Wikinews:Water cooler/proposals/archives/2012/January

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Attention Accredited Reporters!

In addition to an application by Laura Hale for Wikimedia Australia to provide funding for press pass/ID cards for accredited reporters, I have made a parallel application to Wikimedia UK.

If you're in a country not covered by one of these two chapters, and there is a local chapter, could you please approach them regarding contributing to the funding of this proposal? As-noted in the comments on the WK-UK proposal, I would also like to throw in business cards for each accredited reporter. --Brian McNeil / talk 11:37, 3 January 2012 (UTC)

Automatic signing

Shouldn't Wikinews have an automatic signing bot (like User:SineBot on en). I understand that we do not have a signature policy, but wouldn't this be useful as well. We should ask that users and IPs sign their posts on talk pages on certain WN pages (like the water cooler). Take a look at Wikipedia:Signatures for a good outline policy. I mean, ours does not have to be as extensive, but should at least ask for signage. I think this would give a little more of a professional feel to WN as a whole. Cocoaguytalkcontribs 20:55, 6 January 2012 (UTC)

Well,... wouldn't touch a signature policy with a ten-foot pole :-). We're not big on red tape around here, not for social interaction nor for anything else; what policies we have (and at least one of them is actually higher-priority even than IAR) are very non-Kafkaesque. (BTW: calling en.wp "en" on en.wn? Tsk tsk for trolling. :-)
As for a bot. Hm. We generally do get around to signing folks' unsigned comments, sooner or later, and our talk-page interactions here are by nature and culture less scripted than a bot would imply. That is, perhaps, ultimately the difference in social interactions here vs en.wp: they dance a neat and rigidly structured dance (the meter is provided by AGF); we improvise, making up new steps for each new, unique situation that comes along. --Pi zero (talk) 19:28, 12 January 2012 (UTC)
We did used to have SineBot or similar, but it kept breaking down. Eventually it went away and never came back. Making policy seems overkill, but - although we do tend to get to unsigned comments nowadays - I wouldn't mind getting the bot back. Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 18:21, 13 January 2012 (UTC)
Though not actually in favor of a signature bot (I prefer not to trust bots more than necessary, and am e.g. happier to have a mechanism mostly-in-place now to facilitate manual creation of date categories), I'm not strongly opposed to a signature bot either. --Pi zero (talk) 19:51, 13 January 2012 (UTC)
Sundry sinebot-type implementations frequently break for me as I usually point people to Wikinews for talk interactions. The bot then decides my comments need "fixed". I've no strong opinion either way; but, I do feel that a computer program jumping on people's comments for lack of signature can easily be taken negatively. --Brian McNeil / talk 20:01, 13 January 2012 (UTC)

January 18 SOPA blackout

Per our sister wiki EN wikipedia and other websites, should we go dark on January 18, 2012 to protest US proposed law SOPA? Phearson (talk) 15:37, 14 January 2012 (UTC)

Have they decided to do that? I was aware there was some talk of it. --Pi zero (talk) 15:49, 14 January 2012 (UTC)
No Consensus as of yet, but it may seem likely. Phearson (talk) 15:50, 14 January 2012 (UTC)
Where is it being discussed? (I'm only aware of some chatter on foundation-l.) --Pi zero (talk) 16:58, 14 January 2012 (UTC)
  • I'm not at-all in favour of such politicisation of the actual sites. If they want to do something, they'd move the actual Foundation out of the US; no servers on US soil, re-set up the WMF somewhere like the Netherlands, Norway or Sweden. And, tell people why the US is no longer "the land of the free". None of the projects are meant to be political in nature, nor do the vast majority of contributors want any adverts on them; to combine the two, fundraising adverts to "Move Wikipedia, and all sister projects, out of the United States before SOPA-like legislation is passed" would send a more effective message. If the legislation is passed, that would be the logical move anyway. --Brian McNeil / talk 17:53, 14 January 2012 (UTC)
As I have stated elsewhere. Hosting in Europe is quite expensive. While I am all for moving to a "freer" land, why not use the foundation's influence to ensure that we are not sued out of existence from abuse of the proposed law, and avoid a costly move? There are bigger benefits to be had if this law did not pass... this is not about money for us, as we are funded by the public. Phearson (talk) 18:01, 14 January 2012 (UTC)
The Foundation wrote themselves into a corner with "NPOV is non-negotiable"; blacking out any wiki to make a political point (one which I strongly agree with obviously) is breaking a rule everyone supposedly supports.
My argument is the statement — "We're leaving if this goes through - please donate so we can." — will get through to your average reader far quicker; I can't imagine anyone in D.C. being comfortable when a constituent asks why they're going to pass a law forcing Wikipedia to seek political asylum in another country.
Laying out the consequences of SOPA in such stark terms is the WMF's job, not that of contributors. If it passes, they must move the infrastructure to where people can contribute knowledge without fear of the sanctions within SOPA; and, themselves to a legal jurisdiction where they are not bound to comply with US-issued court orders.
SOPA will keep popping up for the rest of this decade — in one form or another. Legislation is cheap as far as big movie studios are concerned; blacking out Wikipedia won't shame them, but proving to politicians the studios have set them up to look like idiots should be more effective. --Brian McNeil / talk 19:52, 14 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Update English Wikipedia is going down on the January 17th. [1] [2] Phearson (talk) 00:00, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
    • That's incorrect. It's happening on the 18th. --Yair rand (talk) 07:00, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
  • I am in support of such a shutdown, but I made it quite clear in the discussion on Wikipedia that consensus on English Wikipedia shouldn't affect other projects. I've been speaking to Foundation people and they are happy with project independence here. They won't be blacking out sites if they don't opt-in, and it's up to local admins on the projects to decide whether they are opting-in. If we do want to opt-in, we need to tell them as soon as possible. It's looking like there isn't consensus for it here, but if that consensus changes, we can opt-in. As I said, personally, I'm in support joining in the shutdown. I reject the idea that we mustn't do this due to NPOV: the content of the projects is NPOV, but the existence of the projects doesn't require us to be politically neutral, either at the Foundation level, the chapter level (depending on local laws), or the project level. Wikimedia projects are inherently and unashamedly for free content, free sharing of knowledge, free access and against barriers to those things. And to defend those values, we do sometimes need to act in support of those values. —Tom Morris (talk) 01:34, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
  • As Nominator, I support shutdown of EN Wikinews for 24 hours starting at 05:00 UTC on January 18, 2012. Phearson (talk) 02:20, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
The idea that the content is neutral but the act of providing it isn't, strikes me as sophistic. Acting to deprive the public of content is diametrically opposed to the mission of the project (actually, to the mission of the Foundation), and pretending the contradiction doesn't exist only makes the pretender hypocritical.
It does seem pretty clear that Wikipedia doesn't give much of a damn whether other projects join the blackout or not; I mean, really, my edits on Wikibooks are utterly trivial compared to my activity here, but I do check in there several times a day, and with time vanishingly short, I've not heard anyone say boo at Wikibooks about a blackout. Wikibooks being, seemingly, a much larger project than Wikinews, even a clean-cut consensus there would take serious time to establish, and nobody even bothered to ask, so it's way too late now. Of course, I've long maintained that Wikibooks is really a collection of several thousand projects banded together for safety in numbers, most of them orders of magnitude smaller than Wikinews — but that just makes it far more hopeless to seek consensus, as one would need separate consensus for each book. Carrying that to its logical conclusion ties back in to the earlier point about mission: just as the Foundation has no business telling a project to blank its content, the administrators of a project have no business telling the authors of an article to blank its content. Which means that (1800, was it?) Wikipedians have no moral authority whatsoever to black out the content of all however-many-million articles Wikipedia has these days. --Pi zero (talk) 03:46, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Support the free access to the sum of all human knowledge. -- Cirt (talk) 04:37, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose I believe such a shutdown would be wrong on the grounds that it violates our NPOV. How could we report objectively on SOPA in the future if we have shown opposition to it now? Maybe we should do some kind of awareness campaign about the wrongs of SOPA, like interview Jimbo or some other board member and ask him/her what they think is wrong with the act. But if we had to protest, I would support a splash page which talks about whats wrong with SOPA and how it could hurt the project. Cocoaguytalkcontribs 04:54, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose full-on blackout, because somebody needs to cover it. Support a black banner all day long using sitenotice and maybe a censorbar across the logo and a one-time editorial. Or better yet, invoking the 1996 Black World Wide Web protest and make the background black. ;) --Patrick M (TUFKAAP) (talk) 06:01, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
We don't do editorials; it'd be forsaking the principles of the project.
But as for a sitenotice, it depends entirely on what the sitenotice would say. Some sitenotice messages, it seems, would be entirely consistent with what Brian McNeil was saying earlier, while some other sitenotice messages would again be violating neutrality. We'd have to hammer out ahead of time something the whole community would be united on. --Pi zero (talk) 06:16, 17 January 2012 (UTC)