Wikinews:Water cooler/proposals/archives/2010/June

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Proposal to hide micro-local news from the front page: revived

I've decided to revive this archived discussion from a whiles ago, which stalled from lack of input. Basically, the idea is to hide micro-local news from appearing on the main page, probably by adding [nocat=Local only] to the DPLs. Let's face it, no professional international news organisation (which is what we're striving to be, right?) will place the latest super-local middle-school football results from Nowhere, Yukon Territory, immediately next to something like the ongoing Kyrgyzstan conflict or worldwide airline disruptions. (The hidden stories would still appear in the wikinews feeds, categories, portals, and everywhere else, just not the MP. Which actually isn't where most of our casual readers come from, so those stories wouldn't get significantly less traffic.)

An argument raised previously is that, since there aren't any hard rules for what is "local" enough to be hidden, we can't make that distinction at all. My response is, we determine what's newsworthy enough to be published in the first place, so why not take that a half-step further? Another concern was that, if local news is removed, then the main page DPL will become stale due to fewer stories being up there - but realistically, very local news takes up only a small amount of our reportage (on the current DPL list, I see only about 2-3 stories I would classify as being sufficiently local for category:Local only).

Thoughts? Tempodivalse [talk] 18:30, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

Yes. We should put a link in the header to "News by location" or similar, which would have links to each continent, which would then be further subdivided into countries and even (for larger countries like the US) states. This would make local news accessible to those who care, but hide it from the main page in order to make more important news more prominent. We could really do with a Google News-style customisable main page (some script could probably do this; contact Bawolff) where people can add whatever sections they like (i.e. add their area, remove entertainment "fluff", go back down to 4 lead stories, etc.) At the moment, certain locations would be pretty sparsely populated, but how many readers do we actually have from Botswana? Δενδοδγε τ\c 18:35, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Support News sites for the CBC and BBC require one to drill-down to stories that are considered local enough, but very, VERY few make the front pages. If we're striving to be a professional news organisation, it is my belief that we should bring ourselves a bit more in line with such. Calvinhrn (talk) 18:38, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose We don't have enough content to be exclusionist. Plus local is what people know, why discourage new contributors by saying their news isn't important - ya know in comparison to some random pop-tv news --ShakataGaNai ^_^ 18:41, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
    As I've said above, microlocal news takes up a very small part of our coverage. It's not like hiding local news would cause us to lose 50% of the articles on the DPLs. Imho, there is a slight NPOV issue here as well, to some extent - we're implying that microlocal sports stuff is as important as the ongoing crisis in Kyrgyzstan, or the mass international flight cancellations. Tempodivalse [talk] 18:44, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
    And we're not trying to get rid of it, we're just making people click on a couple of links to get it. As I say, I'd also like the ability to add local news to your personalised main page. Δενδοδγε τ\c 18:51, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
    Personalized main page? What personalized main page? We don't have a personalized main page nor can we support said technology. --ShakataGaNai ^_^ 19:15, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
    Mmm, I actually don't see why not. We can just have a few alternate main page layouts available to choose from (they'd be subpages of the regular main page) somewhere at the bottom of the page, as links. Doesn't seem terribly difficult. Tempodivalse [talk] 19:30, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
    It's not at all hard. In its most basic form, it would consist of a number of main page subpages consisting of different template combinations, and a simple tool to allow users to create their own (a template with parameters allowing them to select which sections are to be displayed, for example) in their userspace. I only suggested scripting to make the interface simpler, but I don't think the template method would be too difficult, either. I could create a User:Dendodge/Main Page right now, if I wanted, swapping in {{Main developing}} and adding a United Kingdom DPL. Not particularly difficult, methinks. Δενδοδγε τ\c 20:03, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
    meh, certainly not impossible. Store in user subpage, have pretty drag-and-dropness, etc (something like ). Its not incredibly difficult, but quite a bit more than a days work. Bawolff 21:57, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose As long as microlocal news does take up a very small part of our coverage, I see no reason to banish it from the main page. I, for one, am quite capable of deciding whether or not I'm interested in the occasional microlocal story, and do not perceive myself as inconvenienced by doing so; sometimes I decide that I am interested. Moreover, the presence of occasional microlocal stories on the front page helps to make prospective contributors aware that such stories are welcome at Wikinews. --Pi zero (talk) 19:57, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Weak Oppose.png Weak oppose I don't think we should be excluding content (although i can see both sides of the argument). Quite often I find some of the more local news to be more interesting than the international news. Bawolff 20:25, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Support As long as this has turned into a vote, I'm restating my views from last time. I still believe that Wikinews would be better served by publishing articles that are interest to the maximum number of people possible, ie, worldwide, as that's what will increase our readership, and, hopefully, the number of contributers. Articles on major international topics like the whole Europe ash mess serve to further this; local articles of interest to a very narrow category of people do not. My view is that every article published should be of interest to enough people to make it to the top of Template:Popular articles, and what's written should have that in mind. Obviously, I'm not trying to force that view on anyone; it's just what I think should be the goal of whoever writes articles. Cheers, C628 (talk) 20:39, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose Where are we going to post the local news? On the portals that are rarely maintained? No, I can't support this until we establish a way to widely publicize all of our local news. Benny the mascot (talk) 22:57, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
    Um, the local news will still appear on all of the feeds, Google News and portals, including Twitter, rss, et cetera. As I've said above, most of our traffic actually comes from those places, not the en.wikinews main page. Tempodivalse [talk] 23:19, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
    Yes, I get that, but our dismally neglected portals will only become more obvious once we push our local news away from the main page. Plus, featuring local news on the main page could encourage potential contributors to submit their own local articles. Benny the mascot (talk) 23:23, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
    If the proposal to redirect portals to corresponding categories and have them auto-update succeed, we won't be having that problem. I'd also like to point out that most of the local portals don't have leads and automatically update anyway, such as Portal:Illinois, Category:Benet Academy etc. As far as the encouragement aspect is concerned, i guess we'll just have to agree to disagree. You think it's an encouragement, I think it's unprofessional. *shrug* Tempodivalse [talk] 23:28, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose per what Pi Zero said, and the fact that it'll cause endless arguments over what should be defined as "local". I'm not averse to revisiting this once we have a larger output, but for now I don't see it as an issue. the wub "?!" 18:24, 22 April 2010 (UTC)

I've been thinking about ths for a while and thought that if we have to seperate local content (see my definition below) from nationally and internationally important news, why not put it in a DPL where the "About us" and "Popular Articles" templates are? --RockerballAustralia 06:58, 22 April 2010 (UTC)

Support RockerballAustralia's proposal as an acceptable alternative. Benny the mascot (talk) 22:00, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
Mmm, this is an interesting idea. I hadn't thought of simply separating the two, and placing the local content down a bit further. Might not be a bad alternative. (Or perhaps we could just feature a large, prominent link on the main page DPL saying "For local news click here", linking to a subpage with local news on it?) Please note I'm not discriminating against micro-local stories per se, I just feel it's unprofessional to list them in the same group as internationally-relevant, global-importance articles. Tempodivalse [talk] 22:11, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
Personally I think it would look more unprofessional to have a giant "click here for local news" link then it would to just have them mixed. Bawolff 22:25, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
I don't like the idea of a prominent link. A simple "News by area" link along witht he other links in the header would do for me, in addition to the already existing continent links in the sidebar (which could possibly be made more prominent; imagemap pl0x?) Δενδοδγε τ\c 18:16, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
I still like my idea about having a DPL near the bottom --RockerballAustralia c 01:07, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
I do as well. Will everyone be willing to accept this proposal as a compromise? Benny the mascot (talk) 01:13, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
I don't see that as significantly addressing my objections. Even assuming we can devise a smooth way of sorting out what is and isn't local (which remains to be seen), I'm not comfortable with the demotion of local news implied by relegating it to below the fold — and the proposal, if I've understood it rightly, sends the local news not only below the fold, but way below the fold, essentially all the way to the bottom (modulo the footer). I did think about the proposal, and what would work for me, when it was first mentioned — but after a while I gave up pending further insight, because on one hand I didn't see how to send the local news below the fold without demoting it, and on the other hand I didn't see how to fit in two separate DPLs (of independently varying throughput, no less) above the fold. So I still don't see any alternative that makes as much sense to me as keeping it all in one DPL. --Pi zero (talk) 03:41, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
This is kind of what I had in mind after considering the below the fold comments --RockerballAustralia c 04:12, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
That looks good. I have no objection to it. --Pi zero (talk) 13:33, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
Ignoring aesthetics for the moment (they need to be discussed IMO, but that can come later), people would probably expect "local news" to mean news near them, not just news that is not notable enough to go elsewhere. Therefore, perhaps we could use continent links there instead of the DPL, allowing people to travel through the hierarchy of categories to find news from their area. Then the customisable main page I mentioned earlier could allow them to swap that section out for a DPL of whatever category (or categories; IIRC, DPLs can collate articles from numerous categories together) they like. Δενδοδγε τ\c 13:56, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
  • (unindent) Mmm, that wouldn't be too bad (certainly better than keeping them on the same lists), although it seems out of place to have it where the lead used to be. Perhaps we can put the DPLs where "Recent interviews" is on the current main page? That's "below the fold", so to speak, but is still quite prominent due to being in the centre of the page and relatively close to the top. Interviews could replace "This day in" .... which imo has the least purpose of the six boxes down there.
  • One other thing. The idea of "all articles are created equal", which is what some participants in this discussion seem to have, simply doesn't work for news. Ever see a micro-local elementary-school preseason-football game on par with a story like the mass 2005 London bombings on a professional news site? You just don't. It looks random, silly, unprofessional, and I daresay biased, to be suggesting the former is as important as the latter. Some stories simply *are* much more important than others and should be elevated as such. Not that i'm discriminating against the writers of local stories (and they could become the backbone of our coverage if we ever got to the point where we had mass amounts of contributors around the world), but that's just the way it is in journalism. This is one aspect that I think we should mimic from the MSM. Tempodivalse [talk] 14:08, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
I agree with Tempo. We should have the local DPL where the interviews are, and the interviews should replace the "On this day" box. Dendodge's idea could work only when we get more local news, IMO. Benny the mascot (talk) 14:57, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
A few points, pursuant to remarks above.
  • If the wording at the top of the "local" DPL doesn't make it clear that it's all localities rather than some one in particular, then some trivial adjustment of that wording should fix it.
  • Some stories are more important than others; quite true. We already make two judgment calls on that: one on whether a story is newsworthy at all, and a second on whether it's a lead story (and we even rank those). But the more intensively we pursue that, and the more we stratify articles along those lines, the more likely it is to erode our neutral point of view. If we do distinguish between local and non-local stories, we want to do it as gently as possible. Appearing as a story above the fold (not below, or as something on a list you have to click on a link to get to) seems to me to be the threshold for being sufficiently gentle.
  • We're a wiki. Volunteer work should be personally satisfying. Seeing your article appear on the main page is your reward for a job well done, and the hook to make you want to contribute again. The thrill is going to be on the same level, I think, if your article appears in a separate DPL that's tucked in on the left side just above the fold — but that critical thrill will be diminished if it's below the fold, to say nothing of what happens if it's not on the main page at all. --Pi zero (talk) 15:53, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
  • I agree with your comments that if we start go overboard determining what is newsworthy, then that could become a sort of bias in and of itself - although, do you agree with my opinion that placing microlocal stories immediately next to internationally-relevant ones does look somewhat unprofessional (or, at the least, rather odd?). As for the motivation and "thrill" factor, I can't argue with that either, although that brings me back to my point about news articles not all being made equal - some stories just *aren't* meant to be given as much focus (in terms of leads) as others, and I think new contributors should be made aware of that. From an aesthetic point of view, I'd have to oppose replacing one of the bottom leads with it, because it looks a bit bad. Maybe, if it helps psychologically, we should move the "fold" (in this case the continent/topic links) down a row, so that the local news template will appear immediately above it? Tempodivalse [talk] 22:40, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
Placing microlocal stories in the same list with internationally relevant ones is not ideal; but there are much worse things one could do, some of which IMHO have been mentioned here. I'm open to finding a better alternative; I'm just also opposed to what I perceive as worse ones.
Can you expand on your aesthetic objection to the layout in RockerballAustralia's mockup? (I'm hoping that where you're coming from can illuminate where to go from here.) I'm also not sure specifically what you have in mind that you're describing as moving the fold. --Pi zero (talk) 02:58, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
I agree with tempo. It just doesn't look good imho from a visual layout prespective to have a list where there should be a lead. If we must seperate them (note: I'm opposed to separating them in general, but if we must). It should either be in the right hand column of Latest news, or below the "Africa - North America..." thingy (I think that's what tempo meant by fold). Bawolff 03:07, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
Sorry if I wasn't very clear, let me try to rephrase: I was suggesting the the row containing the links to continents and topics be moved so it's between the two rows that contain three boxes apiece (as opposed to being *above* both rows). This would shorten the distance the top row containing three boxes would have to the top of the page, giving the effect of it being "above the fold". (I hope that makes sense?)
As far as my objection to Rockerball's layout, I'm not sure how I can describe it other than it just being ... disorganised. I prefer a somewhat uniform/symmetrical template layout for the front page, and having a rather irregular positioning of leads like that makes it look more messy and clumsy, imo. Tempodivalse [talk] 03:15, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

(unindent) Based on Tempo's critique of my first mock up, I've put together a second one - See it here --RockerballAustralia c 03:45, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

I don't know. Something about it doesn't seem as nice as our current version. Not sure what. Bawolff 05:37, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
I think it's some CSS thing with the header. --RockerballAustralia c 06:05, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
A valuable experiment, but I see two problems with moving the "fold" material to the footer: One, that material is useful to have just below the main presentation of current articles (which is what the current main page puts "above the fold"). Two, the logical distinction between what the current main page puts above and below the fold is still there in this second mock up, but is harder to sort out visually because of the absence of the physical partition of the fold. To me it seems that the "fold" really should be there, and probably everything now on the main page should be on the side of the fold it's now on. That would seem to leave only two ways of separating local from international DPLs while leaving both above the fold: either the local DPL replaces one of the leads — which does lack symmetry, as noted — or the local DPL takes up some of the bottom part of the right-hand column now occupied by international news (probably the bottom third, I suppose). Reducing the international DPL is a possibility I've been rejecting rather out of hand, because it just sounds like a Bad Idea, but I admit I'm starting to get curious how it would actually look. --Pi zero (talk) 06:14, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
Pi zero and Rockerball, maybe you've misunderstood, I'm proposing to move the fold to *between* the two box rows, not beneath both. So we'd have: "Write an article!-Recent interviews-Popular articles [line break] The "fold" material [line break] About Wikinews-This day in...-Original reporting". (That make any sense?)
I have another suggestion, for those who still think they should be separated above the fold: (kinda hard to describe without actually showing it, but i'll try) We would simply add another table with local DPLs beneath current leads four and five, but immediately above where the current fold is (and stretch the main DPL, maybe by making the text in it larger or adding more stories.
To try and use some ASCII art to show this visually, that would look like:
| (header, etc.) |
|Lead One | In'tl|
|---------| DPL  |
| L2 | L3 |      |
|---------|      |
| L4 | L5 |      |
|---------|      |
|Local DPL|      |
|--------------- |   
|(the fold, etc.)|
Thoughts? Tempodivalse [talk] 13:58, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
(I did take your earlier proposal to be suggesting moving the fold to between the two rows now below it, and I tried to make my remarks apply to a one-row downshift as well as the two-row downshift that Rockerball prototyped. To the factors I mentioned, I'd add that I suspect the one-row downshift might come across as vertically asymmetric.)
The alternative in your ASCII-art mock up — an alternative I'd missed — looks promising, especially since local stories seem likely to have especially long titles which would allow them to fill up the extra width. --Pi zero (talk) 14:34, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
Actually, part of my idea was to have two rows in the DPL, not one very wide one. That way, we can fit additional stories into it without it taking up much vertical space. Tempodivalse [talk] 15:07, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
That could work, too :-). (The otherwise-nifty idea of inexpensive mock ups using ASCII art doesn't give enough resolution to distinguish these two variants.) --Pi zero (talk) 16:01, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

{unindent} I think Tempo's idea would work --RockerballAustralia c 23:59, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

  • Oppose for now per Shakata, Pi zero, and bawolff. --Mikemoral♪♫ 05:15, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

Define local

I asked this last time and it never got answered, I'm asking again. You cannot create a policy without defining what it is going to encompass. I don't expect set in stone rules, yes there will be judgment calls - but if you can't tell me now what is "local news" (and therefor excluded from the homepage), this "proposal" simply will not fly. Without this definition, you give any editor (I mean, all they have to do is add a cat) Carte blanche to include and exclude articles totally at random. Personally I feel all articles that aren't relating to the United States are too local to be cared about, and will be excluded from the main page on my reviews. --ShakataGaNai ^_^ 19:14, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

Okay, then simply have the community decide what the definition for "local news" is. Mine would be: Anything which is relevant to only the people in a very small area, geographical (i.e., concerning only a small part of a town) or otherwise, and not of interest or importance to anyone else, is too local. We can't be very specific; it has to be a judgement call, just like determining if something is newsworthy for publication at all. WN:CG is phrased very vaguely, to have room for interpretation. An editor will not have "carte blanche" to randomly exclude stuff, not any more than he already has the power to fail articles on newsworthiness or depublish articles. If several people disagree on whether something should be hidden or not, then do what you'd do for any other content dispute: go to the talk page and reach consensus. Tempodivalse [talk] 19:27, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
We already decide what is newsworthy; is that not already subjective? All this would do is narrow the scope of the word "newsworthy" slightly further. An Icelandic volcano grounding flights in all of Europe is far more important than a school basketball game, and it seems in bad taste to give the latter the same significance as mass murders and terrorist attacks. Δενδοδγε τ\c 20:47, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

I'd define "Local news" as a story that is of sub-provincial importance. So something like California passing that gay marrage ban wouldn't be local news but Benny's basketball articles or the Gippsland Football League articles that I write would be --RockerballAustralia 06:58, 22 April 2010 (UTC)

Any thing that would be significant to only one county or smaller can safely be defined as local. Anything that affects an entire state or country is important enough for the Main Page, IMHO. Δενδοδγε τ\c 14:57, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
Although I don't think we should be segregating some stories as second-class since the main page isn't awash in local news, sooner or later we do aspire to have this problem (lots and lots of local news, as well as lots and lots of global news); so it makes sense to think ahead about how to define "local". I have two thoughts on this, in the way of constructive criticism.
(1) While deciding on the size of area could be messy (is it a function of population? is it a function of population relative to population density in the surrounding region?), the really messy part of this seems to be, rather than defining the size of the area, defining "significant". For example, every person who dies does so in a specific place. When is a murder of only local significance? When is a traffic fatality of only local significance? A fatal freak accident involving a unicycle and a garden hose? What's needed here IMHO is a really elegant heuristic (rather than some complicated set of rules).
(2) There seems to me to be a sliding threshold here, depending on how much traffic there is on the main page. Presumably an unusual death has more gravitas as a story than a couple of school teams playing a low-stakes game; so although eventually even the unicycle and garden hose won't make the main page, somewhere between now and then there will presumably be an intermediate stage at which the unicycle gets on the main page but the school teams don't. --Pi zero (talk) 17:06, 22 April 2010 (UTC)

Concensus check

As Support and Opposes seem to be all over the place for this, I'm putting a concensus check here. I think we've come up with three four different options.

  1. Leave the main page as is - no definition of local news needed
  2. Mock up 1 (the current main page with a local news DPL where lead four is) - local news defined as news that is important to no more than three or four local government areas/counties
  3. Mock up 2 (the current main page with a local news DPL where the OR, interview, popular article etc templates are and continent thing moved down) - local news defined as news that is important to no more than three or four local government areas/counties
  4. Mock up 3 (the current main page with a local news DPL on the bottom third of the current news list) - local news defined as news that is important to no more than thre or four local government areas/counties
  5. mock up 4 based on tempo's idea.
  6. mock up 5 varying tempo's idea by having one wide column of local news.

Let's just vote on these and i think we'll get some where --RockerballAustralia c 06:05, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

  • Point 1 I'm completely against segregating local news and international news can always have priority on the leads. —Mikemoral♪♫ 16:57, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
  • #1 really don't like 2 and 3. Number 4 or 5 is acceptable to me (well after css gets added back of course.), but I'd prefer not to segregate local/international at all. Bawolff 19:15, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Comment, before voting this please take a look at my proposal above (with the ASCII art) for another way we could handle this and give your input on that. Tempodivalse [talk] 19:25, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
  • #3, which I thought was roughly the same as Tempo's suggestion. Still not happy with #1, I don't think maintaining the status quo is a good idea, #2 is, if anything, worse, the way I see it is we essentially give an entire lead to local stuff, #4 is not particularly excellent, but better than nothing. C628 (talk) 00:21, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
  • If we can agree on how to handle sorting of local versus international (a big if), I'd say #6 — more-or-less what Tempo was describing via ASCII art, with still some reservation over whether the local DPL ought to be in two columns, or one extra-wide column. (My badly formatted mock ups suggested to me that one wide column might be easier to parse visually, but... my mock ups were badly formatted.) --Pi zero (talk) 03:37, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
Clarification: Although I consider #1 inferior to most of the other options here, I consider it superior to #3. --Pi zero (talk) 15:56, 6 May 2010 (UTC)
  • #2 If we _absolutely_ _posifuckintivly_ have to split out our local news... #2. It is the only one of the options that doesn't look "tacked on" --ShakataGaNai ^_^ 21:45, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
This is, actually, why I prefer to vary #5 by having one wide local column instead of two really short ones. I've added that variant to the list, as #6. --Pi zero (talk) 23:37, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
  • #1 I still think that splitting off "local" stories is unnecessary. None of the proposed designs has convinced me otherwise. the wub "?!" 00:04, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
    Sigh, does nobody here share my opinion that it looks dumb/silly to see a low-stakes elementary football game (or the like) from Nowhere, Kansas immediately next to an international story? Take a look at the sub-section below this one for another, more mild, alternative i've suggested. Tempodivalse [talk] 00:16, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Number 5 with the definition I listed with the other options --RockerballAustralia c 03:25, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Support number 5. Pmlineditor discuss 16:57, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Comment I'm going close this in about 12 hours, so get your say in --RockerballAustralia c 11:48, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
  • Comment, after some thought I don't like number 5 and 6 as much - most of the stories there are from one location (thus only exacerbating the "undue focus" I was talking about earlier), and a few are up to a month stale; yet they are in so prominent a position. I still support #3 since it looks the least "tacked on" of all the options. Also I'll try to make another main page variant suggestion soon, see what people think of that ... Tempodivalse [talk] 14:25, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
    Also, maybe it'd be better not to close this until we can reach more of a consensus on where to go, right now opinion is all over the place. Most people seem to want to split local and int'l, it's just *how* that's the problem. Tempodivalse [talk] 14:27, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
    Good point. I was going to close as Change to Point 5, but your alternate (sub proposal) looks good. I'm not going to close just yet. More input needed -RockerballAustralia c 02:23, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
I agree with not trying to close this. If one did close it now, though, the most popular alternative here is clearly #1 (the status quo), which has essentially 50% of the vote (as I remarked, in more detail, in another subthread) --Pi zero (talk) 03:30, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
  • #1 — At some point this will be a necessary policy. That point will be when we're consistantly turning out 50+ stories a day, and the front page is being flooded with silly little stories. Until then the segregation of subtopics (local news, wacky news, etc) from the main list of news shouldn't be done, if only because we aren't outputting enough stories to fill the gap that would be left. Having a seperate section for local news is all well and good, but if it takes 3 months for each local news story to get "washed" from the front page by newer stories, then we'll just end up looking like a really stale news source. We already have this problem to some degree. Let's not make it worse. Gopher65talk 16:09, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
  • Comment Consensus as of this post is as follows - seperating local from international No change now: 4 includes 1 change at somepoint; Change now: 5; Changed design Option 5: 2; Option 6: 1; Option 3: 2; Option 2: 1. --RockerballAustralia c 09:36, 6 May 2010 (UTC)
I count Shakata as "No change now" (with his preference among change designs being #2), which puts the change/no change part of it at 5-to-5. --Pi zero (talk) 15:56, 6 May 2010 (UTC)
Another point: my own vote comes with a precondition that I don't think has been satisfied, which means it's somewhat deceptive to treat mine as "change"; granted, it might be deceptive to treat it as "no change", either, but even treating it as neither (or as half-and-half) makes a simple majority in favor of "no change". (Of course, all this counting of votes is only heuristic, since what we're really after is consensus.) --Pi zero (talk) 12:11, 7 May 2010 (UTC)
I was going off the theory that for consensus to be reached one option had to have about twice as much support as the other. Counting the "votes" was to demonstrate that there was no clear consensus on the change/no change issue, and what to change it to for that matter --RockerballAustralia c 23:25, 7 May 2010 (UTC)
  • Comment What a waste of contributors' time. Leave things the way they are, nobody has done anything about Portals – that makes us look far worse when potential regular readers browse off into unmaintained, stale, overreaching micropages. --Brian McNeil / talk 13:26, 25 May 2010 (UTC)

Another sub-proposal

As another idea, how about User:Tempodivalse/Main? It's a bit choppy, but you get the general idea. This is partially in an attempt to address Pi zero's concerns over local stories getting pushed to "below the fold" in suggestion number three (which, TBH, I don't see as a big issue personally, but ...), by instead pushing "the fold" down a notch. There are also nine, not six, boxes below the leads (well, the extra three boxes were added to stop the page from looking vertically asymmetrical, but they can be removed). I think this is a suitable alternative for keeping local news relatively prominent on the main page, without looking "tacked on" like most of the other suggestions seem to be. Thoughts? Tempodivalse [talk] 15:18, 3 May 2010 (UTC)

Actually looking at it, I don't think it's enough to allay my concerns (although I admit that it's less bad than some in that regard). Because I think a local/international separation could easily do more damage than good depending on details of how it's done (as I've remarked elsewhere), my threshold for concerns-allaying is quite high. --Pi zero (talk) 18:05, 3 May 2010 (UTC)

Another thought

Here's another idea that's a bit less radical than my initial proposal: simply don't allow category:Local only stories from being given a lead. This seems like a reasonable compromise as some people object to local and international news being segregated, however we'll have to police this manually as local stories cannot be automatically filtered out as with DPLs. (Although honestly, if we want to get more credibility in the eyes of our readers, filtering news is something we'll likely have to do sometime in the future). Tempodivalse [talk] 19:25, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

This is something that we already do, though. While there have been exceptions before, I don't see why we have to codify what has become common practice. Benny the mascot (talk) 03:45, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
I agree. Unless there is a massive disruption caused by adding local news to leads, there is not a need to codify current practice ---RockerballAustralia c 12:09, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
Actually, I can think of several occasions where users have insisted on keeping local news on a main lead - usually because the other stories were stale and there was nothing else to update it with. Having this written out as a guideline or something would help prevent that. Tempodivalse [talk] 14:00, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
What should be done when there aren't enough fresh international stories to populate the five leads on the main page? Clarify that, and the motive you've described for local leads disappears; don't clarify it, and a ban on local leads won't stick.
All of this relates to a thought I've been nursing for some time, that the process of generating leads ought to be made less purely manual. Not fully automated, but I imagine automating at least the final stage of selection. Ideally, manual input for each article would be limited to rating the leadworthiness of articles (possibly on a scale from 0 to 5? or something), and providing the parameters for how the lead would appear (analogous to {{Lead 2.0}}; not sure if the information would go in the individual articles, or in separate pages, nor how many separate pages). Then one would have something analogous to a DPL, basically saying "give me the best five leads matching these categories but not those categories". The main page would ask for five non-local leads; a category page (or portal, or whatever) could ask for the best five (or three, or whatever) leads matching that category. If the technical details could be worked out, it seems like this could eliminate a bunch of problems at once. --Pi zero (talk) 15:54, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
"What should be done when there aren't enough fresh international stories to populate the five leads on the main page?" = well, go and review some international stories waiting in the queue and put them on the leads, or write up something yourself, right? Smile.png In the absence of that, the internationally-important stories should stick on the leads until there is a suitable replacement, imho - usually a fresh story will come along soon, and elevating microlocal news on a lead - especially one of the more prominent ones - is giving an undue focus on an (globally speaking) insignificant and unimportant topic. (I guess this all boils down to a matter of taste - do you think mixing mircolocal and int'l news looks acceptable, or is it just random and silly.) A for lead updating, I'd prefer sticking to manual updating, and rather not get into the complications of assigning everything a rating. Tempodivalse [talk] 16:39, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
I didn't mean to suggest something that would require additional work for non-lead stories (nor for lead stories, necessarily); we already designate articles we consider leadworthy, and somewhat "rank" them — and articles not so designated are unleadworthy by default — so the leadworthiness data I'm talking about is already being provided. The more the system could be made to effectively derive leadworthiness from information that's available anyhow, the better; ideally, the manual overhead of leadworthiness could actually be reduced from its current weight. --Pi zero (talk) 22:48, 1 May 2010 (UTC)
I haven't read the above discussion, but I tend to agree that highly localized stories should be kept off the lead articles area. I don't know what can be done though, since I also agree that "local" is a subjective. –Juliancolton | Talk 14:35, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
Well, the way I look at it is: Why can't we define "local" from "international" stories? We already determine what's newsworthy enough to be published in the first place; this is just taking that half a step further. There's no reason we can't have very general guideline on what constitutes "local" news. Tempodivalse [talk] 15:03, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose. No, just no. This is, whether you realise it or not, telling a number of ultra-local contributors their material is irrelevant. New journalists generally stat on a local beat and move up from there. If 2-3 international stories were goin in the main DPL per hour I would have no objections. When we were at that point I would expect enough courage to, perhaps spasely, populate secondary content-type pages for topics and/or geographic areas.-- Brian McNeil (alt. account) /alt-talkmain talk' 15:26, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
    That's just the point, it *is* irrelevant to a global audience, which is what we're writing for. Not all news stories are created equal. Having microlocal elementary school basketball stories on par with something like the US oil spill or UK election gives, I daresay, a geographical bias and undue focus on a very specific area. *shrugs* Tempodivalse [talk] 16:21, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
I disagree; it's not irrelevant to an international audience, as I've remarked before. Even "microlocal" stories are sometimes of some interest to international readers, just not usually of as much interest — and, since readers are our pool of possible future contributors, it's very important that our international audience see that the local stuff is there — and it's crucial to the project that contributors see that their contributions are valued — and I'm not at all satisfied that there exists an acceptable way to sort stories between local and international. My vote for #6 was contingent on solving the sorting problem, a precondition I consider not to have been met so far, and I consider the status quo preferable to any option that fails to give sufficiently elevated status to local news — so I place #1 above #2, above #3, and above the additional, thus-far-unnumbered option you've presented today (which doesn't elevate local stories in the literal or figurative sense, but instead figuratively and literally lowers the bar for being "above the fold"). BTW, I take Shakata's vote to be an expression of second preference, with first preference being #1, so that with my placement of #1 below some options but above others, I believe we don't even have a simple majority here in favor (per se) of changing the status quo. --Pi zero (talk) 17:48, 3 May 2010 (UTC)

Related proposal: Hide micro-local news from the general infoboxes

Hospital shut down by State of Florida might not get published, but as a concrete example, suppose it did. I added it to Category:Health because articles are supposed to get added to some major topic category; however, it seems like it would be badly out of place showing up on the list of articles on {{Infobox Health}} — much more so than the same story showing up on the list of all news stories on the main page, which does come across as a general listing of all available material rather than a selected list. There are two separate questions here, though:

  • Should general infoboxes like {{Infobox Health}} have notcategory=Local only added to their DPLs? I suggest that they should.
  • Should Hospital shut down by State of Florida be tagged as Local only? I started out thinking "of course", and have gradually gotten less certain, so I'd be interested in others' thoughts on how the local/non-local distinction should be applied to this real, non-sports-related case.

--Pi zero (talk) 23:34, 6 May 2010 (UTC)

  • Mm, this is an interesting thought, and something I'd not considered before. I generally agree that this is a good idea for the infoboxes that cover larger topics/areas, such as {{USA}} or {{Crime and law}} - it does look a bit out of place. However, more specific infoboxes (such as {{Illinois infobox}}), whose main purpose is to display local news for that area, shouldn't be filtered imo.
  • As far as the story you linked to is concerned, that's rather borderline, and would have to depend on several factors. How much attention has this received? From looking at the wikipedia article on this, it serves sixty patients - which doesn't seem to be a lot. I'd lean towards the "local only" side, but maybe that's just because i have high standards for what i consider "(inter)nationally-relevant news". Tempodivalse [talk] 15:50, 8 May 2010 (UTC)
If we leave local news on the main page, we should leave it on the infoboxes. Bawolff 12:30, 1 June 2010 (UTC)

Final SolutionProposal

Stop wasting time chewing the fat, and act. Bawolff will sort out techie stuff, as will ShakataGaNai. But, not if you're engaging in handwavium and grnashing teeth. I am partway towards having a far more professional looking portal template. I've worked partway through how this can be implemented, albeit likely initially with only a single lead, but it will have a site-wide consistent look 'n' feel. The text devoted to moaning, if in half-assed code, would be longer than the source of DOS. --Brian McNeil / talk 20:11, 28 May 2010 (UTC)

Wrong section - this is for the kill local news, not the kill all portals :). Us Wikinewsies are violent, we want to kill local news, portals and a certain formerly accredited user who shall remain nameless :P. 12:32, 1 June 2010 (UTC)

Proposal - deprecate Portal namespace

After a discussion at IRC a few minutes ago, I've decided to re-post this proposal (I suggested it before but discussion stalled rather quickly). Practically all of our portal pages are totally unmaintained, and the lead articles out of date by months or even years. That, in my opinion, makes us look rather silly, if not unprofessional. What I'm proposing is to redirect, delete, or otherwise remove unmaintained portals, and point links like Canada or US to the corresponding category instead. Portals are, for all practical purposes, just duplicates of categories, with no added benefits, and they are just an extra thing to maintain. If we want to use leads, there's no reason why it can't be used on a category instead.

Brianmc, on IRC, has suggested to have a bot check for unmaintained portals, and as soon as a portal has gone a week without any lead-type templates being updated, the last 10 people to touch the those templates and weren't simply reverted, are emailed. I don't know if that's feasible or not?

Anyways, thoughts? Please comment, as the discussion stalled last time, and I really want us to come to a consensus this time around. Cheers, Tempodivalse [talk] 02:33, 31 March 2010 (UTC)

  • to quickly add to Tempo's overly conservative synopsis from IRC:
  1. All portals be immediately changed to redirects to relevant categories
  2. A bot to be specced, coded, tested, and put live that:
    1. Checks at least every 12 hours and,
    2. Locates all portals where no used lead templates have been changed within 7 days
    3. Identifies the last 10 editors to touch the portal and not be reverted,
    4. emails those it can, and notifies all on talk pages
  3. If after 10 days the templates are unchanged:
    1. Replaces the portal with a redirect to the category
    2. Posts notice on WN:AAA and the Water Cooler
    3. Tells the last 10 editors what it has done
Until said bot exists: No custom portals, and absolutely never use hand-maintained leads on category pages. If we completely delete all portals, we lose any pagerank they may give. But, this is a solution to allow them to work long-term. --Brian McNeil / talk 02:46, 31 March 2010 (UTC)
Will we still keep any active portals? Benny the mascot (talk) 22:10, 31 March 2010 (UTC)
I personally would advocate doing away with the portals altogether. Imho, there is no reason why a category can't perform the dual function of cat and portal, if so desired. I'm rather neutral to the suggestion of retaining only maintained portals. Tempodivalse [talk] 23:50, 31 March 2010 (UTC)
Then I suggest the following procedure:
  1. All portals will be deleted and redirected to their correspoding categories
  2. If an editor chooses, he or she may maintain a lead articles section in the category
  3. Using a procedure similar to the one Brian mentioned above, a bot will remove the lead article templates if they become stale
Thoughts? Benny the mascot (talk) 23:57, 31 March 2010 (UTC)
Yeah, that was more along the lines of what I was thinking of. Although, since a lot of places link to portals, perhaps redirect them to corresponding categories instead of outright deleting them would be better. Tempodivalse [talk] 00:04, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
Ok, so how can we get said bot up and running? BTW, the US and Chile portals are now being actively maintained. Benny the mascot (talk) 14:50, 3 April 2010 (UTC)
Some thoughts on this:
  • Killing portal namespace is a good idea. Its useless imo. Well some of the old timers claim that an alphabetical article listing has no place on a news site, I've never seen what the problem was.
  • I'm somewhat reluctant about this bot thing redirecting portals all over the place. Why can't portals with leads on them be in the category namespace? If anything have the bot hide the lead template if no one updated it recently, but redirecting all over the place seems like a bad idea
    • Furthermore: "the last 10 people to touch the those templates and weren't simply reverted, are emailed" Brianmc: What are you smoking? April fools has already passed.
  • I would suggest doing this in stages.

I think that the portal namespace should perhaps be retained and repurposed for more collaborative purposes (If someone wants to have some collaboration on specific topic, the planning could go in portal ns perhaps). More complicated side cases (stage 3 things), could perhaps stay portals if we don't know what to do with them. Bawolff 03:50, 4 April 2010 (UTC)

  • Benny's idea above simply moves the staleness problem from the Portal namespace to categories! If you have leads, they've got to be manually maintained. They will, as experience shows, go stale.
Wikinews simply does not have a team of five or so people per portal to maintain them - not even for the US portal. So, no leads whatsoever on any portals or categories. If there is a bot to spot stale portals and change it to a redirect to the category, then any brave soul who wants to maintain topic or region-specific leads won't make us look bad with stale stuff when I arrange for them to be run over by a bus. -- Brian McNeil (alt. account) /'alt-talkmain talk' 13:24, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
As I said above, "a bot will remove the lead article templates if they become stale". We won't have a staleness problem once we have that bot ready. Benny the mascot (talk) 13:42, 4 April 2010 (UTC)

Portals and leads

There is a required process here, and I do see Benny's point of wanting to maintain Portals; however, I consider that a fairly low priority as we simply don't have the volume of stories to really support fresh, regularly updated portals.

So, I put the bot as a higher priority. To have things work with a bot, then any portals need to have a standardised format. I'd say you need standard templates, standard sub-page names, and then you would be able to use a MakeLead tool on any portal.

For example:

  • Portal:Mars
  • Portal:Mars/Lead 1
  • Portal:Mars/Lead 2
  • Portal:Mars/Lead 3
  • Portal:Mars/Lead 4

On the portal, you have templates as follows:

  • {{Portal leads|number=x}} where x is 1 to 4
  • {{Portal topics|type=type}} where type is regional or topical. A regional portal (eg country) then displays DPLs for topics. A topical portal (eg Crime and law) displays regional DPLs. -- Brian McNeil (alt. account) /'alt-talkmain talk' 15:06, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
That seems like a good idea. Let's delete the portals first, standardize all of the categories, then worry about the lead articles later. Benny the mascot (talk) 15:52, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Since you're keen to have the US portal, can I suggest you look at the templates to create for that? IIRC, ShakatagaNai did quite a bit of CSS in the MediaWiki space for the main page. It'd be good to see if the look of the portals can be updated to match. -- Brian McNeil (alt. account) /'alt-talkmain talk' 17:04, 4 April 2010 (UTC)

We might not even need a bot actually. If we use a standard template for leads, I think we can probably just make it hide anything that hasn't been updated in 7 days (or whatever time) using parserfunctions. I'll have a play around, see if I can get it to work. the wub "?!" 10:07, 5 April 2010 (UTC)

I was actually going to suggest something like that. Yes it is entirely possible using parser functions ({{REVISIONTIMESTAMP}} and friends, although that has problems if someone edits the page without changing lead). I would suggest ditching subpages (subpages suck in category namespace anyhow, why do we need them). I would suggest something like:
|type= (one of short, geographic, topic)
|lead_summary=blah blah
| of lead params

That keeps it all on one page. I would suggest just doing a single lead at most. Most of the time, we can't even handle a single lead. The type parameter would be what type of lead it would be. short would be the ones with low amount of articles (Portal:Spam, or {{portal small}}) that only have the main DPL. geographic would be like portal:Africa/{{geo-portal}} (but not as ugly as geo-portal) that has all the topic dpls, and topic would be like portal:Science and technology/{{portal}} which has all the regional dpls. Having portals as templates would also make our increasingly ugly portal pages unified. (making it easier to make pretty, also easier to say change all the dpl's in one spot to take flagged revs into account) Bawolff 20:50, 5 April 2010 (UTC)

Portals suck, can we delete them? --ShakataGaNai ^_^ 21:01, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
Ok, I'm just going to defer to Bawolff as our resident template guru :-) Parserfunctions and template parameters give me a headache. the wub "?!" 23:53, 5 April 2010 (UTC)

Discussion bump

(Bump to prevent autoarchive) Okay, we've really got to get this going. I just stumbled upon Portal:Germany, which had a story featured from early 2009 (!) before I updated it. This sort of thing makes us look unprofessional. Can we get on with the proposal please? Tempodivalse [talk] 14:49, 17 April 2010 (UTC)

Spending some time with the US portal has made me realize how hard it is to maintain it. I'm open to the idea of deleting all of them for now; the community can revisit the issue later when our userbase expands. Benny the mascot (talk) 02:13, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
  • I am a fan of portals. They allow a countries to have there presence. There was a time when the NZ and aussie portals were more active than the main page I do recall. However, I also agree it looks bad to have old leads and the like. My proposal will be:
    • keep the Portals
    • unless actively maintained remove the manual leads however.
    • look at making a way to automatically update the leads on the portals with the most recent article from that country/thing. Brian | (Talk) | New Zealand Portal 02:13, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
I disagree - category pages can do the exact same thing. Why have portals when you can just put everything in the category page? Benny the mascot (talk) 02:15, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
My thoughts exactly. You're using two pages for something that can be very easily fitted into one. Portal pages have no additional benefit over categories should the leads, etc. be moved to the latter. Tempodivalse [talk] 02:19, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
imo, the cat pages are a ugly way of showing things. Using the DPL a viewer can see a dates of articles, a friendly layout, along with hits to get involved, start articles and the like. It just looks nicer is my argument. Check out the NZ Portal to see what I mean, compared to the cat. If we could have automatically updating leads, with the most recent articles from that country it would be fantastic Brian | (Talk) | New Zealand Portal 02:24, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
You seem to be missing the point, what i'm trying to say is that there's no reason why we can't copy the DPLs, templates, and the rest of the stuff on the portal to the corresponding category page instead. It will look exactly the same. Tempodivalse [talk] 02:26, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
Having the same info on the cat page, means the cat page comes overcrowded. Much better to have a Portal, which is nice and neat, which then links to the cat page which has all the articles ever published about that topic. But then, I am old fashioned on Wikinews now days :) Will go with what the consensus says. But, if the leads could be automatically updated to the most recent articles, it would solve all of these problems I think. Brian | (Talk) | New Zealand Portal 02:58, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
I don't think it's overcrowded, actually it seems more convenient to have everything on the same page, just a scroll away from the lists. A lot fewer pages to maintain and take care of, in any case. But maybe we'll just agree to disagree on this one. Smile.png Cheers, Tempodivalse [talk] 03:05, 24 April 2010 (UTC)

Second bump

  • Can we please get this rolling? We're looking sillier and sillier by the day, with stories on portals getting so stale - and consensus appears to favour removing this. Tempodivalse [talk] 15:37, 8 May 2010 (UTC)
  • Millionth bump. LET'S GET THIS ROLLING! Tempodivalse [talk] 16:10, 25 May 2010 (UTC)
  • You lot are too inefficient. :b With every passing hour, we look sillier and sillier having older and older articles on portals. Can't we shoot the portals and then think of an alternative? Tempodivalse [talk] 17:36, 25 May 2010 (UTC)
I agree. That's why I filed the DR...hopefully we'll get people to start voting. Benny the mascot (talk) 17:37, 25 May 2010 (UTC)

WN:DR filed. Benny the mascot (talk) 16:46, 25 May 2010 (UTC)

Bump with bugs on top

This needs a bugzilla bug that's been floating around for a while sorted. Vote early, vote often!

If implemented, we'd be able to do magic to establish how many sub-pages containing a portal's leads were current (say, <7 days old).

For the code-y people {{CURRENTTIMESTAMP:{{CURRENTPAGENAME}}/Lead 1}} can be tested and an active lead counter accumulated. -- Brian McNeil (alt. account) /alt-talkmain talk' 01:36, 27 May 2010 (UTC)

  • Uh, huh. Thank you Benny. You can do all the deletions. Or, you could look at my work-in-progress, educate yourself about how the code for complex wiki pages work, and devote a significant part of a rare full day off to working on a solution. If you at least try, and you get close, people will help. Physician, heal thyself! Same to you too, Tempo! -- Brian McNeil (alt. account) /alt-talkmain talk' 00:47, 26 May 2010 (UTC)

Proposed plan of action:

  • Start turning pages in portal namespace to be redirects to category namespace (via bot/ via me)
  • The pages in the category namespaces will use magic portal template.
    • Current incarnation is {{portals suck}} which is based on Brianmc's {{newPortal}} (template name was inspired by ShakataGaNai way long ago)
    • This would make all the portals consistant (also fix issue where none of the portals currently use flagged revs in dpl), and hopefully make them not look like crap

See the sandbox for some examples of {{portals suck}}. Note this template is magic and will hide leads if not edited after seven days. It will only show the extended (all articles in cat africa and cat politics and conflicts) boxes if category has > 45 articles. Currently it supports 0-2 leads. we could add more (but do we really want it to support more than that?). Some minor fixes still need to be done to the template, mostly to do with improving/moving css to file, and some vertical align fixes. At this stage I would appreciate comments on it. Is that how we want to have our portals look? Bawolff 10:59, 26 May 2010 (UTC)

Sub-proposal making category namespace be flagged

Vote to allow using flagged revision in category namespace (aka sight the category description pages). This was suggested on DR thread. {{support}} so I can say I have community concensuss at bugzilla. Bawolff 10:59, 26 May 2010 (UTC)

bug filed bugzilla:23742 Bawolff 12:10, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
Category pages can now be flagged. Bawolff 10:40, 2 June 2010 (UTC)
It works, too. Just tried it. That was quick! :) Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 11:04, 2 June 2010 (UTC)

Wikinews' of the Month

Hi. Today I was thinking of... every month choosing the most-outstanding user, the Wikinewsie of the Month. I was going to write something by myself but it needs consensus (what a hateful word ;-). Two or three judges to choose the Wikinewsie is enough I think. Open to thoughts. --Diego Grez return fire 23:34, 14 May 2010 (UTC)

Yeah, I've thought of this before. But I'm concerned that such a thing would just become a popularity contest since it's so subjective. Maybe just do a writing contest monthly and give the "Wikinewsie of the Month" award there instead, since it's more objective? Tempodivalse [talk] 00:25, 15 May 2010 (UTC)
I don't think so. --Diego Grez return fire 00:26, 15 May 2010 (UTC)

<-I really don't see the point. Tempo has good reasons not to do it, and adding another excuse not to do real work isn't what this project needs right now. Griffinofwales (talk) 01:11, 5 June 2010 (UTC)

No local news in leads

Much like the proposal above, but this would only cover leads. In my opinion, having local news in leads on an international news website like this one isn't professional. They would still be seen on the side bar granting them publicity (although I don't like that much either). To be honest, local news is for no one. The chances of someone reading them and genuinely being interested in it are about zero, especially since there aren't many writers. Thoughts? (rip it apart if you want) Griffinofwales (talk) 23:05, 30 May 2010 (UTC)

I know I'm going to be shot at dawn for this, but I agree with Griffin, mainly per the reasons I've laid out in the previous thread. At best, it's random and unprofessional to list microlocal news on the leads with international stories; at worst, it's a geographical bias, to be implying the former is as important as the latter. This is sort of de facto enforced as-is (mainly by me Smile.png), but good to have it out in writing as a guideline. Tempodivalse [talk] 23:12, 30 May 2010 (UTC)
As a reader (sometimes) genuinely interested, I dispute those odds :P. I agree that most leads should be international. However I am perfectly ok with a local story being on one of the leads (especially if its one of the lower leads). Bawolff 23:15, 30 May 2010 (UTC)
  • We've five leads. Previously, there was a semi-general agreement to push original stuff in the lower ones. In those terms, yes; local allowed on leads 4 & 5 if in-depth, and/or significant OR content. -- Brian McNeil (alt. account) /alt-talkmain talk 23:48, 30 May 2010 (UTC)
  • A linky to the discussion? I'd like to read back. Griffinofwales (talk) 23:51, 30 May 2010 (UTC)
The template for third (or fourth? can't remember, think third) lead back in the day used to say Wikinews original (or something of that nature at the top), so an effort was made to put an OR piece on that lead (at the time our main page had three leads). Since than it has been general practise to do that for the bottom lead. I don't think there was any discussion specificly about that, it was just "practise". Bawolff 00:02, 31 May 2010 (UTC)
  • I think I can agree with where this is heading. No local stuff on the upper leads; leads 4 & 5 can take it when there's decent OR. Seems sensible. Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 00:19, 31 May 2010 (UTC)
    I can accept that as a suitable compromise. As long as coverage from a certain high-school about their preseason basketball game doesn't go up there, I'm fine. :p Tempodivalse [talk] 00:38, 31 May 2010 (UTC)
    High school? What are you talking about Tempo??? I don't know of any high school that I'm attending right now.... :) Benny the mascot (talk) 12:50, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
    I still don't like local stuff on the leads. Main page is suitable. Who cares about a local football game? I understand that we can't produce a mass amount of articles, but there's only 5 leads. It's not too hard keeping them stocked with international stories. Griffinofwales (talk) 00:42, 31 May 2010 (UTC)

Leads should primarily be international in scope, but I would support an interesting local news story when we're low on content or haven't updated in a while. Blurpeace 01:36, 5 June 2010 (UTC)

Editprotected right

It would be good enough to give this right to some Wikinewsies, or implement it if it hasn't. It would be useful, certainly because some admins are too lazy too look at this page. ;) What do you think? --Diego Grez return fire 02:25, 17 May 2010 (UTC)

It would be more useful for bots who need to edit archived pages. How many people are there that we trust to do these things who aren't admins? Bawolff 02:32, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
p.s. You've linked to the wrong list. Thats the list of pages where the request was completed. The list of pages waiting to be edited is [1]. Bawolff 02:32, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Comment, I proposed this before, a couple of months ago, here, but community consensus was largely against it. I still think it's a relatively useful function and worth the extra "clutter" it creates (which seems to have been the main argument against the right in the past). Tempodivalse [talk] 02:32, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
I think so. And relating to the 2009 voting, things have changed since that :) --Diego Grez return fire 02:35, 17 May 2010 (UTC)


  • Support why not. Well there is not a great need, could be useful for bots, and occasionally as a step below admin rights in certain circumstances. Bawolff 02:39, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
  • Support as proposer; it is used on other Wikinews and I doubt it won't be useful there too. --Diego Grez return fire 02:40, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
  • Support, agree with Bawolff. This could be useful for people trusted to observe WN:ARCHIVE, but whom the community has not yet wished to entrust sysop tools. So it sort of becomes an "admin-lite". Also useful for bots. Tempodivalse [talk] 02:45, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
  • Support for bots only I've read the August 2009 discussion, and I agree with standing consensus that there is no need for additional levels of priveleges. Our userbase is so small that we can most likely trust admins to do all of the maintenance work. As for bots, however, this could be quite useful. Benny the mascot (talk) 03:11, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose A) No need. I just cleared up the edit protected request list a week or so ago? There were 5 entries and that was a month or two worth. B) This eliminates the point of protecting pages, if everyone and their mother can edit protected pages. C) Everyone who is reasonably active and trusted is already an admin. And if we don't trust them to be admin...we trust them to be mucking about in our archives? --ShakataGaNai ^_^ 03:38, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
    "This eliminates the point of protecting pages, if everyone and their mother can edit protected pages." = um, it wouldn't be given out except to trusted users, not like we give it to random passerby. You do have a point about most trusted users already being admins - but IMHO there is an "intermediate" level for people who the community isn't comfortable allowing to block or delete, but who know WN:ARCHIVE. No strong feelings either way, just think it's a nice feature to have. Especially for bots. Tempodivalse [talk] 03:46, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose. There are only a few things an administrator can do that "normal" people cannot. Administrators are only slightly "higher" than the general editing populace, so adding a step in-between just adds bureaucracy. Is there an intermediate level? Anyone who has this right is on their way towards adminship anyway -- at extremes, the RfA could be marred as per "hat collecting". We already have one extra elevated right (reviewer) -- if this is really needed, you could always bundle it in with that. All regular users are reviewers. All (highly) trusted users are administrators. Trusted users that are not administrators do not wish to have the flag, so have no need of an extra one. Trusted users that failed their RfAs are evidently not trusted enough. Only trusted users get edit-protected. Only administrators should get edit-protected. End of proof. — μ 15:53, May 17 2010 (UTC)
Oh, and there's no backlog to speak of. There's only four., not the several thousand linked to above. It's easily dealt with by an administrator. I fear that many of the supports above looked at the huge numbers and panicked -- but those numbers are counting every single archived page, and not just the ones with problems. Other Wikinews projects don't have the userbase, so giving out permissions to anyone who wishes to help serves a purpose. Here, not so. Regards, — μ 16:05, May 17 2010 (UTC)
Well, to be fair, about two months ago the backlog was up to several dozen (and there was one point in the past where it was up to over a hundred); there's just been a lull in the requests recently. *shrug* Tempodivalse [talk] 16:24, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose because I see little need; the bar is set lowish for adminship here. I might be persuaded that there was something in simply allowing Reviewers to edit protected pages, though. Either bundling that with the Reviewer rights or a new level of protection, whichever is technically easier. Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 09:49, 24 May 2010 (UTC)
Hmm, thats an interesting idea. It is very easy to bundle it with reviewer, so its a definite possibility. Bawolff 21:18, 24 May 2010 (UTC)
Might this make it too easy for a reviewer to inadvertently edit an archived article? (Not noticing that what they're editing has been archived, that is?) --Pi zero (talk) 23:03, 24 May 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose, users that wish this right, should submit for admin candidacy. -- Cirt (talk) 21:38, 24 May 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose Don't honestly see the need. Microchip08 makes good points. C628 (talk) 23:21, 24 May 2010 (UTC)
  • kill proposal with fire No. Just No. It is simply creating a back door that could be used to revise history. The protection policy is a cornerstone of the project's credibility, it should be administratior and above to make such decision calls. And, it should be one where they realise they should have a good knowledge of policy. --Brian McNeil / talk 20:16, 28 May 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Why would bots need it anyways? After a week, the story should be old. Fixing a problem with lazy admins should be done with trout slapping. Griffinofwales (talk) 01:15, 5 June 2010 (UTC)
  • Support. For Bots only however Brian | (Talk) | New Zealand Portal 04:54, 10 June 2010 (UTC)

New Accreditation Procedure

Hey all,

I've reworked the Accreditation requests page to work with sub-pages. This will enable accreditation requests to be watchlisted on a case-by-case basis, as well as easily allowing a more isolated page to link to, that will not change after the request has been fulfilled (so that permanent links aren't required). This means that people can link to their accreditation procedure without needing to find it in the mass-archives. The requests can be protected to stop !votes after the deadline has passed (or, indeed, after a particularly high-drama incident), without protecting any other pending requests. In the event of a nomination, all one has to do is create the subpage, then allow the nominee to transclude it only if they accept. It negates the need to copy & paste the form that was the normal practice, and cuts down on malformed requests by creating areas for each section of the form to be filled. If this works well, it may be worth using for RfP. Thoughts?
Regards, — μ 07:44, June 8 2010 (UTC) [Edited once to clarify point]
  • Seems like a good idea; but, nobody should ever be nominating someone else for accreditation. --Brian McNeil / talk 08:36, 8 June 2010 (UTC)
    Of course not. But the procedure can easily be adapted for other forums such as RfAs. I added it for completeness. — μ 16:34, June 8 2010 (UTC)
    Is that very cogent point explicitly stated anywhere on WN:AP? I'm not seeing it said explicitly, although it seems to be assumed in the wording I do see. The followup question is, should it be explicitly stated in the policy? (If the first answer was no, I'm pretty sure the second is yes.) --Pi zero (talk) 15:32, 8 June 2010 (UTC)
    There's not really any need, is there? When would anyone wish to nominate someone for accreditation? — μ 16:34, June 8 2010 (UTC)

Some views, observations and proposals for wikinews

Hi everyone, my name is Mrchris and I am relatively new to wikinews with about 25 Articles published, mostly in the past month. I am aware that I am new, my writing style is not great, and I am sometimes writing about issues that some people don't like, however, I am currently I am becoming frustrated to the level of not wanting to participate any longer in this project. I will try to express some views, observations and proposals for wikinews. Note: I am not totally aware of all policies here so if I have somethings wrong please let me know. Mrchris (talk) 12:10, 17 June 2010 (UTC)

  • I believe that wikinews could and should be one of the best on-line news organizations.
  • As a non-editor I have found the editorial process to be frustrating
    • Let me explain one instance - I am a British Irishman and so I worked on this article as it is (in my view) a historically important story. I had the bones of the article ready before the report was published and within an hour of the breaking news I felt it was ready for review, thank you Blood Red Sandman for some feedback and review (it did fail that review - a source had changed so quote was not sourced and I used wikipedia articles as a source) - that was ok with time I will get better at writing. So then I tried to fix-it so it could be published the next day, but it then took over 27 hours to be reviewed - Comments by reviewer: Bit late, but whatever. So instead of wikinews having (i believe) a relatively good timely article on Tuesday, maybe Wednesday (when it is news), instead wikinews released it on Thursday 3 days later, when it (some might say) is stale.
  • Some articles can take so much time to review that the news is stale; so
    • Maybe there needs to be more editors or,
    • Maybe during pre-review people should use < ref > < /ref> to make it easier on the reviewers to find the sources for each line, or
    • Maybe there should be some deadlines so articles will be reviewed for a particular news cycle i.e 3 pm review so that it is reviewed by 6pm news cycle etc., or
    • There could be a competition where reviewers get points for a timely quality review, or
    • Maybe there could be an editorial group with sets out the articles needed on a particular day and a number of new wikinewsies work on them so that they can be published in a reasonable time scale.
  • Also failing reviews because of use of background information from wikipedia, this i believe is flawed;
    • If we only use information from other sources our news is just a watered down cheap copy of their news and can be somewhat out of context without background.
    • With the advantage and amount of information in wikipedia we should be able to produce in-depth, complete and (if the information is referenced in wikipedia) reliable articles
  • My general view is that we are not taking advantage of what a wiki is capable of - multiple writers creating good timely articles with the background and wealth of information and background of wikipedia along with other news organizations as sources.

Mrchris (talk) 12:10, 17 June 2010 (UTC)

Hi. Thanks for your comments, I'm going to respond in bullet form, because there are a lot of points, and thats a bit easier:
  • "need more editors" - The more editors the merrier, but at the end of the day there is a limited number of contributors
  • "pre-review use 'pedia-style' <ref>" - I actually agree with that, or perhaps put source information in <!-- comments -->. If using ref, i think we could work it so that most people get traditonal sources at the bottom, well editors could toggle [1] style footnotes. See User:Bawolff/sandbox/alt_citations
  • "Maybe there should be some deadlines so articles will be reviewed for a particular news cycle... and editorial group with sets out the articles needed on a particular day.." - This is hard with a volunteer system such as ours. At the end of the day, people do only the work they want. If we set out specific things that must be done by specific time, we have two problems, first it makes wikinews seem more like a job, and second if the deadline passes without anyone doing anything, we can't do anything about it. We can't fire volunteers for failing to meet a deadline.
  • "[review competition]" - Some people have concerns that will encourage people to do quick reviews without fully checking article.
  • "...[context from wikipedia]..." - Personally I don't see anything wrong with that. There are slight copyright issues, but I assume that can be worked around by putting it in a sidebar with a line "From Wikipedia, read more about this [link to full article]. Wikipedia content is under cc-by-sa, etc...".

Cheers. Bawolff 15:49, 17 June 2010 (UTC)

  • To follow on from Bawolff, the main issue is we can't make anyone do anything. I, in my current job, simply can't devote the time required for a proper review and c/e of any article while on the clock. --Brian McNeil / talk 05:31, 18 June 2010 (UTC)