Wikinews talk:Style guide

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to navigation Jump to search


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

WN:NOT and length[edit]

This conversation has been marked for the community's attention. Please remove the {{flag}} when the discussion is complete or no longer important.

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)

Gender policy in style guide[edit]

While I approve the general sentiment of the Sex, gender, and pronouns policy, I'd reckon it needs some rewording. Specifically, I think a policy similar to MOS:GENDERID on Wikipedia should be adopted, and outdated or possibly offensive terms should be removed from the style guide. Also, sex should not be considered equal to gender/used interchangeably with gender, as they're quite different terms. I'd propose renaming the policy to "Gender identity and pronouns", and changing it as below:


In general, a person's gender may be inferred and appropriate pronouns used. However there are certain cases where there may be confusion, or the subject expresses a specific preference, usually involving transgender or non-binary persons or other sexual minority or sexual health topics.

In these cases, use the person's expressed gender self-identification. Avoid referring to the person by previous gender identity, unless the individual's gender is an intrinsic element of the story, include an explanatory note stating the known facts; do not unduly sensationalize their part therein. When addressing works or statements made by a trans or non-binary person before their transition, use their current name unless it conflicts with the preferences of the person. Do not use an individual's former name, unless it is crucially important.

Avoid using terms such as transsexual or transvestite, unless the person self identifies with such terms. While articles should not be retroactively edited to reflect an individual's change in gender identity after the fact, if a mistake is made with misgendering an individual, the article should be corrected promptly.

  • Darren is a transgender man who wrote a book on the history of supermarkets under his previous name. When referencing Darren's work, his current name and gender identity should be used. "In his book "The Supermarket Anthology", Darren wrote that "supermarkets have faced many obstacles in keeping produce fresh for consumers.""
  • Sam is a politician who has just come out as non-binary. If writing about Sam, reference their former name in the lede and avoid drawing undue attention to it. "Sampletown Mayor Sam, formerly known as Sarah, has announced that they are non-binary."
  • Amy, a transgender female, is being interviewed due to her status as a local community organiser, and her trans status is mentioned. Do not refer to her by her previous gender or name, but note that she is transgender. "Amy, a trans woman, brought up the difficulty she had coming out initially, fearing rejection."


I think these are pretty common sense updates and reflect updating terminology and understanding in regards to referring to trans and non-binary individuals. If anyone has any concerns or questions, do ask and I'll try my best to respond. --LivelyRatification (talk) 00:48, 25 May 2021 (UTC)

It says "sex/gender" so we don't end up in a situation where we are unnecessarily arguing over the label's definition, and directly identify what we are talking about and how it is supposed to be. I re-read our current policy, and I find it to the point. Is it short and precise -- to the point without any unnecessary complication. I read what you wrote above, (actually before reading the current policy), and frankly, I find it using too many words while achieving too little. I took the liberty of going through the archives, looking for articles about transgender, finding all of them complying with the style guide, and also complying with what you wrote. Given the advantage of having a smaller policy, which makes it easy to do a duck-test, I don't see any reason to have a longer one. If there is a glaring problem in the current policy, please point out. If it is leading to articles being created which are somehow problematic, please point out (but looking at the archives, that does not seem to be the case, since at its core, the above text is trying to say what the policy already says.) If there are any edge cases that needs coverage, please point out.
•–• 04:09, 25 May 2021 (UTC)
That's a fair point, and looking through the archives, I don't think there is much of a problem with them. "If it ain't broke", I suppose. --LivelyRatification (talk) 00:31, 26 May 2021 (UTC)