Talk:Proposals for closing projects/Archive 2

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Archive This is an archive of past discussions. Do not edit the contents of this page. If you wish to start a new discussion or revive an old one, please do so on the current talk page.

All Languages Came From One; Let's Please Work to Make Progress

There are translating tools one may use to help with this available on the internet for free. As such, an Native English speaker can use these (although not foolproof, but at least a good attempt). Wiki is an amazing concept, but arguing with each other is not going to accomplish much (see EVERY culture/empire that has fallen because of this). Why not ask the head of the company to make a deal with others to make this possible and a good viable solution instead of problems? Thank you for reading.


Thai Wikinews <500 edits/year

Much as it pains me, I think it's pretty conclusive that the Thai Wikinews should be closed. See here for all edits within the last 365 days.

I can't write in Thai, so I'm not sure exactly where to alert the project to impending deletion. Can someone who reviews the above list of non-bot edits (<500 in a year) and knows some Thai alert them to this? --Brian McNeil / talk 18:35, 14 January 2010 (UTC)

Old proposals

I have noticed that there are proposals dating back a few years with Burmese Wiktionary open since 16 August 2007. Of course, the Burmese Wiktionary page, the Dzongkha Wikipedia, the Tatar Wikipedia page and Chechen Wikipedia pages seem like they should be kept. However, many are floating about for a long time. Perhaps a change to how this system works. I propose to add the following to the content page:

1. All proposals that have less than 10 votes after a six month period from when they were first proposed will be closed without prejudice or determination of outcome. This will be determined as a keep per lack of discussion, and there will be no statement against restarting the discussion.

I would like to also propose the following:

2. All closes are provided with a closing date on the form (and carried over into the archive) and proposals are archived after a standard period of 7 days.

I think that would help make things run a little smoother and get more activity on individual pages instead of allowing some of the proposals to just drag on forever. Ottava Rima 01:20, 21 January 2010 (UTC)

These ideas look reasonable. Ruslik 16:12, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
Support this process. ++Lar: t/c 15:21, 22 February 2010 (UTC)
Looks good to me. Pmlineditor  15:22, 22 February 2010 (UTC)
  • To add, with the 7 days archiving, a section in the archive will contain those not yet locked at the top. Ottava Rima 01:54, 22 February 2010 (UTC)

Mandatory warnings -- please ratify

It has been asserted that the line Proposals with no fair warnings to the projects will be ignored was added by an IP and can therefore be ignored. I hereby ask for formal ratification.

  • Support Makes sense. Seb az86556 19:35, 31 October 2010 (UTC)
  • Support, agree. It's unfair that wikis (some with sizeable communities) can be in the dark for months that they could be shut down any minute, as with the Sotho Wikipedia. They should be given a chance to defend themselves IMHO. Tempodivalse [talk] 20:34, 31 October 2010 (UTC)
  • Support Per Tempodivalse --WizardOfOz talk 20:45, 31 October 2010 (UTC)
  • Support I think that the more relevant point was that the rule had no prior discussion, not whether it was added by an IP or a registered account. In any case, it makes sense to require warnings to ensure that it doesn't come as a surprise to the community if the project is closed. Jafeluv 22:04, 31 October 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose so that this vote does not end unanimously. -- Prince Kassad 22:09, 31 October 2010 (UTC)
  • Comment Comment ratification for the sentence or the current version? As there is another IP added paragraph: [2] Bennylin 11:26, 8 February 2011 (UTC)

Statement of what happens after closure

A recent addition to the description of common practices (not a policy), describing what happens after closure, did not appear to me to be entirely correct in a couple respects.

  1. It is implied that a closed project cannot be deleted due to the GFDL and CC-BY-SA. Exercising permission to publish contributors' work under the applicable licenses does not create an obligation to continue publishing the work in perpetuity. Individual pages are routinely deleted from Wikimedia sites every day, and a difference in scale does not imply a difference in principle.
  2. The unqualified statement that closed projects will be imported to the Incubator is overbroad. This only applies to content that meets Incubator policy and is potentially useful for a future WMF project. Sometimes projects are adopted at non-Wikimedia sites without being staged at the Incubator.

I have revised the paragraph accordingly, with some further elaborations, in an attempt to describe what appear to have been the common practices. The resulting language is rather indefinite about what will ultimately happen to a closed project, and intentionally implies that "long enough" is not a commitment for all eternity. Further clarification would be welcome, but it is hard to be precise about a procedure that is largely ad hoc, as disclaimed in bold red italics at the top of the page. ~ Ningauble 03:04, 4 February 2011 (UTC)

I guess a dev could better answer this question. My knowledge of how a wiki is closes is that a dev locks its database and thus only stewards can edit it. But in the past projects have been also deleted: Proposals for closing projects/Deletion of Siberian Wikipedia & Proposals for closing projects/Deletion of Toki Pona Wikimedia projects are two examples.
I think that the content should only be imported to the incubator where that content can be useful and meets Incubator policies and guidelines.
-- Dferg ☎ talk 10:39, 4 February 2011 (UTC)

German Wikiversity

Hmm. OK, it doesn't look like the German Wikiversity has been officially closed (AFAICT), so why does de.wikiversity.org return an error saying "wiki does not exist"? - dcljr (talk) 04:22, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

Works okay for me... QU TalkQu 09:44, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, I was just about to say it was back now. Anyone know what happened? - dcljr (talk) 09:46, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
The weird thing is, the German Wikiversity was the only Wikimedia wiki (of the 790 I track the daily stats of) that was affected. - dcljr (talk) 09:49, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

how can i list my proposal on a separate subpage

how can i do this? can anyone help, please? Vincentangeles005 (talk) 14:04, 19 December 2012 (UTC)

Close Wikinews completely, all languages?

Asking for opinions

Note: As this discussion was made the topic of a Signpost article in English Wikipedia, I think I have to add this note to make it even more clear that this is not a formal proposal of any kind yet, just asking for opinions regarding a possible proposal. Gestumblindi (talk) 03:24, 29 March 2013 (UTC)


I thought about formally proposing the closure of Wikinews in its entirety, after doing quite a lot of research on the usefulness of its language versions. But as this would be an unconventionally far-reaching proposal, I thought it would be best to ask for opinions here first. The following is a rough draft of what I would have written in a closure proposal:

This proposal may seem radical, but it is made after careful examination of all language versions of Wikinews. Although I don't read most languages, with the help of online translators the basic picture is clear enough and the same as in English Wikinews for all languages: Even where there is some activity, the site is simply not useful as a news source from a user point of view. The list of news in March 2013 in English Wikinews may serve as an example for this. The fact alone that for several days of the month, there are no news whatsoever might lead us to question the usefulness for people who want to read current news. The only news for March 6 to March 9 is Wikinews interviews British scientist Dr Paul Dolman about proposal to cull deer population - a valiant effort to provide some original content, but a random interview about a random topic as the only content for days isn't exactly what I would expect from a news site. And for most of the very meagre news content at Wikinews people turn better to other sites to get the news quicker and more completely than the re-telling at Wikinews. My findings for the individual language versions are, as of March 25, 2013:

  • Arabic (ar): News archive lists a total of 17 news for March 2013 as of March 25 which were easily accessible on other news sites. Basically the same situation as English Wikinews, plus a lack of original reporting.
  • Bulgarian (bg): Very old "news" on the main page (a "top story" about a solar airplane is from 2010, the "newsticker" has news from October 2012) and at the start there is a link to a "Current events" page on Bulgarian Wikipedia for current events... project looks pretty dead to me.
  • Bosnian (bs): The only news in March 2013 so far is the election of Pope Francis. And the only news in February is the abdication of his predecessor. An obviously dead project, too.
  • Catalan (ca): A bit more activity with at least one news item per day (for most days, only one), but this is also far from being a useful news source. If you look for Catalan news, "one to four random items per day" Wikinews certainly isn't what you're going to use - and, for example, on March 3 the four items were nothing but rugby results.
  • Czech (cs): The only individual news article for March according to Kategorie:Březen 2013 seems to be the one about the election of the new Pope. There is, however, a kind of "daily chronicle", as it seems, with pages like 4. březen 2013, but missing for some days.
  • German (de): Situation very similar to English Wikinews. A few random-seeming news items per month, such as (of course) the election of Pope Francis, or a shooting in Göttingen.
  • Greek (el): Level of activity seems similar to Catalan Wikinews, i.e. content is still too sparse and random to be of much use.
  • English (en): See description in introductory text. A particularly sad example.
  • Esperanto (eo): Dead project. Three news items in March, eo-Wikinews not even managed to report the otherwise ubiquitous papal election...
  • Spanish (es): See Catalan and Greek Wikinews. Still the same basic picture.
  • Farsi (fa): Was difficult for me, as there doesn't seem to be an equivalent of the categorizing by month used in other Wikinews language versions, and Google Translate doesn't offer Farsi... but the Recent Changes list doesn't seem to indicate much more activity than in other Wikinews language versions. Later addition: It was pointed out to me that Google offers Farsi (as "Persian"), checked now - doesn't look good... very few news from March.
  • Finnish (fi): Pretty dead. Latest news item is from March 8 (as it seems, a list of the nominees for a Finnish fantasy award).
  • French (fr): Seems to be one of the most "active" Wikinews sites, but "active" only in comparison to all those nearly contentless Wikinews language versions... One to eight items per day are still not creating a useful news source, and one of them is an often very meagre "chronicle" page like Évènements_du_9_mars_2013.
  • Hebrew (he): Five news items in March so far, the last was the papal election. No news last week. Not useful.
  • Italian (it): Zero to three news items per day. On most days, if there are any news at all, they're only football results. Only a few other news are mixed in... did I already mention the papal election? ;-)
  • Japanese (ja): As of March 25, there are only eleven news items in March, therefore many days without any.
  • Korean (ko): It seems that the latest news dates from February 23 and there was nothing to report in March...
  • Norwegian, bokmål (no): Warns on its start page that Wikinews currently has "little activity" and indeed seems to have more or less stopped in 2012, with "news" on the start page going back as far as 2009. One of the "top stories" is Whitney Houston's death in February, 2012(!) [now: Proposals for closing projects/Closure of Norwegian (bokmål) Wikinews --NeuerNutzer2009 (talk) 11:38, 26 March 2013 (UTC)]
  • Polish (pl): Level of activity similar to Catalan/Greek/Spanish Wikinews with one to four articles per day.
  • Portuguese (pt): Similar to above, though several days without any news at all (e.g. March 7 to 9 and 14 to 16).
  • Romanian (ro): Very dead. In 2013, so far only three articles in January, none in February and one in March.
  • Albanian (sq): Inactive/dead. News on the main page are all from 2012.
  • Swedish (sv): Very little activity. Top story is from January; there's only one from March on the start page (March 10, death of Princess Lilian).
  • Tamil (ta): Similar to Catalan Wikinews, one or two articles for each day of March as of March 25.
  • Thai (th): Project already closed in 2011, see Proposals for closing projects/Closure of Thai Wikinews
  • Turkish (tr): Very little activity; top news on start page are from February. Only one news item for March so far, which is tagged for speedy deletion as advertising.
  • Ukrainian (uk): Similar to French Wikinews, a bit more active.
  • Chinese (zh): Very little activity. Only three news items in March so far.
  • There are two exceptions that may be close to a working news site: Russian (ru) and Serbian (sr) Wikinews. Every day in March has seen several news items for those, 4 to 12 at Russian Wikinews. That's not overwhelming, too, but these may be exceptions worth continuing - maybe on a different platform? The Ukrainian Wikinews mentioned above shows also a bit more activity than most Wikinews versions...

A further argument for the closure of Wikinews is that Wikipedia has already integrated the "news" aspect and tends to include recent events very quickly into its articles. E.g. to find good information regarding the election of the new Pope, people didn't need to use Wikinews - Wikipedia quickly had nearly everything one could wish for in all major language versions. Bulgarian Wikinews referring to Bulgarian Wikipedia for current events is also a nice example of this trend.

Summarizing the reasons for closure:

  • There is currently no language version of Wikinews really reporting a reasonable selection of current news (with the possible exceptions of Russian, Serbian, and Ukrainian Wikinews, to some extent), therefore there is little user value
  • Wikipedia integrates current events into its articles and is more widely used
  • Keeping Wikinews active would mean maintaining a Potemkin village. It is not what it purports to be. A small random selection of (mostly) retold news is not a news site.

What do you think? Gestumblindi (talk) 02:28, 26 March 2013 (UTC)

Discussion

Please see Proposals for closing projects/Closure of English Wikinews - that was already proposed and failed. --Rschen7754 03:08, 26 March 2013 (UTC)
See also: Wikimedia_Forum#Proposal_to_close_Wikinews. πr2 (t • c) 03:27, 26 March 2013 (UTC)
Yes, Rschen7754, I'm aware of the previous proposal... but my reasoning here is different: I'm not saying that "inactivity" as such is a reason for closure, but the lack of usefulness from a user point of view - some of these projects may be active on a low level, but there's no product of a news site worth visiting. Gestumblindi (talk) 12:34, 26 March 2013 (UTC)
Some better-integrated news portal that combines the work on Wikinews with current events from the other projects makes sense. There are problems with the Wikinews definition (in that articles do not get better over time but quickly become fixed and unchanging) - but there are similarly problems with the Wikipedia policies covering news, if one wants to be able to do so effectively there.
Ideally we would have a forum where one could put current events in context - and at any point in time see both the current frenzy of activity and the past context - including past iterations of news-buzz. That doesn't seem to be a good reason to close the dozens of existing communities. It is certainly not the case that those news editors would find equally useful news-related work on their languages of Wikipedia. And some Wikipedia policies about how to talk about and present new events make it hard to give more than a passing mention to new events. The larger problem of providing News is one worth solving - empirically feeds such as wikinoticias are very widely used, and considered useful. I think the motivation for these "closure" discussions would be better directed towards that larger problem. SJ talk  14:40, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
This appears to be a fundamental misunderstanding of how news works. News ceases to be news. Facts do not cease to be facts. Wikipedia projects can cite news articles all they want. Wikinews cannot create an article called "Election of the pope" and endlessly update it." Can you name a major newspaper anywhere in the world that ran one story about the election of the Roman Catholic pope and just endlessly updated it? English Wikinews wrote at least three articles on this topic. The Associated press wrote 100 article articles at least about this. If we ran one article about the IPC ALpine World Championships on English Wikinews where we updated it, it would have been really awful. In fact, I challenge you to go to n:Category:IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships, find the first story and then write a version of that in your own words. Then, go to the second story and update your story with the additional news. Repeat this until you have one story including all the original reporting facts from all 20 stories involved. News ceases to be news. Facts do not cease to be facts.--LauraHale (talk) 21:48, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
I continue using this painting to illustrate the neverending attempts to shut off wikinews [1]. I think this fits here perfect, but we consider making a dedicated Logo instead. --Itu (talk) 17:41, 26 March 2013 (UTC) (german wikinews-guru)

Strong support and close them all. This project is not pining! It's passed on! This project is no more! It has ceased to be! It's expired and gone to meet its maker! It's a stiff! Bereft of life, it rests in peace! If the Wikimedia Foundation hadn't nailed it to Wikipedia's Front Page it would be pushing up the daisies! Its metabolic processes are now history! It's off the twig! It's kicked the bucket, it's shuffled off its mortal coil, it's run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisible!! THIS IS AN EX-PROJECT!! If it ever lived, that is. Wikinews is everyone's waste of time and an embarrassment to the Wikimedia project family. --Janneman (talk) 03:16, 26 March 2013 (UTC)

  • Would you mind explaining your reasoning rather than using useless rhetoric? --Rschen7754 03:32, 26 March 2013 (UTC)
    • May sound like rhetoric, but I think it was merely an attempt at a parody. --Ohconfucius (talk) 03:53, 26 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Comment on the (fa) note: Google Translate actually does support Persian... πr2 (t • c) 03:25, 26 March 2013 (UTC)
Thanks! I looked only unter "Farsi" instead of "Persian". Have now checked this version with the help of Google Translate, too, and it doesn't look better indeed. Gestumblindi (talk) 12:40, 26 March 2013 (UTC)
  • The problematic is the same for all the sites. There is free news everywhere; WN doesn't do original reporting, meaning that it simply rehashes articles from other news sites, so I'm not surprised that few people want to create articles. Add to that, writing these articles require considerable skill, to regurgitate in non-copyright violating form. The project its dying a painful death, so to pull the plug might be the kindest thing to do. --Ohconfucius (talk) 03:46, 26 March 2013 (UTC)
    • I suspect that you may find a look at this interesting regarding your "WN doesn't do original reporting" comment. Synth articles, among other things such as "be neutral unlike a lot of other news sources are", serve the purpose of training newcomers for robust analysis of the information they get, so they can learn to present information competently before, if they get a chance to, participating in citizen journalism. Gryllida 12:01, 31 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Strong support: close them all. It doesn't matter that two proposals to close one or more WN sites didn't generate the required consensus: in my reading, that consensus will come sooner or later. Tellingly, such proposals are being posted with greater frequency as members of the Wikimedia movement become increasingly frustrated with the WN idea. I'd have strongly supported the original launching, in an era when traditional (commercial) journalism is on the ropes as a viable model; but my support would have been without the benefit of thinking it through and seeing it in action (or inaction, as the case may be). The original model for WM hasn't worked. There are three fundamental reasons:

    (1) Expensive and professionalised. Original news-gathering is a very resource-hungry activity, often requiring travel and accommodation for skilled, professional journalists.

    (2) Requires public status. Journalists engaged in original news-gathering need their outlet to have high and well-established public status and authority; this comes from the high circulation and notability of the news outlet (no one's going to give a toss if one of us emails or phones a source saying "I'm from WN"—we are not The Guardian or The New York Times or The Huffington Post, before whom sources tend to either cooperate instantly or cower. WMF outlets do have high public status, but not at all in journalistic terms.

    (3) Therefore second-hand and late. If almost the entire WM coverage is going to be second-hand (for reasons 1 and 2), it ends up having to paraphrase the major news outlets, well after their stories are released—this is fatally uncompetitive, given our free access to a plethora of free sites of large professional news organisations.

    There are at least three disadvantages to pretending that WN is viable and should be kept, limping along. First, it drags down the WMF trademark—it's actually pretty embarrassing for a movement that boasts such a prominent and respected worldwide trademark. Second, it costs Foundation money in technical assistance and server space. Third, it takes away jounralistically inclined editors from the forms of WP main-page-listed news—unfolding events being covered in the encyclopedia—that have proved to be much more successful. To this might be added my suspicion that WN in many languages is far from balanced, and possibly far from free of plagiarism and the close paraphrasing of copyrighted material. Gestumblindi has done an excellent job in surveying the amount of WN activity over all of the languages in which it has a site—thank you indeed; but it remains to be seen just what standards these sites have in terms of balance and copyright. If those three slavic WNs are slightly more active, I suggest that their corresponding WPs be assisted in beefing up their main-page In the news sections, so the WN editors can seamlessly transfer across to contribute to the unfolding news genre in their language WP—a more collegial environment that would add to rather than detract from the reputation of the Wikimedia Foundation. Tony (talk) 04:34, 26 March 2013 (UTC)

Note that Serbian Wikinews simply copies all articles from the Voice of America's Serbian homepage, as far as I know. That is of course completely inappropriate given that the VoA has a strong pro-American bias. -- Liliana 09:46, 26 March 2013 (UTC)
Let me also just point out that the costs of keeping Wikinews — all its language versions — alive, as compared to the English Wikipedia, are negligible. No current WMF employee works with the Wikinews community, and the number of page views, the size of the database, etc. of all Wikinews language editions is much smaller than of the English Wikipedia alone. Seeing that the Foundation focuses the vast majority of its resources on that single wiki — especially employee time, which is the most expensive of all — the financial argument being brought up above doesn't seem in touch with the reality. (Not that it should even be taken into consideration; I believe it shouldn't.) odder (talk) 11:35, 26 March 2013 (UTC)
Well, what you're summarizing here about the WMF, that's important, because of this behaviour is one side of problem with all smaller projects: the WMF is doing nothing for promoting, helping, coordinating or what so ever outside the (English) Wikipedia. And most chapters are doing no better in that. --Matthiasb (talk) 14:52, 26 March 2013 (UTC)
Hi Tony1! Keep up the good work! your long-standing campaign against the project (or at least individuals involved in it) keeps attracting attention and volunteers to it. - Amgine/meta wikt wnews blog wmf-blog goog news 18:40, 26 March 2013 (UTC)

At least the dead projects should be closed. I've made a start for no.wn (see the page for this discussion). --NeuerNutzer2009 (talk) 10:51, 26 March 2013 (UTC)

Note: Formerly closed Wikinews projects include Dutch and Hungarian (both because of inactivity). --MF-W 11:01, 26 March 2013 (UTC)

Note: Both the Dutch and the Hungarian Wikinews have been closed before the closing policy was adopted, and certainly neither of them would be closed now. According to the closing policy inactivity is not a reason to close a project, additional issues are. Neither EN or DE is without activity. Nor is FR or ES. Further: this discussion is reckless against those keeping Wikinews alive in the languages they're active. --Matthiasb (talk) 11:08, 26 March 2013 (UTC) PS: Closing the Hungarian Wikinews might have been a big mistake, taking in mind the press situation in Hungary lately.

  • Liliana, you wrote: "Note that Serbian Wikinews simply copies all articles from the Voice of America's Serbian homepage". Do I read you correctly? In fact, there is nothing value-added by the Serbian WN? It's just a copy-paste job? What is the point of that?

    And further, how much of the other WN sites is simply copy-pasted, whether from public-domain sources like Voice of America, or by breach of copyright? Tony (talk) 13:42, 26 March 2013 (UTC)

    • As far as I can say for the languages in which I am involved in, that's DE and a bit EN: usually nothing, aside from a number of VoA articles which are mostly rewritten but give a good skeleton for an article. Within the Serbian WP: I assume they're doing that for having more content. Matthiasb (talk) 14:52, 26 March 2013 (UTC)

No support at all (for now). This is a so far primarily a discussion of some Wikipedians without really involving the Wikinews editors themselves. The reasoning also simply states some criteria for closure, which is somewhat debatable in particular it currently lacks any kind of usage analysis to prove its point. That is for instance an usage analysis/statistics of the readers/users of Wikinews and its archives.--Kmhkmh (talk) 13:49, 26 March 2013 (UTC)

Leaning towards support. None of these projects is more than what a single person could do (mostly the number of news is even less than what most bloggers post on any given day). Not even Wikimedia chapters use it for reports about events etc., but they have their own blogs, like everyone else in the world. No offense to the handful of users who have been trying hard to keep the projects alive, but I think it's time to admit that this is a failed project, in every respect. --FA2010 (talk) 15:18, 26 March 2013 (UTC)

It is not, and you know about that. Most bloggers write one single post every day or two and are aggregating great parts of their blogs from articles publiished eleswhere and it can be doubted with the new w:Ancillary copyright for press publishers(Leistungsschutzrecht für Presseverleger) that blogging in German will be as easy in the future; heck even the future of Google News in Germany is in scrutinies. And of course do Wikimedia chapters not use Wikinews for reports about events, see n:de:Wikinews:Was Wikinews nicht ist: keine Werbeplattform . Besides bloggers do not necessarily assume a neutral point of view and they not necessarily respect a n:de:Wikinews:Pressecodex, --Matthiasb (talk) 16:36, 26 March 2013 (UTC)

support This Project globally shows that it failed, even if some editors are in love with it. --Julius1990 (talk) 23:11, 28 March 2013 (UTC)

Evidently, this is the same fringe community of malcontents who tried to propose shutting down en.wn a few months ago. They discovered there was overwhelming support for the project, and as I recall grumbled at the time about trying to polarize the Wikinews sisters into those supporting en.wn and those opposed. Presumably that idea didn't work out for them; someone had the idea to bypass the support for en.wn by proposing to close all Wikinews projects at once (I can't explain why they think those opposed to closing all Wikinews would be a subset of those opposed to closing just one). Afaics, there's nothing remotely legitimate about this "proposal"; they didn't even attempt to inform anyone, which suggests they know perfectly well it's meaningless, although some of the perpetrators "voted" on it and thus managed to elicit opposing "votes" from a few of the known majority who support Wikinews. --Pi zero (talk) 01:44, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
Your assumption is wrong. I had nothing to do with the proposal to shut down English Wikinews, barely noticed it. That I'm starting a discussion regarding the possibility of closing Wikinews completely now has a a different background: Firstly, from a user point of view, I have for a long time noticed that neither German (my native language) nor English Wikinews have useful news content to offer. When German Wikinews asked for feedback in June 2012, I posted there what I think of it and suggested giving it up. Not a lot happened thereafter, and Wikinews drifted out of my focus. It's not a very interesting site, after all. Now, a few days ago there was an article in the German Wikipedia's "Kurier" (the Signpost equivalence) regarding the future of Wikiversity. A statement in the accompanying discussion ("there's simply no need for Wikiversity, e-learning is happening elsewhere") reminded me of Wikinews, you just have to replace some words - "there's simply no need for Wikinews, news reporting is happening elsewhere"... and so, after some further discussion, I got interested in the question whether the state of Wikinews is as sad in the other languages as it is in German and English. Therefore my research and, given the results, my preliminary proposal here. It's of course not a "real" proposal yet, just an attempt to gather some opinions (it's on the talk page, you may have noticed). If there is overwhelming rejection, I will leave it at that. Gestumblindi (talk) 02:07, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
I did not make an assumption. I have, of course, no way to test the veracity of your account of your role in this; the timing makes coincidence improbable, but that doesn't require complicity on your part. It would be entirely possible for you to play your part without even realizing you're doing so. There isn't even a need for a "traditional" conspiracy theory — I don't believe in traditional conspiracy theories anyway, because they require lots of people to be diabolically clever and well coordinated with each other. Real conspiracies, the ones that are most effective, usually don't work that way. They operate largely by using their participants rather than taking direction from them. --Pi zero (talk) 03:17, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose. The request does not demonstrate how the Wikinews projects family is against Wikimedia projects policy and as such has no merit. The "Wikipedia already does news" argument is also invalid because Wikinews, unlike Wikipedia, welcomes original research in the shape of original reporting activity. There is no reason to require Wikinews to be comprehensive either. Inactivity argument also has no merit given that Russian wikinews stats are higher than English wikinews stats, and something gets published daily. I have to admit that the requester has not read the documentation and likely has erred in his judgment of what Wikinews exists for and how it works.
Interesting positive feedback we got: "Wikinews being the most neutral (albeit least comprehensive) news source I know. :)" per Kayau; there is a condifence that with time, as more contributors engage, comprehensiveness would improve, but it is not the primary goal. Wikinews is unique for its neutrality goals and the concept of citizen journalism. --Gryllida 01:51, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
Indeed, I do not say that the Wikinews projects family is in any way "against Wikimedia projects policy". What I say is that Wikinews isn't a useful resource. And indeed, Wikinews "welcomes original research in the shape of original reporting activity", but this is something that happens so rarely and hasn't really taken off in all these years that I think it's at a point where we can say that the project failed. That Russian (and Serbian, Ukrainian) Wikinews stats are slightly higher than for most other languages is something I have also mentioned, but a) it's still not that much - certainly not what any established news portal could offer, b) the quality also would need checking (according to Liliana, Serbian Wikinews "simply copies all articles from the Voice of America's Serbian homepage"), and c) given that all other Wikinews language versions are in a deplorable state, as I think I have clearly outlined, maybe Russian Wikinews could find a different platform. Gestumblindi (talk) 02:21, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
You may find a look at this interesting: multiple people did original reporting this year, including reporting on the spot and exclusive interviews. You should contact Serbian Wikinews directly asking them to resolve the issue, and only then contact Wikimedia. Deplorable state is what you think — inactivity is defined fairly less strict than you think, and inactivity on its own is not a reason per Closing projects policy. Smiley.svg
Nothing of what you said seems to justify an attempt to have WMF handle this issue. I suspect that you may have escalated the situation needlessly and taken away Wikinews, Meta, and WMF community time more than it should have been. And while you might still wish to repeat your query later, asking to only close English Wikinews, odds are that it'd be considered active and fit the vision of what Wikimedia projects exist for. --Gryllida 12:25, 31 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose: The same arguments put forth by the proposer could easily be applied for many Wikipedias. English, Spanish and Russian Wikinews all have active contributor bases with functional communities that are engaged in doing original reporting and covering news sources that are not covered elsewhere. Wikinews was never designed to be the Associated Press. It is not going to cover the world and everything in it. Starting from there is a logical fallacy. Comparing the project to bloggers is even worse because doing news reporting is simply not that easy. Anyone can write a blog post. Anyone can write a bunch of unsubstantiated content where they are not beholden to anyone and need not take accountability. (Heck, we have the Signpost for that. I'd guess without looking at the Signpost that it is not neutral, there was no attempt to be neutral, that no one at the signpost bothered to contact any of the active contributors before writing about it.) --LauraHale (talk) 01:51, 29 March 2013 (UTC) LangComm can only close projects for inactivity. There is no currently established procedure for closing a project. If all Wikinews projects were sent to incubator, many of them would be sent right back to their current locations because activity exists. Beyond their, procedurally, there is zero evidence that the nominator contacted all Wikinews projects proposed for closure to inform them of this proposal. While this procedural requirement was not completed, the notice appears in English Wikipedia Signpost without the community being consulted. Procedurally, this is dead in the water.--LauraHale (talk) 03:07, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
"Beyond their, procedurally, there is zero evidence that the nominator contacted all Wikinews projects proposed for closure to inform them of this proposal" - well, I didn't intend this as a formal proposal yet. I had no knowledge of the Signpost article, although I welcome the publicity :-) - this is only an informal first attempt at a discussion, to gather opinions, as I wrote in the introduction: "But as this would be an unconventionally far-reaching proposal, I thought it would be best to ask for opinions here first". Gestumblindi (talk) 03:17, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
It's nice that "English, Spanish and Russian Wikinews all have active contributor bases with functional communities that are engaged in doing original reporting and covering news sources that are not covered elsewhere", but I'm looking at it from a user point of view, I'm looking at the result. And from this point of view, what I find there is completely random. In the entirety of four days (March 6-9) a short interview about proposal to cull deer population (in the UK) as the only "news" in English Wikinews, for heaven's sake! As I see it, the target audience of Wikinews could be defined as "people who are interested in very sporadic, mostly unoriginal articles about random news". For the whole of March 28, we have only Nelson Mandela hospitalised again with lung infection recurrence in English Wikinews, and the article contains nothing not found everywhere else. German Wikinews has - nothing for March 28. Wikipedias are a very different matter. The inherently more static nature of an encyclopedia makes sporadic activity much less of an issue. Even a very slowly growing Wikipedia language version is growing towards becoming more encyclopedic, with every article that is written. On the other hand, Wikinews doesn't get better as a news site with a slowly growing archive of old news. There is some historic value in the old articles, of course, but the site is called Wikinews after all. It's calling itself a "news source", which it isn't and it doesn't get better. An interesting NYT criticism from 2007 is quoted in Wikipedia: "[Wikinews] has sunk into a kind of torpor; lately it generates just 8 to 10 articles a day..." - 8 to 10 articles a day? For most language versions of Wikinews, nowadays this would be a paradisiac state of things... neither English nor German Wikinews manage that "many" articles a day now, most other languages neither. Yes, Wikinews wouldn't need to be "the Associated Press". But is it so much to ask from a news site to - be able to read news? ;-) I also think that there are just too few people interested in writing for a project like this, when we can write "for eternity" in Wikipedia... Gestumblindi (talk) 02:59, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose: Is that serious? I do not see valid reason for all versions of Wikinews are closed. In Spanish Wikinews're lifting head. In our Twitter account we are about to exceed the 80,000 followers! --MadriCR (talk) 02:19, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Strongest possible oppose, as well as [removed personal attack] What the fuck are you thinking? Lewis Collard! (talk, en, commons) 03:19, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose: I am a Spanish Wikinews user and don't really know in depth how other wikinews work. I think that Wikinews is after Wikipedia and maybe together with Wikisource the only Wikimedia Project that has a future, a sense and a strong value/importance. For the others generally you can find much developed and bigger sites in the web. Wikinews might not have many users or many news, but I think its quite special. First, is global and not with a local slant. Second, is neutral (which other important news site do you have with those two conditions?). Third, it can obviously be edited by anyone, by people of different backgrounds and interests. It might not be so visible, but at least for Spanish Wikinews there lots of people who read it (you just have to see the statics), even news that are not so important as the "election of the pope". As MadriCR said we have 80,000 followers on Twitter and many people enjoy Wikinews even if its not constatly updated. I have read minor but interesting news that I didn't saw in the local newspapers I read. Really, I cannot say that Wikinews has the impact, sense and value than Wikipedia but is very special in its own way. Probably not aiming to become someone main source of news, but as complimentary source its quite fine. To finish I would like to add that on the Spanish Wikinews yesterday (Thursday 28th) eight news were published and the day before other seven news were published, although that doesn't mean much since it depends the day, it means that although we are are a small amount of editors we are committed to improve the project. Well, at least that is my opinion... sorry for my poor english. Lcsrns (Talk) 03:18, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Support. I can only really speak for the English Wikinews, but other than possibly the Russian, I suspect this applies to all of them: Wikinews is useless. I don't say that to demean the editors who have dedicated their time there, but in my view, the project adds almost nothing to Wikimedia. The stories are inevitably inferior to what any decent blog can give you, let alone mainstream media. The news is old when it gets published due to clunky process. Certainly the need to vet sources and portect against copyvios is of critical importance, but a useful news site has to be able to react fast to news. And, ultimately, it is unused. The North American portal of en.wikinews has stories from last September still on the main page and is criminally biased towards American topics. Leave the comfort of the English world, and things get even worse. In the South American portal, there is still on the main page a story from January 25, 2010. Africa is even better. There is a story there from September 4, 2009. Wikinews is a poor news source, neglected, unusued, rife with systemic bias and unable to adapt. The resources we spend on this project can be better allocated elsewhere. Resolute (talk) 04:24, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Very strong oppose and are you kidding me? I've written for both Spanish and recently English Wikinews. I know the stats my articles have gotten, and it's BS that there's no interest from a consumer/reader POV. Also the Spanish Wikinews Twitter has an incredible following. More editors are needed to review, sure, but both projects have engaged communities that work really hard to cover current events. Also, Wikinews is the only place where minority subjects can get equal attention, and that distinguishes it from any other news outlet in the world. But above all, the sheer gall of trying to close all Wikinews when you have no idea of the individual cases makes me think this is targetted for English Wikinews specifically, and the rest are collateral damage since "they must all be the same". Gah. Raystorm (talk) 09:33, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose in the stongest possible manner! Once again, the extremely-far-from-neutral Wikipedia Signpost is used by a few vocal opponents of Wikinews to launch an attempted mass-fratricide. It is their little "magazine of contrasting fawning adulation for Wikipedia, and barely-concealed contempt for sister projects" that has no place in the Foundation's family.
A fork of English Wikinews was attempted due to community conflict, and I'm not at-all proud of how the debate went down in opposing making the project 'more like Wikipedia'.
The fork failed. What did the Signpost do? They wrote big articles on the fork, and interviewed folks from it in a "we're really sorry you failed" fashion when it went down.
I am utterly, utterly disgusted that this campaign is being launched against Wikinews when a new class of journalism students at the University of Wollongong begin to contribute to the project as part of their classwork.
Disgusted. Utterly. It's like the IRA versus the British Government. Our Wikipedia-based opponents only need to be lucky once, Wikinews needs to be lucky all the time. --Brian McNeil / talk 10:13, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I like Wikinews and think it is a good idea. Wikipedia is not a news source. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 10:59, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Very strong oppose, once again this position demonstrates a desire to destroy Wikinews to satisfy some ukases of wikipedians.-- Bertrand GRONDIN  → (Talk) 11:19, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
  • I'm oppose for mainly 2 reasons :
  1. Last summer, we helped some Africans users to create accounts on the French Wikipedia. For some of them, fr-wikinews can be a place where they create first hand news about their community or their POV about an international event (see for instance (Français) n:fr:Catégorie:Forum mondial de la langue française), news that cannot be created on fr-wikipedia. On fr, deletionism is growing fast since ~2 years and many news are proposed to deletion even if there's a lot of sources.
  2. I ask my students to create news on fr-wikinews to inform French community about some discoveries in astronomy and to help them develop their ability with MediaWiki. I think that these news are useful (see (Français) n:fr:Catégorie:Nouvelle du Projet:Cégep de Chicoutimi). Simon Villeneuve 11:47, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
Simon, interesting uses of Wikinews; I can see English is not your first language, since this is meta we all understand Non and you should be free to express your opinion in your mother tongue. --Brian McNeil / talk 11:55, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
Thank you. Please, feel free to correct my mistakes in my post. It will help me to express myself in a better English. Simon Villeneuve 12:03, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
  • VERY STRONG Oppose. Wikinews is a very important project, Wikipedia NEEDS Wikinews because Wikipedia is cyclopedia and Wikinews is NOT. News are not for encyclopedia, but are vital for encyclopedia to refer. News evolve real time, and we need to track this evolution of reality/facts. Wikipedia entries need cold head and stability. Worlds is full of encyclopedias but what about NEUTRAL log or journal of events ? --Divol (talk) 11:52, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Support - The main problem is that Wikinews is just not attracting editors. One can argue about the reasons why (an even more hostile admin/sysop pool than en.wikipedia, too many rules/policies, etc). But that is the main problem - not enough people are contributing - which results in other problems that have been mentioned above. The lack of enough good editors means that there aren't enough articles to have a "daily" edition, the articles are not timely, no coverage of major events, minor local events have articles(One-vehicle road traffic collision in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland), "local community consensus" is driven by a very small number of people. Finally, there is open disdain for the foundation[3]. Trödel (talk) 13:06, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Very strong support - Stillbirth from the beginning. Marcus Cyron (talk) 13:59, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
You're right, same stupid stillbirth as e.g. this strange Wikipediaproject was in the beginning and long time after. --Itu (talk) 16:12, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
You're kidding. Latest in 2003 Wikipedia was grown up. 2 Years! WikiNews is dead since the beginning in 2005. 8 years of testing should be enough to see, that it don't work. Marcus Cyron (talk) 19:28, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
Not really. The (DE-) project was quite active until a good part into 2007 when former Wikipedia admin -jha- killed it by deleting the German WP template linking to it. Activity down by 50 percent within a few weeks. Matthiasb (talk) 23:21, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
  • VERY STRONG Suppose, it's a really good lesson for Wikimedia launchs new projects officiously. Right, (English) Wikipedia is successful, but who read news by using Wikinews? PS: I believe WikiVoyage is also a failure.--Colour wolf (talk) 14:10, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose Nobody say nothing about this in the projects, this procedure intend to close all the projects, please open a proposal for closing for individuals wikis one by one Esteban (talk) 15:30, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose. Per Divol. SM ** =^^= ** 16:08, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Strongly oppose So, for the same reasons we should also close all the other projects except Wikipedia, Commons and Wikidata, all the other projects in all the language versions do not have much participation. should we? Of course not, every little help for the development of the free culture is valuable. --Flag of Santiago de Cali.svg Remux - Nunca Olvidaré, que me enamoré de la más hermosa flor. Ĉu mi povas helpi vin iel? 17:54, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
  • I am disappointed at the way the discussion goes. I would like to remind you that Gestumblindi has put forth an analysis of Wikinews he had put a great effort into. If he points to the hostility we find here in return, he is putting it rather mildly and reserved. It is unacceptable to counter Gestumblindi's analysis with a sentence like: "I like Wikinews and think it is a good idea." This misses the point. The whole discussion is about the very fact that the project is de facto dead and it does not serve the purpose it was initially set up for, viz. to be a news source. It is a great waste of donors' money to keep it going at this stage. I suggest to take a still closer look at Wikinews and to evaluate the project. We must be clear about the fact that Wikinews has failed, so decisions have to be taken.--Aschmidt (talk) 19:09, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
    You may want to know that's only *half* the purpose of Wikinews. The other half is to serve as a permanent public record of news events. A considerable amount of daily Wikipedia effort, for example, goes into identify broken reference links to news sources which for one reason or another are no longer publicly available. A link to a Wikinews article, on the other hand, should not break at some point in the future. Of course, if the effort expended in finding new sources were instead applied to documenting current news... - Amgine/meta wikt wnews blog wmf-blog goog news 21:46, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
    You must be joking. Wikinews has an output of some three items per day. Compare this to the links inserted into Wikipedia. Embarrasing.--Aschmidt (talk) 01:47, 30 March 2013 (UTC)
    Yes, let's compare this to the number of links inserting into Wikipedia. And reinserted when they break. And reinserted when those break. And so on. How much more effort would it be to write a brief synopsis, citing a few of those sources, for Wikinews and then never need to do the research again? All it would take is a suggested best practices article. - Amgine/meta wikt wnews blog wmf-blog goog news 04:06, 30 March 2013 (UTC)
    If by "Gestumblindi's analysis of Wikinews" you mean "proposal to disregard all the original reporting going on and call the project inactive while it meets Wikimedia projects activity standards", you're welcome to keep demonstrating lack of competency both Wikinews documentation- and Wikimedia policies-wise. Gryllida 03:24, 30 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Strongly oppose With conventional news sources in decline, we need Wikinews more than ever. Hawkeye7 (talk) 04:03, 30 March 2013 (UTC)
Table showing monthly totals for original reporting on several Wikinews projects from January 2012 to March 2013.

Wikinews provides an opportunity for citizen journalism. This material must be neutral and verifiable. This type of reporting, which is growing increasingly difficult to find quality wise due to newspapers cutting their budgets, is extremely difficult to do well. That 15 different languages have done some form of it in the past 15 months speaks to its importance. This is news that would likely not be told otherwise. All told, 684 pieces of original reporting have been done in this period. That is an average of 1.5 stories a day. These stories, once archived, provide a historical resource for others to use. English Wikinews leads all projects with 254 stories published in this period. Next comes the Polish (95), Russian (82), French (66), Spanish (63), German (38), Portuguese (17), Catalan (13) and Chinese (11). The peak month of production was September 2012, when 99 pieces of original reporting were produced across all languages. Next comes March 2013 (56), April 2012 (53), May 2012 (48), January 2012 (47), March 2012 (46), November and December 2013 (43 each), February 2012 (42), and August 2012 (41). We are successful. We do reporting no one else does it. And our numbers are holding steady. Beyond that, while production looks like it is going down, overall Original Reporting remains steady and our page views are going up. (See English and Spanish Wikinews traffic stats.) On average English Wikinews articles beat English Wikipedia DYKs (without pictures) for page views on the day they are published. --LauraHale (talk) 05:26, 30 March 2013 (UTC)

  • support Similar to a comment above, I think Wikimedia has too many projects which pull volunteers in too many directions. But since we do not have a policy for closing projects, perhaps this is where we should start. What makes a viable project?AlejandroLinaresGarcia (talk) 14:22, 30 March 2013 (UTC)
    It is true that we don't really have a policy for closing sister projects, but the Sister Projects Committee might be interested in commenting. πr2 (t • c) 14:24, 30 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Strong support I agree with the opinions listed above. As a news website, this project cannot work without being professionalized. A wiki website is made to work on a long-term perspective of gathering information little by little. On a news portal, this idea worth nothing, as most information are valuable only for a short time. Plus, it seems that numerous Wikinews projects hosts a lot of biased and non-neutral information, as well as copyright infringement made by simply copying news from professional agencies. After 9 years, I see no ways this project could work, contrary to the other projects. --Kormin (talk) 16:13, 30 March 2013 (UTC)
    • I would like to ask you what copyright infringement you see: Wikinews may occasionally copy content from external sources, but this ideally only happens if the content is high-quality enough, and if the license is free enough to be compatible; attribution is given where it's due. Gryllida 12:28, 31 March 2013 (UTC)
  • "oppose' it seems like some people have a vendetta against wikinews spanning multiple years. I don't understand why. If you don't like wikinews, don't read it - why try and stop wikinews for those who do like it? Bawolff (talk) 16:36, 30 March 2013 (UTC)
  • THE STRONGEST OPPOSITION IN THE UNIVERSE: Contribute to wikinews instead of loosing your time to discuss about closing it!
Who stupidly opened this discussion without notifying contributors on all wikinews projects first? Why seems evident: to avoid too many oppose opinions from wikinews contributors.
--DavidL (talk) 23:37, 30 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Strong Oppose One of the projects that should never shut down. It can give voice to people that don't have access to media, is neutral, is free. No way --Γλαύκος (talk) 23:55, 30 March 2013 (UTC)
  • VERY STRONG OPPOSE on behalf of tamil wikinews.--Kanags (talk) 01:30, 31 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Support Contents in Wikinews are not very reliable and the quality is now very high. I prefer some professional news agency. --Someone's Moving Castle (talk) 10:26, 31 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Very strong oppose : I am an user of the french Wikinews and this wiki is very useful and neutral contrary to many medias. The slow activity is not a good reason to delete this project. I have detailed my arguments and my analysis in my blog (in french). Juraastro (talk) 21:13, 31 March 2013 (UTC).
  • Support Wikinews is a completely failed project; English Wikinews is particularly bad. For a news project, slow activity is in and of itself, a fatal flaw; if the site cannot replace other news sites, and has no unique identity (such as a specialist focus), it is dead, whatever people may think who like to use it as a vanity site. Adam Cuerden (talk) 22:49, 31 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Very strong oppose wikinews is a useful project and a complementary project to wikipedia --Mattho69 (talk) 00:14, 1 April 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Unfortunately, Wikinews is largely useless if you are trying to get to-the-minute news updates on world matters. I don't use it personally, and know of no one that does. However, that's irrelevant. There is potential for this to be a great site. I think what is needed is a restructure, and for the community of Wikinews and the WMF to take another look and decide how to improve the project. One of the keys is cross-project collaboration. As an admin of Wikivoyage, we are excited about the prospect of collaboration with Wikinews whereby they would provide us with travel news and warnings. And why doesn't Wikinews have any mobile apps? If Wikinews delivered news directly to people's devices, they may be more inclined to read it. It's these sort of ideas that could build upon the project. JamesA (talk) 09:49, 1 April 2013 (UTC)
  • Very Strong Oppose: I am a contributor of tamil wikinews. We are concentrating to write important news items in easy writing style. We absorb the news content from reliable news agencies and presenting it in detail. We follow all the rules and regulations prescribed by Wiki community. We always do our best. We keep creating necessary Categories whenever required; We keep updating our front page; We keep motivating other contributors (by helping them/by improving their articles) to write their articles. Instead of proposing to ‘close’, the Wiki community has to think about – 1. How to popularize the ‘WIKINEWS’ among readers (users) 2. How to attract more contributors Selvasivagurunathan m (talk) 10:22, 1 April 2013 (UTC)
  • Very Strong Oppose: I am a contributor to the Spanish Wikinews, and I believe that this sister project has more benefits that what can be seen at first glance. I admit that Wikinews may have failed at beating Twitter and the private news websites; it's true. But that was never its main goal. Wikinews' strongest forte is the fact that we are, in some ways, a repository of freely licensed news that can be accessed by anyone, with no paywalls, on many languages, without publicity. Also, in the case of the Spanish Wikinews, it is a repository of important news that are worth a read, and news that are all together in a single place. People may say that news articles lose their value 24 hours after they are released, but that's not completely true. Some news articles are still interesting to read several years after they were written. Additionally, two other points: as said above, Wikinews is a place for common people to make journalism, and it's a project that is active, and as far as Wikinews is active, it won't be closed. Seriously, we should be discussing how to improve Wikinews, not just go the easy way and ask for its closure. Where did we leave the so fix it line of thought? — ΛΧΣ21 15:15, 1 April 2013 (UTC)
  • Very strong oppose, I am a contributor and sysop on fr.wikinews, and I'm up for this project alive. In fact, do not forget that Wikipedia is an encyclopedia and wikinews is a news site, which is quite different. The subjects are not treated in the same way and these two projects are complementary. It is not the purpose of wikipedia to deal with the news and this is, I think, why the news page on fr.wikipedia existed a few years ago has been removed. Gfsas (talk) 06:34, 2 April 2013 (UTC)
  • Strong opposition: let them live and grow. If there was a mistake, it was when the Wikinews projects were created. Now they exist. The best way is to improve all projects (Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Wikisource, Wikiquote, Wikinews, etc.) which can be improved. Even though we don't edit some of those wikis (I stopped any participation in Wikinews years ago). Hégésippe | ±Θ± 19:25, 2 April 2013 (UTC)
  • Strong opposition I think, it's a joke ! --Lomita (talk) 19:33, 2 April 2013 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose: April Fool’s day? Wikipedia needs Wikinews, or we will have to accept all the useless news in Wikipedia, which is not a media, but an encyclopedia. --Pic-Sou (talk) 19:51, 2 April 2013 (UTC)
  • Very strong oppose. This proposal comes from a contributor visibly eager to prevent any debate by launching a process "on the fly" without recoil. I object to the procedure itself as well as its aim.--Savant-fou (talk) 19:59, 2 April 2013 (UTC)
  • Support - Who reads and knows Wikinews ? nobody. Guil2027
  • Very strong support. No take-off, no readers, dead projects. Gentil Hibou (talk) 20:45, 2 April 2013 (UTC)
  • Support per Liliana and Salix in the en.wiki Signpost article. The English Wikinews could fit into just a portal on the English Wikipedia; the only arguments for keeping en.wikinews separate I could really agree with would be based on preserving different policies or permissions structures, but nobody seems to be relying on those arguments. I am only familiar with the English Wikinews, however; not the others. Perhaps Wikinews could be the first project to have no active English version while having versions in other languages? Soap (talk) 23:54, 2 April 2013 (UTC)
  • Is that support per the unsubstantiated, utterly-lacking any research, or displaying one iota of journalistic integrity, Signpost article? I'm not sure if there's more than one, based on some of the comments here. But, this will be The Signpost that won't report on a US-based university throwing vast quantities of copywritten material into Wikipedia. On the preceding vote, that you do not read it does not mean there are "no readers" at all.
I thought "don't like it" wasn't considered a valid rationale. But, since nobody here is going to tally and strike the knee-jerk votes, it's A-OK to make this look worse in that way? People are making the argument on the basis of different policies. Wikinews allows original research, and you're relying on The Signpost's zero research; worse than zero research, a little poison-pen vendetta. If you're getting your say on the basis of the Signpost being used to solicit votes, where's the vote to close that damn rag down? --Brian McNeil / talk 08:12, 3 April 2013 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose: per Divol and Doc James--Remy34 (talk) 09:30, 3 April 2013 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose: Some volunteers involved on Wikinews, I think it is best to keep and participate than delete. This is a site that provides news and a place for me in the Wikimedia projects. Rome2 (talk) 09:54, 3 April 2013 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose: As a contributer in the french wikinews. I found very interesting the POV of the proposer evaluating the value of the artcicle written in french on the basis of only one that seems of little value to him. Yes the contibutors are not numerous, but for my part i find it very useful to wrote stories about subject that interest me (event in the cultural environnement) but don't have place in a wikipedia article. -- ChristianT (talk) 17:56, 3 April 2013 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose: While I cannot deny the facts that Gestumblindi presented, I do not arrive at the same conclusions. Many of the arguments that support the closure of Wikinews are either invalid (like cost, which is negligible), controversial (like tarnishing the image of WMF: if no one reads Wikinews, then who knows about this failed project?) or can be applied to many other Wikimedia projects, Arabic Wikipedia, a fairly big project, is just one example: much of its content is unsourced, consititutes undetected copyright violations and/or original research. I believe, the same applies even to English Wikipedia which has many low-quality articles, especially when the sources (if present at all) are in a language other than large Western European languages.
I have been contributing to Arabic Wikinews for about a year, and most of the time I am the only contributor there. I do my best to write neutral synthetic articles based on several sources, trying to select ones that tend to represent different points of view. Sometimes occasional contributors come and write articles. I leave notes on new contributors' talk pages with my comments and suggestions about how to improve them so they do not violate the policies and style guidelines. When I can, I improve the articles myself, often this requires complete re-writing. If I cannot, the articles get deleted after a few days if they have not been developed to the minimum standards.
And yes, because time in Wikinews is crucial, the site must seem hostile to those who do not appreciate this: in Wikipedia one can wait until an article is improved, in Wikinews this is impossible: either it is developed within a few days or it gets deleted.
There is no original reporting in Arabic Wikinews because I believe original reports must be reviewed by an experienced independent contributor, although I would accept verifiable reports about WMF project news.
In short, Wikinews needs a critical mass of interested regular contributors. While it is clearly not a big success, I don't think its existence harms anyone. And to be fair to WMF, I must point out that at least one feature, the DynamicPageList, was developed specially for Wikinews. --PICAWN (talk) 21:28, 3 April 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose Oppose. No need to close active projects with large numbers of visitors. Inactive projects could be frozen or closed.AndyVolykhov (talk) 22:19, 3 April 2013 (UTC)
  • Strong support: close them all. --178.205.162.40 17:10, 4 April 2013 (UTC)
  • Support closure, per Adam Cuerden, Julius1990, Guil2027, and several other discussants above. --A.Savin (talk) 20:07, 4 April 2013 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose: useful = an active project with contributors and readers, a complementary domain to the wikipedia project, --Franz53sda (talk) 21:10, 4 April 2013 (UTC)
  • Very Strong Oppose I not agree of your idea because the Chinese version (Zh) have very strong growth in the April . Also , the news are come from the different credibility news department (e.g. BBC , VOA , CBS) so them are not useless. --Wyy065 (talk) 09:11, 5 April 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I see Wikinews as an archive. Every content can be used to understand gone time better. Sometimes content is very special and small, but why not? Greetings, Conny (talk) 13:43, 5 April 2013 (UTC).
  • Strong support:wikinews is a great failure.--BlackLotux (talk) 06:17, 6 April 2013 (UTC)
  • Very strong oppose. What a shame! This calling into question the work of all the community members since many years, and threatening the freedom of the media. Gyrostat (talk) 20:10, 6 April 2013 (UTC) PS: Some news on Wikinews don't merit an article. Wikipedia and Wikinews are complementary.
  • Oppose. If you close Wikinews, what would UnNews be parodying? :-) Edward Chernenko (talk) 04:00, 8 April 2013 (UTC)
  • VERY STRONG Oppose: Wikinews acts a very important role in Wikimedia projects. --Shujenchang (talk) 16:28, 10 April 2013 (UTC)
  • Support for closure. --N KOziTalk 12:44, 11 April 2013 (UTC)
  • I would Support closure (or, more charitably, allow the projects to spin-off from Wikimedia). Everything's been said before but to summarise the main points:
  • No wikinews project in any language is a decent source of news. The projects are old enough that these cannot be considered "teething troubles".
  • Apart from Russian, no project shows signs of growth. (stats)
  • Many projects have died entirely, while a few others have effectively become blogs of small numbers of editors. The wikinews with the most impressive numbers, the Serbian wikinews, appears to have just one editor. Effectively very small groups of people are writing news commentary with the implicit endorsement of Wikimedia.
  • While specific problems may be identified in a particular wikinews, the universal nature of the failure suggests an inherent problem with the model.
  • The Wikipedias do a better job at covering recent events than their associated Wikinews.
--LukeSurl (talk) 20:46, 5 June 2013 (UTC)

Procedural notice

(feel free to continue discussion in the section above, I'm just adding a headline for visibility). The Closing projects policy currently is not really made for proposals to discontinue entire projects; it is rather targeted at single language versions. Two basic cases are 1) inactive projects, which might revive later, which is why their content is moved to the Incubator, where it can still be edited, 2) unusual projects, such as Siberian SIB/SIB-DEL (note however that that case happened before the introduction of the current policy).
In the last year, there were some thoughts to form a "sister projects committee" which would facilitate discussions like this one, to close a complete sister project. Obviously, the committee is not (yet?) in existence, but it's clear that this can nevertheless be discussed by the community. Please just keep in mind that the current CPP is not expected to deal with a case like this, and so Langcom is not tasked to decide such a proposal. --MF-W 11:15, 26 March 2013 (UTC)

  • Yes, this is not-remotely within closure policy bounds, and the proposer is being used as a wikt:patsy.
I welcome this discussion if it sees the Wikipediocracy and Wikipedia Review fifth-columnists exposed for the despicable hypocrites they are. Everyone knows who they are, but it's oh-so uncivil to point out this is a declaration of war on a sister project. --Brian McNeil / talk 14:14, 29 March 2013 (UTC)

Apologies

I had hoped for a rational discussion and am somewhat surprised at the hostility coming from some community members towards me; mainly from English-language Wikinews, as it seems. Probably I underestimated the negative emotions previous closure proposals must have caused. Let me reiterate that my preliminary discussion proposal here is wholly my own and I'm not part of any "anti-Wikinews conspiracy" or the like. That I'm using English Wikinews as a main example is because English happens to be the language I speak best after my native language of (Swiss) German. - I have read good arguments from French and Spanish Wikinews here. E.g. I didn't know of the educational activities going on in French Wikinews. Although this isn't what I'd suppose Wikinews was originally meant for, it sounds like a good project to me. And the large number of Twitter followers Spanish Wikinews has seems to indicate a better state of the project than I thought, too. Still, very many language versions show extremely little to no activity, and the project as a whole simply isn't a "news source", but I must concede - an across-the-board closure of Wikinews seems out of the question. So, please accept my apologies for making a proposal (even only for discussion) that was too sweeping. I suppose that we must continue discussing each language version separately. Gestumblindi (talk) 18:17, 29 March 2013 (UTC)

The result was entirely predictable, given that you chose this talk and that there was premature advertising on the Signpost (that also naturally triggered counter-advertising elsewhere).
You could move all this section to the Wikimedia Forum and possibly close it and restart in a more general way (e.g. taking MF-W's consideration into account). --Nemo 19:41, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
Well, this talk page seemed to be the appropriate one to talk about (possible) "proposals for closing projects", as the page is named. It wasn't my idea to write about this on the English Wikipedia's Signpost, the article there came as a surprise. A pleasant one, I thought at first, but then I was quite taken aback by the often aggressive response... this considerably has dampened my spirits and I feel I don't have the energy to discuss Wikinews in a climate of accusations and "conspiracy" innuendos. I'm currently more in a mood of "heck, let they do what they want, if Wikinews is that important to some..." - and as said above, there may be meaningful projects developed in some Wikinews language versions which may fulfill a different good purpose, if not quite the originally intended one of Wikinews as a "news source". I would like to continue discussion, but only based on objective observations - for example, if I ask "there are often no news on Wikinews in language X for days, how is this project useful?", the answer that it may still serve as a platform for training of journalism students is meaningful and helpful (maybe, in such a case the project should change its official profile). Metaphors of war and aggression aren't helpful. Gestumblindi (talk) 20:40, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
I'll suppose here that you really were blindsided, not realizing you were stepping in a political hornets' nest. The anti-Wikinews faction aren't remotely secret; they've been historically quite open about their intentions, they employ non-rational tactics (see w:On Bullshit; seriously, do see it, it's quite interesting), and if you'd come to English Wikinews — with a friendly attitude and without presuppositions — we could have told you what would happen. We could also have pointed out the fundamental flaws of reasoning that underlie your suggestion, as that reasoning is set forth at the top of this thread. I do have some sympathy for someone who hopes for a reasonable discussion and steps instead into such a messy political reality. However, to be honest, my sympathy for your plight is quite limited because you didn't bother to ask us. You decided to propose shutting down Wikinews without first approaching the Wikinews community with an open mind and talking to us and learning what we do and how we do it. I can scarcely think of adjectives strong enough to describe what a poor decision that was on your part. --Pi zero (talk) 22:08, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
That's not quite true or fair. Gestumblindi first approached de.WN with this suggestion 8 months ago: https://de.wikinews.org/wiki/Wikinews:Feedback#Gebt.27s_auf. The user may have been more aggressive with xyr presentation then than now, which shows an improvement over time. - Amgine/meta wikt wnews blog wmf-blog goog news 22:23, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
Probably you're right and I should have approached more big language versions of Wikinews first (as mentioned above, I already told German Wikinews last year that I don't think it's producing useful content). As this isn't about one specific language version, but Wikinews in its entirety, I was looking for the appropriate central place to start a discussion, and here it seemed most fitting, as there is no general "Wikinews discussion" for all language versions, as far as I'm aware. But yes - even though it's just asking for opinions and no formal proposal, members of individual Wikinews communities might feel ignored, I understand this now. I was too much looking just at the content (or lack thereof) I saw and neglected the community aspect. Still, maybe my results-based approach may give some food for thought...? If you try to step out of your role as a Wikinews community member and visit the site like a complete outsider, does it offer the content you would expect from its description as a "news source"? If not, maybe what you do there should be given a different frame and description? Gestumblindi (talk) 22:32, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
As I told you elsewhere I find this discussion necessary and important even if I am not consenting in your conclusions, and we discussed some of the issues within w:de:WD:Kurier; however the problem is much more complex as it seems.
  1. The absolutely lack of support by the foundation, they even don't have a clue how to support the smaller projects. After creating them the foundation appearantla forgot about Wikinews, Wikisource, Wikiquote, Wikibooks and Wikiversity. Heck, we even get Wikipedia fundraising banners on those projects and they just don't care about us. The foundation has no idea what to do for improving the situation within the smaller communities, the have no concept for propagation of those projects.
  2. The lack of technical support. Hey, some months ago a bot put a notice in the German pressroom that now a mobile version is available. Who the fuck should fill the German Wikinews main page with content? There is no active Wikinews user who knows about what to do. So the feature can't be used, isn't used and the German Wikinews mobile main page is empty, absolutely empty. But that's not a mistake of the German Wikinews community.
  3. The hostility other projects are exercising, beginning with not linking the project as sister project at all (example) and removing linked articles within the German WP on a regular base. Even the template, similar to w:en:Template:Current event, which linked to such an article on DE:Wikinews was deleted in DE:WP. However this all is a result of the points above: why they should respect us if even the foundation gives a shit?
  4. If one tells you, hey, does that make sense, for the first time then you say, yeah why not and you are continuing. If they tell you the whole project is crap every time the discussion is raised one gets fatiguée and looses all the little motivation he still has.
  5. And, I clashed with Pi Zero on that, especially the English Wikinews has a community problem and more a communication problem. It's too complicated to get an article approved and published. There is no doubt that we need quality but I believe that the way of doing the review in the English Wikinews actually does not attract any writing users.
--Matthiasb (talk) 23:12, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
Matthiasb, I don't deny that there are problems with the WMF's (lack of) support for sister projects. I'd like to ask a couple of clarifying questions, if I may, about the issues you raised though.
  1. Are you really getting Wikipedia fundraising banners this year? I know they've been VERY careful about that the last three years. If it's still a problem, can you point me to one? Did you report the problem, so that the WMF could correct it? That's a huge issue, and nobody thinks it's okay.
  2. The mobile version: many, many sites have managed to get a mobile version up. If the documentation was lacking or non-existent in German, I'm terribly sorry about that. But again, I'd ask if you let us know that, so that we could correct the problem? If so, please tell me who, and I'll follow-up and see that it is resolved immediately. Regardless, I'm going to ask one of our mobile developers to come by and see if they can help with that.
Thank you (very sincerely) for pointing out these issues. We don't deny that there have been missteps in the past, but I'm very pleased with how we've turned things around, on the whole, and we'd like the chance to correct these. Philippe (WMF) (talk) 04:34, 31 March 2013 (UTC)
Yes we got, and it certainly were other projects as well, according to Stepro's edit, but I don't know in which project he is active, besides DE:WP. It might be because the translation(s) was missing or did not came in time but one cannot really expect a community of a handful or two active users to translate fundrising banners. I believe that this is a common issue with the smaller projects. By the way the whole fundraising campaign is Wikipedia centered, many of the banners do not make sense within the other projects at all. Concerning your second question: atm I don't know about even one DE:Wikinews sysop knowing about how to handle technical issues. There is a How-to needed, first do that, then that, third... most of the MediaWiki doccumentation is not understandable for people not affine to informatics. See, I learned to programm some BASIC programmes almost three decades ago and then I finished school and never needed such stuff again and stlll remember some syntax of DOS 5 ;-) but that rudimentary knowledge does not help very much. I can delete a page or block a user but won't be able to put a piece of Java script together, even some part of Wiki syntax is hard to understand (and I believe that Lua won't perform good in this aspect). Actually translating a template is easier than understanding how it works or putting it together from the scratch. (Some other aspects I've ranted here and elsewhere about I would like to discuss with you on your talk page because of they're not really related to the issue discussed her. I hope to get that together maybe tomorrow.) --Matthiasb (talk) 15:18, 31 March 2013 (UTC)
Hi Mathiasb, Maryana from the mobile team here. You can find simple German-language instructions for how to configure your project's home page to mobile here. Any sysop on de.wikinews can do this. If you have questions or need help, feel free to get in touch with the mobile developers via e-mail or on our IRC channel, #wikimedia-mobileconnect. Thanks, Maryana (WMF) (talk) 17:51, 1 April 2013 (UTC)
Hi Mathiasb, do you remember when you saw a banner on a project other than Wikipedia? Are you located in Germany? WMF has not run banners on any project other than Wikipedia for the last two fundraisers. I'm not sure exactly if the payment-processing chapters (DE, FR, CH) ran banners on multiple projects. If you are outside of a payment-processing country and still saw a banner on another project, please do let me know. Thanks! Meganhernandez (talk) 11:20, 2 April 2013 (UTC)
Mathiasb, whatever the WMF would do, it's a marketing problem in the first place. Everyone knows Wikipedia, no one knows the sister projects or ever will. They should be included in Wikipedia namespaces. Including Meta. Then, we could also have them on one single watchlist. If it stays the way it is nothing will ever change.--Aschmidt (talk) 01:54, 30 March 2013 (UTC)
Of course it is a marketing problem. But what can the active users do about that? What can five or twelve active users do to promote the project? My mission was (and I am still committed to do so) to write articles which ccomplemment their Wikipedia counterparts, to give background which the Wikipedia article can't, be it were too much details or be it encyclopedical inappropriate or irrelevant but even though are interesting to understand what happened for which reason. A typical case would be the Mali news article I did after the coup d'etat last spring. It was intended to serve as a resource when one would write the Wikipedia article. It actually turned out that the creators of the Mali coup d'etat article never knew about my Mali article until into a good part of the Western intervention in Northern Mali during this year's January. Of course it's a marketing problem. But the WMF does not even habe a policy or at least a rule wether one project has to link to a specific sister project. German Wikisource does not link to Wikinews, not on the main page and even not from a specific document, e.g. a court ruling on to the Wikinews reporting about that specific court ruling. You know about how arrogant and ignorant a small but dominating part of the German Wikisource community is. Or: German Wikinews lost half its users and the number of new articles per day went down by 50 percent in 2007 only after the fact that some idiots in Wikipedia believed that the using of w:de:Vorlage:Neuigkeiten (similar to n:en:Template:Current event) should not be allowed in Wikipedia articles and the template was deleted. There even was a movemment of the same faction of idiots to oust even articles in the Wikipedia dealing with current events, they even tried to get rid of the Lebanon war article in 2006 or to delete the "in the news" box on the main page a year later, and they dominated the German WP for years, and the turning point was reached only when they were unsuccessful to delete the article on Jerome Kerviel because of claimed lack of notability. We remember, that was the bank guy who "lost" two billion dollar and triggered the development of the international financial crisis. Those WP vice guys damaged Wikinews for years and it is hard to turn back all this mistakes and wrong developments. Of course it is a marketing problem, and it is a marketing problem for which the Wikimedia Foundation is highly responsible. --Matthiasb (talk) 09:46, 30 March 2013 (UTC)
Matthiasb, we shouldn't carry on investing time and effort into a project nobody ever cares about out there. There are other ways of documenting current events in a wiki such as w:de:2013 or w:en:Portal:Current events that are also much more attractive to readers. There is not a lack of information and news reporting out there, but there is a lack of explaining the news. That's why Wikipedia is that successful, and Wikinews has failed. No one needs a re-telling of those stories, there are algorithms for that of late. We need analysis and documentation, and that's done in WP on the pages I've just mentioned above.--Aschmidt (talk) 20:01, 30 March 2013 (UTC)
  • I'm surely accepting your apology. However please don't try to present ignorance of what original reporting is for and what Wikimedia projects activity policies are as a go at starting rational discussion. I'm sure that Wikinews community would be ready to stick to its never assume philosophy when seeing your future proposals and react to them based on their content — exactly what they say on the tin — without an attempt at making the mistake of assuming good faith, because none of this proposal gives any grounds for such assumption. Gryllida 03:29, 30 March 2013 (UTC)
  • I'm happy to accept the apology; but, have a think. Who did you discuss this with beforehand? Who, exactly, has played you as a wikt:patsy for their own hate-on against Wikinews? I stand by my assertion that The Signpost should be closed down; an olde-worlde font does not stop it being a fount of hate against other projects, and one assumes it's poison-pen little clique imagines they're the Peter Parkers of the wiki world.
You were played. As I say, I'm quite happy to accept your apology. But, I, and I suspect the entire Wikinews community, want a front-page, bold-type, apology from those shitheads at the Signpost. The only other thing I'll settle for is their editing privileges being removed. Permanently.
And as-to "having this discussion elsewhere", you've brought me to the point of extreme profanity. Grow some goddamned balls and have the discussion on Wikinews without wankers who want to rewrite the project's policies to make it "Wikipedia lite", and involving people who are prepared to learn how those policies work before attempting to suggest alterations.
I've not seen one Wikipedian here acknowledge 'McNeil's axiom of news': Facts don't cease to be fact, but news ceases to be news. They're too busy worrying about how many millions will read their inane "recentism" drivel on Wikipedia, and the wannabe journalists amongst them, particularly those within the above-mentioned fanzine, couldn't write their way out of a wet paper bag. Yes, contributing to Wikinews is not easy, it's not for everyone, but those who put in the effort and succeed will tell you why it is a valuable project.
They will do so with a far-better grasp of their chosen language, with anecdoes on improved grades for written classwork stemming from the "Wikinews regime", and a healthy respect for the quality journalism the project does.
A newsroom does not operate with the same collegality as The Other Place's Village Pump. Our learning curve is steep, but short; akin to a semester-long course that is scarily difficult, but offering a chance to learn skills that will serve you through the rest of your life. Ask any Wikinewsie, including those who've quit due to other priorities in their lives, this simple question: "What, to you, is having a Wikinews Featured Article worth?"
Now, excuse me, I have a POINT to make that involves the real world, and real journalism. --Brian McNeil / talk 10:39, 30 March 2013 (UTC)
  • "I stand by my assertion that The Signpost should be closed down ...those shitheads at the Signpost" – Thank you for giving us that rather virulent rhetoric – I haven't had such a good laugh in a while. I suspect that that may have a more than a little to do with their running an apparently premature and allegedly biased story, 'that shithead' Tony's link with SP, and his views expressed here. I'm wondering if you have ever reflected on the feedback you receive, or are you simply so hostile to all criticism, even though it may be constructive? Not everyone reads the "above-mentioned fanzine", just the same as not everyone reads The New York Times. But think about it this way: the coverage has brought us an extremely animated discussion here; something positive could come out of it in terms of suggestions and changes adopted.
  • "The only other thing I'll settle for is their editing privileges being removed. Permanently." – Ah, true colours are coming out. PRC style, no less. Is that how you operate at the People's Republic of WikiNews? Thankfully it's not quite so bad at Wikipedia. ;-)
  • "They're too busy worrying about how many millions will read their inane "recentism" drivel on Wikipedia." – one comment that is spot on, sadly the only one.
  • "it's not for everyone, but those who put in the effort and succeed will tell you why it is a valuable project" – How is that 'success' measured? I mean would that be in terms of tolerating the abuse from McNeil and his possee, the number of articles that survive being deleted outright without a word of explanation, or by the number of 'strategic' stories covered (if there is any editorial strategy)? Oh, or would that be in terms of the exponential growth in the number of contributors or number of readers?
  • "A newsroom does not operate with the same collegality as The Other Place's Village Pump." – that's no excuse for being downright uncollegiate. And how pompous can you get... do you think you are a member of the House of Lords? ;-)
  • "including those who've quit due to other priorities in their lives" – you should put the "due to other priorities" in quotes. A re-evaluation of priorities is inevitable when contributors feel that their efforts are not appreciated or when they feel they have been unfairly treated.
  • "... couldn't write their way out of a wet paper bag... I have a POINT to make that involves the real world, and real journalism" – That's soooo cutting! Oh, if only if Brian were in a real newsroom in the 'real world' instead of the editor-in-chief in his own mind. --Ohconfucius (talk) 02:15, 5 April 2013 (UTC)

The challenges of wiki journalism

I don't know if anyone still remembers me, but I was the founder of OpenGlobe, the now-defunct fork of en.wikinews. During the year in which my project existed, I gained much insight into how citizen journalism works and the immense challenges it faces. Thus, I feel somewhat qualified to offer some of my experiences on the subject, if anyone finds them useful.

I think we're being sidetracked by emotions and politics. It's not helpful to generalise with statements like "Wikinews projects are unfriendly" or "Wikinews is useless" or "Wikipedia/Wikimedia is uncaring". The issue here is deeper. The fundamental question is, to what extent is the journalism model realistically workable through the wiki medium.

Wikinews is unique. On most wikis, you can contribute as much or as little as you like, over an indeterminate time period. A Wikibook manual can be fleshed out over many months by many contributors; there is no rush to churn out a Wikispecies taxonomy. The participants' size and activity level can be low without loss of relevance. This flexibility allows a modest wiki to eventually become highly comprehensive -- as is the case with Wikipedia, or to a lesser degree, Wiktionary. The other WMF projects are not there yet, but the potential for expansion is always present.

But Wikinews is the odd man out. Journalism demands a perpetual flow of content. With paid journalists, there is no difficulty in satisfying this demand because that is their job. But what happens when you replace paid workers with volunteers who write in their free time? The content flow becomes inconsistent since there is no schedule that must be adhered to. You can't fire volunteers for not contributing enough.

Picture a bowl with many small holes. If you pour water into the bowl at a fast enough rate, water will accumulate despite the leakage. But the moment the water flow stops, the bowl empties. The water is usefulness and content; the bowl is the wiki. Wikinews has to struggle against this sieve every day. As a result, it has no chance of slowly evolving into a large, broad project like the other wikis, whose bowls are watertight. Instead, it can only hope to break even in the short-term. My OpenGlobe could not escape this difficulty despite the userbase's great energy and efficiency. Even with great freedom to brainstorm new policies, OpenGlobe could not capitalise on energy spurts. A single slow day would nullify a week's productivity.

Notice this chart of en.wikinews --in particular, the articles per day, which is the indicator of WN's relevance as opposed to total articles. The peak was in 2006-2007; but since then it's slid downwards. For the past three years the stats have flatlined. Remember that other WMF projects rarely, if ever, experience this sustained, sharp decrease in content. Content-wise, they can only go up, or at worst remain stagnant, barring mass deletions or outright closure.

I do not believe Wikinews is a failure. But it's not a success, either, and I believe it is inherently unable to succeed. The empirical data offer no hope of a slow but steady expansion -- which is the way almost every wiki or open-source project becomes successful. I won't argue for or against closure, but I wish to stress that the issue is not so black and white as many people make it out to be.

-Tempodivalse [talk] 05:52, 30 March 2013 (UTC)

  • A bit of history you told there, and while not particularly important, there are two questions I have to you. Is there some software (not a wiki software) you think would be a better choice? Or do you think that, nomatter the software, volunteer-based journalism is doomed to fail? Gryllida 06:14, 30 March 2013 (UTC)
    I don't think wikis were ever intended for the journalism model. They're geared towards evolution -- a page is always editable, always a work in progress. But once a news story has passed a certain threshold, it becomes an artefact, "set in stone". For instance, Wikinews has to full-protect mainspace pages en masse -- a logical practice, but something that is highly against the general wiki spirit.
    Could another platform work better? I couldn't say. I suspect WordPress-style software would offer more opportunities. But in a broader sense, I doubt that a purely volunteer news project is possible with Wikimedia's ideals of neutrality and professionality. If you look at existing citjournalism websites (e.g. IndyMedia), you'll notice that most, if not all, consist primarily of biased reports and/or tabloid-quality content. The contributors' main motivation is the ability to air their views in a prominent forum. Contrariwise, there is little to no incentive for people to write neutrally and professionally for free. Tempodivalse [talk] 06:35, 30 March 2013 (UTC)
It's great to see recognise the unique philosophy of being neutral, as unrealistic as you pictured its implementation if volunteer-run. Is there an infrastructure you could suggest which would involve people working for Wikinews full-time? Would you want Wikimedia to sponsor one full-time employee for Wikinews to resolve this issue? If not, where do you suggest taking the employees from? Gryllida 06:46, 30 March 2013 (UTC)
One full-time employee per language? More like ten to twelve. --88.70.67.73 14:04, 30 March 2013 (UTC)
Having a paid editor would certainly help maintain a steadier content flow. But I'm not sure whether the local communities would want this. Wikinews prides itself on its independence and freedom from external influence, a luxury not afforded to most professional news organisations who are owned by a corporation or conglomerate. In the past, en.wikinews has run stories that portray the Foundation in a negative light (incurring displeasure from the Foundation in the process). Having paid editors would likely curtail this freedom.
That being said, I'm not necessarily opposed to the idea, per se. I just worry whether it's compatible with Wikimedia's overall ethos. To my knowledge, no other content project has a Foundation-sponsored contributor. If we went down that road, I don't think we could consider Wikinews to be a fully volunteer project. Tempodivalse [talk] 15:19, 30 March 2013 (UTC)

┌─────────────────────────────────┘
I think your "bowl full of holes" metaphor perfectly describes how the volunteer run wiki model simply does not work as a news network. Major news networks like CNN or the BBC have offices with reporters, cameramen, editors, etc in dozens of major cities around the globe doing professional journalism 24 hours a day 365 days a year , and their content is just as free as Wikinews. It isn't like Wikipedia or Commons where there basically is no other free source like it, there are dozens of other free sources, all of them far superior at reporting the news in a timely fashion, updating stories as the progress, providing comprehensive coverage of all the days newsworthy events, providing sound and images to accompany the reporting, and having strong editorial oversight and a robust support mechanism for the reporters. No wikinews project is ever going to come close to what the actual pro journalists are also giving away. No disrespect intended to the folks who volunteer their time and energy to produce what content these sites to have, but it simply is not a relevant news source and without a massive influx of cash to support paid staff like a real news organization it is unlikely it ever will be. Beeblebrox (talk) 19:02, 30 March 2013 (UTC)

The solution would be to take a bowl with less holes. That means, for example, writing only about the en:Free culture movement. And there is no need to publish each day, the Singpost publishes once a week. --Goldzahn (talk) 12:40, 31 March 2013 (UTC)

How about change to slashcode, but everyone were able to edit pages? --維基小霸王 (talk) 11:32, 4 April 2013 (UTC)

Moving to Wikipedia?

As an early Wikinews contributor (and a one-time bureaucrat), I support the closure of Wikinews. My reasoning is akin to that of others: the project's goals are important, and it isn't failing -- but neither is it succeeding. Ultimately, for the good of the project goals I think it's best to find another way to accomplish them. Clearly, the necessity to maintain a high flow rate of new articles is hurting Wikinews: it looks stale, and is not useful as a news site. It is, however, useful as a peer-reviewed method of creating, editing, and sharing articles. It has a well-established history and process for gathering original reporting in a coherent, open way.

My strong recommendation is to fold Wikinews into Wikipedia. Having a "News" tab attached to articles, and thus a separate namespace with a separate set of policies, can radically change the picture. It would pull contributors from Wikipedia at a much faster rate, yet remain separately edited to a large degree and could continue to follow established policies within its namespace. If the article rate was high enough, a separate curated News portal could be established, aggregating the best recent news articles into a sort of a home page.

Without a radical change, Wikinews is unable to achieve its important mission: to provide a valuable open-content, NPOV news source. It clearly can do this on a tiny, tiny scale -- but never, in its current shape, at a large one. -- IlyaHaykinson (talk) 16:24, 30 March 2013 (UTC)0

  • Oppose... The original proposer already asked this. As much as it hurts to say you asking it again shows that you can't read. What I said to this was: The "Wikipedia already does news" argument is also invalid because Wikinews, unlike Wikipedia, welcomes original research in the shape of original reporting activity. Please read the friendly manual and think twice before you post. --Gryllida 23:04, 30 March 2013 (UTC)
    • Well, before there would be a move to Wikipedia, we would need a project wide RfC that allows Original reporting and does relative dating. English Wikipedia would really require that RfC internally first given the huge resistance inside the project for covering breaking news events. English Wikipedia notability standards would require a change. So is this an admission that English Wikipedia is fundamentally flawed because the notability requirement is not functional? Is it an admission that English Wikipedia editors who oppose new coverage are fundamentally flawed in their thinking and Wikipedia should function more like a news organization? Brookfield, Wisconsin man charged with stealing toilet and urinal parts is a recent English Wikinews article. Let's see how that would be realized on Wikipedia. Please get that into w:WP:ITN as an example of Wikipedia doing news coverage so, we Wikinews from various languages, can see how this proposed solution would actually work! In the mean time, English Wikipedians and German Wikipedians, please read n:de:Wikinews:Originäre Berichterstattung, n:es:Wikinoticias:Reportajes originales, n:fa:ویکی‌خبر:خبر_دست_اول, n:fr:Wikinews:Reportage original for starters. --LauraHale (talk) 23:20, 30 March 2013 (UTC) Fixed some red links Matthiasb (talk) 15:22, 31 March 2013 (UTC)
      • I am not suggesting that this would be done within the main Wikipedia namespace. Wikipedia already has vastly different rules for what can go in the User: namespace vs Talk: namespace vs. Wikipedia: namespace vs the main namespace. It is entirely feasible to add a new namespace with a very different set of rules. I would never support having the two use shared rules: WP is WP and WN is WN. But in my opinion there is no reason to make WN a separate site with a separate audience: I think we should be bringing WP and WN as close as possible -- and my suggestion of having a News namespace certainly does that. -- IlyaHaykinson (talk) 04:50, 31 March 2013 (UTC)
        • You would still need a site wide RfC that allows original reporting and no rules regarding notability. Go start an RfC on English Wikipedia about creating a separate name space for original news reporting. You patently do NOT need Wikinews closed to do this. See how far it gets you. Be clear in your English Wikipedia RfC that you highlight original reporting/research will be conducted and there will be zero notability guidelines. When I see your RfC, you can be taken seriously. In the meantime, I would love to see you on English Wikinews working with our style guide and policies trying to write news. I bet you can't get an article published because you will not be willing to adapt to local policies. Care to take that bet? --LauraHale (talk) 07:45, 31 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Given the near-impossibility of consensus on large-scale decisions at Wikipedia and the long-standing ban on original material, I think it's unrealistic to expect Wikinews' firsthand-reporting model to be replicated. Any merge would strip Wikinews down to exclusively synthesis reporting, which is essentially what Wikipedia already does. Wikipedia is a news source, although it doesn't want to label itself as such. (Oh, and Ilya, it's nice to see you again. Smile.png) Tempodivalse [talk] 23:46, 30 March 2013 (UTC)
    • (waves to Tempodivalse) While it's hard to achieve this kind of a decision, I think that it honestly would be the best for WN. There is a ban on original material in encyclopedic content. There is all the reason in the world to clearly differentiate encyclopedic from news content whether there are two sites or two tabs. I think that with some finesse and proper guidelines this should not be impossible. -- IlyaHaykinson (talk) 04:50, 31 March 2013 (UTC)
      Actually, I agree with this proposed model, primarily to improve Wikipedia. Wikipedia *is* doing news, and doing it very poorly, because they have to bend a news article out of shape to somehow qualify as 'encyclopedic'. It is much easier to move an article to a namespace than to enforce article transwikiing. The larger community would likely be less-controlled by a few entrenched community members, more able to admit bureaucratic dead-ends. More importantly, there would likely be more-consistent churn in the contributor pool.
      On the third hand, that isn't what discussion was intended to be about. That's a constructive thread, which imo does not belong in this section due to its foreignness. - Amgine/meta wikt wnews blog wmf-blog goog news 04:52, 1 April 2013 (UTC)
  • Comment: I'm pretty sure it isn't such a good idea. Whilst WP editors generally make sure that inclusions of certain facts and occurrences are justified on notability grounds, there's already much too much recentism in WP. And given that Wikipedia is not the news, I don't see compatibility between the two models that would bode well for a merger. Where a WN article is available on a news item that isn't already mentioned or cited in the WP article on the subject – and it really isn't all that often, I have in the past used the citations in the WN article for the WP article. And once the item is mentioned in the WP article and cited, there really is no need for any WN link any more. --Ohconfucius (talk) 02:44, 2 April 2013 (UTC)
  • And, here I have to think the deadline on April Fool's jokes has been extended. There's some people taking part in this discussion wouldn't "lighten up" if the sun went supernova.
But, no. You're quite entitled to the opinion that as a "surviving artefact" Wikipedia would tell you where our society was when it "crashed and burned". I'm saying that to you, Ohconfucius, not about you. You've made a point about a view on the value of Wikinews, I've a different take.
You only make reference to synthesis work on Wikinews, which many project contributors largely view as "practice" and "education". In any case, you can't say it's not a noble goal to weave multiple sources into a more-coherent account; that's what Wikipedia exists to do. The stark difference is Wikinews providing a snapshot, not a rolling commentary.
If you value Wikipedia as a "surviving artefact" to explain our glorious culture, surely you'd hope to have Wikinews to record the much-overlooked warnings about the Shoe Event Horizon which the cockroaches are destined to experience if they run the planet the exact-same way as we have.
It might be much-harder to see more use than you've explained, but Wikinews is licensed to allow text import, and adjustment to suit, to Wikipedia. To do so - by the terms of the license - requires credit given, to Wikinews.
Original reporting is something else, I'm tired of wearing holes in the knees of my trousers for ad-hoc exceptions, like the Paralympics, when Wikinews is the only project whose remit allows them to apply for press accreditation. Exemptions to what? To the ideological opposition to the project being credible.
It's the "Dog Whistle Journalism" coming from The Signpost is making me ranty about this. Can any of you imagine someone trying to rewrite Wikipedia policy, and responding to that being reverted with "trust me, I know what I'm doing"? By a complete alien, one who - more audaciously still thinks telling people they "don't do content" is reassuring.
I'm perfectly happy to have people from Wikipedia use wikinews, as-per your example Ohconfucius, but I'd hope we're getting people to write well-enough it merits copying and crediting to Wikinews. --Brian McNeil / talk 22:48, 2 April 2013 (UTC)
  • VERY STRONG OPPOSE : news on wikipedia do not have any sources!
Instead move all wikipedia news to wikinews: Wikipedia Contributors wanting to put news in a section of the wikipedia home page should first create an article on wikinews. Then a link to wikinews should be put on wikipedia home page.
--DavidL (talk) 12:20, 6 April 2013 (UTC)

English Wikinews has serious community problems in addition to the failure of its website model

I speak here with my community editor hat on. I've spoken above about the failed website model for WN, and would probably have avoided raising the matter of the poisonous community culture at en.WP; but I've just noticed that Brian McNeil has just posted a particularly personalised comment at the last Meta discussion on closing WN. I ask him now to avoid personal slurs and to keep to the facts (actually, he might consider striking that comment).

The pity is that Mr McNeil has a long history of bullying on en.WN and of fomenting a very negative us and them anti-Wikipedia culture. Like many a person in positions of power over a small, outlying branch-office, he has gathered a loyal band of supporters who do his bidding as well. Unsurprisingly, some are already posting on this page. It's amazing that someone who said the following, and many things like it, is still in a position of authority at en.WN:

  • "You fucking ignorant bastard. You wasted over 30 minutes of my time filling in this section with a relatively constructive comment, lacking in expletives, by editing the whole bloody page, and causing an edit conflict. Get a fucking grip, get a fucking clue, and stop being so bloody desperate to have the last word. Your idiocy is costing me money. ..."

Not unexpectedly, the user to whom that was directed left shortly after. Many good editors have resigned from en.WN under a dark cloud with which Mr McNeil seemed to be associated; I won't bother listing them here, but it's easy enough to do so if anyone asks. You might wonder why the Foundation puts up with this behaviour. Mr McNeill has been admonished by the Foundation on at least one occasion—but still nothing happens. In particular, I draw your attention to a post by Philippe Beaudette, then Head of Reader Relations (now Director of Community Advocacy) at the WMF:

  • "As you all know well, the Wikimedia Foundation is loathe to engage in the internal decision making processes of the wikis. We've traditionally held the view that the communities govern themselves well, and without our interference. We continue to hold that view, and I'm not coming in wielding a big weapon or anything here. However, I think that sometimes the best thing I can do is to share my opinion, because I'm in the lucky position of being paid to watch and think about our projects all the time.

    I am gravely concerned about some of the quotes that I'm seeing from Brian. In particular, I believe that this comment is beyond the pale. I'm embarrassed for our projects that someone in a leadership role left a message like that. While there's no meta policy for civility, there is a moral requirement that we treat each other with kindness and respect. I wish I could say that this is the first "slip up" of the type from Brian, but I can't help but see a pattern of uncivil discourse that is troubling from an acknowledged leader in this project.

    I'm not going to try to tell this community how to treat it's own... but I strongly encourage you to think about how you want to be represented. These types of affairs are the ones that bubble up when people talk about bullying on our projects. These are the ones that contribute to public perception. Please know that I condemn, in the strongest possible terms, recent uncivil statements from Brian, particularly given what appears to be an ongoing and worsening problem."

However, the Foundation apparently doesn't want the trouble that would be involved either in banning Mr McNeil from en.WN or in closing a site on which:

  • (i) a poisonous culture has long been in evidence;
  • (ii) numbers and activity remain moribund (probably largely due to (i)); and
  • (iii) the output model has manifestly failed.

This is an instance where the Foundation does need to act, and all members of the movement who care about our trademark and reputation should encourage action. Before members of the mutual support faction on en.WN come in to impale me, please think first about how you'd be reinforcing outside perceptions of your project. Tony (talk) 03:31, 31 March 2013 (UTC)

Let's try to notify people when we quote them, eh? Particularly on contentious topics? For the record, I would not support a ban on Brian. Nor would I propose any such thing. I have seen marked improvement in his discourse since that statement. Regardless, we have no policy that I am aware of that would support such a ban, and I'm not gleeful about regulating speech in quite THAT way. Brian has years of content contribution under his belt, and that (perhaps inappropriately) buys him a little bit of leeway with me. So would I, in a perfect world - if I could - ban him? I would not. I might strongly suggest that he reduce his leadership activities until he's taken a vacation and re-grouped, but I would not support a ban. Philippe (WMF) (talk) 04:41, 31 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Brian McNeil's phrasings are not poor-grounded, but rather, are based on evidence; never assuming is a Wikinews concept, replacing the AGF policy on Wikipedia and its few sisters. If a contributor has shown no interest in working toward productive result, they will not be babysit in a hope of that they would learn; if they demonstrate learning abilities, they get what they aim for. Eventually it could be a good idea if, instead of supporting and encouraging wastes of time on groundless proposals of closing Wikinews, you worked on things you like and let the project do what it wants. Your actions are poor grounded and not sensible compared to the object of your critique. Gryllida 07:06, 31 March 2013 (UTC)
  • I have to note that I personally got a lot of help from Brian McNeil during my introductory period: I, as newcomers typically do, made wrong assumptions, missed some points, and didn't know what others mean; simply asking questions works. This folk isn't made of stone or of small angry rats; he is happy to clear confusion if he sees that I want to know things. Please see here. --Gryllida 07:17, 31 March 2013 (UTC)
  • I also have to say that I have had a positive experience with Brian. I met him in person and he is a primary reason why I contribute. With Wikinews, I honestly feel like a part of the community where we all work towards a common goal. With Wikipedia, I feel isolated or like other people are competing with me for things I do not understand. I find the English Wikipedia community to be inherently more toxic. If I was to shut a project down based solely on the community aspect, it would be English Wikipedia. You have the Signpost actively working against the Wikimedia Foundation. You have people who make false and unsubstantiated allegations on a regular basis who face few consequences for their actions. You have users telling eachother to fuck off. You have a community that cannot cope with the size to deal with copyright violations, that cannot get source verification down, that cannot lock good versions of the article to preserve things that have been checked. You have leaked e-mails. The community has a policy of assume good faith, which results in people getting away with all sorts of crap because you have to assume that copyright violations and personal attacks were intended to be positive actions. You have nationalists pushing points of view. You have religious people pushing points of view. There is no control mechanism, and it would be too expensive to pay people to actually supervise that. English Wikipedia has no guiding principles to which the community can even agree to in terms of working towards a common goal. You have people like tony1 who come in and wish death on others and engage in active harassment of people they dislike which drives down editor retention. I have never experienced any of these things at English Wikinews... well, except tony1's harassment. English Wikinews as a community is not broken. Our community does not think it is broken. Any suggestions to the contrary are people misrepresenting reality to suit themselves. --LauraHale (talk) 07:39, 31 March 2013 (UTC)

Philippe: you say:

  • "Brian has years of content contribution under his belt"—so what? Why does that give him the right to be rude and abusive to other editors?
  • "and that (perhaps inappropriately) buys him a little bit of leeway with me"—Inappropriate, eh? Thanks for admitting that.
  • "I might strongly suggest that he reduce his leadership activities until he's taken a vacation and re-grouped, but I would not support a ban."—A long vacation, yes. I'm surprised to hear you encourage him to "re-group". He's got his mafia-style group already, so hardly needs to renew it. Better that he function as an editor in a non-administrative role, and stop bullying. Would you like more diffs to his abusive behaviour? I do believe that it's part of the reason that en.WN is moribund, and is therefore highly relevant to this discussion. Tony (talk) 08:11, 31 March 2013 (UTC)
That's when one may consider taking opponents of Brian McNeil's behaviour onto Wikinews to support removal of his crat flag instead of escalating the issue to meta. There is enough administrators with access to logs to ensure that Brian doesn't abusive his privvy bits for hiding proposals for his own flags removal. Escalation to Meta may be redundant given that Wikinews does not violate Wikimedia policies and wasting time of Meta community or WMF employees may be of little value, here. Gryllida 09:03, 31 March 2013 (UTC)
I am uncomfortable with the way many Wikipedians are trying to shut down Wikinews. This level of wiki-politics irritates me, and I think these proposals might have a negative effect on Wikinews' productivity. As someone who has edited many tiny wikis under constant threat of closure, I can tell you that there is no incentive to edit a project that might not be around tomorrow based on which way a Meta thread turns.
That being said, I'd like to respectfully suggest, as a former Wikinews bureaucrat who has been deeply involved behind-the-stage for years, that you (Gryllida and LauraHale) are oversimplifying the issue through anecdotal accounts. I'm sincerely happy you were able to get involved, and you have both been invaluable contributors; however, you cannot therefore conclude that all newcomers' experiences must have been equally positive. My initial time with Wikinews was also highly enjoyable; but over the years, as I started to perceive flaws in the structure and tried to point them out, things went downhill. You can have a great experience at Wikinews as long as you don't disagree with the status quo too often.
True, the remaining userbase does not see a problem. However, that's because all users who believed the community was broken have already left - they either migrated to the fork or ceased editing altogether. The remaining contributors are highly like-minded. While this uniformity reduces the risk of internal conflict, it also means community is less accepting of new ideas. Outsiders have no voice and are often looked down upon. A group that is unanimous in its opinions and isolates itself from any differing perspectives for a long time tends to gradually become even more closed-minded, and risks losing touch with reality. This is sociologically demonstrable both in real-life and internet communities. Say what you want about Wikipedia, but it has no shortage of intellectual diversity.
I've made my peace long ago with the Wikinews community. Even though I can no longer edit there, I sincerely want to see Wikinews thrive, and I have no agenda to see anyone banned or the project closed. But I do believe this is a good time for us to acknowledge Wikinews' problems and hopefully learn from past mistakes. Tempodivalse [talk] 15:37, 31 March 2013 (UTC)

Time for some introspection

I think it’s clear from this discussion thus far that there will be no consensus to close Wikinews at this point in time. It would be good if we could use the opportunity to actually look at how the projects are operating though, because even by the most generous possible interpretations most language editions are failing to meet their stated mission of providing up-to-date and relevant news content (I possibly exclude the Russian and Serbian editions from this, which seem to be doing better than the other language editions)

To my mind, despite the considerable accomplishments of the English Wikinews community, the project is quite obviously sick and needs medicine in the form of some changes the way it operates. Sticking heads in the sand and pretending that everything is fine is not an option when key measurements such as the number of active editors, and the number of articles being published per month, are on a long-term decline.

There is an extensive bureaucracy and process on Wikinews to get a news article published, which works against the “anyone can edit” philosophy, and provides a high barrier to entry against new users. The MediaWiki software, which is great for collaborative content building in a situation like an encyclopædia where entries must be constantly updated, is not well suited to a news publishing environment where pages ideally experience an initial flurry of editing, and then nothing after a week or so. Using a Wiki for this task is akin to using a hammer to nail in a screw. Finally, it’s obvious that there are some problems in the community – healthy communities simply do not lose half of their contributors in forking events. I’m no longer embedded enough within this community to talk reliably about what those problems might be, but toxic communities rarely produce much high-quality content. To produce the constant torrent of content that Wikinews needs in order to successfully fulfil its mission, it will need more editors, not less.

Ultimately, it is up to the English Wikinews community whether they wish to try and arrest the slow decline at Wikinews, which will almost certainly involve the remaining community members moving outside of their comfort zones and doing some things differently, or continue presiding as the kings and queens of a dying project. Craig Franklin (talk) 12:34, 31 March 2013 (UTC).

"Healthy communities simply do not lose half of their contributors in forking events" Erm, yes. Spanish Wikipedia fork rings a bell? That wasn't about the community. It certainly didn't kill Spanish Wikipedia, which will reach a million articles in a month or two. Projects have their own cycles, and you cannot expect all to behave like English Wikipedia by default.
But there's obviously some personal vendettas going on here that are beyond my knowledge (not that I'm too interested in learning them, either) and that of the rest of Wikinews projects which have been bundled up with the English one, to my mind the true target. The "proposal for a proposal" for closure has not been successful. More editors are needed, and I'm sure the communties can think of ways to make this happen -indeed, such a discussion is already happening on Spanish Wikinews. And that's the way to go -with the communities, not against them. Raystorm (talk) 14:47, 31 March 2013 (UTC)
That's fine. I guess the takeaway message from my post above is that "things are not going well", and "the community should think about making adjustments". I hope this is taken as an opportunity for some honest self-assessment followed by change, rather than the en.wn community getting defensive and regarding it as pesky Wikipedians sticking their nose where they're not welcome. Craig Franklin (talk) 11:25, 1 April 2013 (UTC).
Wikinews, particularly the english-language version, have adopted policies and processes aimed at listing in Google News, and being used as a Reliable Source by a certain encyclopedia. The latter isn't happening, and it's the Usual Suspects (seen airing dirty laundry here) who, with one breath flat-out refuse to afford the project's work any respect, and in the next want to tear down any work towards meeting Wipipedia's RS standards. That is why we insist people prove they know how things currently work before trying to rewrite the site's policies. If you cannot get articles through review, preferring to blame everyone but yourself, then you've not qualified to propose improvements.
Is the software to blame? No. It's a CMS, you expand it with extensions to improve productivity within the workflow of the project. Well, we would like to, ... --Brian McNeil / talk 19:06, 1 April 2013 (UTC)
I'm not sure Wikinews is entirely a meritocracy. I've seen many Wikinewsies amply demonstrate competence and knowledge around the project, but still be greeted with derision for proposing changes to the work model. Please remember that not everyone who suggests changes wants to see Wikinews harmed. Some outsiders (and insiders, too) actually want to see Wikinews thrive, they just don't share your vision of how to get there. Tempodivalse [talk] 22:53, 1 April 2013 (UTC)
I don't think there's a disagreement over the processes we have place - in trying to as-consistently-as-possibly produce high quality output - being overly-onerous. It's seeing how they work, rather than hearing about it third- or forth-hand makes a difference. The quality is by-and-large there, ignoring "sideshow" arguments about what stories anyone might choose to cover. It is a classic case of the posited argument being 'baby and bath water'. --Brian McNeil / talk 02:29, 2 April 2013 (UTC)

Purpose matters

I oppose the proposed closing of WN for many reasons, but consider the real world purpose on the news capacity. Sure, WN is not robust as many would desire. However, light use also means lighter strain on resources too. That disqualifies one third of the justification to close WN, as it is not a resource hog. As the marketplace provides decent news sources, then WN is but a sidebar or safety net. Frankly, society should have the luxury of a news safety net and its use should be sporadic. But do not remove the WN as one would not wish to remove the net to high flying acrobats. Finally, a single WN journalist, or a few WN reporters can change the face of history. The right person at the right time with the right story can prevent a war, take down a President, turn the tide of suffering in epic ways. Volume and magnitude and NPOV are necessary in the Wikipedia project and fully unrequired in WN. Greatness in WN can come from a lone voice. To judge news with the same scales (pun) as Wikipedia goes counter to the real world purpose of news. Long live WN, even as a thin but watchful cousin to the others. Rauterkus (talk) 13:47, 31 March 2013 (UTC)

  • Whilst the above may have more than a grain of truth, I tend to see it as much too idealistic – under our current model, we don't have any journalists, just a bunch of individuals rehashing news sources. I don't subscribe to the 'safety net' notion, because 'free' news is currently the default. I suspect that the existing mission of WN is faulty.

    I believe its quite correct to try and seek an overview of the WN project from a MW perspective. What we need to re-examine is not just the resource consumption (narrowly defined), but the entire business model, starting with its mission. Not only should the mission be tangible, the entire organisation must be built to achieve that mission. The nature of news is so different to encyclopaedia content. My view is that the project is oversized, and its aims cannot be achieved by each language community working local stories in their respective cantons. The key resource for WN is human, in the form of newsgathering capacity. The worldwide network can and should be leveraged to coordinate on 'important' breaking stories so that it is carried in each and every language version WN; it could be reformatted into a weekly or monthly compendium – we see this successfully accomplished by The Week. Newsgathering is intensely resource-hungry, and the marketplace for 'free' news is highly competitive, so if any merger is to be contemplated, the first step should be the creation of a multi-lingual editorial board that agrees on the day's (or week's) stories.

    It's true that bloggers are becoming increasingly important sources of news even for the largest news agencies, so nowadays we cannot dismiss content just because of their 'bloggy' provenance; we still have to note that some bloggers are more reliable than others. So we need to establish benchmarks for these; there should also be a bar to grade the importance of stories to avoid contributors' whims. That way, the project would have focus, and be thus able to avoid the parochial 'chiens écrasés' stories that we seem to be seeing more and more of. For these are signs of a moribund project trying to find a niche for itself, but heading down the road of trivia and irrelevance in the process. Nobody wants to close down WN for its own sake, but we also need to note that in the commercial world, for every hundred product launches, there will be perhaps only one blockbuster; there will be a large bunch of flops, and an equally large batch of mediocrity. And if a project continually marginalising itself through irrelevant reporting, or is consistently failing to deliver on its mission across the board, we should seriously consider the case for closure, on a global (and not piecemeal) basis. But most importantly, if WN cannot avail itself of that primary and essential resource already mentioned, the writing may already be on the wall. Consultation of the contributing community is one aspect only – and many of the opposers are apparently opposing because they contribute there, with no justifying rationale from the readers' or the holistic WM perspective. --Ohconfucius (talk) 03:55, 2 April 2013 (UTC)

  • While Wikinews might be not as comprehensive as other news sources, it lacks bias and has a copyleft license, and is about the only project among Wikimedia which allows original research: see Wikinews:Original reporting. Due to the said lack of bias, it becomes a good source to cite (i.e. species discovery interview brings new articles about it to Wikipedia and Wikispecies as well as media to Commons) and to reuse (it's as easy as attribution; you can transform and remix all you like) in your own work. :-) Gryllida 03:32, 4 April 2013 (UTC)

Example of failed model: internationally significant stories mixed with stealing toilet parts, postman killed in collision

Linked to from the WN main page today: "Canberrans celebrating Easter"

I looked at the main page of en.WP yesterday. There I found pieces of international significance (all, BTW, with over-long titles in a front-page headline context)—Soyuz TMA-08M launches to International Space Station, arrives in record time and Nelson Mandela hospitalised again with lung infection recurrence. However, these were intermingled with Brookfield, Wisconsin man charged with stealing toilet and urinal parts and Outer Hebrides collision kills postman (only rumoured to be a postman, we learn by clicking for more—but why let that interfere with a good headline?).

Is this a joke? Who is exercising thematic editorial control over what goes on the front page? It seems that the utterly trivial (and the local) are mixed with the significant and international. What kind of readership is the main page aiming at? Why are stories you might find in a cheap local rag on the front page? Really, who cares about the theft of urinal parts or the fact that a person died in a motor-vehicle collision on some island off Scotland? What an embarrassment.

Today I see a local magazine-type story about how the sun came out yesterday afternoon in Australia's national captial, and "a number of Canberrans" spent the day outdoors. Proudly labelled in red caps "ORIGINAL", this was positioned alongside a highly significant international story—again the headline too long, and misleading to boot: United States economy growth revised up to 0.4% in last quarter of 2012 (try US growth 0.4%—and it's not that the 0.1% estimate was "revised" up to a 0.4% estimate: apparently the economy actually grew at 0.4%).

Let's move from the thematic chaos to examine the quality of the US growth story. The mistake concerning successive estimates is reinforced in the story text: "the increased estimate". The story itself is so short it's almost not worth reading; and it lacks the larger context conveyed by the sourced BBC News Online story—"US economy ekes out 0.4% growth ..." (my italics). Fact is, 0.4% is pretty bad given all of the circumstances. I suggest that 2/3 of a page rather than six sentences would be more fitting for a complex main-page feature. And while we're being picky, "the" is missing from the second sentence (and you could probably drop "previously"). A comma after "2012" would be useful, although not mandatory. "Per the report" is not stylish, and isn't the first paragraph "per the report" too? "Hike in taxes" I regard as falling into GOP "tax is robbery" spin – the neutral form is "tax rises". I query why "defense" and "government" spending are different—is this more GOP spin, of the type that holds that military spending is just ticketyboo, but government spending on the health system is socialised medicine? And the amateur economist in me is slightly concerned about the presumption—made in the sources, I suppose—that the "loss in output" is entirely due to these cuts in spending. Methinks it's multi-factorial.

And remember, the Subway eatery was open in Canberra yesterday, "and had a number of customers". Front page, hello? Tony (talk) 03:29, 1 April 2013 (UTC)

Thanks keeping up the good fight Tony1! It's appreciated, I assure you. - Amgine/meta wikt wnews blog wmf-blog goog news 04:54, 1 April 2013 (UTC)
Lets not forget that on the "Easter" story, the action apparently took place somewhere called "Belconnon", with a link to a non-existent Wikipedia article. I imagine the original author meant "Belconnen". It's an understandable enough error to make in an initial draft, but it's a bit worrying that this evidently wasn't picked up during peer review in the quality control phase. Craig Franklin (talk) 11:17, 1 April 2013 (UTC).
Dear Craig Franklin, I am rather convinced that enforcing the project philosophy of encouraging people to become competent independent contributors — posting concerns in a place where they can be addressed, i.e. article talk pages — is the way Wikinews works, and I would do that rather than waste a hour of time grumbling and tossing parts of the mixes like the one above to article talks and seeing how Tony1 does the same thing again in the future. In this particular case, this task isn't too hard — the primary concerns being at the rant bottom about the US story — but you would see the trend by now, and why using local feedback means is preferable. Gryllida 11:50, 1 April 2013 (UTC)
So, err, "I don't like the stories on the Main Page". If only there were a place to discuss that... —Tom Morris (talk) 15:31, 3 April 2013 (UTC)
  • Strawman: "We should close Wikipedia because all people ever do is fill it with Pokemon articles". --Brian McNeil / talk 14:17, 1 April 2013 (UTC)
  • Comment: I guess that some people are so fed up with news organisations' tendency to US-centrism and excessive reporting based on Anglo-Saxon financial interests that they may actually like the news mix in WN. ;-) --Ohconfucius (talk) 02:47, 2 April 2013 (UTC)
For a good part the cause for the effects addressed in this section is that Wikinews is a volonteers project. There is no way to secure that all events of worldwide relevance get covered. Users tend to write articles on topics in which they are interested in. On the other hand also region and cultural background of the active editors might play a role. US users very likely won't start an article on the Champions League final, non-US users certainly do not see the need to report about the Super Bowl. --Matthiasb (talk) 17:18, 13 April 2013 (UTC)

Incredibly against an overall closure of Wikinews

Wikinews is an odd thing in the Wikimedia environnement because it works on a very different model than on other Wikis of the foundation. Where most Wikis gain value with the quantity of content and the rate at which they gain that quantity doesn't have that much relevance, Wikinews gets most of its value in the rate of content accumulation. As a news site, Wikinews is not really relevant if it goes out for a very long period of time without posts.

Clearly inactive wikis

Some Wikinews aren't active at all. Then closure of these wikis could be thinkable. It surely need to get approval from the people on these wikis. To get this done, we must advertise the proposal for closure on these Wikis and stop the process if at least some kind of resistance is faced. Hosting these small Wikis costs nothing to the Foundation and if anyone is willing to contribute to these wikis and feels it's necessary, we shouldn't go against it. As an exterior person to these wikis, I cannot be a judge of their relevance unless it is clear that they get no support at all from anyone or so few people that it is unrealistic it could succeed (a mesure for that: if there are more than to regular contributors to a project, it is not inactive).

Active wikis with community problems

It seems, as we can read upwards, that some Wikinews are active but have community problems, such as en.wikinews. I am external to that community but I feel that it needs to question itself as a whole to figure out if their ways are stopping people from joining them or continuing to work with them. This has been a central part of this call for closure discussion and it was also the case in the precedent call directed only at that Wikinews. If this is the problem to adress, then it should be done without evoquing the radical solution of pulling the plug completely.

Active wikis without community problems

I am very sad that we are considering pulling the plug on active wikis such as fr.wikinews in which I am a part of. I am even more sadden by the fact that it is being discussed without it being told to the active contributors of these community. Yes, fr.wikinews isn't as active as we could want. It sometimes fails at delivering an article everyday. But, the important thing is that things are happening and people are getting organised. What we need to do is to publicise what we do better and work out a way to upgrade the overall value of our wikis. I'm going to discuss this in Hong Kong if all goes well (see my proposal here: Wikimania:10 ways to make Wikinews a better project). What are things we could do to increase our importance? In my opinion there are many ways possible and overall closure of Wikinews would only end any hope to accomplish those ideas.

Things that need to be done

There are two very important things that need to be done before we could even consider believing that this discussion is complete:

  1. Get all versions of Wikinews to know that this discussion is taking place and invite everyone to take part in it. This particularly important if we want to know which wikinews versions are active and which aren't. We should invite all these people to write in their own language so they can be heard. Personnaly, I can write some english and get myself understood but it is a luxury that not everyone has and that is an important bias to any Meta discussion. Many persons on fr.wikinews won't come here to discuss only because they can't understand what is written or explain their views.
  2. Fill the gap that exists without each language's Wikipedia and Wikinews. This means that these two communities, who have some contributors in common, must put their differences aside and try to work more in harmony to feature eachother's content. This means that Wikinews has to be opened to newcomers and that Wikipedia should consider using Wikinews' content in areas where it has value. Why not transfer to wikinews the source of the content of all "Actuality" boxes that exist on each Wikipedia top page? This would get people to know Wikinews more and allow fluidity between both Wikis.

In conclusion

Closure of all Wikinews is a bad idea.

  • Some Wikinews are small; so what, as long as some activities goes on, it cost almost nothing to anyone.
  • Some Wikinews are plain inactive; then we could consider closing those and only those.
  • Some Wikinews have internal problems; closure is not the best way to adress those and closure of other wikis has no effect on this problem.
  • Some Wikinews are active, as is fr.wikinews, and would only benefit from a reflexion to make them more efficient and interesting. Then closure would be a very unproductive way to deal with this. To start that reflexion, let's get ourselves moving by discussing it: Wikimania:10 ways to make Wikinews a better project].

I hope that if this discussion goes further, all Wikinews will be made aware of it and that issues will be disscussed separately: closure for really inactive wikinews, change in manners in problematic wikinews, discussion for ameliorations for active but imrpovable wikinews.

I'll probably come back to complete this as the discussion goes on. Have a nice day, Letartean (talk) 19:31, 3 April 2013 (UTC)

  • en.wikinews, which some people here painted in a problematic light, is already aware of this discussion, by the way; I am rather convinced that they are encouraging local feedback. Thanks. Gryllida 03:20, 4 April 2013 (UTC)
    • "Get all versions of Wikinews to know that this discussion is taking place and invite everyone to take part in it."—Um ... well then this page will be flooded with even more Wikinews people, who all have a vested interest in continuing their feckless party at all our expense. What you see here is almost as bad as what you get on en.WP if you complain: shrill, self-righteous outrage that anyone should dare to apply normal professional standards to the pallid dross that WN usually turns out. It's an indulgence for the few. Tony (talk) 11:04, 4 April 2013 (UTC)
  • At whose expense? I think you'll find many Wikinews contributors have, over the years, made more-than-token financial contributions to the WMF. Money is not the issue here.
If anything is being continued at the "expense" of people here, it would be your tired little vendetta; and your use of the Signpost to perpetuate it, attempting to solicit votes, and wider input, that supports your crusade.
Of course those, spread across all language versions of the project you're trying to kill off, are not going to agree with you. But, they're entitled to know what is going on, and to express an opinion.
I'd hope the most-recent use of the Signpost to seek a lynchmob is being noted. You're certainly shelling the moral high ground. --Brian McNeil / talk 11:18, 4 April 2013 (UTC)
I'm frankly outraged by the comment by Tony1.
I'm going to answer it as calmly as I can.
  1.  . Wow, so much in one sentence. What if we proposed to apply the same logic to Wikipedia: should we delete and block any person who doesn't write inside of these sacro-saint professional standards? This so absurd and unfair to ask for that I can't even imagine where it comes from.
  2. Yes, I claim the right to be outraged that someone could ask the closure of all Wikinews projects without thinking that those who make those projects live could be interested to that discussion. You're talking about something that is important to them, it's the least thing to get their opinion on the subject. Maybe getting opinions from these people could help you understand the importance of this Wikinews project and take away some of your misconceptions about the project.
  3. Isn't the fact that this page could "flooded" by people who care a good indication that this is a bad idea? Maybe you don't believe in Wikinews; then just don't go. Live and let live my friend.
  4. "continuing their feckless party at all our expense." Could you specify what is the expense please? Because I can't see any that concerns you. Wikinews has no cost and makes no difference in the life of the Wikimedia environnement. If you don't wish to contribute to it, then don't. Leave it to people who care. Maybe, if they don't have to fight a proposal for closure every 6 months, they'll be able to get things done and make the project better. This what we are trying to do on fr.wikinews and I think it's a good thing.
So, I'm all for a rational discussion on the subject to get to the amelioration of Wikinews. But I'm not onboard for these kind of comments. Good day, Letartean (talk) 17:52, 4 April 2013 (UTC)
Pointedly, no one has responded to the specific problems I critiqued in the material that was on the front page of en.Wikinews a few days ago. That in itself is low standards on display with a big flashing light.

Letartean says: "Isn't the fact that this page could "flooded" by people who care a good indication that this is a bad idea?" No, it's a concern about canvassing to get your artificial consensus.

"many Wikinews contributors have, over the years, made more-than-token financial contributions to the WMF"—I certainly hope so, but it doesn't change the damage en.WN does to the WMF's trademark.

"your use of the Signpost to perpetuate it"—you seem still to think that I wrote the piece on WN. I had nothing to do with it, either in the planning or the writing. If you want to challenge that, you should do so directly, and we'll show you the evidence in the tracking-changes. Complain to Ed, the author, if you wish, but don't impugn my statement.

"Yes, I claim the right to be outraged that someone could ask the closure of all Wikinews projects"—no, I'd just like to start by closing en.WN, which is the most prominent embarrassment. Tony (talk) 05:33, 5 April 2013 (UTC)

  • Ah, now we see it; you've been trying to orchestrate this to have yet another go at killing enWN, the project where you ended up blocked for wading in and introducing grammatical errors to the style guide. You then, when challenged to prove you could write to the style guide, said you "don't do content".
Even the majority of people expressing an opinion that Wikinews is not particularly useful to them, haven't drank the same bad batch of kool-aid and made it their mission to get the project shut down, regardless how much contributor time it wastes.
Honestly, if there's something more-important than Tony1's ego about, would someone please shoot it? We might be able to get on with our lives then. --Brian McNeil / talk 19:27, 6 April 2013 (UTC)
I'm pretty impressed by the character assassination, Brian Mac. It may not have occurred to you that, the culture at WN being like what it is, being blocked at WN could be a badge of honour, to be worn with pride. It's funny that you mentioned Kool-Aid. You're in tight corner now, although not sufficiently so for you to administer it to your followers. But I suspect not many will consume it even if you were to administer it. ;-) --Ohconfucius (talk) 04:00, 8 April 2013 (UTC)
Tony—I see that you are mentioning that Wikinews does damage to the WMF's trademark. Please point me exactly to what trademark is being damaged by Wikinews (Hint: Wikinews itself is a registered trademark of the WMF; does it damage itself? How?), or else let us consider this a groundless argument.

I also notice the recurring point of Wikinews costing the WMF actual money. As I commented above—and this comment was posted on the Signpost, so I guess you did notice it—the WMF does not have any staff-run programs related to Wikinews. There are no extensions used by Wikinews that are being actively developed by the Foundation's staff in their paid time, and I haven't seen any Wikinews feature or change requests being submitted to Bugzilla for a while.

The size of the databases, the number of page requests, etc. for all language editions of Wikinews combined are probably smaller than that of the English Wikipedia alone. This leads me to assume that the costs of running Wikinews are negligible; if you have any opposite arguments up your sleeve, then please share them with us.

There are other arguments in favour of keeping Wikinews, and many in favour of closing the project (or a few of them) that can be argued; but please, please, let us waste no more time on this trademark and money bullshit. odder (talk) 15:50, 8 April 2013 (UTC)

Captain Obvious to the rescue: HowTo: resolve the inactivity problem

Forgive me for stating the obvious, but:

  1. You say that Wikinews are inactive (let's assume we can't fix this, they don't have enough authors);
  2. You say that inactive news website is useless.

But a lot of websites have only one or two authors updating the news. How do they do it?

They concentrate on few topics (e.g. they have an author writing about politics and about licensing news), and on these topics they cover all news (i.e. are useful).

The problem with Wikinews is that users treat them like Wikipedia - one day they write about Chess, another day about Flowers. In Wikinews this means that half of the news about chess (and half about flowers) will not be written about.

I propose that we strongly encourage a thematic division: maybe even a table "who writes about what"; each user selects one narrow enough theme for one person to handle.

This way, Wikinews will be a good source of information even with 1 active user, just not for all themes (which we don't actually need, we just need Wikinews to be useful for someone).

Edward Chernenko (talk) 20:41, 4 April 2013 (UTC)

Narrowing Wikinews' scope would certainly help it become more relevant. I actually enjoy the diverse topics that Wikinews provides. Users can choose what is most interesting to them and report on it, instead of being confined to a predetermined rubric. But as a result, coverage is very spotty. Wikinews might produce a great report on one day, but later fail to follow-up with critical updates, thus rendering the initial report less meaningful. Free-content projects with little manpower are generally most successful when they are able to develop a niche for themselves; yet Wikinews is trying to compete with the major news networks on their own turf, and the battle is rather one-sided. Writing about what happens in your neighbourhood is fun -- but how many people internationally will really care?
During OpenGlobe's existence, the most unique, high-quality articles were those that covered the Internet. If I were to create another Wikinews fork, this time I would focus the project exclusively on Internet news -- perhaps I would restrict it even further, to news on the open-source world. This is the only way I can envision a 100%-volunteer wiki successfully adopting the journalism model. Tempodivalse [talk] 21:19, 4 April 2013 (UTC)
I've said this in response to Tempo below. I've written numerous articles about same-sex marriage. Let's say that in future Wikinews, that were assigned to me. That became my beat. And I got busy at work or a family member got sick or whatever. Who takes my beat? And what happens if, say, Obama got assassinated if the Obama guy is similarly inconvenienced...? Volunteers tend to sometimes disappear because they have other commitments in life. —Tom Morris (talk) 12:23, 9 April 2013 (UTC)

Another point of view

I am one of the few regular editors of the Czech wikinews (but as you can see, I'm more active elsewhere). From my point of view, this informal proposal relies on assumptions I find simply wrong.

  1. The goal of becoming the main (and only?) news feed for our reader may be an imposing goal, unless the only real result is that we forget wikinews can be useful just with modest goals. I do not see Wikinews as failure because I always thought of them more as a supplement of the traditional media. I do not need another site announcing the new US president or the new pope, the media coverage of such events is more than sufficient. If someone decides to write about it on Wikinews, it's nice. But if the most important world news are not mentioned on Wikinews, I do not see it as a problem.
  2. The traditional media have their own problems, like the need to publish even in the w:Silly season. I do not believe Wikinews need to self-impose same coercion on themselves. Traditional media are expected (by the readers, by the subscribers, by the advertisers) to provide more or less constant amount of news, with approximately same proportion of established fields (politics, society, sport, …). Of course, Wikinews might offer somewhat balanced selection on their main page, but it is not something essential. Today news are often accessed via news agregators, social network recomendations or simply by searching the web. Nonexistent balanced selection does not mean our articles are doomed to remain unnoticed and unread (and doomed to be useless).
  3. I do not know how the situation looks like in the other languages / nations, but there are not so many mainstream media in Czech language. When it comes to the domestic news, Czech media are able to offer diverse original reports, but when it comes to news from abroad, all mainstream media often publish just the same compilation made by the w:Czech News Agency and unless there is some web dedicated to the topic, there is simply no alternative Czech-language coverage even of the really newsworthy events. I know it, because I often search the web in vain. Therefore I believe there may be the demand to be meet.
  4. Also the Czech mainstream media are pretty mainstream: They cover more or less the same events from the same small range of the “most interesting, most newsworthy“. When you are interested in some not-so-mainstream topic, the chances are high that there is no Czech-language coverage at all. Again, I know it, because I often search the web in vain, and I believe there may be the demand to be meet.
  5. So why are not small language wikinews flourishing? Of course, there are fewer speakers, fewer volunteers. But there is other reason. Wikipedia is the real groundbreaking project and encyclopedic knowledge is more valuable than news. And English Wikipedia is far more complete than Wikipedias in smaller languages. Imagine you are writing news story on English Wikinews. You write about Chinese fishermen from company XXX (Link to WP) who have an incident with Japanese fishermen from company XXX (another LtWP) near an island XXX (LtWP) in archipelago XXX (LtWP). Statement from the oficials of the goverment agency XXX (LtWP) and from the local enviromental organization XXX (LtWP) are cited. And so on. You have a big comprehensive encyclopedia at your hand both as the source for background information and as a place to refer the reader to for details on mentioned subjects. But most of those articles probably does not exist on the small language Wikipedia. So when deciding whether to write about the incident on the small language Wikinews, you probably make the right decision: Abandon the idea of writing on the interesting and newsworthy incident and spend the evening contributing to the Wikipedia, creating articles on the said archipelago and island. That does not mean there is no point to have Wikinews until we have a complete encyclopedia, it just means that at the moment many articles are not written as the effort is targeted elsewhere. And that the situation for the Wikinews is (slowly) improving every day as the Wikipedias are more and more comprehrensive.--Tchoř (talk) 15:26, 6 April 2013 (UTC)

proposal for further discussion

Strong suggestion: I suggest that this dicussion about the existince of wikinews is continued only with community-members that gave proof that they are able to produce an (overall-) competitive newsarticle (not necessary in wikinews). What do you think? --Itu (talk) 15:12, 3 April 2013 (UTC)

  • An interesting suggestion. A lot of people are saying Wikinews is useless because it does not replace the - hopefully multiple independent - news sources they rely on daily. How many can distinguish the news reports from the editorials, and from the wikt:churnalism? Do they spot the advertorials, or unwittingly forward them? Do they know their lede from their leads? Can they write for the enemy, or at least contact them and ask for comment?
But, you're right. A lack of news literacy will severely impair people's ability to contribute to a constructive discussion. --Brian McNeil / talk 17:45, 3 April 2013 (UTC)
Absolute nonsense. I don't need to be a physics major or engineer to tell you a train wreck is nasty. MessaLec (talk) 18:59, 3 April 2013 (UTC)
  • I've used the far, far more-appropriate link to churnalism, the dictionary one, Itu. The Wikipedia "narrative" of the phenomenon has a case of "more weasels than Baldrick". You need to actually be following the information-trail of a story to become more-aware of it; a casual inspection might make you think everyone has "plagiarised" off their wire subscriptions, but the service will have spat out the presser alongside the AP report. Cue pasting spin-doctor copy directly into news reports, instead of filling those gaps with researched-information.
And, to MessaLec, train-wrecks are easy. They're easy for the first 24-72 hours after the event. But, could you have put this together in the five hours spent on the review copy?
It is not difficult to conclude that a train wreck is newsworthy, that it's nasty, and that's probably why many are oh-so interested in hearing every detail. The question is not "can you tell if <foo> is a news story?", it is "can you tell a news story about <foo>?" --Brian McNeil / talk 22:34, 3 April 2013 (UTC)
That's supposed to be "Exhibit A" of the best of WikiNews? For starters, how many people died in that plane crash? The piece doesn't say. Is there some reason the number of people who died would be unimportant?
And the public is "oh-so interested in hearing every detail" of an accident because it is "nasty"? Really. Maybe it's time to go back to the question of just how many people died in that crash, and realize that they all had mothers, fathers, children, friends, co-workers, and neighbors. Maybe, just maybe, the people who are interested in the story are people who actually care about the ones who died, and want to know why. And maybe the general public wants to know if the same thing will happen to their own loved ones, and whether those in charge of public safety are doing enough.
I am also surprised at the prominence given to the accusation of "pilot error" by using it in the headline, as well as the prominence given to statements by the flight company criticizing the dead, who in this case are conveniently unable to defend themselves. We don't even hear about company policies contributing to pilot fatigue until the sixth paragraph, where the issue is buried in the middle of the piece, even though there were significant findings about that. And the assertion that a male and female member of the crew "had spent the night" at the crew lounge—is that innuendo intentional, or did someone just not proofread?
Years ago, in the days of dead-tree publications, people used to clip articles like this out of a newspaper to give to the families of the people involved in these tragedies. Is this the type of article you would clip to give to the mother, the father, or the child of one of the deceased?
For anyone who wants to read a more compassionate account of this event, I would recommend the WP article Colgan Air Flight 3407, which also just happens to be more detailed and more balanced.
Neotarf (talk) 10:54, 6 April 2013 (UTC)
  • Hmmm, I didn't present a report on the crash, this is coverage of the accident report, as-published on Feb 5, 2010. This was the Wikipedia article at that time, it linked to three older Wikinews articles on the crash, with only one mention of "pilot error" which Wikinews had already done a report on. It now links to four, which includes the above-mentioned one. The Wikipedia article, Colgan Air Flight 3407 has had hundreds, literally hundreds, of edits since Wikinews' last report; it should be more-comprehensive. What it is not, but Wikinews is, is "a snapshot of what was known, what were 'the important news points', at that point in history.
Wikinews may provide very patchy coverage, which makes a lot of people ready to dismiss it as not "useful" or relevant; it may lead to the crazy notion that you can ask contributors to focus on one area, and expect their personal interests to suit the whim of a too-narrow mission.
Or, you live with there being a "red-headed stepchild" in the family. I don't really think fratricide represents a civilised solution to personal vendettas running on yellow journalism. --Brian McNeil / talk 23:08, 6 April 2013 (UTC)
  • Wikinews influences content of sister projects, and it's possible to point it out without being an experienced journalist; a proposal to limit the right to vote to those isn't feasible. Cheers. Gryllida 03:15, 4 April 2013 (UTC)
    • I ...just realised what you're trying to weed out, Itu. It's a good motivation, and you spotted the problem right: a few people violently oppose existence of Wikinews, because they were incapable to establish. Preventing them from voting on such grounds as you stated could be rather hard as anyone can vote; an understanding of what news does is needed, but ability to write not so much. Sadly not everyone even possesses such understanding. Gryllida 14:46, 8 April 2013 (UTC)

Not ONE reponse to the criticisms of quality

No one—absolutely no one—has responded to my criticisms of the main page of WN. That in itself is an indictment of the position of Brian McNeil and side-kicks. When will you present a response????? We're still waiting to get past the bluster. Tony (talk) 13:02, 8 April 2013 (UTC)

Please ask in on a proper medium and get an answer. Asking here is redundant; the project has no need in removing local news from the main page at this moment. If there are other bits of yours which weren't addressed, I suspect that it's likely a consequence of them being asked in the wrong place (see above). Cheers. --Gryllida 13:47, 8 April 2013 (UTC)

Please Note- I have been asked to comment here as an admin from [4]. I have to first say, that I know Tony1 and I have a good deal of respect for him and others here. Regardless, Grylida believes that your approach here is disruptive and not conducive to a good atmosphere here. My concern here is that the majority of links provided for any serious infraction are on other projects, add to that the constant back and forth between wikinews and here is hard to follow - the discussion seems to shift from Wikinews to Meta, when one replies, the other does not, and vice versa. There also seems to be a lot of strong feelings about Brian McNeil that are surfacing here, that might not be relevant to the topic at hand, or at its current position. I would urge the parties involved here to -

  • a) Try an keep the discussion in one place. If a debate is ongoing at Wikinews, please continue talking there. If you choose Meta, then please keep the discussion in one place. Going back and forth and asking for admin involvement for issues on other project is not helpful.
  • b) I would urge everyone, not just Tony or Brian to exercise a bit more civility here. I know there are strong feelings here, but I know both individuals are mature, intelligent people who can exercise a bit more tact here, if that is not possible I would request both of them to avoid referring to each other directly, or take the matter elsewhere so they can hash out their feelings.
  • c) The closure discussion seems to be over. The majority of what has been transpiring here doesn't hold much value. I would prefer to see the debate end here, but I can only request that from the parties involved. This needs some de-escalation and temper management, so, I will be keeping an eye on this page. Regardless of past issues, any future comment here should avoid any attack or direct accusation to the other party.

I have faith in the people involved here and I hope they will exercise better judgement in the matter. Regards. Theo10011 (talk) 16:04, 8 April 2013 (UTC)

I won't be satisfied until we have responses from Wikinews people about the problems I raised above. Tony (talk) 11:56, 9 April 2013 (UTC)
I believe I did.Tom Morris (talk) 12:15, 9 April 2013 (UTC)
I won't do so until after Tony explains why EN Wikinews is the most prominent embarrassment and until after he ends his hatered-driven agitations within this discussion and comes back to a factual, accurate, and objective discussion. A good start would also the post of a correction o the biased signpost article which has cited some people critizising Wikinews not even familiar with editing or discussing on Wikinews before. And not before he revokes his denial of a fundamental part of the project closing policy in the conclusion that this page will be flooded with even more Wikinews people, who all have a vested interest in continuing their feckless party at all our expense. not withstanding the request to revoke the personal attack against a group of users – i.e. all Wikinewsians as feckless party. Until then no further topics should be discussed with Tony and no answer be given. Thanks. --Matthiasb (talk) 20:50, 13 April 2013 (UTC)
I'm not going to bargain with you. Wikinews people seem to get away with totally dodging fundamental questions about quality, theme, and coverage. It's as though they believe they shouldn't have to justify the appalling standards on their site. If you want to raise issue about the Signpost's story, ask User:The ed17, the author. I had nothing to do with it (as I've said already, twice). Tony (talk) 04:38, 14 April 2013 (UTC)
I would welcome inquiries about the story on my talk page. As clearly noted on the report's talk page, Tony had no part in writing it, so I'd thank you to not try to tar him with it, as he is one of our best reporters. I also believe that the article is fair to both sides of the issue, but given the subject matter, I understand that it is difficult to please both sides. Ed [talk] [en] 08:30, 15 April 2013 (UTC)

┌────────────────┘
No. whether it was you wrote the article, or Tony1, you failed utterly in-terms of acting as journalists. Nobody asked Wikinewsies to comment. Likewise for the announcement of the OpenGlobe fork, and the demise thereof.

Forgive me being "deeply distrusting" of a process where your copy is written off-wiki and then claiming that a known 'enemy' of the project, who is down as a co-author on the piece, had nothing to do with it. Such is not remotely credible.

An apology is in-order, and one given equal prominence - in The Signpost - as the call to round up support for sororicide. That Tony1, as-writ herein, says contributors to the various language editions should not be informed of the discussion is clear evidence he should be barred from the topic. If The Signpost has any intent to be a credible source of wiki-related news, you'd sack him. He's doing an excellent job of making Piers Moron look like a nice guy.

In claiming responsibility for "that piece", you, The ed17, have claimed ownership of a piece of appalling "yellow journalism". Don't tie yourself to Tony1's 'boat anchor'. I've seen some really good work come out of The Signpost, nothing recent about Wikinews is even in that ball-park; it's more-akin to Rupert Murdoch's relentless war against the BBC. I don't recall seeing you contributing to the project, so if you are the author of the piece on the mass-closure your opinion is overly-coloured by Tony1 being banned from Wikinews for dicking with policy, being disrespectful to the project community and ending up banned.

The ed17, you have a stark choice: You can support Tony1, and watch the credibility of The Signpost go down the toilet. Or, you can engage with the Wikinews community. The choice is yours; but, The Signpost still owes the project that apology. We won't deal with Tony1 because negotiating with terrorists is "bad", mmmmkay? --Brian McNeil / talk 09:29, 15 April 2013 (UTC)

Rather than issuing threats and bluster, it would be good of you to respond to the original critique about quality, scope, and depth. The greatest indictment of WN here is that no one is prepared to do that. As for Ed, I suggest you take it up with him, not me; that is, if he'll talk to you after you called him a "shithead". This will be my last post on this page. Tony (talk) 12:24, 15 April 2013 (UTC)

Solving the time problem: periodical format

I may be re-inventing the wheel here; and maybe it's just not feasible to move to the following model from the present one, but:

  • why not move to a periodical format?

News stories could still be published immediately when ready - no need to ban that approach. But the emphasis would be a new one, on developing a weekly or monthly summary of the news. This, I think, would add an awful lot more value compared to alternative news sources, and leverage the collaborative wiki approach more, than the current Wikinews philosophy. (Heck, if that got going, I might even be interested myself one day, whereas the current Wikinews model has raised approximately two flickers of interest in me in the entire decade I've been involved with Wikimedia.) Rd232 (talk) 22:32, 8 April 2013 (UTC)

I'm also beginning to think that Wikinews' current scope is too broad. When you solicit news of virtually any significance -- from an international crisis to a car crash on your street corner -- you're going to have pretty spotty coverage without a huge network of contributors. Wikinews is essentially trying to compete with the big mainstream players on their own turf. Therefore, the project needs a niche, a clearly defined identity. Right now, there isn't much. An uninformed reader might easily mistake the project for a subset of Wikipedia (and indeed, many have). After all, the interface is identical, aside from the logo.
Here are some of my ideas on how to make Wikinews more distinct (many of which were adopted by the fork): Firstly, get a "newsy" skin. Vector just feels "Wikipedia-ish". Secondly, install extensions to add functionality you'd expect from most news sites. Semantic MediaWiki, a poll extension, a "proper" comment system like IntenseDebate (LQT is less professional because non-registered users' IPs are publicly visible). Thirdly, have a "focus topic" which you cover in-depth over a long period of time, instead of the current rather haphazard coverage that, while usually of a high quality, does not lend itself well to follow-ups.
Despite my misgivings about wiki-journalism, I still think there's a chance of it working with some creativity. The current model only works as long as you're content to keep producing 2-3 articles a day forever (see stats). But some big ideas are needed to break the plateau. The question is, how willing are Wikinewsies to step outside their comfort zone and innovate? Tempodivalse [talk] 00:01, 9 April 2013 (UTC)
So, let's say we picked a topic. I dunno. I've written a few articles on Wikinews about same-sex marriage. We made Wikinews all-same-sex-marriage all the time. Or perhaps all Italian politics all the time. And then, oh, Margaret Thatcher dies. Or North Korea nukes Tokyo. Or something equally important. What do we do then? —Tom Morris (talk) 12:19, 9 April 2013 (UTC)
I didn't say you would concentrate on the "focus topic" to the exclusion of everything else. You'd just "weight" certain areas (say, FOSS and the free culture movement), at least on slow news days. It's a way of developing a niche. Many news sources that don't have a great deal of manpower function this way. Right now, the project is trying to cover all news around the world -- a model that has many advantages, but breaks down when international-importance articles share the top of the front page with a report on local urinal thefts.
Historically, Wikinews has looked best when it had several editors committed to "series": e.g. at one time, someone was continuously covering Scientology, another detailing developments on the 2008 U.S. campaign trail (and more recently, a first-person coverage of the Paralympics). This sort of consistency results in greater comprehensiveness within a particular area, and will keep readers coming back for more. Willy-nilly coverage is less likely to attract a dedicated reader base. Is it more useful to pour a litre of water (content) into a bottle (narrow scope) or into an empty swimming pool (very broad scope)? Tempodivalse [talk] 13:51, 9 April 2013 (UTC)