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

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Wikinews for Dummies ?

I am totally new, and must confess this is the first contribution I have ever made to wiki, thus if my format is incorrect, or this is in the wrong place I can only apologize.

I have been an avid reader of Wikinews for several months now and have only just discovered the Water Cooler , giving a peek into the inner workings of the beast, not to mention the internal politics!

Having found Wikinew’s to be impartial and unbiased on the most part, I turn to it first for all of my news ! Of late I have noticed a trend to more instant and less substantial reporting - allow me to clarify what I mean by substantial, some of the recent articles have had a lack of history or context to the article that would allow someone that is not from that part of the world to understand the significance of the information, that information was previously on the most part present.

Now having read the ‘Civility , retirements and drama’ discussion I think I can see what is happening; I wanted to add my own comment to this discussion and after searching for over 2 hours on how to leave a comment I think I have found what may be contributing to this drama.

I notice bullet points are in favor here so :

1) How complicated does wiki news need to be - looking for over 2 hours and still not being able to work out how to add a comment on a discussion seems unfair to me !

2) Maybe a help section for dummies , with flash player tutorials etc for wikinews? - This is a community at heart and when a newbie wants to join it could be easier for them to find their way around. Many social networking sites have youtube videos and the like, talking a person through the major stumbling blocks and features of the site, that could be adapted to work here.

3) Why are people leaving? - Wiki has to be the most amazing concept of its time and I am sure many want to contribute, like myself but don’t know how. For the seasoned professional explaining the intricacies of wikinews must be time consuming and draining. I was particularly saddened when reading through the ‘Civility , retirements and drama’ discussion to learn that people had left over this !!

A possible solution :

A Tutorial Section along with

A live time chat room or board with threads or rooms for various issues, and moderators or helpers willing to be there to help.

Covering possible issues such as:

I am new and want to help… how do I do so?

The he said, she said drama - a place for issues to be vented and discussed in a civil manner maybe with an unbiased third party mediator present?

And so forth…..

With solutions to simple questions, or internal issues being more instantaneous surely that can only reduce frustrations.

I have probably completely messed up the Wikinews process here, but this site is such a gem it deserves to succeed !

Thankyou for your time, Nocturna.

  • Great comment, with great ideas and suggestions. Wanted to point out that there is a live chat room at Freenode. #wikinews (might need ChatZilla). --Diego Grez return fire 21:32, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
  • There is also a page dedicated for Wikipedians, but you don't seem to be a Wikipedian, so... don't forget to use four tildes (~~~~) to sign your messages. --Diego Grez return fire 21:34, 4 October 2010 (UTC)

four tildes (~~~~) ??? sorry , but what is that? , oh and thankyou for your kind words :) (Nocturna)

  • A tilde is one of these: ~ - so if you type four of them it makes your signature with a timestamp. The 'nowiki' tags stop it from automatically making Diego's signature when he typed them, so you could see them. Thanks for the comments, by the way; something for us to think about. Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 21:50, 4 October 2010 (UTC)

List of users by number of edits

Had to hack the original Wikipedia bot... but here you have: User:Diego Grez/List of Wikinews users by number of edits. Gonna ask for permission to run this bot for this task at least once in a week, on WN:BOT. --Diego Grez return fire 23:49, 7 October 2010 (UTC)

Perhaps we should centralize the exclude list for this with User:Bawolff/edit-stat-opt-out as people on one list would probably want to be excluded for both. Bawolff 17:40, 8 October 2010 (UTC)
<throat clearing> Yes, I think that would be an excellent idea. - Amgine | t 20:30, 8 October 2010 (UTC)
{{doing}}. --Diego Grez return fire 20:33, 8 October 2010 (UTC)
Nope, Regex seems to hate me, and my failed attempts made the script unusable (I had a backup copy though). It uses something similar to this to detect which users don't want to be on the list. Perhaps add some note on Bawolff's opt-out page? --Diego Grez return fire 21:34, 8 October 2010 (UTC)
I changed the format of my list so that user:Foo should now be accepted. Bawolff 23:05, 8 October 2010 (UTC)

/me wonders if he can have the Wal-Mart bot shot,... I'm 5k ahead of any other real person. :p --Brian McNeil / talk 22:18, 8 October 2010 (UTC)

Local link bot

I've thrown this idea at Diego, and xe confirmed what I was already fairly sure: it's possible. Our archive is littered with Wikipedia links that could and should be local links. Some were simply missed, and others were appropriate at the time but now need updated - for example, I've done three politician cats in the last 24 hours. Here's the plan:

1) You tell a bot both what the local link should be and the corresponding Wikipedia page

2) The bot converts links to that Wikipedia page - including via pages that redirect there - to local links.

3) The bot remembers these relationships (or, better yet, they remain someplace editable as situations change) and can keep on fixing the links as they occur

4) ??!?!???!?!

5) Profit!

Anyone willing to volunteer the time to put this together, and to make the WN:BOT nom? Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 15:35, 9 October 2010 (UTC)

  • I've done countless of these manually. We need a smart bot. If you're dealinfg with politician Ivor Biggun, having just created the local cat, the first occurrence goes local, the second to enWP. Links in an image go local,.. The whole thing requires a knowledge of SEO. It is programmable, but not as simple as you make out. --Brian McNeil / talk 23:32, 10 October 2010 (UTC)

The images borders

Would you like to see the images in our articles this way?

In my opinion, it looks much cleaner and less Wikipedia-istic. The CSS code (stolen from es.wikinews) is:

div.thumbinner { background:#FFFFFF; border:0; }
div.thumbcaption { font-size:90%; }
div.magnify { display:none; }

Diego Grez return fire 19:12, 14 October 2010 (UTC)

I have to say, I like it. I've never much liked the way images look on the wikis. Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 21:26, 14 October 2010 (UTC)

Me too. Looks cleaner. fetch·comms 16:29, 15 October 2010 (UTC)
implemented. There were no objections in almost a week, and I doubt there will be any. :-) Though if someone disagrees, feel free to revert. --Diego Grez return fire 22:18, 19 October 2010 (UTC)
  • Ooh, it looks better (late comment). —Mikemoral♪♫ 06:28, 20 October 2010 (UTC)

Categories' new look

I'd like to present you all the "new" (it's based on Fetchcomms' article re-design, but at the same time, inspired in NY Times' topic pages) category pages. It's everything located at Template:Topic cat. There's an example cat at Category:Pichilemu. What do you think? Could it be implemented on the categories? --Diego Grez return fire 03:47, 16 October 2010 (UTC)

A couple of thoughts (I've moved the details to the template talk page):
  • lose the encyclopedic overview (let WP do what it's good at; one sentence should suffice here), and
  • provide flexibility for sister-project links (one optional parameter per sister).
--Pi zero (talk) 14:31, 16 October 2010 (UTC)
I'm a fan of just totally ditching portal pages altogether and making categories into what portals currently are (and making them look more like the main page to have everything kind of look coherent). Bawolff 18:30, 16 October 2010 (UTC)
Why? The only difference in that case would be the huge pile of random unorganized articles at the bottom, under a very strange 'Pages in category "XXX"'. --Yair rand (talk) 22:09, 19 October 2010 (UTC)
Precisely. Duplication is bad. Bawolff 22:22, 19 October 2010 (UTC)
Category pages have different use from Portal pages. If looking for news articles on X, as a researcher, I'd prefer a very brief cat page so I can get to what I'm looking for (and the purpose of the category pages) - the list of article titles. As a reader looking for news on X, I'd prefer a logical and large collection of unique article links about X, hopefully with some teasers. What I *don't* want is a portal with links to exactly the same 10 articles in a dozen different DPLs. - Amgine | t 01:35, 20 October 2010 (UTC)
What duplication? There would only be duplication if they were both used as portals, rather than those in the Portal namespace being used as portals and the categories being simply categories. --Yair rand (talk) 01:08, 24 October 2010 (UTC)
Some confusion may be because some portals, sporadically, have been subst'd into the corresponding categories. Earlier this year, there was concern that portals with extremely out-of-date lead articles were making the project look bad. It was suggested that until a way could be found to prevent such eyesores, the portals should all be subst'd into the categories and the portal pages themselves made redirects to the categories. Those working on a "magic" template, that would generate portals that suppress old leads, objected, and as I recall, the whole business got left in a thoroughly muddled state.
I've been observing lately that the portals subst'd into the categories seriously mess up both the appearance of the category pages and the category hierarchy. Amgine's vision of the portal/category difference seems reasonable. Just one thought: until and unless we have machinery in place for automatically removing out-of-date leads, perhaps we should simply not have leads on the portals. --Pi zero (talk) 01:53, 24 October 2010 (UTC)
Pi zero++ (re: no leads on not-actively-maintained portals) - Amgine | t 22:27, 24 October 2010 (UTC)

Cats and Ports

As Amgine observes, categories and portals are intended to serve completely different purposes.

A category is simply a collection of all articles on a topic or region. This is what you would refer to for deep research.

A portal is, supposedly, a sub-main page. That is, if you live in Germany, you might bookmark the German portal to get the latest news about your country.

Any "decoration" on a category page should be as brief as possible; and, not push the page's intended content completely out of sight.

I did a new design for portal pages earlier this year. But, for it to work, software changes are needed. EzPeerReview should force reviewers to a MakeLead-like tool that allows articles to be pushed to portal leads based on appropriate categorisation. The key point I was pushing for with my portal design was to have the look-and-feel match that of the main page. So, can the appropriate tools be forged - seeing as the devs have legged it again? --Brian McNeil / talk 08:42, 24 October 2010 (UTC)