Wikinews talk:Crossword poll

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Polls are Divisive[edit]

I am strongly opposed to the use of polls for every small issue on which there is debate. They are by nature divisive. - Amgine 21:34, 5 Feb 2005 (UTC)

About Wikinews polls[edit]

The crossword puzzle is a pleasant diversion from the deadly serious stories of the day.

However, I'm starting to understand some of the negative comments regarding the perceived harm of such a diversion to the focus of the Wikinews site, so I'm neutral concerning the outcome of this poll.

However, please allow me a short opportunity to comment on what I've witnessed so far in Wikinews polls.

On a site as young as Wikinews, it appears to be impossible to control a poll for fairness.

As we saw with the logo contest, Wikinews polls are easily distorted by many "drive-by" voters, who rarely or never contribute to the site. This causes a "consensus" to be reached that does not reflect the views of the contributors who actually participate on this site.

If Wikinews were a more mature site like Wikipedia, with a larger number of regular contributors, we could have a fair vote.

As our voting process now stands, flipping a coin would be an equally fair method to determine the outcome.

Nevertheless, I appreciate Ilya's attempt to mediate this dispute, so I will go and vote.


DV 00:28, 6 Feb 2005 (UTC)

I believe more time and effort has already been lost in the disagreement than will ever be lost in adding diversionary content to the site. However, in a blatantly biased phrasing of the poll there will never be consensus. Further, there are no policies in place to allow, govern, or judge the poll. I am very strongly opposed to the use of a poll in this case. - Amgine 00:37, 6 Feb 2005 (UTC)
I agree - more "focus" is being lost by debating whether or not to keep the puzzle than the puzzle will ever divert from anyone on its own merits.
Is anyone seriously in danger of needing intervention to attend a 12-step meeting to address their addiction to crossword puzzles, brought on by Wikinews? :)
Please consider that if the crossword puzzle is rejected, it will be a slap in the face to long-time Wikipedia contributor Dysprosia, who has made a fine contribution to Wikinews by supplying these puzzles.
The puzzle is easily ignored if you don't go for that type of thing.
There is a long tradition for crosswords in otherwise serious news outlets. It's one of the few types of "games" that force the "player" to think. If it has topical references, it's another way in which those references become absorbed into the fabric of our culture.
The argument that a puzzle weakens the focus of Wikinews is understandable, however it does so only in the abstract. In practice, no one will be diverted from contributing news stories to Wikinews unless the puzzles are extremely difficult, and take many hours to solve, in which case most sane folks would give up that day's puzzle. — DV 01:01, 6 Feb 2005 (UTC)
I believe, in this particular case, there is an effort to frame the question in a particular manner which is unfair, and unwiki, as witness your own correction to the poll. "allow"? in the main namespace? Which is not the reality of "Remove from Wikinews", which would be the result of this poll. I report on politics; I don't play the game. - Amgine 01:22, 6 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Oh give me a home where contributors roam[edit]

I'm on a WikiBreak, so pretend this comes from some anonymous twit. (I would have not logged in, but somehow that feels dishonest. :-)

I propose we start a poll on whether this poll was appropriate, then elect a committee to investigate that poll, have it cast a decision, and implement this subject to the approval of Jimbo and the board of trustees.

Failing that, we could stop wasting time and let people who want to work on crossword puzzles work on crossword puzzles.

Wikinews is not paper. That means "Wikinews does not need to follow every convention a newspaper does", not "Wikinews should eschew all conventions of newspapers that are not directly news-related". Otherwise, get rid of the water cooler, the mailing list, the IRC channel and all the other non-news related nonsense, so we can get down to business. Yeah, yeah, I know. False analogy. Don't worry, this is just rhetoric, not an argument based on logic. The whole issue is too silly for logic.

And as to the validity of this poll, if I may quote: "Closing date of 00:00, Sunday January 20th, 2005, UTC." What's sadder? People maintaining a crossword puzzle or people cut-and-paste polling on everything they don't like? One day, "consensus" will be synonymous with "poll" on the Wikisomethings—we're very close to that already. If that day comes, I'll close up shop and become an anon contributor again. I'm just afraid that by that time, anons will no longer be allowed to edit. This all makes me sad, really. Sure, it's just one person's initiative, but I feel it reflects attitudes that are all too common these days. Clap your hands if you believe in common sense and cooperation! :-)

When readers start to complain en masse about the crossword, that's when I'd get worried. Don't try to kill contributor initiatives because you don't like them, kill them if you can make the argument that the project is harmed by them (and "some contributors might spend time I think is better spent on other things" isn't going to cut the mustard, sorry). JRM 12:02, 6 Feb 2005 (UTC)

<chuckles and claps> Of course, the problem is - the people who insist on the poll are probably not reading the discussion page. I suspect they don't want to actually discuss it. - Amgine 18:13, 6 Feb 2005 (UTC)
JRM, I agree with the idea that not everything should be subject to a poll. However, in all fairness, my sense is that Ilya started the poll because the question was at loggerheads over intractable positions.
If you have some creative ideas how to mediate between these two perspectives, I'm sure it would be appreciated.
Amgine, I haven't seen anyone unwilling to discuss the issue, I just think a few contributors have fairly fixed ideas about what constitutes a news site, while other contributors are more flexible and don't take what we're doing here quite so seriously.
I'm not discounting either side.
It's curious that no one has voted "No" just yet, so perhaps no one really has strong objections after all.
DV 18:33, 6 Feb 2005 (UTC)
I have not seen discussion about the issue from those opposed to crosswords. I have seen a single argument put forth: crosswords are not news. This argument is, of course, a POV. On the other hand, people in favour of the crosswords have discussed several justifications for it, as well as justifications for its exclusion, have brought up where it should be linked to (arguing for and against various placements), and have come up with compromises.
But not in the poll. - Amgine 18:44, 6 Feb 2005 (UTC)

I have two opinions.

First, we can and we should judge the benefits & harms of having any feature, rather than categorically accept or reject them because they are in a conventional English-language newspapers or because they are not news. For example, op-eds are possibly against our neutral policy. So we should be concerned. If we accept op-eds, we should accept only those that don't contradict with the policy.

Do we possibly allow other common newspaper features such as cartoon strips, op-eds, classifieds, letters from readers, etc.? Is this a slippery slope we are on? I see some of the non-news features useful in terms of, say, developing a stable readership. Not necessarily if we discuss and assess individual features.

This first opinion (more about general principle) I hope is agreeable for those of you who don't agree with my take on crosswords' potential benefits and harms.

Second, my personal (not-so-confident) assessment of benefits and harms of crosswords are as follows:

  1. (Pro) We are not only news source like a wire news agencies are, but we are creating news sites. For that reason, we value readers-site visitors, as well as news outlets who use our news as resource.
  2. (Pro) If we can supply free crossword puzzles, it could potentially be one more reason news outlets would use our resource.
  3. (Pro) It is good to have some fun.
  4. (Con) Many crosswords tap into trivias on things like old movies and TV shows. Could we possibly lose a bit of our global nature if we offer crosswords that require extensive knowledge of, say, British social and cultural histories and not that of American, Indian, or Australian?
  5. (Con) We do not have ample human resources right now. If an extra feature creates lots of concerns, such as the neutrality issue, then we better give it up and focus on news.
  6. (Con) It is good to be pure and professionally focused on news production.

Based on these, I think crosswords are welcome as long as they do not have strong cultural bias or neutrality problem. Is it likely to create those problems? Perhaps not, given that the contributor is a trusted wikipedian. If the crosswords can draw on vocaburaries used in the news, that would be quite an enhancement.

Tomos 23:43, 7 Feb 2005 (UTC)

The Mission Statement[edit]

is a misnomer. But regarding Davodd's vote: First, put forth an argument as to why it is not news. Second:

  • It is founded on the belief that we can, together, build a great and unique resource which will enrich the media landscape. Under the "news and only news" interpretation, some of the things which do not belong on wikinews main page: Weather forecasts (predictive), watercooler, mailing list, #wikinews, welcome, newsroom, get involved, sister projects. Yet all of these are elements of building a great and unique media resource, as do Crosswords.
  • While we are faced with many new challenges, Wikinews will adopt the key principles which have made Wikipedia and the other Wikimedia websites what they are today: neutrality, free content, and an open decision-making process. Under the guidance of an open decision-making process, Wikinews can - and should - determine its own content.
  • we believe that everyone can make a useful contribution to painting the big picture of what is happening in the world around us. This points directly at both the source question, and the useful characteristic. The crossword is a contributed content; the contributor attempts to make each crossword relevant to recent news, as well as informing and educating the readers which are certainly elements of the fourth estate. It is also specifically useful as it has increased traffic to the site.

- Amgine 20:45, 6 Feb 2005 (UTC)

I have added the following to the mission statement:
Wikinews will be a resource both informational and entertaining. We will welcome contributors and encourage them to explore different concepts of presenting interesting, timely information. We will seek out new formats of presenting our content, and will strive to open doors to let people across the world benefit from our work.
-- IlyaHaykinson 07:44, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Why I no longer support my objection to crosswords[edit]

Folks, I'd like to apologize for misreading the community quite a bit. It was premature and probably unnecessary to start the poll, given the existing venues available for discussion.

I've been following the discussion here, and looking at other news sites (public and private) and have come to understand that my view of this issue was very limited and unnecessarily biased.

I changed my vote from Neutral to Yes to reflect my point of view. Sorry for causing an unnecessary debate where not much of one really seems to exist. -- IlyaHaykinson 07:55, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC)