Grants:Project/Rapid/enwikinews/wn-reporters.org

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statusdeclined
enwikinews/wn-reporters.org
Since March 2020, enwikinews has published 50 original reports, ranging from interviews with US presedential candidates, scientists, astronauts, politicians, and Women Grand Master. The communication often relies on email correspondence. I am requesting this fund to pay for the email server used by Wikinewsies to write those articles and get it published.
targetenwikinews
start dateSeptember 1
start year2021
end dateSeptember 1
end year2022
budget (local currency)INR 39250
budget (USD)USD 526.5
grant typeindividual
granteeacagastya
contact(s)• agastya(_AT_)wn-reporters.org
join
endorse


Project Goal[edit]

Briefly explain what are you trying to accomplish with this project, or what do you expect will change as a result of this grant. Example goals include, "recruit new editors", "add high quality content", or "train existing editors on a specific skill".

One of the most important types of articles on enwikinews are the original reports (ORs), in which the reporter conducts an in-depth and thorough investigation of the story. It often includes exclusive interviews with scientists, researchers, national government branches, athletes, politicians, even presidential candidates. These interactions require us to have an email correspondence most of the times. And to no surprise, having an email which looks like work-email is essential.
Number of ORs published on enwikinews between March 1, 2020 - July 15, 2021.
Since March 2020, enwikinews has published ~50 ORs, all needing the email service for publication. Some of these ORs and exlusive interviews have been translated in multiple different Wikinews projects. I want to ensure, with this project, that high quality articles continue to be published on enwikinews.
For almost a decade, User:Brian McNeil had been funding the mailserver along with some other facilities like a private wiki. Sometimes, User:Gryllida and I would send some money to him, because having all the financial burden on one's shoulders for the whole project does not sound nice. After Brian's death in July 2020, I have been running the mail-server along with an instance of nextcloud for the wikinewsies so they can continue working on their ORs without any road bumps. Gryllida has been bearing about 50% of the cost of VPS and the domain name with me.
The cost of maintaining the server and the domain name is described below. Should I receive the grant, I would use it to pay for the service, so Wikinewsies can continue writing and publishing high quality articles -- interviews and original reports.

Project Plan[edit]

Activities[edit]

Tell us how you'll carry out your project. What will you and other organizers spend your time doing?

This is not an "event" per se, the fund request is purely to pay the bills which are coming out, and are costly for me. I have been looking after the server maintainence -- up to date software, security updates, ensuring the SSL certificates are renewed on time. I sysadmin the server (which won't cost anything), and will be paying for the renewal of the domain name, and the server, which will keep the mail server going on, so the accredited reporters can continue with their investigations and thorough reporting.

How will you let others in your community know about your project (please provide links to where relevant communities have been notified of your proposal, and to any other relevant community discussions)? Why are you targeting a specific audience?

This is not a new project, it has existed for more than a decade. The community knows about it from n:Wikinews:Accreditation policy and can request access from n:Wikinews:Accreditation requests (AR). Access to mail is granted upon a successful application for "Accredited Reporter" (AR) status following a community vote. I am requesting rapid grant because it is proving costly to pay from my own pocket. I don't want it to be a closed league of editors who can sponsor the server can have email access -- we have never done that, keeping it gratis for all users since its inception. The wikinewsie.org (now wn-reporters.org) domain has always existed to provide a professional looking email to ARs to conduct their investigations, they are considered one of the best and one of the most trusted editors on the Wikinews project. It is targetted towards them precisely because they are the ones who need services like these to ensure their email requests for interviews and media queries are taken seriously, and so that they can turn in good articles.

What will you have done at the end of your project? How will you follow-up with people that are involved with your project?

This is a perpetual project, because we don't plan on stopping to publish original reports. However, I believe the question is asking what are my expectations as the requestor, once I have put money to use: I will expect the ARs to continue publishing ORs and exclusive interviews and to be published on enwn. I regularly speak with the ARs for their needs and to provide any needed tools on the server. I would periodically report the status of how many ORs have been published in the given time-frame.

Are you running any in-person events or activities? If so, you will need to complete the steps outlined on the Risk Assessment protocol related to COVID-19. When you have completed these steps, please provide a link to your completed copy of the risk assessment tool below:

No, I am not running any in-person events.

Impact[edit]

How will you know if the project is successful and you've met your goals? Please include the following targets and feel free to add more specific to your project:

The impact of wn-reporters.org can be measured by looking at how many original reports (ORs) are being published on enwn. The number of original reports published has gone up since March 2020, having published roughly 50 ORs since then. I would look at the rate and the quality of original reports published, to determine its success. Quantifying the quality of an article is quite subjective, though a steady rate of ORs would mean the project is going well. Currently, ten users are using the wn-reporters.org email. I would hope this number goes up, and we have more featured articles (a lot of these fifty articles are to be nominated for the same) and that can reflect how successful this project has been.

Resources[edit]

What resources do you have? Include information on who is organizing the project, what they will do, and if you will receive support from anywhere else (in-kind donations or additional funding).

We (me, and gryllida) have been paying for the domain name and the VPS since September 2020. The resources are a recurring bill and the price money (while it might not look much to a Western citizen) is a tad bit too much for me. Right now, I ensure the server stays up, the security updates, ensuring the SSL certs are renewed regularly. I think it would be fair to say, I am organising the project, and if given the grant, I will pay the bills of the VPS and domain name and continue sys-admining the server. On wn-reporters.org, we have a link to give donations, though we have not received anything so far.

What resources do you need? For your funding request, list bullet points for each expense:

  • Domain name -- current recurring annual cost of domain renewal on Gandi.net is USD 17.20 + taxes*. (See gandi.net for .org's renewal pricing.)
  • VPS -- current cost of VPS is USD 6 each month + taxes*. (See DigitalOcean for VPS pricing.)

*GST is 18%.

Clarification: the budget (a little above USD 500) will be used to pre-pay for the domain and VPS for five years (in order to fit in the range limit of rapid grant), though the duration of the project is still one year.

Endorsements[edit]

  • I will need to be neutral on the project request, if that option exists, because in my opinion they can get most of their project done using WMF resources, and some of the reason I was given (such as the location) do not satisfy me. The only reason why I am not opposing it entirely is because the WMF itself hasn't been that helpful for some of their requests - for instance, the VPN request was denied for no reason. It would be preferable, to me, if Wikinews would get its own WMF email server instead of this being community-supported. Leaderboard (talk) 15:24, 15 July 2021 (UTC)
Leaderboard, it would be foolish to host mail-servers in countries known little for the protection of journalists to continue doing their work; or for rather too aggressive stance on surveillence. I. have explained time and time again, the mail-server cannot be hosted in the US for the purpose. WMF servers are located in the US and that ends the possibility of keeping things on WMF-hosted servers.
acagastya 15:54, 15 July 2021 (UTC)
  • WMF has (in my observation) never really quite known what Wikinews is/does/is up to. Put simply: We're a news organization. Having our own e-mail place etc. is valuable and when the prior location vanished, it was readily felt. Bddpaux (talk) 15:36, 15 July 2021 (UTC)
  • Original reporting is an important component of English Wikinews. Although not a reporter myself, I have found the interviews and in-depth articles to be highly informative and useful. The cost of supporting this work is not very large but would be key to continuing the work. Ideally the entire website and email service would be located within WMF resources as a private wiki and a VRT email queue. However, the application for such a setup has been refused for various reasons. --Green Giant (talk) 21:12, 15 July 2021 (UTC)
  • Since May of 2021, I have had 5 published articles on Wikinews based off interviews conducted via the wn-reporters email. From experience, having a custom email domain gives you more credibility from those than, say, a normal Google email address might. Keeping these email servers available for reporters is crucially important to the English Wikinews project, and I do think that this is a good and modest proposal to help keep us going. --LivelyRatification (talk) 21:55, 15 July 2021 (UTC)
  • Having this resource for Wikinews's accredited reporters is incredibly invaluable. It helps the reporters have more credibility in securing interviews for original reporting, and is tremendously vital in keeping Wikinews's reporting going. —chaetodipus (talk · contribs) 04:26, 18 July 2021 (UTC)