Wikinews talk:Article flags

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So... with the categories in the review template which appears on the article talk pages.. should we only comment in those categories if we think there is a problem, or should we give a 'yes' vote? - Borofkin 03:34, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Not sure yet. At the moment I'd say, give a yes vote.--Eloquence 12:17, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)

If a fact changes after publication, should the fact in question be rephrased to reflect this, or is it understood the the facts are acurate at the date of publishing? And on a similar line, what is to keep vandels from published articles? (please say something other than the standard wiki answer.) --Astronouth7303 02:41, 22 Nov 2004 (UTC)

To answer your first question, change the fact, and add on the article an Update: Changed by Lyellin 03:01, 22 Nov 2004 (UTC): "changes made". Lyellin 03:01, 22 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Lack of Review[edit]

Since we're still in a very early stage, should we allow articles that were put up for review, but never actually reviewed, to be re-reviewed? People have a tendency to review what they think is interesting, so I'd imagine there are probably going to be some ignored articles till we get enough people on board. --Xanadu 21:24, 3 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Yes, I think that the review process should not be limited in time, similar to the Featured Article Candidate process on Wikipedia.--Eloquence
I am confused. The current guideline is that if there is no objection raised after certain length of time (such as 8 hours) from the beginning of the review, the article is deemed as "passed the review process."
If not, and there needs certain number of affirmative voices to pass the review process, then, I agree Xanadu that there should be "re-review" process or long review process until enough affirmation is gathered. Tomos 00:26, 4 Dec 2004 (UTC)

What review process? and other thoughts.[edit]

Some people here seems to have forgotten that this is Wiki*news*. If articles must pass serious peer-review scrutiny to be published on the front page, then it won't be news anymore. The Wikipedia articles on the French revolution are excellent, having been extended and adapted over years. The Wikinews articles on what happens in Ukraine will probably be as good in a couple of years too. ;-)

The fear is obviously that people will come with POV or incorrect claims. This is quickly fixed in other Wikimedias by somebody changing it. If opinions differs, it gets labeled as controversial. I do not see any reason why the same basic principles could not work here.

Worst case scenario: somebody claims to be an eyewitness but actually made everything up. How can we prevent that? Only by having other eyewittnesses. A review process does not help at all.

One of the best principles in life, and something that permeats wikimedia, is "do not fix a problem that doesn't exist". You are trying to implement a review process to handle your fears about what may happen. But collaborative news is something completely new, with a strong potential to be quite revolutionary, maybe even more so than wikipedia itself. Don't strangle it before it has born by pretending that you know what will happen. Let it free, and let it grow, and help it through the troublesome adolescence. Scrap the whole review process, and implement one if problems arises, tailored for the problems that do arise. --Regebro 01:49, 4 Dec 2004 (UTC)

The mainstream press has to struggle with the problem of accuracy too. Since Wikinews will let articles live a very long time inaccuracies in the original story can always be corrected, which in turn makes the article news again. If an article is absurd or completely fabricated, in few cases will it survive very long(the possible exception on the other side being if a witness or insider decides to leak their story directly onto Wikinews)169.233.6.98 02:46, 4 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I understand that when breaking news occurs, let's say an assassination, that it is crucial to get the story up on the main page for the masses to know. However, we do have to archive for future reference, and that's what I meant. Inaccuracies are a part of news, it's sometimes impossible to get the full story and sometimes one gets incorrect reports. However, as Wikinews expands, we're going to face more trolls who may post lies as news, and that's what we need to worry about the most and we need to devise some sort of review process for that. --Xanadu 16:49, 4 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Yes, in the future we may ecnounter problems and then we should solve them, when we know what those problems are. Any solution to a problem will have side effects. Solving problems that do not exist has only side effects and no benefits. --Regebro 10:55, 5 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Idea: "For eyewittnesses you could make a banner like: This is an eyewittnes report. We can´t assure correctness yet." Remove the banner when you´ve got new info sources. --MilesTeg 02:23, 11 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Good idea! --Regebro 08:31, 11 Dec 2004 (UTC)

archival stage -> snapshots[edit]

I would like to see an archive version come out as the direct outcome of the review stage, rather than 7 days later. This I suppose seems a bit risky given that review can end after 8 hours at present if no objections are raised. But to me it is risky to leave an approved article editable for 7 days and then automatically freeze it blindly.

I would propose to make archive a bit more flexible in response to this risk factor. I would see archives as like software relase versions, where there is a freeze and release of a given state, then work may continue on a development copy, with public users being directed in the first instance to the frozen public copy, and a link being provided to the editable version.

Once this subsequent editable version has passed its own review stage, then it may replace the public frozen version. Or if the story has changed very substantially, it may be given a different name (perhaps just adding a date to the old name, or perhaps completely changing the name/headline) and then released, so that as history unrolls, we have a number of release snapshots publicly available, plus still the editable (also public, but not *as* public) versions.

If we don't do this, we risk becoming an even more fluid news publisher than the existing news sites that remove their content. I am pestered by dreams of 1984.

I admit I haven't had time to fully read up on the current process, but it seems to be evolving anyway, so by the time I do I may be out of date already. How does my suggestion sound, or should I go back and read something else, if so, what?

This is not the same thing as the already existing history feature of the wiki. The history page contains as well as some 'good' versions, a great many 'bad' versions, and very few clues to show which are which. And first time users are not going to know to look there at all.

I also suggest a deadline for first review of an article, to encourage users to avoid adding endlessly to a story delaying its release. With this "feature freeze then publish, and iterate" process, users have more assurance that the things they want to add can be added later, meaning we can concentrate on short, punchy stories attacking the core points of relevence in the first release version, to get stories out more quickly.

Simeon 15:55, 6 Dec 2004

The idea of versioning& release sounds quite good to me.
We may be able to simply have a link to a past stable/release version and say "the officially released version of this article is available here". Tomos 04:34, 7 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Articles have edit histories, so... i'm not sure I understand what is actially being proposed. :) --Regebro 08:46, 7 Dec 2004 (UTC)

digital divide: concrete proposal for review stage[edit]

Only about 10% or so of us have access to the internet. The armies of the richest countries regularly massacre people in the poorest countries in order to retain control (mainly) of oil resources but also for other reasons of economic and political power, while claiming that this is to protect the people in the poor countries from dictators.

Independently of the work required to make the above two sentences into a more careful NPOV version, IMHO it is NPOV to say that the w:digital divide is a serious weakness in wikinews. i don't see how anyone can deny it. Of course, wikinews will be better than any of the commercial media, which mostly just present government/corporate viewpoints, but we could potentially be much better rather than just slightly better, but only if we are consistent with our aims.

The commercial media present the present situation (since beginning of 2004) in w:Haiti as a situation in which mainly USA and French military forces are helping solve a violent conflict between an authoritarian, not-quite-fairly elected president and rebels. Independently of whether this is NPOV or in fact extremely POV in such a way that it encourages the systematic killing of members of the majority political party in Haiti, IMHO we should be able to have consensus that any articles on Haiti would be much better reviewed if:

not only do we have three independent people making comments and coming to consensus, but also:
we make a reasonable attempt, e.g. via googling for local web pages, googling for mailing lists and attempting to email locals if necessary, to try to get the perceptions of facts (which, what, when, where, how, why, who) of at least three people representing different groups (political, social, religious, sex, wealth, etc) in the geographical place where the event happened and invite them to participate in the review

This is, of course, relevant to any place in the world. A report on an event in Paris, Texas, should ideally have comments from at least three people, in some way independent from one another, who live in Paris, Texas.

  • Maybe having something on each language site like en:Wikinews:Urgent Search for a Local Reviewer in Edinburgh, en:Wikinews:Urgent Search for a Local Reviewer in Bangalore,fr:Wikinews:Recherche urgente pour rapporteur local au Congo-Kinshasa, might be useful, where someone local puts the page on his/her watch this page list? i don't know, i'm just throwing around ideas here.
  • In places where a local, autonomous w:indymedia collective exists, contacting that local group should, in principle, be a good way to get a report on facts independent of government, corporations and political parties. This covers (as of Dec 2004) most of America (North+South), Europe, Oceania, a small number of places with mostly big populations in Asia, and a small number of places with mostly small populations in Africa. This means many places where there are no indymedia collectives, so it can be hard to judge the relationship between web sites, mailing lists there and ordinary people. Nevertheless, the lack of an indymedia group is a bad reason not to search for local information if we are trying to make wikinews neutral. Boud 03:28, 7 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Interesting idea. This leads to me to think about one question -

One of the important parts of the neutrality policy says that minor views should be presented as minor views. How could we judge if a view presented by a local or an indymedia journalist is major, minor, or something in between? I don't know. I think this is something we should address, though.
The first thing is the local population, check wikipedia entries for population numbers: e.g. compare the population of the city of w:Bhopal with the number of employees of w:Union Carbide - having a single opinion from a Bhopal resident probably represents 20 or so times (i have not checked this number, but i'm sure it's much bigger than 1, please don't copy it without checking) the population of the Union Carbide (ex-?)company.
In that case, it is already clear that the official company point of view is that of a tiny minority of the people directly affected by the situation (both Bhopal residents and Union Carbide employees).
Get to know demographics around the world: most of the basic info on the wikipedia will be close to correct, even if it's originally from the CIA factbook...
Do US/UK/France government spokespeople really represent the majority of residents in their countries? Even if yes, the populations of these three countries constitute only about 10% of the world's population. Ask yourself how much of the information in the news item comes from e.g. Indian, Chinese, Brazilian, Nigerian sources (even government sources there at least represent local opinion to some extent).
The question of minority vs majority among the locals is more difficult. There's definitely a danger that the locals who have the best internet access and write static (non-wiki) web pages justify a local dictatorial regime and that some POV's from non-locals are more accurate than by those locals whose information wikipedists will be able to obtain. IMHO it is still better to obtain this point of view, even if it's from a minority (locally) in a population which itself is a majority in terms of the news item, but of course it is best to do better than this if possible.
In the case of indymedia, there is a publicly archived mailing list showing the process of how a local group was accepted as part of the indymedia network: http://lists.indymedia.org/mailman/listinfo/new-imc and you can check the indymedia organising wiki for new IMCs (indymedia centres): http://docs.indymedia.org/view/Global/NewImc Of course, the process is not perfect, but the whole aim is to provide firsthand reporting by a variety of local individuals and groups sharing only minimal socio-political principles (typically: opposition to racism, sexism, ...) and most (but not all) local groups have publicly archived mailing lists, but in their local language. You need to build up your personal trust factors regarding individual indymedia collectives and the general indymedia process like any trust factor. Similarly for other local sources: e.g. keep a local file of URLs to what seem to be credible sources. Boud 12:51, 9 Dec 2004 (UTC)

By the way, why is the section titled digital divide? Not that I cannot see this as a part of the divide, but I thought you were talking about the digital divide in terms of computer& internet access availabilities earlier..

Tomos 04:44, 7 Dec 2004 (UTC)

i'm not sure if i understand the question. The digital divide is not sharp, it is not just between people with 100% access and those with 0% access, it also exists among the people who do have internet access: among the 600 million or so (probably more by now) of us who have internet access, a big fraction cannot touch type, only go occasionally to an internet cafe, do not (yet ;) know what a wiki is, etc., but many do have some way of producing content representing their perception of news events on www pages or in mailing lists. But because they are small in numbers in their internet presence, a conscious effort is required to include their information in wikinews. So a relatively easy step (from the comfort of your usual internet access point) is to maximise communication within the sort-of internet population in order to (approximately) overcome the biases which can be estimated (e.g. as above: the population of Bhopal is many, many times greater than the population of Union Carbide).
In terms of the 90% (or so) without any internet access, the place to start discussing this seems to be Wikinews:Digital Divide, but it depends on how much energy and commitment we collectively have. In the meantime, my comment here is much more concrete and relatively easy, it's about overcoming the digital divide among those who more-or-less have internet access. Boud 12:51, 9 Dec 2004 (UTC)


Thanks for the answers. The ideal definition of digital divide is not a serious issue here, I think. But the representation of various viewpoints is. So I thought further, reading your answers.
I think it is relatively easy to refer to an opinion survey conducted using large random sample to represent certain society's or social group's opinion. But it is not easy to be confident that one person's statement is representative of a social group he belongs to. That is one problem. It could be very difficult to deal with, potentially. (But maybe that's partly because of my personal preference. I don't like those quotes from lay people in news reports. That's so unreliable piece of information to understand a social group.
My tentative proposal is to be conservative regarding bringing a new (original) perspective as "major" or "minor," but make factual observations such as "on discussion lists and other places on the web, such and such reception seems to be prevalent." Or "several locals contacted by our reporters indicated independently from each other that this and this view are widely-held among them." How does that sound?
When it comes to contacting local civic groups, I think we should be very cautious of their own agenda/bias/interest.
When thinking about which view to represent, population is one important, but not the only criterion, I think. For one thing, our reporting on things like human rights issues would be very different if NPOV meant to represent views of all the people who ever lived. Somehow, we limit "whose views are relevant." How? I don't know precisely. Here are some thoughts.
  • Some news stories are written to indicate what could happen in the near future. Opinions of powerful political leaders, corporate exectives, influential experts, etc, have more news values because of potential influence they have on the course of the reported event. Is this a reasonably legitimate interest for news readers? I would say yes. But that means to think certain views are more relevant than others in relation to that interest. Views of the powerless is not as relevant or newsworthy, possibly.
  • Another thing that could possibly matter is justice. On political issues, views of various stakeholders and involved parties are more important than views of outsiders, for example. That's partly because readers want to know if a particular political event is just.
Some news outlets are catered to investors. Others are targeted for the people who are more attractive to advertisers of household items. There is no reason Wikinews should be like that.
At the same time, I don't think that "accurate, proportionate representation of the world or views of various social groups" is not the only thing that matters. That is one important thing to take into consideration, because readers will know/learn how the world is from news stories. But other things like how just an event is, and what the future possibilities of an ongoing event could be like, are something Wikinews community would want to take into account.
Well, does that make sense? It is hard to discuss these general matters without having concrete examples.. But my idea basically is that getting additional information about how locals think about an event is perhaps good, but sometimes not very important. It probably depends on type of news. I hope I don't sound too reactionary, and it is not my intention to discourage you at all, but that's my tentative opinion. Tomos 10:39, 11 12月 2004 (UTC)

Alternative suggestion for review process[edit]

I have been thinking a bit, and I have now a complete alternatuve review process which I think will be much easier to use and allow for much smoother work here on Wikinews.

The article stages would be three and a half:

Development[edit]

When the author is still looking for more information, or the author feels things are lacking from the article, he/she makes notes of what is missing on the talk page, and add the template:development to the page.

Publication[edit]

If the author or somebody else feels the article is ready for publication, the template:development is removed fom the article.

Dispute[edit]

If somebody has objections to the article, these are noted on the talk page, and a template used to raise objections are added to the page, such as template:NPOV, template:Disputed or maybe a template:NotNews and any other templates we find we need.

The talkpage is used to try to resolve the dispute. If the dispute is resolved, the dispute-template gets removed.

Deleted[edit]

If the dispute can not be solved, or article was deemed to be unsalvageable or not news, it gets deleted.


So, how does that sound? This means that we can get rid of all this articles hanging in review limbo . --Regebro 16:56, 9 Dec 2004 (UTC)

This is basically what I outlined in the Alternative Review Process Proposal: publication at author's discretion after development, and objections are noted via templates. I have been looking at the workings of the current review process and once again think that an implicit approval of all articles until disputed for some reason is the only way we can guarantee that pages don't remain in the middle of some process with nobody to mind its status. -- IlyaHaykinson 19:15, 10 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Yes, it's pretty much the same. +1 for that. --Regebro 20:05, 10 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Makes very good sense, and closer to how things work on wikinews, I think. The sequence of Publication > Objection > Deletion makes a good sense, in particular.
But I still think it is better to have some review process. One idea is x number of people explicitly approving the contents neutrality, accuracy, legality, etc. before an article can be published. Another is something like wikipedia's featured article selection. We can flag certain articles as "reviewed," and making it an option, not prerequisit, for a published article. I don't necessarily see one or the other superior at this point, but having some information about how much checking went into the production of a page is quite important.
In general, I think your idea is quite close to how Wikipedia works. It is very much possible, though, that Wikinews will become something quite different from Wikipedia. Right now, I think many active Wikinews crews are also Wikipedians, and bring general conceptions of how to do things on wiki. Review is one of the things that Wikipedia does not do formally. Is formal review against wiki in general? I don't know, but perhaps not. So, I think we should be open to experimenting what we haven't tried seriously on Wikipedia. Tomos 09:42, 11 12月 2004 (UTC)

I think we need dispute tags, but I also think we need an effective accelerated process for flagging articles which have been fact-checked and are considered good by the community in their current state. In general, we should embrace the principle of giving the reader as much information as possible about the community view of an article. Note that the current review process is already optional, so aside from the addition of dispute tags, you do not suggest something radically different from what we already have. We just need to make the process more streamlined and easier to understand.--Eloquence 03:58, 12 Dec 2004 (UTC)

How about a template, at the bottom of the main article, saying "This article has been reviewed by the following Wikinews visitors: <list of people who've looked at the article>", and encourage anyone who approves of an article to add their name (or remove it later if the article changes to not be good anymore). Having a list of people who vouch for an article is probably good feedback, and isn't quite a nebulous flag like "reviewed". -- IlyaHaykinson 08:18, 12 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Hmm, interesting idea. I do think that we should try very hard to avoid a faction-like situation where some articles are approved by one group but opposed by another and vice versa -- that might lead away from NPOV. So in that scheme, I would want the tag to be replaced with something else if there are objections to the article.--Eloquence 08:22, 12 Dec 2004 (UTC)
We could have "List of users approving: [list] / List of users disapproving: [list]" — or is that exactly what you wanted to avoid? Part of the problem is that articles can (and should, in my opinion) change over some time, and approval (or disapproval) of one version might not be the approval (or disapproval) of a later version. Nevertheless perhaps we can try such an approval-list template on a few articles and see how it goes?
My general problem with the current process is that it encourages a slow review process that, honesly, doesn't result in totally high quality news articles. We now have several dozen active users, and only 150 news articles, and yet a good precentage of the pages are so-so quality in terms of comprehensiveness and/or NPOV issues. If we reword the suggested policy to only put pages under explicit review that appear to need attention (like the {{cleanup}} tag on en:Wikipedia, for example), we might get away with the same level of quality but less articles in limbo. And a list of explicit approval and disapproval will make it easy to count up support and gauge general feeling about an article's state. -- IlyaHaykinson 09:07, 12 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Removal of notnews flag[edit]

Please see discussion [1]and[2]. Noone thinks it's good the way it is and some want it completely removed. People who think something like it is needed should develop a new one while considering the views of those who have been discussing it. Neutralizer 13:35, 30 March 2006 (UTC)

Ok, I came to put it back but Chic already did it. Neutralizer 01:20, 31 March 2006 (UTC)

Replacing with finished tag[edit]

I replaced the {{Notready}} tag with the {{finished}} tag [3]. The Notready tag says: Please edit it. If consensus is reached, change the {{publish}} tag to {{develop}}, and remove this template. If not, remove this template. The finished tag says: This article has been marked as finished by an editor. Please look over this article to ensure that it complies with all policies and guidelines. Once you've approved the article, replace this tag with {{publish}}. If you disagree with the use of this tag, replace it with {{develop}}. The finished tag -for obvious reasons- makes more sense to me. FellowWikiNews (W) 21:00, 12 October 2006 (UTC)