Proposals for closing projects/Deletion of Bulgarian Wikinews

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This is a proposal for closing and/or deleting a wiki hosted by the Wikimedia Foundation. It is subject to the current closing projects policy.


The proposal is currently open for discussion by the community.


A question was raised on bgwiki's VP regarding the future of the Bulgarian Wikinews. The unanimous consensus seems that the project must be deleted if possible, or at the very least hard-closed (i.e. locked).

Here are the reasons to delete the project, as I see them:

  1. The project is, for all intents and purposes, completely abandoned. That nobody nowadays is there to write news however is the lesser evil.
  2. The only serious activity ever came from people spreading false and sensationalist ‘news’, de facto part of the Russian-sponsored campaign of disinformation and other locally-sponsored smear campaigns.
  3. As usual, these stories were buried in a stream of genuine news. Thus, the real problem is the lack of resources to control the news quality—and today we should know all too well how much work this is.
  4. The Bulgarian WMF community is practically the one in Wikipedia. The very same people support Wiktionary, Quote, Source, and Books. Keeping the quality even in Wikipedia alone is already quite a daunting task.
  5. Looking more broadly, Bulgaria is already facing serious problems with the freedom (and, by extension, the quality) of its media. Another source of bad journalism—whether intentional or not—is hardly needed.
  6. Considering how sensitive is the Bulgarian society over such problems today, a possible revelation of Wikinews as a source of fake news and smear campaigns would damage significantly all WMF projects' reputation.
  7. Last but not least, my personal opinion is that Wikinews is a broken concept by design. Good journalism requires professionalism, lots of resources, much better means of self-regulation than the ‘wisdom of the masses’, responsibility, accountability and so much more. It may work here and there, depending on the specific landscape, organization, people, etc., but in the general case there's little reason to believe that it would be better than the now infamous ‘news’ on Facebook.

Why a deletion is asked instead of closure? Even the existing ‘good’ content is already of very low quality. Not only the news stories themselves are lacking, but also in many places the interface is in Russian, apparently because templates have been copied from the Russian Wikinews and nobody bothered to translate them. And then of course we have all those false news, buried here and there. So, if that content is to stay online—and not continue causing serious embarrassment—someone will need to make the considerable effort to sift through the news, rewrite the genuine ones, fix those translations—and likely a bunch of other problems that will inevitably pop up. Honestly, I don't see anyone having that much time on their hands for a questionable reason.

In the light of all written above, I hope that this proposal will be accepted. It really isn't simply about what the Bulgarian community wishes. It's much more about acknowledging the realities of the world we live in today. Knowledge is a powerful tool—and that's why we are here—but as with any powerful tool, there are dangers as well. If we can't do good somewhere, let's at least make sure we do no evil either.
— Luchesar • T/C 12:14, 18 September 2018 (UTC)