly regular.   Tris   08:36, 30 November 2009 (UTC)
Discussion seems to have stalled. Should we go ahead and make an issue, or is there still more to discuss? Dendodge T\C 10:38, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
I think we should, based on the template, have a few people take a short at making it. --Brian McNeil / talk 11:32, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
OK, I'll add it to my growing list of commitments for tonight. Dendodge T\C 13:10, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
I've uploaded File:21December2009.pdf based on today's articles. Dendodge T\C 22:38, 21 December 2009 (UTC)
I thought we could maybe drum up more publicity by adding {{Print Edition}} (the capital "E" is important) to articles. I'm not fond of the appearance—a single line might be better—but it should get some more people reading the print edition. Dendodge T\C 22:55, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
To clarify, the template should not be used yet, until consensus has been gathered on its appearance and positioning and if, indeed, it should be used at all. Dendodge T\C 00:26, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
  • If the Print Edition is reliably produced, every article would appear in it. There was never a template to highlight its production before. I dislike the emphasis this template adds to what should be routine. If the print edition can be reliably produced it should be linked-to from the main page. --Brian McNeil / talk 00:29, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
    • Good point; I didn't think about that. If we are going to do this daily (I will try to do it every night, but sometimes I have no Internet access for long periods or more important commitments such as exam revision), the template is completely unnecessary. Dendodge T\C 00:37, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

Audio Wikinews Re-Build

So...Audio Wikinews has been that project in the corner that keeps flinching with life, and then dying again. Every time it does flinch, it seems to do the Wikinews project good. At this time, Audio Wikinews is like a huge graveyard full of abandoned sections and guides that overlap and conflict with each other. It's because so many people have come and gone from Audio Wikinews with their own ideas and not coming across the same idea already done with neglected linking and capitulation so it gets made again. Although I have been slaughtering alot of pages with the historic template, I try my best to keep the general way of things but it's just gotten far too hard and it's not friendly to new users at all. I remember it took me months to go though every nook and cranny inside Audio Wikinews to make any kind of sense of it. So far I've spent a darn long time trying to organize it but it seems like an endless and impossible operation, so here's what I'm suggesting;

A complete deletion or archival of the Audio Wikinews project and a full rebuild.

I've been very dedicated to this project from my arrival at Wikinews and I believe I can make this work. Hopefully this will make it alot easier for new users to contribute to the project.

Any thoughts? --James Pain (talk) 13:08, 20 December 2009 (UTC)

I really think the audio has massive potential-if we could get it going regularly, have it on iTunes, get some people downloading it and hopefully up our contributor numbers. However, I do agree, it's so hard to understand at the moment. If we could restart I think that would have large advantages-however, we would need to be sure that we could keep it going for a decent period of time before doing that(ie. not two weeks).   Tris   22:06, 21 December 2009 (UTC)
Don't quote me on this, but I believe there is idealogical issues with getting it on ITunes. (Apple hates Vorbis, we love Vorbis, etc), but thats a secondary issue. I don't see any issues with starting from fresh. I'd personally prefer to see pages marked as {{historical}} as opposed to outright deleted (but in the end it doesn't really matter. OTOH if ideas keep getting re-made and then forgotten about, deleting said pages would only make the problem worst, would it not? ). Bawolff 22:18, 21 December 2009 (UTC)
As much as it sucks, it seems impossible to get into bed with itunes with the nice vorbis t-shirt on. What I'll do for now is work inside a sandbox here and edit with little mercy to see where it gets me although that's not something I can do easily, I always seem to spare the ideas with charm. I intend to publish something different on the audio wikinews pages at the start of the new year and begin recording again. Let's see where this gets us. Thanks for the feedback, more is appreciated if anyone else has some! --James Pain (talk) 00:58, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
Can we not post as Vorbis here, and create an MP3 or WAV (or whatever format is required) for iTunes? I like Audio Wikinews when it's on the go, and wouldn't mind contributing occasionally (my mic sucks, but I can fix that with about a minute of editing). Dendodge T\C 20:44, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
Needs to be hosted somewhere and I don't believe commons likes MP3's or AAC's. I did see a list of formats itunes supports for poscasts but can't find it now. I'll look into it more closely when I get recordings on the go again. I've worked out that I can start contributing regularly throughout my work so when it's on the go, it'll be consistent. --James Pain (talk) 13:45, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
  • There needs to be a clear breakdown of the types of content people can contribute. You need to spec out what sort of timescales you're talking for a session of recording and editing, and from there write some how-tos. What often baffled me when I looked at it was where all the various samples were used to do bulletin-style reports. I've got most of the audio applications for Ubuntu Studio installed here; that is, well, a full-blown digital recording studio. I should be getting an AKG C1000S mic tomorrow to do the WikiVoices session with Jimmy Wales. --Brian McNeil / talk 00:36, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
    • Ah, you've just given me a idea to create an audio bank for all the audio stings, beds etc. Might have missed that trick. How-to's are quite high on my list of things to do. I'll focus more on the spoken articles collaborative contribution wise first since the News Briefs are going to take some organization to make sure there aren't any clashes and it remains consistent. Also since people can come and go as they like doing spoken articles, consistent commitment not required. All that's needed is a decent how-to and it should get running as good as a watermill, I should be getting on with that some time tonight after I've cleaned up the Audio Wikinews site which I'm doing in my sandbox. I'll put a todo list of my user page that people can add to or post ideas on if they like, I'll do that tonight too. So many good ideas, lots of things to do, should be good.
      The AKG C1000S is a darn good microphone by the way, I used it for voiceover on one of my film projects and it gives the perfect professional sound quality. I got a good microphone the other day but my laptop started to not like giving mic boost, the mic doesn't have phantom power so it's fecked until I get that sorted. I quick driver reinstall should fix it though. --James Pain (talk) 13:45, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
      • Alas, due to horrific weather the AKG won't get here today. That is a real shame as it's got the option of sticking a nine volt battery in it for power. Hypercardoid option so you really do lose background noise altogether – that'll be a really important point to cover, noise removal/reduction. Most contributors will have really cheap equipment and likely be working off a headset or similar. Does Wikiversity have anything on audio? And, from your own experience, are there any things like spatial/stereo processing improve a voice recording and make it more like what you'd get on the radio? --Brian McNeil / talk 14:06, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
        • Ah darn, oh well but I'm looking forward to hearing Wikivoices tonight none the less. Wikiversity has Getting started with sound recording, haven't read it at all yet and I hear wikipedia has a good one for their spoken articles as well. Personally headsets are alright for recordings, it's what I was using in my last season of recordings while my radio studio was being rebuilt. Having a nice quiet room with little echo helps too. As far as software enchantments go, nothing can do miracles since it has to work with what you put in it. I find that a good physical audio stack can do wonders when paired with a good microphone but all that is costly. You can mask some problems with a good radio voice. I like to think that transmittance of audio is like putting the audio for a crap-inator, if you put in a boring, low and uninteresting voice, it's going to sound terrible on the end user. If you put in the most interesting, orgasmic voice ever into it, it turns out alright. Sorry that I can't give more detailed or helpful advice, I'm meant to be driving to my parents house at the moment so I've rushed this. I'll be back online in a few hours. Again, looking forward to wikivoices. --James Pain (talk) 15:40, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

Main page changes?

I think the "start an article" box should be moved up on the main page, and that a ticker be added to the main page, like in the news room. This will make writing an article easier as a one step process, for right now, you have to scroll all the way to the bottom for the start an article box. The ticker on the main page perhaps could be a template on another page that's open to having news events added by all, not just to those with a wikinews article (as long as the statement is NPOV/cited). Noian (talk) 19:07, 26 December 2009 (UTC)

As far as the "create an article" box is concerned, i agree that it'd be nicer to have it further up, but I'm not sure what would be the best place for it. I suppose we could swap it with the "This day in <year>" box since that one probably serves the least purpose.
And I like the idea with the ticker producing short "blurbs". We could make it sort of like the running tapes you see at the bottom of the screen on TV news channels. If we can satisfy NPOV in a sentence or two it'd be a good way to get the news out even when there's not enough interest to produce a full article. Is this something we could possibly consider? Tempodivalse [talk] 20:08, 26 December 2009 (UTC)
Note on ticker, Its very easy to do what you suggest:
*first item
*second item

Bawolff 23:20, 26 December 2009 (UTC)

  • How does the ticker work for a person who has a default setup machine for the visually impaired user - eg a screen reader? Are there standards such animated elements should follow to be appropriately ignored? Do the ones to be used do so? What age of as-standard-issued equipment (browsers) that understands such standards?
I really like the current look and style of the current main page. It appears to be something that a screen reader would do well with. I would be very interested to know if it is and, think that such an avenue of research is likely more important than active visual elements. --Brian McNeil / talk 01:35, 27 December 2009 (UTC)
I never said I didn't like the current style. It is very functional. I meant to say that adding a ticker and moving the write article up (at least to the middle of the page) could improve (imo) the main page, as having an "informal" (relative anyway) ticker (that's still cited and NPOV) with news items that don't have an entire article would broaden Wikinews coverage. Perhaps these can all be rounded up into "news briefs" at the end of the day. The way I see it as of right now, en wikipedia has more "news blurbs" per day on more areas than wikinews, and the ticker is just an idea I thought of to possibly remedy that. Moving the write article up should help encourage participation. Noian (talk) 04:25, 27 December 2009 (UTC)
From what I've seen in the graveyard of dead pages here on Wikinews, News Briefs have been done were being done every day which brought on Audio Wikinews News Briefs. Back in June I was doing the News Briefs again and was compiling the scripts myself which were short exerts from each artcile published on the day to make up a 5 minute spoken audio clip. I'm going to be starting up Audio News Briefs again at the start of January using the same method in June. If text News Briefs starts up again it would be a good basis if not the complete script for the Audio News Brief. If not, myself and BRS are going to split the script writing job for the Audio News Briefs. Transcripts for each Audio News brief are always posted up, it's possible to use them as the News Briefs. Either way, these two can be merged. (That was way longer then it needed to be) --James Pain (talk) 13:58, 27 December 2009 (UTC)
  • I'm all in favour of moving the create an article box above the fold. What I wanted to highlight is that while I know the design has been tested on major browsers - what about some of the more unusual "accessibility" tools? That's why I'm leery of adding a ticker to the main page. News Briefs? Absolutely. There's a template for those somewhere and various archived old examples, with – as James says – many of them featuring recorded versions. --Brian McNeil / talk 16:45, 27 December 2009 (UTC)
  • I've rearranged a few elements on the main page. Audio is commented out in the header for the moment. I moved the "Donate" link to a lower line. And, the six sections below the leads are rearranged to put the "write an article" template first. I notice a few problems with vertical dividers there at the moment; but ideally this needs several people looking at it to see if there's other changes might be needed in CSS or other behind-the-scenes stuff. I'm puzzling over how it might be possible to change one of the links in the page header jump to the write an article box instead of to a guide or other page that might put people off trying to contribute. I'd imagine the "proper" solution for this is a h? heading and a link to a main page URL with a #sectionname. --Brian McNeil / talk 17:15, 27 December 2009 (UTC)
  • I'm in favor of no ticker if newsbriefs were to return. Noian (talk) 18:06, 27 December 2009 (UTC)
I changed the classes arround to make the vertical seperators re-appear. As for linking to the write an article box, the proper way would be to give that table cell an id, and use a #id-name for the link. (and then potentially use the :target css pseudoclass to possibly further highlight the box to make is stand out to end user. aka compare the black border between Main Page#writeAnArticleCell vs a noraml Main Page link [might have to do a hard refresh; won't work in IE]). However, it might be nicer just to link to a different page as that is more clear to the visitor what is going on (vs them potentially thinking, I want to write an article, but i'm still at the main page). Bawolff 06:57, 28 December 2009 (UTC)
  • I'm for making it as easy as possible to start a story; hence wanting an actual form on the main page. I've asked about the Wikipedia article wizard - want to see if we can steal that. --Brian McNeil / talk 11:52, 28 December 2009 (UTC)
  • Stopping contributors who use the world's most popular browser from finding it is a very bad idea. Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 12:28, 28 December 2009 (UTC)
  • From what I can gather, it wouldn't be stopping them, just providing extra help to people who don't use it (we would help IE users too, but Microsoft evidently don't want us to or they would bother to make their browser more standards-compliant). Dendodge T\C 19:22, 29 December 2009 (UTC)

(unindent) I like the new position of the Create an article section. Myself I'm not a fan of tickers as they distract me, but that is just a personal preference. --Александр Дмитрий (Alexandr Dmitri) (talk) 20:38, 29 December 2009 (UTC)

Note, if we really want to do the :target pseudo-selector, there is js work arrounds for IE. Personally i'm a fan of using another page, as it is not ambigious at all. Bawolff 00:35, 30 December 2009 (UTC)
  • We need to steal and customise Wikipedia's Article Generator thing. --Brian McNeil / talk 00:55, 30 December 2009 (UTC)
I agree, I just looked at it, and it looks excellent. Bawolff 00:59, 30 December 2009 (UTC)
  • We've no local import access here. I stole the required pages and templates out of Wikipedia and put them on ( This is in-development, it will go on project namespace here - it was just import from Wikipedia: resulted in namespaces stripped from pagenames due to some mismatch. The basic thing is, this mostly works and just needs the text worked over. --Brian McNeil / talk 04:34, 30 December 2009 (UTC)