Wikinews:Water cooler/policy

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Policies and guidelines and the Style guide contain or link to most of the current en.Wikinews policies and guidelines, however policy is based on the accepted practices of the day on Wikinews, often these might not be written down. This section of the Water cooler focuses on discussions regarding policy issues.

You may wish to check the archives to see if a subject has been raised previously.

Seeking clarification on issuance of press accreditation[edit]

Is English Wikinews press accreditation for English Wikinews, or for the Wikimedia movement? See Wikinews_talk:Accreditation_requests#Accreditation_for_Wikimedia_contributors. Blue Rasberry (talk) 14:06, 26 May 2015 (UTC)

It seems to me that en.wn's accreditation is for journalism within the movement, and by en.wn. I see no conflict between these two things. I maintain there is nothing remotely exclusionary about asking someone who wants to be accredited by Wikinews to do some work with us; if somebody thinks that's an undue burden, I'd like to know why they think so. Wikinews is being asked to vouch for their conduct, they'd be invoking Wikinews's reputation by using our accreditation, clearly we want to know who we're vouching for. Asking them to do some work with us as a preliminary to accreditation seems to me like common sense; am I missing someting? --Pi zero (talk) 15:18, 26 May 2015 (UTC)
I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that the idea might be, "I want to be credentialed so I can go to events and take photos as a credentialed journalist." That's totally cool; very laudable, in fact. But, EN WN is comprised of a group of people, who've 'earned their stripes' so-to-speak as citizen journalists at THAT PROJECT. So, if a person wants to be accredited by the project, we simply ask that they show some willingness to play well with others. Accreditation is really nothing more than 'this organization vouches for me that I'm a legit journalist.' --Bddpaux (talk) 16:30, 26 May 2015 (UTC)
Blue Rasberry brings up some salient points here and elsewhere. But pinging off what I said above, sometimes it's easier to down-shift to a simpler answer. EN WN accredits people as reporters...nothing more, nothing less. When submitting a request for accred., one must simply ask (and hopefully be able to answer) 'Here is why you people should vouch for me as a trustworthy journalist.' --Bddpaux (talk) 16:40, 26 May 2015 (UTC)
@Pi zero: The part that you might be missing is that if English Wikinews does not want to offer press accreditation broadly to the Wikimedia community, then it may be worthwhile for someone to set up an accreditation process off EN WN which is for anyone in the Wikimedia community. If English Wikinews wants to be the hub of all accreditation for the Wikimedia movement, then maybe that would benefit this project or maybe it would harm it. I cannot say because I know nothing about English Wikinews. My intuition is that press accreditation is a powerful and prominent position to have, and that I would not want to encroach on any work that EN WN has done in this space without confirming that the EN WN community makes no claim to this space except as it relates to EN WN.
It sounds like both @Bddpaux: and Pi zero think that English Wikinews accreditation is for English Wikinews participants. That seems like the most obvious answer, but on the Wikinews:Accreditation requests, there are some statements which suggest that at some time someone imagined that English Wikinews would be at the center of all press accreditation for the international Wikimedia community. I do not want to encroach upon the domain of this project if this project is managing that duty, but if this project is making no claim to international management of all Wikimedia press accreditation, then I do wish to consider how people outside this project ought to seek press accreditation.
It seems that English Wikinews press accreditation is for English Wikinews contributors. If there is more to say than that, then let me know, otherwise, this issue is resolved. Blue Rasberry (talk) 18:22, 26 May 2015 (UTC)
@Bluerasberry: I disagree with your interpretation. I'm not saying Wikinews shouldn't extend accreditation to wikimedians. Think about what accreditation is. If you want to have accreditation that means anything, there have to be standards to live up to. If you don't want to have to meet standards for accreditation, then you can't also have accreditation mean anything. Think about this:
  • Accreditation of a reporter means that some accrediting party vouches for the reporter. When the reporter wants somebody to give them press access, and they say "see, I'm accredited by such-and-such", the question is then whether or not the people granting access recognize such-and-such as a valid accrediting agency. There are two parts to this. The accrediting agency has to have a good journalistic reputation, and for some purposes the accrediting agency also has to have a certain legal status.
  • Reputation: Wikinews has spent years accumulating journalistic reputation. We have a high standard for publication, and over time that high standard earns us respect, cumulatively. You can't get the respect without the standards, and the respect is what you're asking for in this case.
  • Legal status: This is an additional challenge. The Wikimedia Foundation doesn't want to be legally liable for the behavior of reporters, and they wouldn't be suited to the task anyway because the Foundation doesn't have journalistic values; they have their hands more than full with their broader mission, so you won't get any help there. Many organizations, including various governments, will not recognize someone as a reporter unless they're accredited by an independent legal entity, so for a time recently we were preparing to set up a distinct non-profit (we had in mind to base it in Iceland) for the purpose; but the Wikimedia Foundation decided to stand in the way of our doing that, and although we might eventually have moved forward despite the Foundation's attempts to trip us up, they did succeed in killing the momentum of our effort.
--Pi zero (talk) 20:07, 26 May 2015 (UTC)
@Pi zero: I am asking if people at this project want to routinely approve requests for press accreditation on shaky information presented by people who have no intention of contributing to English Wikinews. The answer is "no" - I think we understand each other completely.
Until and unless you or anyone else here wishes to both greatly lower your standards for approving accreditation and increase your legal liability in issuing it much more often with less review, then I wish find a Wikimedia project with lower standards and a larger appetite for risk that will issue and maintain press accreditation for people which English Wikinews does not wish to support. We have no conflicting interests here - I wish English Wikinews the best, and likewise I hope that you support the need for people outside of English Wikinews to have press accreditation. Thanks. I would talk more anytime.
It would be awesome if anyone from Wikinews wanted to support any other Wikimedia project which were to offer press accreditation in the future, perhaps focused on supporting Wikimedia Commons. Wikinews definitely is not responsible for serving the entire world and Wikimedia community, but to the extent that there is synergy for collaboration, I hope that everyone here can set clear boundaries on what they claim as the domain of this project, and support other ideas to serve the rest of the Wikimedia community when those people are outside the EN WN domain.
The Wikimedia Foundation is a bureaucratic machine. I am not going to criticize it except to say that I know it acts in an awkward way like any other nonprofit organization of its size would, and that I can think of no better way for it to manage anything. Whatever problems the Wikinewsie group had in the past, I still believe that the Wikimedia Foundation would give it or its successor funding if enough people supported a project of the group. I am a fan of the International Modern Media Institute and wish that a media org could be based there, but I would settle for whatever is easy to start. Blue Rasberry (talk) 21:30, 26 May 2015 (UTC)
«I am asking if people at this project want to routinely approve requests for press accreditation on shaky information presented by people who have no intention of contributing to English Wikinews. The answer is "no"» is partly correct. I personally try to think of English Wikinews as a hub for accreditation for other Wikinews language editions (with EN.WN contributions required to establish and support the application, but such ongoing contributions are not required AFAIK). --Gryllida 05:12, 24 June 2015 (UTC)
I definitely think we should. Hawkeye7 (talk) 12:53, 25 June 2015 (UTC)

ArbCom elections[edit]

I propose the same dates, rules, procedures as in 2013 (last year things were a bit off kilter). (See WN:Water cooler/policy/archives/2013/July#ArbCom elections, Wikinews:Arbitration Committee/2013 election.)

The community must agree on all election procedures by July 1, and election committee members by July 10.
The deadline for nominations is 2000 UTC July 17.
Voting will take place from 2000 UTC July 18 to 2000 UTC July 30. Questions and comments may be made during that time period.
Since the incumbent members' seats expire on August 3, the election committee will declare the winners on about July 31, and the new term begins after declaration. Should any case be before the ArbCom at election time, the current committee continues to sit after turnover on cases that started under the current committee. Any new case after turnover is for the new committee.

As worked well for the past several years, I strongly recommend the committee not create a page for "questions for all candidates"; questions for each candidate should be located under that candidate. This is the way things have been done in all but two previous elections; once there was no place for questions at all (the undesirability of this is obvious, I hope), and once, five years ago, we had a page for questions for all candidates, and it turned into a political circus and an ordeal for the nominees (en.wn ArbCom is a judicial body, so should be scrupulously apolitical). I'm not the only one who experienced the circus five years ago and came away from it with a powerful conviction it should not be allowed to happen again.

We need at least two people for the election committee. Volunteers? --Pi zero (talk) 17:21, 20 June 2015 (UTC)

I can't volunteer for the election committee as I won't be available for most of the election period (I'll be a few thousand miles away with little to no internet access). I do think that given the present state of English Wikinews that having an ArbCom is bordering on unnecessary. If we must have an ArbCom, the rules outlined above seem reasonable though. —Tom Morris (talk) 22:02, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
Thanks. (How did internet get so important to our lives so quickly?)
(Myself, I'm looking at good things for the future of Wikinews, and see ArbCom as important to that future.) --Pi zero (talk) 22:12, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
The proposed rules are fine by me. As far as needing an ArbCom, I've always thought we have one so someone else doesn't impose theirs on us, rightly or wrongly. --RockerballAustralia contribs 22:16, 30 June 2015 (UTC)

Pages created.

Note section Wikinews:Arbitration Committee/2015 election#Election committee members. --Pi zero (talk) 01:40, 1 July 2015 (UTC)

  • The election committee certifies the results. This is ordinarily a very light duty, as it is usually very clear which votes are valid and therefore who got how many. Any admin is allowed to remove an invalid vote (usually it's simply moved from the "votes" section to the "comments" section), and that tends to happen promptly; I've never seen a case where the election committee had reason to override such a decision. If we should ever have a tie vote, which iirc happened five years ago, the election committee would be responsible for setting the dates for the run-off election; and the election committee would also arbitrate obscure cases of qualification (that also happened five years ago, I think, with someone asking whether they could vote "in advance" and the committee deciding not to allow it). Btw, that run-off election? Never happened, because one of the elected Arbs resigned just after the election but before the run-off, so the election committee simply let in everyone in the tie as that made six Arbs.
  • ArbCom usually has very light duties as well. I believe it's been (wait for it) five years since we've had a formal case before ArbCom. When a case does get that far, ArbCom hears it, carefully and seriously, serving as our judicial body of last resort.
--Pi zero (talk) 13:40, 1 July 2015 (UTC)
I couldn't parse where to add myself and whether I should just edit here or someone has to approve it, but I would be willing to check the validity of votes and to count them, which I understood the elections committee does. --Gryllida 22:23, 5 July 2015 (UTC)
In my time here there's never been controversy over volunteers for the election committee. If a seconding-the-motion has merit, I do so. I've seen folks add their names directly there, or volunteer here and be added there; I've added your name there with an edit description providing the diff of your edit here. --Pi zero (talk) 23:30, 5 July 2015 (UTC)