Wikinews:Water cooler/proposals/archives/2013/April

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Category:Local news

Things like this and that and probably this barely have international effect; a first thought I had was to tag them with a category. Thoughts on re-creating it? Gryllida 07:54, 2 April 2013 (UTC)

  • If there were 50+ stories per day, yes. The argument for the category originally was to exclude micro-local news from the main page. Were there any move to recreate the category, we certainly couldn't adopt that practice just now. --Brian McNeil / talk 09:18, 2 April 2013 (UTC)


Hi I would like to help update some portals for continents and country's so that is shows the news in that country not everywhere please for example please go to Portal:United States and go to view history and then go to the 1 April 2013 edit I would like to do that such edits (talk) 15:19, 31 March 2013 (UTC)

I have rejected the revisions. Our goal is to discontinue these with an emphasis on categories instead. We have them largely as a legacy from earlier work and because many of them are interwiki linked. If you wish to revive them as a valid format to Wikinews, please start a discussion on the relative merits of portals. --LauraHale (talk) 23:41, 31 March 2013 (UTC)
how do I ask to revive these portal (talk) 08:46, 1 April 2013 (UTC)
Hi, welcome. Thanks for asking — this is a good interesting question. Unlike Wikipedia's portals, Wikinews's portals have no portal-specific priorities or a list of things to work on: everything is in one place, the Newsroom. The role portals play is presenting a list of articles on a certain topic, and eventually, as Laura suggested, it may make sense to outphase portals in favour of categories. Gryllida 10:53, 1 April 2013 (UTC)

Reviving portals

Hi I would like to revive the portals because it show news in that country or country. Because you carnt show all the news in the main page and that why we have the portals I would like to update them to full show the information like Portal:United_Kingdom which can support 5 leads like the one in the main page and doesent need alot of editing maybe a few edits to update the leads but that's it (talk) 10:34, 1 April 2013 (UTC)

  • Sorry, we were apparently failing to maintain a discussion flow somewhat. Per the above, please see Category:United Kingdom, it may be like what you're after. Categories just let you see news on a certain topic while writing news is different by news type (content guide: synthesis, original reporting, photo essay, with synth type being more frequent), not by topic. Gryllida 11:03, 1 April 2013 (UTC)
ok what I mean show like if I had it own news page not in category like Portal:United Kingdom (talk) 11:41, 1 April 2013 (UTC)
Here's the most coherent theory I've heard for a distinction between Wikinews categories and portals: Categories are where you look if you're a researcher, portals are where you look if you're a news consumer. However,
  • By that theory, portals would only make sense when we have a huge amount of output about a particular place. The implication is, then, that portals are merely a provision for the future, not something that matters right now.
  • By means of {{topic cat}}, categories can now be made much neater than they used to be, and we have hopes to make them even neater than that. It's already to the point where we prefer to send ordinary readers to the categories rather than to the portals. We may well eventually improve categories so much that we'll simply dispense with the portals.
  • There is one thing the portals have that we would probably never put on the categories: Leads. However, leads have also been the downfall of the portals, because we have never managed to automate maintenance of the leads, and Wikinewsies are always guaranteed to have scarcely any time for anything other than actual news production — no matter how much time we put into news production, it wants more. So manually updating leads on an open set of portals is impractical. There was once some talk of extending the makelead gadget, which semi-automates maintaining leads on the main page, to handle portals while it's at it — but makelead is a scary mess of code (the person who wrote it admits this), so before we could extend it we'd really have to rewrite it. That might actually happen eventually, but we've got so many higher priorities in software infrastructure that it's not likely to happen for quite some time.
--Pi zero (talk) 13:12, 1 April 2013 (UTC)
The solution of sorts would be to mark portals as historical, with a note that leads will not be updated, but where dynamic pages are used, automated updates can still be visible. --LauraHale (talk) 13:22, 1 April 2013 (UTC)
but could I revive them before we decide to stop making them could I update them all and then ask here to decide to keep them with the updated template or information or to keep them as historical if the community decide they doint want to keep the portals anymore (talk) 13:41, 1 April 2013 (UTC)
I would like to revive the portals by updating them and once all updated and completed I will ask the community if we should keep the portals or if we should move them all to the categories or should we have both if its ok (talk) 14:31, 1 April 2013 (UTC)
What do you mean by "updating"? What changes do you propose to make? --Pi zero (talk) 15:18, 1 April 2013 (UTC)
update them to the Template:NewPortal template because it is like Wikinews main page but shows the news in that country (talk) 16:33, 1 April 2013 (UTC)

Break A

{{NewPortal}} was largely my work, for the usage reasons you give; Portals 'should' be topic, or region-specific, views on Wikinews output. As you can see in this prior version of the Scotland portal, the points against using portals are apparent: There's only one lead there, but it's the third most-recent story and from quite some time back. News, broken down by topic, shows ageing issues too.

Having all the templates polished off, that would be nice. But it's automation of updates, and "graceful degredation" if a portal has little news for an extended period, that we really need.

By all means register an account and you can get the relevant JS/CSS applied to some of your userspace to have a go at this. In all honesty, I suspect the only level supporting use of {{NewPortal}} might be possible would be at a continental level. --Brian McNeil / talk 18:03, 1 April 2013 (UTC)

ok (talk) 18:06, 1 April 2013 (UTC)
can I edit the portals and update them and then once all updated I will ask for the community to see it and to answer agree or disagree to keep them or make them historical (talk) 19:48, 1 April 2013 (UTC)
We would rather you did not edit all the portals. We've explained where there's an issue with them, what I'm suggesting is something akin to this ancient main page design attempt I did. You've then something to present, without having a lot of changes that risk more stale portals; and, as I've suggested, if we had the WN:MAKELEAD tool repurposed to push to the main page, and then to continent-level portals, without that putting a big additional workload on the community, it'd probably be put live.
Speaking from personal experience, I've seen me finish a long article review that's been an hour-plus of concentrated work. I'll leave the lead article decisions to someone else.
But, I've seen a lot of your changes reverted; I understand why, and can't put it more-clearly than: "a single DPL on a category is likely to cover all recent relevant articles". We'd have that on the category, regardless. The pages, such as Portal:Scotland, need to stay as simple redirects until there's a group of content contributors pushing enough stories for that portal to stay fresh and relevant. --Brian McNeil / talk 20:10, 1 April 2013 (UTC)
ok most of my edits have been un don because I Am to ask the comunity if I can revive the portals if I can then i can undo the edit by the person who did it but until then I have to ask but can I edit some portals not alot but some 20:39, 1 April 2013 (UTC)
You were told not to make these edits until a new consensus emerged. You made them anyway. The only real consensus you will get is continent portals. Following a comment along these lines, changes were made to non-contintal portals. At this point, this is actively editing against consensus. So if one wants to work on portals, one should confine themselves to working on Europe, Oceania, Asia, North America and South America. --LauraHale (talk) 20:56, 1 April 2013 (UTC)
ok could I edit the continent portals first and then see about editing country portal (talk) 21:28, 1 April 2013 (UTC)

Break B

Please don't.

  • I'm trying to put this as-plainly as I can. The work you want to do with the templates for portals, and tools to keep them updated are something the project needs. But, we're not Wikipedia. Not, at least, in-terms of level of people to create the content to make changing across a swathe of portals on regions, or topics, non-detrimental to the public presentation of the project.

That is why your changes are being reverted, and we're trying to continue to assume good intent.

There's a direction of growth on what you want. It has to be addressed in a certain order:

  1. We need the templates, and tools to quickly maintain pages using them.
  2. There needs to be community consensus to roll that out to, as I suggest, continent-level such as Portal:Europe.
  3. Rolling out further needs a subset of the community built around feeding content to those portals, and obviously into the main page's selection process.

If you really need to work on a 'live' portal, pick one, And, read the rest of my remarks carefully, please!

Use of Portals as you're looking at was tried from day one on Wikinews; there was the youthful optimism the contributor base would grow as-rapidly as on Wikipedia. Look at the popular citizen-generated news sites, that level of participation, where politics and current affairs are involved, could only have come about with a site full of click-trolling, celeb gossip, and whacky conspiracy theories. It'd give Wikipedians every reason to cross the road to avoid us.

We've aimed for some quality standards, but done our best to remember that some stories might only cover a very small community. In an "ideal world", you would be able to have a portal covering your town or county, and the people contributing articles to it would have taken part in discussions, on-wiki and off, that made them better journalists. Not, as we all-too-often see, lacking an iota of "news literacy".

This is the ideal the people on Wikinews can vaguely see as a goal, it was the optimistic hope the project was set up with. As a Wikinewsie of quite some years, I can say: "yes, I want the project to be ready to roll that out." But, doing it right now would not be constructive. As those who contribute content here for any length of time learn, going out and finding different sources, with different perspectives, opens your eyes to how the media operates. In part, our much-reviled review process helps keep us in check, grounded, and avoid creating conspiracy theories ourselves arising from that "education". --Brian McNeil / talk 21:58, 1 April 2013 (UTC)

What Brian said. If wants a functional portal that much, my first suggestion is to pick a place. Any one place. It could be England, Sierre Leone or Paris. Commit to writing a story a day about the location that gets through the publishing process so we have consistent news about that place being generated. After we have three days of stories about that place, and after has mastered the article of getting articles through the review process, start improving that single portal. If no one is consistently writing about a place, there is no purpose in portals. The Canary Islands? Few stories. Guam? Few stories. Kiribati? Few stories. Canberra? A number of recent stories but certainly not one a day to merit a portal for it. Content development here will create a need for portals. would have time better spent on the project by developing content. Any move to broadly go about doing additional work on portals will clearly be working against consensus, eat up administrator time to reject changs and deleted pages, and will result in escalating blocks. So, please improve the poor portal situation by contributing content that can get past the review process. We promise we do not bite contributors trying to get things published and will provide clear feedback on any issues at the review. --LauraHale (talk) 22:11, 1 April 2013 (UTC)
  • I don't want to see this end up with blocks, or needing a shedload of reverts. But, I think the active community have bent over backwards to express consensus, and explain why the changes need to start on a quite limited basis. We need "be creative" over "be bold". We can manage, what? Mentoring a handful of contributors at a time? It's more "miss" than "hit" finding people with an aptitude for news, and the project lacks the scope of "gnomework" to repeatedly down-tools and discuss things in great depth with someone who wants to do that sort of work. I'll say it one more time:
You want to do work Wikinews needs, but it cannot be on anything remotely like the scale you seem to seek until the contributor base is there.
Having the ability to scale as you're looking might offer opportunities to focus on certain areas and grow in that way. But, and this is the biggest but of all, if you've no involvement in that, and grow tired six months down the line, we're left devoting days to cleaning up something that should only be expanded if it brings more content. "If you build it, they will come" is a most-fallacious perspective. --Brian McNeil / talk 22:46, 1 April 2013 (UTC)
ok I will edit the continents portals and then ask you if I can edit a portals like England or united king or any (talk) 07:42, 2 April 2013 (UTC)
You get ONE continent. That is it. One. It needs to be built on the software side. If this does not involve dynamic page usage that make it completely scalable. You are not designing much but scalable software. Which continent have you chosen? --LauraHale (talk) 08:27, 2 April 2013 (UTC)
can I have a day to find one I would stick to one I would help contribute to it please and I have updated Template:Region portal/sandbox that could I have some help to let the new feed go down without going into the other news I had to do that so it would show the leads correctly (talk) 18:44, 2 April 2013 (UTC)
I choose North America - are we allowed to edit the continent portal and the other portals linking to other portals like North America has country's like Washington, D.C. New York Michigan are we allowed to the edit them too or just the continent (talk) 08:38, 3 April 2013 (UTC)

No. Countries within North America are not continents, all you've been told people are happy to have you playing with is Portal:North America, and sub-pages thereof, not a single other portal.

Nor should you be changing templates in use on other pages as a method of altering them.

You have been asked to create an account to do this, as somewhere to sandbox your changes, please do so to avoid further confusion with other IPs who might ignore this discussion here and not restrict themselves as you are being asked to.

As is mentioned through this discussion, we're opposed to implementing what you'd like wholesale. It's the drain on content-contributor-hours we're concerned about there, please don't keep pushing this discussion and wasting the same. --Brian McNeil / talk 08:54, 3 April 2013 (UTC)

I am not alowed to create an account on here I have to discuss it with a user on meta if I am (talk) 09:34, 3 April 2013 (UTC)
by saying North America can I edit united states please (talk) 11:06, 3 April 2013 (UTC)
wikt:continent versus wikt:country. One continent-level portal. And there should be absolutely no problem creating an account, at least not of a technical nature. I'm rather concerned what other barrier you might be referring to. --Brian McNeil / talk 15:47, 3 April 2013 (UTC)
so your saying I can create an account on here because I have an account on wikipedia but it was locked in December and I am blocked but I can create an account ok Ill do it later today and your saying only I can edit North America is the only portal I can edit (talk) 17:50, 3 April 2013 (UTC)

Increasing contributors by increasing readership

It seems to me that the long-term viability of this project would be substantially improved just by attracting a larger readership. For example:

  • 100,000 Facebook likes and 25,000 Twitter followers
  • Inclusion in the Windows 8 News app under "National & World News"
  • Syndication of at least 1 story per week by a major print publisher with international readership
  • Syndication of at least 1 exclusive video interview per week by a major television news network (e.g., PBS NewsHour)
  • Syndication of at least 1 audible story and 1 exclusive interview per week by a major radio news network (e.g., NPR)
  • Periodic headline syndication by at least 25 campus radio stations
  • Periodic column syndication by at least 25 student news organizations
  • Official partnership with at least 1 major sports league

...would be particularly effective goals to designate specific timelines for accomplishing through concerted campaigns. CMBJ (talk) 10:58, 2 April 2013 (UTC)

There's this popular idea that what's needed to grow any sister project is "outreach" programs to drum up more contributors. People keep trying to use outreach as a panacea for all the sister projects. And the projects have shrunk while they pursued that strategy. Outreach isn't actually bad, but it is a distraction from more fundamental problems, and even worse, it can be an excuse to ignore problems you don't want to admit are there. The bigger the project, the easier it is to ignore its structural problems (for instance, the more rabid anti-Wikinews Wikipedians tend to attribute their own problems to Wikinews, and agitate for importing to Wikinews the policies and practices that cause those problems on Wikipedia; go figure).
My own approach has been to identify one specific major fundamental problem with Wikinews and fix that, and then worry about what to do after that. Because fixing one major fundamental problem probably hugely alters what all other problems look like anyway. We enjoy slowly rising stature —outside the wikimedian community— because we've been maintaining, maybe slightly raising, our standards while much of the media subsides around us. There is (averaged over time) as much demand for what we do as our reviewers can supply: increase our review capacity and, with a time lag, demand for review goes up until it saturates the available supply. My chosen first target to take out is the lack of support from the wiki software for things we need to do that don't fit the traditional Wikipedian model of wiki software (not that what Wikipedia actually needs entirely fits that model either). --Pi zero (talk) 13:02, 2 April 2013 (UTC)
I think more outreach would be good, but it is hard to actually do. The first major challenge with it is contributor time in arranging the outreach efforts. We already have demands much greater than availability, so outreach is going to be a challenge. The other problem is the fact that we lack a stable enough output to be able to commit to any real sort of regular publication externally. Both problems go away as we attract more users, but until we get those users we have trouble doing it. Definitely interesting ideas though and I hope you will try to pursue some of them. --Cspurrier (talk) 21:46, 2 April 2013 (UTC)

As a random aside, our page views have grown even as production numbers have dropped. While it is a nice thought, it is not based on an informed picture of the metrics but instead appears to rely on a small data set to draw a conclusions that have no numerical support. Yes, we could get 70,000 followers on Twitter but that does not assist in page views. English Wikipedia has the same problem: Page views are up, but contributions are down. Perhaps this Wikimedia wide problem should be addressed to try to find across project solutions. --LauraHale (talk) 21:59, 2 April 2013 (UTC)

While on this topic, why is it that a quality interview on English Wikinews draws more traffic than a Good Article nomination on English Wikipedia? --LauraHale (talk) 22:00, 2 April 2013 (UTC)
Logically one might try to outreach to someplace where wiki contributors are know to be. The obvious measure would be to convince en.wp to stop pretending we aren't a reliable source. But as for trying to get them to do that, as well outreach to a hungry alligator. --Pi zero (talk) 22:42, 2 April 2013 (UTC)
  • That's the biggest issue likely to stymie successful outreach. Anyone who has tried outreach is also going to know one of the biggest problem in-person would be newbie-to-established-editor ratios. --Brian McNeil / talk 08:44, 3 April 2013 (UTC)

The Wikinewsie Group

Hi. After consulting with a number of community members, we have started the first step in creating a potential Wikimedia Affiliate group. The details can be found at The Wikinewsie Group. The purpose of the group is:

  1. support open license, independent journalistic efforts that provide neutral and verifiable reporting of news stories,
  2. support the education of future journalists in trying to insure they maintain historical journalistic ideals regarding reporting standards,
  3. support efforts to increase journalist freedom to report around the globe,
  4. encourage participation of and facilitate non-professional journalists practicing their craft on Wikinews, and
  5. support the mission statement and vision of the Wikimedia Foundation.

This aims to compliment and support existing efforts, and there is zero intention of imposing one language's policies on another language. The project should assist in increasing original reporting, improving original reporting according to local project standards, better supporting our small community and increasing participation.

Please sign up here by listing your name to indicate you support our group. Thanks. --LauraHale (talk) 09:27, 6 April 2013 (UTC)

Just signed up. —Tom Morris (talk) 09:51, 6 April 2013 (UTC)

New category

Hi could I suggest that [[category:expand]] and [[category:improve]] be created reason because it would be easer for people to find content which ether needs expanding or needs improving and would be included in Template:Expand so that all pages or articles on here go into that category if they have the template Bluesky (talk) 18:23, 6 April 2013 (UTC)

Useless bureaucracy. We tag articles that need work. There's no reason to bury the matter in red tape. --Pi zero (talk) 19:27, 6 April 2013 (UTC)
Beyond which, we already have Category:Develop, which shows people which articles are currently being written which they may be interested in contributing to. The proposal would duplicate that category for reasons that are unclear. --LauraHale (talk) 22:35, 6 April 2013 (UTC)

The Wikinewsie Group bylaws draft

A copy of the draft bylaws for the The Wikinewsie Group have been posted at The Wikinewsie Group/Bylaws. Alongside these, a Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Journalists have also been posted, which detail our understanding of concepts found in the draft bylaws. Feedback would be appreciated on these. If you agree with them and have no suggestions for modification on one or both documents, please comment on Bylaws talk page or meta:Talk:The Wikinewsie Group/Declaration talk page to say so. Conversely, if you are interested in joining The Wikinewsie Group, please feel free to comment on the relevant talk page with feedback on what changes you might like to see. Thank you. --LauraHale (talk) 04:23, 11 April 2013 (UTC)

Interactive wizarding tools

I have my first tool working. I'd like people to take a look and provide whatever feedback they can. I'm hoping soon to hook the tools into MediaWiki:Common.js, which would allow any user on the project —including anonymous IPs— to use interactive fields and buttons on any page on the project.

  • Demonstration page: User:Pi zero/wndialog/demo (wired so anyone including anonymous IPs can use it now).
  • Supporting code: {{wndialog/button}} (good starting point for browsing all the templates and javascript involved).

Some explanation:

  • The idea is to allow wiki markup on any page on the wiki to give that page interactive stuff like on the demo page: text boxes, multi-line text boxes, checkboxes, dropdown menus, and buttons.
My thinking: we want interactive tools that capture news expertise, without requiring the contributing news expert to also be expert in some non-wiki-markup programming language like Lua or javascript or PHP.
  • You set up these boxes and buttons and such using templates in Category:Dialog formatting templates.
  • There's just a relatively small bit of code that gets executed on every page load: it causes display of the boxes etc, and causes the buttons to pass the contents of boxes and such to dialog button actions.
  • The actions, which the buttons invoke, are very general tools that can be used as building blocks for doing stuff. At a minimum I want two of these actions: one that substitutes dialog-field values into a page, sort of like calling a template, and one that does the same thing only does it for creating a new page rather than just displaying a page.
So far, I've only implemented the first action, the one that displays a page with dialog field values dynamically substituted in: WN:Wndialog/subst.

--Pi zero (talk) 15:01, 12 April 2013 (UTC)

I've heard no objections. Some positive remarks on IRC. Shortly before posting here I asked bawolff if the code had any obvious problems, and he didn't flag any.
So I'm about to hook it in to MediaWiki:Common.js. --Pi zero (talk) 15:52, 18 April 2013 (UTC)

Making the red tick mark blue

It pains me to do this... but I would like to propose changing the red tick mark on reviews to blue question marks. Symbol question.svg There is some research which indicates students have greater success at responding to the colour blue than they do to red. This would also potentially make it clear that these are areas that need improvement as opposed to full stop, article has failed and will never be published. --LauraHale (talk) 12:11, 15 April 2013 (UTC)

Sorry it's taken me so long to get to this thread. I knew you'd proposed something here involving color, but wasn't sure what symbol you'd had in mind. So thinking about it whilst doing other things, I'd reckoned ideally we'd want a question mark. Nice to see we were thinking along the same track. I see no reason we shouldn't go ahead and try this for a while — it should (knock wood) be easy enough to implement — and see if there's anything about the arrangement we feel can still use tweaking. The red ex, after all, is a vestige of a bygone age. --Pi zero (talk) 07:33, 17 April 2013 (UTC)
Here's what it currently looks like:
--Pi zero (talk) 07:59, 17 April 2013 (UTC)
By all means thanks for the change. It could be a blue clock with a brush or whatever else but having something different from a red cross seems a good idea to me. Gryllida 13:13, 17 April 2013 (UTC)

On suggestion, I've tried adding a line below the review comments encouraging questions. --Pi zero (talk) 13:42, 18 April 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for that, it reads well and doesn't clutter things at all unlike what I feared; let's see how it goes. Gryllida 13:45, 18 April 2013 (UTC)
Have not looked at but sounds good. Hopefully, this might assist in making things appear less scarey and less STOP WRITING! but more "Here there are issues. Mayhap you can address?" --LauraHale (talk) 00:31, 21 April 2013 (UTC)


Can the editors be more timely in reviewing artivcles. My article recently got rejected four days after I submitted, and the editor said it was not newsworthy. Well four days ago it was newsworthy if you had reviewed it then it might have been ok. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by UOWBagnall13 (talkcontribs) 23:05, 20 April 2013‎ (UTC)

I'll try to address both the general question, and specifics of the particular article.
Reviewers are volunteers. We donate what time we can, because we believe in news and want to collaborate with writers in the effort to produce fully vetted published articles. (Given how much time and effort goes into a full review, it's safe to say we want very much to collaborate so, or we wouldn't be here.) For my part, I donate a lot of personal time and effort to review on a daily basis, and if I could do more reviews per day I would already be doing so. Not every article makes it to publication, and we're sorry for each one that doesn't make it. When we can provide feedback that might help a writer improve further in future (thus also making future reviews easier), we provide that feedback.
On this article, the not-ready was on verification, not newsworthiness. The second bullet on the review comments encourages greater use of different sources. The third bullet, last of all, acknowledges that we have, unfortunately, also missed the freshness window.
As noted in the review comments, the verification problem might have been because SMH extensively modified the source. Then again, that might not have been the cause of that problem. Either way, there are other things you might possibly try to take away from the article, hoping to further streamline further writing/review. The second bullet in the review is worth considering. There were also some edits to the article by another reviewer, which may be of interest. --Pi zero (talk) 00:16, 21 April 2013 (UTC)

As a general comment, reviewing is stressful. Good reviewers always want to see an article published, but they struggle to make sure the article meets all the criteria. There is a level of nervousness every time a good reviewer hits publish because what if they missed on obvious problem? What if a correction is necessary? What if there is a massive copyright problem they failed to miss? Some people are easier to review based on accumulated reputation. New contributors, especially student contributors (after a recent decision to try to provide more detailed feedback), take a lot longer to review. The articles are submitted less published ready. To get them to published ready often takes a lot of changes to neutralize very fundamental problems in style or neutrality or verifaibility. A review may take an hour or two of work for the reviewer, and it is mentally draining, especially when you as a reviewer know the article is unlikely to pass. We are not paid. We are spending a lot of time working on reviews for material that will unlikely be published. This is exhausting. We also do other things on project. (Pi zero is working on a reviewing tool. Gryillda is working on creating a bot. I am taking lead on much of the work related to The Wikinewsie Group.) We just do not have the ability (personal time, total reviewers) to review everything in a timely manner with the objective of leaving extended feedback that should ultimately beneficial to the reporter. We are trying our hardest. --LauraHale (talk) 01:13, 21 April 2013 (UTC)