Wikinews:Water cooler/technical/Archive/2

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New web-based IRC chat client for #wikinews[edit]

For those of you who don't want to the hassle of setting up a stand-alone IRC client to read what's being said on #wikinews, go to ChrisW's user page, and give his new demo client a whirl. Dan100 16:15, 12 Jan 2005 (UTC)


I have an extension in the works which will retrieve a number of the most recent articles based on how many you ask for, and and which two categories they belong to.

The reasoning is this: by creating a category Category:Published we can tell the article is considered "main page ready" (this satisfies the "flagged" requirement.) And we can use Ilya's categories to create main page sections which have nothing but the most recent articles in each section. We can adjust how many articles to list by making it variable; the latest 3 for a compact main page, but the top 15 for a page devoted to that category for examples.

The way it is likely to be used is as a custom "tag", like <latestArticles>3,Published,World</latestArticle> would insert a list of the most recent three articles posted in the World category.

A category such as 'Published' would be the ideal page to produce a RSS feed for Wikinews. Dan100 (Talk) 10:31, 12 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Potential feature: Crossword puzzle[edit]

User:The_bellman brought up the idea of a Wikicrossword, which led to a discussion in #wikipedia, and a couple people announced they liked the idea so much they were going to run with it. So, we may soon have a daily crossword puzzle-type feature! Thanks loads to The_bellman for coming up with such an instant hit idea! - Amgine 05:21, 27 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Maybe I'm missing something, but what does offering a crossword puzzle have to do with building a premiere collaborative Internet news source? Maybe the energy spent on that project would best be used building up actual news content for the site. Secondly, following the newspaper model may not be the right course for us since Wikinews is not paper - additionally, we should think very carefully about blurring the focus of our mission by including non-news entertainment features such as fill-in-the-blank word games, advice/humor/chess columns and comic strips that are paper-oriented features. -- Davodd | Talk 07:29, 27 Jan 2005 (UTC)
I'm with Davodd on this. I have no problem if The_bellman wants to publish crossword puzzles on his user pages, but I think it has only a marginal connection to the wikinews goals. -- IlyaHaykinson 07:57, 27 Jan 2005 (UTC)
I've created one to start off at Crosswords/2005/January/27. I don't see any harm in having crosswords at least - many other online news sources have crosswords available. Dysprosia 09:38, 27 Jan 2005 (UTC)
But many other online news sources also have cartoons, advertising, paid archives, and individual author attribution. Just because other publications have it doesn't seem to imply that we should have it. I suggest that crossword puzzles are not news articles, feature columns or editorials: they're games for the readers. They make a lot of sense in a paper format (helping to keep the readership subscribing to the newspaper), but don't make much sense on this site. Perhaps WikiSource is a better place for this. -- IlyaHaykinson 19:14, 27 Jan 2005 (UTC)
As Dan100 points out below, they attract traffic. Second, they tend to be related to current events of the time. Third, news online is infotainment, no matter how else you look at it. Users will visit this site primarily because they want to because they have the option of finding their news just as easily as elsehwere. Fourth, it was an instantly massive meme across all wikimedia channels when it was brought up; it created instant discussions about Wikinews, and several hundred hits within minutes. These are my reasons to be excited and positive about it as a possible feature. - Amgine 19:30, 27 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I actually think it's quite cool. Granted puzzles aren't a feature of many web-based news sites, but they are a long-running tradition in the print media. I can't think of a magazine or paper that I read that doesn't have a games section. It could be a kinda link with old and new on Wikinews. From a slightly more devious point of view, it could well provide an attraction and hook for internet users, and boost our hits :). Dan100 (Talk) 19:16, 27 Jan 2005 (UTC)

The major flaw with them is that they are not news. I also vote no on horoscopes and comic stips, which also are popular in most newspapers and magazines, for the same reason. -- Davodd | Talk 08:16, 28 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Can we get some firm acknowledgement whether we are to have them or not? I suggested adding it on the main page, so there would be a bit more traffic towards them, but no one's responded to that request. I'd like to know whether they're welcome, or, more pertinently, how many people exactly are actually doing them, so I know whether to bother creating more or not at this frequency. Dysprosia 00:50, 30 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I'm surprised by some of the negative comments.
It's healthy to have a mix of the deadly serious news stories with more light-hearted fair.
When I saw the crossword puzzle, it brought a smile to my face, both for the entertainment value, and also for the sheer technical achievement of devising a script that could automatically generate such a nicely formatted table from such a simple data set.
Some people throw out the comic strips and only read the hard news sections of their newspaper. Other people enjoy the comics and sports sections, and wrap their fish with the rest.
However, crosswords aren't comics - the reader can't be passive about them. To solve the puzzle requires the reader to stop and think. If the crossword has a few topical references, it can also help the reader to better absorb the stories of the day.
Dysprosia has made a fine contribution. I endorse adding these puzzles as a regular feature.
DV 07:26, 31 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I have to admit I'm suspicious that this puzzle is within the confines of the goals of Wikinews or is anything that will be worth the effort put into it. I also think that its value as helping the reader "better absorb the stories of the day" is fairly speculative. As someone who does the NYTimes crossword quite frequently, I would also note that I'm suspicious of any puzzles that aren't done by sources which are known to be entertaining and clever (and I imagine I'm not alone on this) before investing my time—and I find it very unlikely that this will "attract traffic". One other thing is that it seems very incorrect to have an online crossword that requires you to print it out before completing it. I don't know what the answer is to that, but it seems like a poor use of technology, and could easily lead to the interpretation that Wikinews is feeling "print-inferiority", when we ought to be celebrating our differences. Putting in a non-interactive, non-collaborative puzzle that you have to print out to use seems antithetical to this project on a number of levels. I'm not rabidly anti-crossword (it's your time, you spend it how you choose, I don't think it's going to hurt anything), but I feel like there might be other "amusements" which would be more suited for our goals. --Fastfission 17:47, 12 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Is it possible for the crossword to be editable, to type in letters into the crossword. 16:36, 13 Feb 2005 (UTC)

As noted in otehr places, like the poll and on the policy page, I think crosswords are a bad idea, that has nothing to do either with wiki or news. --Regebro 14:06, 17 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Linking to Wikipedia articles[edit]

Surely a better way can be devised to link to Wikipedia articles than the w: prefix. The great advantage of Wikinews, it seems to me, over other news sources is that anything in an article can be instantly linked up to a full encyclopedia article on the subject, and I find having to create constructions like [[w:Condoleezza Rice|Condoleezza Rice]] to be more typing than it's worth (and prone to error). Maybe if some sort of new syntax could be developed, so that something like this would work: [[w:|Condoleeza Rice]]? I don't know if this is a worthwhile place to post something like this, but I wasn't sure where else to do it. --Fastfission 17:51, 12 Feb 2005 (UTC)

There is a method already in place, almost exactly as you suggest: [[w:Condoleezza Rice|]], which will be expanded on save to [[w:Condoleezza Rice|Condoleezza Rice]]. Also, the interwiki for other wikimedia sites work similarly, such as m: for, commons: for, etc. - User:Amgine
Well that's brilliant. Thanks! Nice to know that I wasn't alone in thinking that... --Fastfission 00:44, 13 Feb 2005 (UTC)

source template[edit]

Something that I do not like with the {{source}} template is the impossibility to link to a Wikipedia description of the news source. Not everybody is supposed to know that the BBC is the British Broadcasting Corporation, or that INSEE is the French national institute for statistics. Submarine 09:23, 14 Feb 2005 (UTC)

I don't quite understand - the 'pub' (publisher) field of the source template produces a link to Wikipedia. Dan100 (Talk) 16:24, 14 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Dan100 is exactly right. The pub field creates a link to Wikipedia, linking to the publisher's name. "British Broadcasting Corporation" or "BBC" will link to the correct article on Wikipedia. Is there something we could add to the template to make it more useable? - Amgine 18:17, 14 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Woops. I guess I wasn't really awake. :-) Submarine 09:40, 15 Feb 2005 (UTC)

I have written amrked up article how to get it to publish on site