Wikinews talk:Tips on reviewing articles

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Pay-to-view sources?[edit]

What is the policy on pay-to-view sources? Is there an exemption where institutions (like colleges and public libraries) subscribe to news databases? What if I bought a hardcopy newspaper? --InfantGorilla (talk) 10:10, 10 May 2010 (UTC)

I hadn't read WN:CITE for a while (and couldn't remember its address.) I see from that that the answers are no (colleges) yes (public libraries) yes (if I buy a newspaper.)
I missed the 'See here' links, and I suggest that we find an alternative to floating them off to the right.
--InfantGorilla (talk) 11:54, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
Done You're quite right; the floats are easy to miss. I absorbed their links into the content of the checklist. --Pi zero (talk) 19:09, 10 May 2010 (UTC)

From the Portal page text[edit]

Read down to the heading "Developing communities from portals"

It reads, "The discussion on the local proposal is leaning towards the policy that local communities should have the right to maintain their own NPOV/style guidelines... "

Consider that, as a reviewer. 24.125.55.90 (talk) 06:06, 4 September 2010 (UTC)

  • Points out that that page was last changed in 2009, and subsequent discussions have certainly taken consensus elsewhere.* In fact, I'm going to remove the outdated material. Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 15:01, 5 September 2010 (UTC)

Big picture[edit]

Perspective is still in short supply, although a checklist is handy if one understands how to wield it.

  • Review has three intertwined facets: copyediting, source-checking, and providing feedback.
  • Considerations when ordering review on a long review queue.
  • Tactics — pass and recommend for future; pass and submit a change for someone else to review.
  • Authentication and verification of OR.

--Pi zero (talk) 17:39, 21 May 2013 (UTC)

  • Recommend breaking edits during review into small units, with an eye toward useful diffs and explanatory edit summaries; helps author learn, and tends to cause reviewer to think about and hone xyr technique. Also helps to clarify the extent of the reviewer's edits.

--Pi zero (talk) 05:06, 13 August 2013 (UTC)

Small things first[edit]

If I was giving advice, the first is to check the small stuff. The small stuff often takes a lot of time to fix, and if there are enough problems, tend to indicate bigger problems that will likely result in article not passing review. If there are enough of these small things, kick it back to the reporter:

  • Is there an infobox/newsbox on the side?
  • Is there a picture? Is the picture properly licensed? Does it have image credit?
  • Are there multiple categories? Do the categories include at least one continental location and one major topic?
  • Are the sources properly formatted? Are the dates in the sources properly formatted per the style guide?
  • Does the lead answer WHEN an event took place using relative dating and WHERE the news took place?

After looking for those things, fixing the small ones if only one or two problems, then I will not ready or start a more extensive review. --LauraHale (talk) 06:30, 13 August 2013 (UTC)

First cut[edit]

A whole bunch of basic, first-cut stuff is omitted by the current "How much to do" section; the current section is kind of theoretical, and best applies to reviewing articles by regular contributors. It's not even clear whether to put this stuff before or after the current material, nor how to arrange the outline to accommodate both.

This is also related to another sticky issue I've noticed: I, and presumably other experienced reivewers, have all sorts of advice we can offer, that's somewhat (and sometimes, much) too much personal-judgement for a general guideline like this. Some of what I'll say here is like that.

There are about four kinds of reviews by quality:

  • The most off-target stuff. A lot of stuff calls for either template {{delete}}, {{notnews}}, or sometimes {{copyvio}}; then there's stuff that calls for some slightly less drastic tag such as {{sources}} or for a trivial not-ready review.
These are relatively easy to handle.
  • Badly off, but a credible effort. These folks deserve to be taken seriously. There's a balance to strike here: likely we'll never hear again from many of them, and if we put a whole lot of effort into those we've just lost a whole lot of effort; but mixed in with those are some who if properly nurtured may become valuable future Wikinewsies, and if we fail to put enough effort into those we've missed precious opportunities. Beware of not-ready'ing for one problem and failing to notice another major problem, because this can make the review process much more frustrating for a writer who does sincerely try to fix and resubmit: they fix one major problem only to be told there's another major problem that wasn't mentioned before, and perhaps another after that. It's probably a good idea to use the dupdet tool (carefully! as noted in the section on copyvio, don't interpret its output naively) along with whatever else one does, so that copyvio doesn't come as a surprise later.
These reviews can be moderately draining. (Writing good review comments on these is an important task, which one would like to provide semi-automated assistance for while, of course, avoiding measures that will sound boiler-plate.)
  • Plausible, but likely to have significant flaws. These can be the most time-consuming reviews of all, and sometimes produce publications but sometimes produce some very painful not-ready's. It tends to take hugely more effort to determine that something isn't verified by the sources than to determine that it is in the sources. Beware of making massive efforts to correct non-neutrality — it's pretty much always a mistake, because it leaves the writer as a sort of unexploded bomb on the project. The review process doesn't work to produce good published articles if the writer isn't trying to meet project standards; reviewers prevent lots and lots of unacceptable stuff from getting through, but the stuff that does get through really has to have had two people (writer and reviewer) both trying for the same target. Re neutrality, for any but the most minor issues the writer should be required to make the changes, and if they aren't willing to then it would only create problems to do it for them.
Most learning Wikinewsies must pass through a phase, sometimes a protracted phase, where they're producing these sorts of articles.
  • High-end articles. Experienced Wikinewsies produce articles that, while they may require significant effort to review, usually don't have that sort of draining, hard-to-identify and hard-to-decide-how-to-handle problems. The review process is likely to be smooth even though it does turn up things to be fixed and may take some time. Experienced writers tend to take measures to facilitate review. (A classic case is the "On the campaign trail" series, where lots of writing effort went into making review tractable, and it made a big difference, and even so reviewing them was a huge task — and the results were collectively fantastic.)

I've also been accumulating these ideas for years as part of understanding why review is so much work — except for the extreme high and low ends of the spectrum, the low-quality submissions are apt to take as much, or sometimes much more, effort for the reviewer as/than for the writer, whereas the pool of reviewer labor is inevitably much smaller than the pool of writer labor (the core problem I mean to address through semi-automation for both writers and reviewers). --Pi zero (talk) 14:15, 9 October 2015 (UTC)

Preliminary pass[edit]

Some kinds of errors are important to catch quickly, even if a full review is deferred till somewhat later. For OR, check that the submitter's reputation suffices for the purpose, and check that all needed documentation is present, including stuff to scoop having arrived, in its entirety, and wasn't corrupted (so, it's readable). For synthesis and OR, basic formatting and organization, neutrality, and the like should be checked early because if they're wrong, the reporter needs to know that ASAP and the article needs to be marked and preferably removed from the queue so that some reviewer doesn't accidentally come along and, in a momentary flub, fail to notice, and publish with the problem. (We once had a deeply non-neutral piece get published that way, by iirc an experienced reviewer, and we had to issue a retraction.) --Pi zero (talk) 02:29, 3 September 2019 (UTC)

Why review works[edit]

Two-person short-term collaboration versus mass long-term collaboration. Importance of the reporter being on-board. --Pi zero (talk) 15:09, 4 September 2019 (UTC)