Wikinews talk:Style guide

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Refactors[edit]

Discussions which have been implemented in the style guide have been refactored out. Please create a new section to discuss new changes and ideas.

  • 15 May 2005
    • Title Capitalization poll, reference vs. source, date vs. dateline vs. byline, date format and templates, use of subpages, use of fullstops in abbreviations, non-internet reference/original notes, names/titles of people, POV issues, spelling, sections, currencies, wide range of updates w/o discussion and w/discussion, citing wires.


From Talk:China detains and beats mourners for Zhao Ziyang[edit]

In an article, the use of links are defined as follows:

  • See also
    • Links to related Wikinews, Wikipedia articles, Wikisource documents, Commons and Upload files
  • Sources (used in article)
    • Online articles or sites - these are by nature ephemeral and may change, move, or disappear
    • Witnesses and personal observations - these are elements of Wikinews:Original reporting and should be archived online under [[Talk:Article name/Notes]]
  • References
    • Texts - should be cited using Author, Title of work, Publisher, copyright and year of publication, ISBN if available
    • Periodical artical (Journals, magazines, newspapers, etc.) cite Author, Title of article, Title of periodical, Volume and/or issue, Publisher, additional identifying characteristics if known.
  • External links
    • Online articles or sites which contain related subject matter. Wikinews does not take any responsibility for nor imply support or a relationship with external sites

Article length[edit]

See discussion about this at Wikinews:Water_cooler/policy#Minimum_length_of_articles_and_breaking_news

Wikinews:Style guide#Names of publications and articles[edit]


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With DannyS712's attention to detail highlighting a flaw here, well not a flaw, but over-simplicity and lack of nuance and breath of possible sources. User:Pi zero recently commented italicization should depend on whether ABC News (Australia) was referred to as ABC or ABC News. If this is not corrected soon, I fear Wikinews could develop a formatting style which is unique and not used anywhere else in the world. Developing a unique style which is not widely accepted elsewhere would impede contributors. It would also increase difficulty for reviews by someone like me. I am very familiar with w:The Chicago Manual of Style and w:WP:MOS and they are largely in agreement. AP Stylebook barely differs, as far as I know. I would not mind writing a proposal for this section of our WN:SG. --SVTCobra 21:09, 12 September 2019 (UTC)

@SVTCobra: There seems to be some confusion over what the style guide says to do, which presumably needs to be cleared up before we can meaningfully discuss the merits of what it says to do. For example, I saw you correctly removed the italics from "NBC", but your edit summary suggested you might not have been aware that what you were doing was what the style guide said to do. I've tried to further clarify the phrasing of that passage. --Pi zero (talk) 03:48, 25 September 2019 (UTC)

WN:NOT and length[edit]


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WN:NOT, which is not tagged as a policy, guideline, etc., notes that "Wikinews is not paper. Thus, Wikinews has no size limits, can include links, can be more timely, etc. It also means that the style and length of writing appropriate for paper may not be appropriate here."

WN:PYRAMID is a part of the Style guide, a guideline, and says "Use brief paragraphs — between 30 and 80 words is considered acceptable in newspaper writing"

Should WN:PYRAMID have this recommendation removed? @Acagastya:, who removed " — between 30 and 80 words is considered acceptable in newspaper writing". I restored it, but was reverted. What do others think? Should the "Use brief paragraphs" remain with the word length explanation, with no word length explanation, or not at all (or something else)? --DannyS712 (talk) 06:46, 10 April 2020 (UTC)

To begin with, feel free to go through Wikinews:Content guide, which is an official policy. It says: "Before starting your first Wikinews story, you may want to familiarize yourself with what Wikinews is not." Official policy stands above the guideline, and it endorses WN:NOT. Besides, what is considered okay in newspaper has zero relevance here.
•–• 06:49, 10 April 2020 (UTC)
"Use brief paragraphs" and "Each paragraph covers a single topic only" makes the comment about newspaper and number of sentences redundant. Sometimes it is just not possible to get done with 80 words. Sometimes it takes more than three lines to talk about one topic. So if they are properly followed, the rest two are no longer necessary.
•–• 06:51, 10 April 2020 (UTC)
So how should "brief" be judged? In the eyes of each individual reviewer? --DannyS712 (talk) 06:56, 10 April 2020 (UTC)
The particular provision about thirty-to-eighty-words has been a bit out of step with current practice for some time. I'm not in disagreement with the observation that it oversimplifies things; what we might want to put in its place calls for some careful thought, seems to me. We want to avoid bureaucracy, prescriptivism, and excessive detail; we also want to provide some guidance; and we don't want things to become an anarchy ruled by reviewer preference, either. (I've been reflecting lately that, going forward, we ought to have some really elegantly simple guidance somewhere —not in in the style guide, but somewhere— about the character of the role of reviewer, and interaction between reviewer and reporter. These are very deep matters; we need to carefully avoid descending into bureaucracy, but we also need to nudge things away from arbitrary reviewer preference; and reporters need to be able to work smoothly under the guidance of reviewers, which is also a skill. Very challenging; new territory, and important to help things remain on an even keel as we grow.) --Pi zero (talk) 10:49, 10 April 2020 (UTC)
(Yes, this is challenging; brief meditation on current best-practice suggests I could probably write a medium-long paragraph just on the subject of paragraph length — and contemplating that, I'm immediately wary against instruction bloat.) --Pi zero (talk) 10:58, 10 April 2020 (UTC)
To start with (er, hadn't planned that to be a pun), I've tweaked the first word of that bullet item from "Use" to "Prefer".

The nothing-but-short-paragraphs style is not hard to find in various on-line newspapers around the world; a few years ago, we were also getting it from students from University of Wollongong (turned out they were taught to write that way), and in discussion amongst reviewers it was remarked that the effect could become problematic in itself. The standard comment we crafted and starting deploying was that while single-sentences paragraphs are not necessarily a problem in news writing, a very high proportion of very short paragraphs can produce a bullet-like effect that disrupts article flow. All of which is rather long and complex compared to the short, pithy items on the bulleted list at WN:PYRAMID. --Pi zero (talk) 11:25, 10 April 2020 (UTC)

I've further tweaked things, and attempted to add a third subitem re the bullet-like effect.
  • The subitem about what constitutes a short paragraph feels a bit more prescriptive than implied by the word "Prefer".
  • The new subitem about the bullet-like effect feels like it could somehow be worded better.
--Pi zero (talk) 14:54, 10 April 2020 (UTC)