Wikinews:Water cooler/proposals/archives/2018/November

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To Firefox users — those who review and edit


At this page there is several Firefox add-ons, each with description and screenshots, which give you

  • a shortcut to dupdet an external link against current article (context menu)
  • source template fill helper (sidebar)
  • a feed reader which seems sensible (new tab)
  • web page annotator which stores the notes in localStorage so that you don't lose them from a web browser crash (sidebar)
  • ...I am looking for a web page highlighter which does not lose data between tab closes and browser restarts. If you find it please link and I would add it to this collection also (and possibly also use it a lot).
  • ... Soon I will also release an add-on which opens a hyperlink in a new tab with reading mode on by default (context menu). I will add a note about this here and will also add it to the collection.

The goal is to make it a lot easier to author, copyedit, and review. Please test them and share ideas for improvement.

If you need any of them for another web browser, please let me know. --Gryllida (chat) 05:38, 11 September 2018 (UTC)

Wow, thanks for these! —Justin (koavf)TCM 18:53, 11 September 2018 (UTC)
Hello Justin (koavf). Did you have a chance to test any of these add-ons? What are your thoughts? What feels like the most daunting part of news writing for you?
(I'm currently trying to work out how to reorganize the source fill helper so that it sorts by date automatically; work in progress, expect to make a release next month, so that merely ticking the boxes is sufficient for adding the sources to the article.) --Gryllida (chat) 06:34, 19 September 2018 (UTC)
Sorry, I haven't been able to use these--just install them. The most daunting part of writing news is the bottleneck of time. :/ —Justin (koavf)TCM 02:38, 21 September 2018 (UTC)
Justin (koavf) thank you for this observation, it is really helpful. Do you have time to read news in the current arrangement? How do you usually do this? Perhaps I can make a quick shortcut from your news reading app (Firefox? an RSS reader? a mobile? something else?) to an article creation request at Wikinews. --Gryllida (chat) 01:35, 24 September 2018 (UTC)
I don't read the news at en.wn but at other mainstream and alternative sources. The problem is that it's actually too easy to digest news here since the project is so moribund. :/ Mostly I read news via a web interface RSS reader. —Justin (koavf)TCM 23:16, 26 September 2018 (UTC)
Hello Justin (koavf). Pretty advanced setup. :-) Did you know that identifying news is often difficult, with volunteers needing to go through a few tens of headlines before they find something interesting? I think you may already be doing a big part of this onerous task, with only one minor step left: requesting the article creation, which may take as little as a few seconds. Perhaps you may wish to bookmark this link and keep it around for a few days, and after using it a few times share your insight on its usefulness. --Gryllida (chat) 06:13, 27 September 2018 (UTC)


Updates here:

  • The 'show source in reading mode' addon is still under development. (Adding internationalization)
  • These are available to mark the article with 'editing' or 'abandoned' or 'under review' (reviewers only):
    (They are inspired by User:Microchip08/vector.js)
  • w:User:Gryllida/js/weAddCommentButton.js is now available for leaving remarks 'between the lines or at the margin' of a draft. It adds a toolbar button which marks the selected text and provides a place where to add a comment for it. (I recommend to post the commented version to the talk page -- not into the article directly -- as these comments may be difficult to remove.)
    • example output
    • mw.loader.load( '' ); // [[:w:User:Gryllida/js/weAddCommentButton.js]]
  • I've found Firefox's "add to bookmarks" feature, with tags, highly useful for organising thoughts about what to report on and how it is developing. The 'recently tagged' smart folder is helpful with this. However there is room for improvement, as currently bookmarks do not have a date or place attached. This with some means to visualize the timeline or map may be a thought for a next addon or script.
  • I would like to know what you use for reading news. Please share. I want to experiment with creating a path from an RSS reader or any news reader to Wikinews: tick a few sources, type a new headline, and these sources are pre-filled at the end of the article.
  • I am looking for ideas about hosting code, an issue tracker, and a mailing list for any Wikinews-related scripts, across multiple language projects. Personally I am considering as many other hosting solutions are proprietary (see [1]). Does Wikimedia Tools Labs offer hosting of software? If you have ideas, please share them here.
  • Have another idea? Please share it here.

--Gryllida (talk) 23:41, 4 November 2018 (UTC)

Transform buttons

Atm we have one button for changing the state of an article, the "submit" button which is provided on templates {{develop}} and {{tasks}}. That button used to be implemented as a javascript function MediaWiki:Common.js, but two years ago that was replaced with a dialog button implemented by template {{Assistant:Submit}}.

Any number of simple buttons of that sort should be creatable "by hand", i.e., without waiting on my grand plans for a meta-assistant. We mostly just need to work out

  • what article states the button should go from and to,
  • where the button should appear,
  • what conditions have to be met for the button to proceed (for example, a user who isn't a reviewer shouldn't be allowed to put an article {{under review}}),
  • and what templates should be added, removed, or modified.

Here are a few I can think of:

I feel there should be a lot of others, that I've thought of on past occasions, but I'm having trouble thinking of them now. Suggestions? --Pi zero (talk) 00:54, 5 November 2018 (UTC)

Yes, and how do people go from {{review}} to {{editing}} (if they are not a reviewer)? --Gryllida (talk) 02:12, 5 November 2018 (UTC)
How about this: from {{review}} to {{editing}} should double-check that that's really what you want to do, but shouldn't work if the article is under review. And removing under review shouldn't be supported by a button unless you're the one who put it under in the first place (I think the tools can check that). --Pi zero (talk) 02:39, 5 November 2018 (UTC)
OK, if you could do that it would be great in my opinion Gryllida (talk) 02:41, 5 November 2018 (UTC)
Keeping in mind, I've two other infrastructure tasks I should be working on. --Pi zero (talk) 12:22, 5 November 2018 (UTC)
The existing submit button is at {{Assistant:Submit}}. --Pi zero (talk) 02:44, 7 November 2018 (UTC)

Site notices

I am proposing that this item is added from MediaWiki:Sitenotice to MediaWiki:Anonnotice:

  • Want to know how Wikinews works?
    Walk into our Newsroom!

Possibly also add this to both files:

--Gryllida (chat) 09:22, 11 October 2018 (UTC)

I perceive a flaw in this. I have noticed (for years now) that our newsroom really doesn't come across, to me anyway, as aI'e good place to go to learn how Wikinews works, despite the item on the sitenotice. Newsrooms are currently a big deal, so I gather; a regional journalism professor (whose blog I follow, despite my disapproval of some of his political thinking) particularly laments as digital media giants, acting as chop shops buying up and making quick profits off local newspapers, close newsrooms and expect journalists to work from home. We, of course, expect everyone to work from home, physically speaking; but this is part of my larger view that —to properly preserve sapient minds in the internet age— we need to cultivate the sense of immersion that comes from being in a physical place. On Wikibooks I'm reaching for the sense one gets from being in a physical library, and here, the sense of being in a newsroom. Here's a scene that takes place in a newsroom: [2].

Meanwhile, I wonder if we'd be better off directing people to Wikinews:Pillars of writing, which I routinely recommend to people, in comments, as "a compact overview of what we do here". --Pi zero (talk) 12:45, 11 October 2018 (UTC)

I agree with linking to the pillars. Gryllida (chat) 23:57, 11 October 2018 (UTC)
What about maintaining a WN:Todo with content similar to what I put in notes at my subpage here (4 todo items) then people know what needs improvement and how, at a glance. A reviewer or author would need to fill in this todo after article status changes. If this is useful then it could be linked from the site notice. Gryllida (chat) 23:57, 11 October 2018 (UTC)
This still needs doing. Gryllida (talk) 00:38, 8 November 2018 (UTC)

Proposal to modify the welcome template

Add this line

Questions about the above? Looking for help? Ask now. the bottom of the first tab. (I enclosed it into the big tags because the font size at the welcome template is really tiny.)

Perhaps people find it easier to ask questions then.

--Gryllida (chat) 03:58, 26 October 2018 (UTC)

It's a plausible idea. That said...

Our welcome template is transcluded on somewhat more than two and a half million pages (because we usually don't substitute it). It's therefore far more genuinely expensive to make any edit to it that to change any of the other templates that we minimize edits to on grounds that they're used "a lot". (A template that's used on every single one of our published articles would have less than one percent of the transclusions that {{Howdy}} does.)

Some history. The template was originally written by brianmc in late 2008 (a few months after my first edits on the project). I always liked it, but in about 2010 I suggested that, nice though it was, most people were evidently failing to pick up any of the basics of writing articles from it, so maybe we should try adjusting it to say some things up-front that would get the basics across to people. Brianmc made that change. It doesn't seem to have helped much, though. After that, I wondered if it would help if we put the instructions right under the user's nose when they're actually doing things. That's one way of understanding what the dialog tools are for. But also, for a while now I've been wondering if we should revise the {{Howdy}} template again. Given the expense of changing it, I've hung back, waiting for a clear vision of what to propose.

Here are some ideas I've been knocking around.

  • I always meant WN:PILLARS to be an ideal first place to look for an overview of the project, and I routinely recommend to everyone that they read it first, but there's no link to it from {{Howdy}}. Maybe we should add it somewhere.
  • Every sister project afaik, not just Wikinews, has the problem that most people ignore the welcome template, though gobs of effort go into designing for each project a template that packs in all the very most important and useful stuff about that project. I once had someone on Wikibooks lambaste me for putting a welcome template on their talk page, saying that they'd been to lots of different sister projects and therefore knew that all the projects were the same, and the projects all insisted on spamming people's user pages with these blasted welcome templates. That seemed a spectacularly clear demonstration that this person had not read those welcome messages (since if they had they'd know all those projects are very different from each other). My impression of the grand old version of brianmc's welcome template was of inviting the user to settle down with a cup of coffee for a long study session. So I've been wondering if the the template we put on everyone's user talk page shouldn't be called a "welcome" at all, but instead should be somehow presented as stuff the user needs to know.
  • I've also wondered if, as an alternative reaction to the inadequate effect of the current version of the template, we ought to go back to something more like the original version.
--Pi zero (talk) 02:41, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
Two ideas for this.
1) Perhaps the welcome template needs to be a short one line version at first -- link to WN:PILLARS and a place where to ask for help (without the rest of information) -- and then about a day after people receive a second long message which shares with them several more links (more like the current version).
2) Perhaps the first message can have a button, "click [HERE] to view more tips on news writing", which when clicked automatically adds the longer version to their talk page. If people ask for the information perhaps they are more likely to pay attention to it. Gryllida (talk) 03:21, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
I feel we need to be more forceful, but those are some interesting ideas. I'm imagining something that mixes some some of your ideas, some of the ones I just mentioned, and some that are in the current template. I could almost write a mock-up of something... but of course not right now. It's almost midnight here (and tomorrow is Halloween, which... might mean I'm going to be quite busy). --Pi zero (talk) 03:39, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
A possible prototype: User:Gryllida/WelcomeThing/1 Gryllida (talk) 04:47, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
This still needs doing. Gryllida (talk) 00:38, 8 November 2018 (UTC)

'welcome [an article] a bit'


Perhaps User:Gryllida/welcome a bit can be improved or renamed and we could try this practice. If successful it could be linked in the sidebar next to the newsroom, or we could invite people to participate in this on their personal talk pages individually.

--Gryllida (talk) 11:12, 23 November 2018 (UTC)