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

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Are there any school and university projects on Wikinews?

I wonder if Wikinews ever had any projects like w:Wikipedia:School_and_university_projects / Wikibooks:Wikibooks:Guidelines for class projects? There is potential for such projects here, too. Students of media/journalism courses can be tasked with writing news, and learning how Wikinews works. --Piotrus (talk) 20:28, 15 February 2010 (UTC)

No, not really, we might have been something like that in the past but not now. But it is an interesting idea. Tempodivalse [talk] 20:46, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
If there is interest in this, I could create a guide page for people who would like to organize such assignments here, at Wikinews:Guidelines for class projects.--Piotrus (talk) 19:10, 2 March 2010 (UTC)
We have, in the past, had people express interest in it. I worked for a while with one group who was rather keen on it, but it never panned out. If you had a particular journalism class in mind, and had an in, we would do it - but so far... very few seem to care. I guess the real question is, what do we have to offer them that would make them want to do it in the first place? --ShakataGaNai ^_^ 19:14, 2 March 2010 (UTC)

Mobile web app for iPhone/others

Some of you may remember a few months ago, when I suggested we use a website that would create an iPhone version of the site. It was liked, but people preferred things like that to be done in house.

So, I've learnt how to make iPhone/iPod Touch web apps(that also work on other mobiles (Android)) and you can see my first one here, which is a web app for this website [1]. Bear in mind, that it will look pretty crap in a normal browser and if you have internet explorer, you haven't got a chance. Does anyone have an iPhone they can check it out with? I'll post up some screenshots once I get a chance, but that might be a bit of time, so if you can do it first, please do! Anyway, the long and short of it is that I can now make one for us here. It would even be possible to include a form that would allow people to submit news etc. (probably via email because I don't know how else it could be done).

Are people still interested in this/would it be useful for our readers? I don't know how many of our readers would use it, but I guess it can't hurt.

Lastly, who runs the bot that makes our RSS feed, because I really need a full story feed for the app.

Any other thoughts? Regards.   Tris   12:47, 9 March 2010 (UTC)

CSpurrier runs the rss feed bot. As for a form to submit news, probably hard to do directly with the way your doing it (as if this is a web style iphone app, would require getting around same origin policy, but i know next to nothing about iphone apps, so i might be wrong on that) Bawolff 13:12, 9 March 2010 (UTC)
Well, that's why I was asking for suggestions-in terms of submitting news; it can be done from a form directly in the app, but as you say this will be coming all from the same email address-so maybe an account could be made that is used just for posting things there. Alternatively it can be sent from that person's personal email address. I don't really know-but this is one of the main strengths of "citizen journalism" in that people can post news having been there or nearby, much faster than any regular news agency. There isn't a way to do this in our current structure, so part of this is to stimulate some discussion of the matter. Thoughts?   Tris   13:39, 9 March 2010 (UTC)
I'm not familiar with what process you are using to make this - but if you can send emails server-side, can you send a POST request to wmf servers? It would be fairly easy to just have people full out a form and have it submitted on site if you can do that (actually, even if you can't, it may still be do-able, since mediawiki uses the same edit token for all anon users). The following html would work (I think; untested) (for anons only)
<form action="" method="POST">
<input name="title" value="Wikinews:Water_cooler/assistance" type="hidden"/>

<input name="token" value="+\" type="hidden"/>

<input name="action" value="edit" type="hidden"/>

<input name="section" value="new" type="hidden"/>
Title: <input name="summary" value="article title" type="text"/>
<textarea name="text">
Your article tip here
<input type="submit"/>
Bawolff  13:56, 9 March 2010 (UTC)
On second thought, that wouldn't work for logged in users, and would result in users going to another random page - not what we want. I think the ideal solution would person types something, and server sends an edit request to wikinews. Bawolff 17:33, 9 March 2010 (UTC)
Just as a 2 cents. I talked to he who is incharge of mobile websites around the WMF. Last we spoke he said he'd love to make a Wikinews Mobile, and felt that it should be next on the list. Unfortunately he is getting paid for Wikipedia so... we get to wait. So if you go make this wonderful little website... it may find itself replaced on short order. Also, no submitting of news while mobile, just no. --ShakataGaNai ^_^ 17:42, 9 March 2010 (UTC)
"Just no"? Care to explain more Shak?   Tris   10:25, 10 March 2010 (UTC)
I think it is fairly self explanatory. Mobile web is _not_ the place for submitting news, plain and simple. --ShakataGaNai ^_^ 17:29, 10 March 2010 (UTC)
Well I guess that's where we disagree, as I've explained above, I see the mobile web and the ability to connect to the internet wherever you are as a huge bonus and possible shot in the arm for news organisations, especially ones like ourselves. If people anywhere and everywhere can submit news; they don't need to go back to their computer and type it up, by then it's old anyway. No, they can submit it from the scene, with pictures, videos, recordings, interviews etc. Of course, at present time, that's not going to happen immediately, but it's called the future. For now, it may well be tips etc. and I doubt we'll know how to use them at first, finding it hard to verify submissions. But in time, if you can get a decent system up and running, with more than one person there, then you're sorted. We won't need to publish news that's two days old like normal, instead it can be now. These are just my views and I would really appreciate it if you tried to construct a positive argument rather than the last two assertions we've been treated to-Just no and it's not the place, plain and simple don't quite cut it for me I'm afraid.   Tris   20:05, 10 March 2010 (UTC)
I agree with Tris on this one. If users have the ability to write an article on the scene, rather than trying to remember the details when they get home, our OR would greatly increase in both quantity and quality. Of course, we would need to ensure that all the stories are genuine, etc, but we manage well ATM and I doubt this will be a dramatic change. Faster news can only be a good thing. We want news while it is still new. Δενδοδγε τ\c 20:28, 10 March 2010 (UTC)
I don't know about an iPhone, but that b0rks pretty badly on my BlackBerry. I would suggest that, if we have a mobile version of the site (which I agree we desperately need), it should work on all mobile platforms. Δενδοδγε τ\c 16:39, 10 March 2010 (UTC)
Yeah, I'm afraid that it's never going to look good on a BlackBerry, with its crap browser and different sized screen etc.. This is built for iPhones and iPod Touches, and as such, if we implemented it, it would only be for them (ie. only those users would be redirected to it) The whole point of these web apps is they can function very similarly to a native app. Sorry!   Tris   17:08, 10 March 2010 (UTC)
Your demo page is broken on iPhones too. It's just one long page. --ShakataGaNai ^_^ 17:29, 10 March 2010 (UTC)
That I'm afraid is a consequence of it being a web app-I can't get the javascript working to do it on another page; but the advantage is that reading a story is very quick and snappy. If you look at similar websites that make your site into an iPhone version they do the same thing.

I'm still interested in thoughts/comments from others? Anyone?!   Tris   15:14, 11 March 2010 (UTC)

WebCite for Google/Yahoo hosted wire stories

While most news websites generally keep a good hold on their archive, like BBC, CNN and the New York Times, we all know that some don't and will occasionally disappear. Such as, Google News which aside from aggregating news websites, also hosts the original wire stories in their full form. As does Yahoo, who have been doing it for the past 15/10 years. The only problem with Google is their archive expire after a month and a 404 is all that can be found. Therefore, I propose we use WebCite which takes a snapshot of the page as it was. I propose we include it in the style guide as a good guideline to follow, because that way users who will potentially view the archive someday down the road will also be able to find our hosted sources in good working order, hopefully. --Patrick M (TUFKAAP) (talk) 18:21, 9 March 2010 (UTC)

Works for me. There's a bot over at enwiki that automatically archives certain URLs via WebCite; might be worth exploring for here. –Juliancolton | Talk 05:11, 10 March 2010 (UTC)
The WebCite bot over at Wikipedia, last time I checked was still being got working properly over there and the author then said he would start looking at other langauges/projects, but that was a bit of time ago.   Tris   10:24, 10 March 2010 (UTC)
This sounds like a reasonable idea, i'd support. Tempodivalse [talk] 15:52, 13 March 2010 (UTC)

Should certain local news be hidden from the Main Page? [was Newsworthiness]

(The conversation below was moved from Talk:Glenbard East defeated by Benet Academy in Illinois basketball sectional)

Although that anon user ( did wrongly vandalize the reviewing template on this page, the point that he was trying to make is still a legitimate one nonetheless. After I posted a vandalism warning on his talk page, he said this in his reply defending his actions: "Am I to understand that whenever my local school happens to have a game that results in some kind of score, I'm entitled to consider it newsworthy enough to report it to the whole world and post it on the Main Page of Wikinews." When you think about it, he's right. In my opinion, the heart of this matter is something that should be seriously addressed as it pertains to articles such as this one. PSD27 (talk) 22:56, 16 March 2010 (UTC)

I think the newsworthiness policy was written vaguely for a reason: we simply can't draw a line between what is and isn't newsworthy. Many local news could be considered not newsworthy, but so can other more global news. Try reading this archived discussion for an idea on where the community might stand. Brian McNeil's description of newsworthiness is quite interesting: "is of interest to anyone in the town, possibly people in other parts of the state, and is clear enough that someone on the other side of the world could read it and find it interesting." Benny the mascot (talk) 23:09, 16 March 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I see what you're saying. However there is a fine line between local news and non-news. As the anon user pointed out, what if everybody wrote articles about their local high school basketball teams? Then Wikinews would just be a collection of youth basketball scores and recaps. I am all for local news when it's actually news. I also have no problem with coverage of major sporting events ranging from the World Series to the World Cup—even NCAA Basketball in most cases is fine to cover. But let's be frank here, how many people outside of this Chicago suburb really care about this? With these type articles, you are not focusing on the worldwide demographic that we tend to cater to. You're merely writing about something that is completely irrelevant outside of this town. PSD27 (talk) 23:27, 16 March 2010 (UTC)
Well the same logic can be applied to other articles we publish (especially many of our crime-related articles). Are we going to stop reporting on local car crashes simply because they are of no interest to people outside the town? Will we stop reporting on misdemeanors simply because the rest of the world might not care? As Bawolff has said, local news won't be published on the Main Page once our daily volume gets high enough. Until that happens, I think it's best that we adopt a loose policy on newsworthiness.
PS: A basketball sectional is equivalent to a regional competition. I'd say that's pretty important to high schoolers throughout the area, not just in the town.
Benny the mascot (talk) 23:38, 16 March 2010 (UTC)
I think there is a huge difference between crime-related articles and high school basketball articles. Furthermore, I think it is fair to say that more people would be interested in local general interest pieces than in the youth sport blurbs, but that's a whole other topic. Either way, you know where I stand. I think we'll just have to agree to disagree on this one. PSD27 (talk) 23:47, 16 March 2010 (UTC)
Fair enough. Benny the mascot (talk) 23:59, 16 March 2010 (UTC)

Some food for thought are the following news:

I personally think local news should be encouraged, however in some cases (not saying that this is a case of that, just saying in general) it should not be on the main page, and instead restricted to portals that it is relevant to. Bawolff 23:45, 16 March 2010 (UTC)

Maybe we can put the issue to rest by keeping local news on their relevant portals only. Would that be possible right now? Benny the mascot (talk) 23:59, 16 March 2010 (UTC)
Like perhaps we can update [Category:Local only] to accommodate such articles. PSD27 (talk)
No, we might have to divide the articles by region. Benny the mascot (talk) 00:08, 17 March 2010 (UTC)
I don't see any problem with having local news on the likes of Portal:North America (at least for the time being). I think it will be quite a while before we are big enough where we would want to eliminate local news from regional portals. The Local news category can be made to work right now mostly. The only sticky issue is that it would be difficult to make it not be on the main page, and still be picked up by google news. (otoh when have we ever cared about doing things cleanly). RSS feeds are handled through T:LN so would not be affected by the change. Bawolff 00:24, 17 March 2010 (UTC)
Maybe we can do an updated 'local only' category divided by continent, country, region, city, and so on. Moreover, instead of being featured under the "latest news" template, perhaps we can put a link to this local category on the Main Page and it could say something to the effect of "Click here for local news near you." Just an idea for the future. PSD27 (talk) 01:04, 17 March 2010 (UTC)
I really don't think we have enough local content to warrant that at this time. In the future (you know, when we take over the world) that may be a good idea (perhaps combined with geo-location goodness). But for now, we simply don't have enough content to do that. Bawolff 01:07, 17 March 2010 (UTC)

Just a question, but would anyone object to this being transferred to the Water Cooler? I just stumbled upon it, and find it both interesting and important, but it's hardly in an obvious spot; might be more noticeable if it was there. Just a thought. C628 (talk) 01:16, 17 March 2010 (UTC)

I agree. That'd be great if you could move it there. Please do. PSD27 (talk) 01:22, 17 March 2010 (UTC)
Same here. This is a discussion the project needs to have. Tempodivalse [talk] 01:23, 17 March 2010 (UTC)
I moved it from Talk:Glenbard East defeated by Benet Academy in Illinois basketball sectional to the water cooler proposal section at this point. Bawolff 01:23, 17 March 2010 (UTC)

(End of transcript)


  • No We've talked about this before, and nothing has changed. The fact of hte matter is we don't have enough news to warrant this removal. In the "Latest News" box we have 20 stories. Right now that is covering THREE days (March 16th-14th) worth of stories, and it is currently the 17th (so technically 4 days). You want to cut down the number of articles on the front page even more? Piss poor idea. --ShakataGaNai ^_^ 01:48, 17 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Comment I agree with most of what you're saying. But there is a huge difference between local news, and a blurb about the results of a random high school basketball game (which in my view is not real news). PSD27 (talk) 01:55, 17 March 2010 (UTC)
  • I agree, it is local. But we don't have ANY reason to not have it on the main page. If we had 30+ articles a day, and needed the space to feature articles that larger number of people wanted to read (IE not local), then sure, push the local news off. Right now... we have the real estate and frankly if we start pushing more articles off, the main page is just going to look even more stale than it already is. It is march 17th, articles from the 14th are still on our front page. Seriously... 7 articles in one day. --ShakataGaNai ^_^ 02:01, 17 March 2010 (UTC)
  • what-the-f-r-a-c-k? When there are 40+ stories per day, the DPL for the main page changes and gets a single line added, and ultra-local stories are a little deeper into Wikinews. For this example, that might be the United States portal; or, if we're really pushing out a lot of articles, the Illinois portal. Right now we don't have the contributor base to keep portals well maintained, nor the article volume to justify putting something at a less-prominent level. Wikinews is scalable based on number of active contributors, why the hell should the criticism of someone who can't even be arsed to create an account cause such a significant discussion? Or, is this what curmudgeons such as myself need to hang around like old-sweaty-sock-odour for? This is news to the people in that area. It is only {{notnews}} to you, someone not in that area. --Brian McNeil / talk 01:59, 17 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Having being suitably chastised by Tempodivalse (talk · contribs) offline, I'll add an addendum. This is a perennial issue. The Other Place has an archive of ramblin' discussions about stuff people keep asking, and falls into the "just-say-no" category.
This, "Why the %$&@? is all this Numbnuts, Nebraska news being put on the front page?", keeps coming up. I don't want it there, but that is not because I do not want the contributor to create it, and see it published. Benny might just be on-the-spot for a school shooting, or other such incident. By having his work on other topics which interest him personally reviewed, and people trying to improve the accessibility of his writing, he's a valuable on-the-spot citizen journalist if there is a really big story.
I don't doubt Benny understands that if there were the same 20 or so regular contributors as we have globally covering Illinois, then the main page would be changed to exclude all local only stories from Illinois that didn't also have some sort of important or feature category.
Spread that out, state by state, across the US; you'd have 1,000 contributors primarily writing States-based news. Once you go global down to that sort of regional level you're dealing with tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of contributors. If Wikinews can get there, our major worry would be if it was easy for someone in Illinois to get Benny's news on the school sports results. From that article they'll be able to click the main page link and look at the major global news and unique Wikinews content.
The debate in The Other Place whether or not Wikinews can be considered a reliable source could be going better from this project's point of view, but I understand their point of view - which is quite conservative (with a small 'c'). I've pushed to raise Wikinews standards above the bar they impose; the first major hurdle was a Google News listing. From there, the next step has to be getting into one of the universally listed sources if we have coverage of a news item. Wikinewsies can't, even at that point, force the issue and demand acceptance as a reliable source; for pure synthesis articles you might get accepted as 'the source that never goes away or vanishes behind a paywall', but processes to ensure accuracy must be given time to prove themselves.
To get that time, Wikinews needs to be open to contributors who may seem selfish by writing ultra-local stuff. You can't force unpaid volunteers to write about something they're uninterested in. They're putting up with finding it hard to find someone interested enough to review the article, they don't need ant discouragement; interests change, and they're potential recruiters of friends who may cover news you consider more newsworthy. --Brian McNeil / talk 03:13, 17 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Yes In my opinion, since Wikinews is an international news site, what is reported here should be relevant to an international audience; in other words, what you'd expect to find on a news site like the New York Times or BBC. I've seen a lot of talk about gaining credibility here; in my view, credibility would be served well by not posting news stories of, to take the example that was the basis of this, local high school basketball games alongside a story about the government of the United Kingdom. I personally am not interested in, nor will I be affected by, high school sports in, say, Outer Mongolia; I don't see why that shouldn't go two ways. C628 (talk) 23:11, 17 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Oh, so what you want is news customized for you personally? There is a site for that. --ShakataGaNai ^_^ 00:11, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
No, what I want is completely the opposite: a site that has the broadest international appeal possible and that will bring in as much traffic as possible. In my opinion, publishing very local news only serves to hinder that. C628 (talk) 00:16, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
Oh, I see. We shouldn't publish anything considered local only. What country are you from? We'll say England. Well anything that happens in England is of no interest to me as an American - so we shouldn't published any news from that country. Canada too, since it has no effect on me. --ShakataGaNai ^_^ 00:18, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
If you'd take the time to find out who you're talking to, you'd find out I'm from Vermont, probably known to you. And international appeal means it appeals to people from anywhere in the world, hence the term. Generally, people read about stuff that is significant to them; as much international news as possible means that it is significant to more people, so more people read about it. Look, higher readership already. C628 (talk) 00:24, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
"If I took the time to find out who I'm talking to".... I actually checked both your userpages. I missed the Vermont ubx because I was looking for a country. Oh well, nothing happens of interest in vermont anyways. Let me take a quick look at what's up for review right now. UN reports 200k dead, 8 dead in drone strike, Italian police blow mafia.... yea can't say that I care about any of it. I care only slightly about GM making money because it amuses me. Oh and virtual fence, no one cares about that except for the wetbacks. At least half the stories in review shouldn't make it to the front page by your illogic. --ShakataGaNai ^_^ 00:29, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
My logic works perfectly. The article up for review cover five different continents, and have nearly all have significance nationally, if not internationally. The only one that's a little iffy is Pichilemu, Chile people leave La Cruz Hill. Even without those, seven countries represented, still five continents. And what's up for review? An article about one of the worst natural disasters this decade, a minor government collapse, an article about a slightly contentious topic known as UAVs...a little bit more significant than a local high school basketball game. And the GM one? Only an article about one of the largest industrial corporations in the world. C628 (talk) 00:39, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Comment Not sure why this has turned into a vote. FWIW, I'm of the opinion that we perhaps shouldn't be encouraging local news so much, at least while our contributor base is so small. Let's face it: if we have only a few stories on micro-local stuff like this scattered around - without focussing on the international-relevance news items - then that's, honestly, just an exercise in randomness. We're not going to gain many readers that way, and it will just make us look like a rather haphazard, random news service. As Brian points out above, (and this is my oft-thought pipe-dream) if we had hundreds of contributors across the globe, then local reporting would make sense, because we could have *comprehensive* local news coverage of many areas, and be the world's newspaper for both local and world news. As it stands now, we have "comprehensive" coverage of ... about 4-5 small cities at best - that's not very serious.
  • And (not to take away from people who write local news, i actually appreciate what they're doing), I don't really like seeing micro-local news next to something, like, a major internationally-important event up on the main page. C628 brings up a point in that we might not be seen as very credible if that happens. I'd advocate using category:Local only to hide micro-local events from the main page (but keep them in portals, feeds, and of course google news) - which should not cause those stories to get much less traffic than they would otherwise (considering the vast majority of traffic comes from feeds, GNews, etc.) In no case do I think we should prohibit local stories altogether.
  • The difficulty here is, where do we draw the line? I've pushed for some sort of guideline to be formed suggesting what exactly is defined by "newsworthy", while still leaving some room open for interpretation (I don't think there should be a set policy on this). We also can't oblige people to write about topics they're not interested in - and many people are exclusively interested in local news.
  • Anyways. Sorry if that was a rambling post but, just my two pence ... er ... dollars? Smile.png Tempodivalse [talk] 00:10, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
I fully realize that local news will eventually be kept off the main page, but for now I think that designating more important articles as "lead articles" should suffice. Benny the mascot (talk) 04:28, 18 March 2010 (UTC)

Define Local

Seriously, define what "local" means in this context. Without that, this argument is moot anyways. Is Explosion in Bay Area, California suburb damages cigarette store local? Is Maker Faire 2009 wraps up in San Mateo, California local? Is Wikinews visits the Pacific Orchid Exposition? I can assure you more people potentially cared about explosions in Pleasant Hill (Which is most definitely a local article) than Orchids. And Maker Faire is only the bay area, why does anyone anywhere else in the world care... digressing from the fact that 75 THOUSAND people attended. --ShakataGaNai ^_^ 02:01, 17 March 2010 (UTC)

Bueller? Bueller? Bueller? --ShakataGaNai ^_^ 00:14, 18 March 2010 (UTC)

Proposal to delete Main Page

It is quite obvious that people have their own belief as to what should be on the main page, and that we need to take content off. Apparently we have too much content running through the main page, with our 8 articles a day and everything. I propose that we delete the Main Page and replace it with a list of countries and categories. Each country and category topic will get it's own page. News on one of these main pages will not be allowed to be displayed on any other. With this system people who don't care about news from Illinois will simply not visit the US main page. Those who don't care about entertainment news, won't go Entertainment main page. So on and so forth. --ShakataGaNai ^_^ 00:33, 18 March 2010 (UTC)

WN:POINT ? Tempodivalse [talk] 00:35, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
Nah, deleting the main page and implementing my plan without warning woud be WN:POINT --ShakataGaNai ^_^ 00:36, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
How about we have some sort of summary page, to sumarrize the best of all these independant portals. That way we can see everything thats going on at a glance. Bawolff 00:37, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Support Too much content --Shoone (talk) 00:48, 18 March 2010 (UTC)

Why is 'Wikivoices' on the Main Page?

Now with all this talk about the Main Page, why is 'Wikivoices Specials' on the main page? It kinda seems like it is prone to getting stale, and is just... not interesting. Now if this could become a daily updated thing, that's a whole different ballgame, but this seems like it will be updated very rarely. Cocoaguytalkcontribs 00:41, 18 March 2010 (UTC)

It was a one time special. No one really pays attention "Below the fold" so it stayed there. I've rolled it back. --ShakataGaNai ^_^ 00:43, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
Ah, Good, Thanks Cocoaguytalkcontribs 00:46, 18 March 2010 (UTC)