Proposals for closing projects/Closure of Polish 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.


The project is effectively dead. Taking into account the below news from the main page:

  1. upcoming events - the latest one is mid-June folk tradition, and April opening of an art exhibition.
  2. world news: the latest is mid-April
  3. politics: the latest is March
  4. Science: the latest is in February
  5. New interviews: featuring one from 2013
  6. Photo reports: Train Station of the Year 2018

and the Recent Changes page which features some edits from a user blocked elsewhere, new account creation, some minor technical changes and not much else - the latest new bit of news is a review fest of brass bands from the second half of June... this project completely does not hold water as a news portal. On a news portal, 2-day news is old news, not to mention 2+ month old news featured on the mainpage. Wikimedia ought not to brand such an old news portal with its logo. The best that can be done here is to archive the project and withdraw it from its independent domain name. Wojciech Pędzich Talk 13:15, 13 July 2019 (UTC)

Who will have benefit from this closure? --Wargo (talk) 06:47, 14 July 2019 (UTC)
Definitely those people who arrive there in a mistaken assumption that this is actually a news portal that presents fresh news (as news ought to be). An outdated news portal is also bad image and impression for the readers that tells bad story from the perspective of the Foundation and the local partner - we are maintaining something that simply does not work as it ought to be and the chances of revival are practically non-existent. Wikibooks and Wikisources are projects that even with low user activity present already finished material that does not always need to be updated and looked after. News, on the other hand, need constant attention. Wojciech Pędzich Talk 07:40, 14 July 2019 (UTC)
How to assess "chances of revival"? How many readers felt defeated? --Wargo (talk) 07:50, 14 July 2019 (UTC)
Cannot answer your second question, I am afraid, although readership statitics show e.g. up to forty views of the "Add release" page (with a note about the just initiated 2018 World Volleyball Championships, completely unattended for 10 months, something that a Wikimedia site with any community at all would see and remove immediately). Similarly, hard to roll the dice on the revival of the project, although according to PMG's presentations and his wise words, you cannot establish a new Wikimedia project community where there is no leader. We cannot pump life into a dead project, even WMPL's grant programs which required the grantee to submit a Wikinews story if they attended a WMPL-funded event was stopped long ago because the reach of such story was low and the effort put into compiling the news story did not translate to benefits for WMPL. Wojciech Pędzich Talk 10:13, 14 July 2019 (UTC)
"where there is no leader" - what leaders have pl Wikipedia, Wiktionary and Wikisource? --Wargo (talk) 10:20, 14 July 2019 (UTC)
Substitute this for a critical mass of users that are able to maintain the basic cleanliness of the project, which is non-existent in Wikinews. Wojciech Pędzich Talk 10:30, 14 July 2019 (UTC)
More than 35 new articles appeared in the project this year. Not much, but it means that Wikinews is not dead or inactive. We should not close the possibility of writing to those who have the will. Instead, WMPL should look for new people who would like to continue to create Wikinews. I check recent changes every day and regularly revert vandalisms, delete experiments or block spambots, so no dubious content on Wikinews appears. Openbk (talk) 13:00, 14 July 2019 (UTC)
More than 35 news items on a news portal translates to roughly one a week - that's nothing for a news portal. Also, WMPL's mode of operation is not to intervene in the contents of the projects - never has been, hopefully never will, as neither we nor WMF are responsible for the contents. We cannot inject people into writing news articles because there are no people willing to write regularly to be had. And if there are caretakers of the project, why is such material as the volleyball championship, 10 months old, allowed on such an important pages as the one where new articles are created? That's not good caretaking, that's hardly existent caretaking. Wojciech Pędzich Talk 13:17, 14 July 2019 (UTC)
I suppose SWMPL runs an antipromotional campaign against sister project for years. This may be one of the reasons that have impact on decreasing projects' members and not joining new. The page for new articles is bad example and I think it is bad process active on Wikinews. --Wargo (talk) 13:30, 14 July 2019 (UTC)
And it is very good that the WMPL does not intervene in the content of the project, because I remember that there were plans for publication of news by the WMPL's press office, which was discussed in the Wikipedia's Village pump, not in Wikinews. Articles do not have to be written regularly. Wikinews has users who write sporadically on topics that are interesting to them and this should be supported by the WMPL. This material was there because no one, you, me, did anything to correct it (But it is not in any way questionable content) --> WP:TOPOPRAW/WP:BOLD instead of starting unnecessary discussions - according to the Closing projects policy: "Inactivity in itself is no valid reason". Openbk (talk) 13:46, 14 July 2019 (UTC)
Yes, if someone want to contribute - allow them. If not, just leave this website. --Wargo (talk) 13:30, 14 July 2019 (UTC)
Comments and Questions from LangCom

@Wojciech Pędzich:

  • Comment. I'd like to see Wikimedia Polska and Polish Wikipedia, at minimum, informed as well.
  • Question. Is there content here that is, let's say, politically biased, or corrupt, or full of policy violations? Or is the problem really just that the project is not really active? The reason I ask is that LangCom tends not to like to close projects that are open outright. It takes a lot of work to move them to Incubator, then a lot of work to move them back if the project becomes active again some day. Unless there is really a substantial problem with content, LangCom's preference is a "soft close". What that means is that we (temporarily) replace the front page with a closing notice, along with a link to the "real" front page. (This "hides" the outdated nature of the project contents from casual browsers.) Then if people reactivate it in the future, it's simply ready to go. You can see an example of that at n:no:Wikinytt:Forside. Finnish Wikinews did the same thing, then was reopened later. StevenJ81 (talk) 15:05, 16 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Notifying administrators currently listed on this wiki: @Derbeth, Gagorski, Marek Mazurkiewicz, Openbk, and Sp5uhe: Do you have an opinion about this? StevenJ81 (talk) 15:05, 16 July 2019 (UTC)
    • To my knowledge, the content does not violate political / social / behavioral norms and I do feel that closing down the project permanently as stated in my initial request might be too harsh a measure. A soft close would be, indeed, the way I would put it. The basis for my request is that Wikinews does not really serve its purpose as a news portal, whose dynamics is expected by the readers to be high lest they abstain from visiting the portal whatsoever - and it is the readers we ought to keep in mind. Polish Wikipedia seems to be richer in news articles (and this is, again, my observation that people recognize Wikipedia also as the medium where they can - and do - publish news-related articles on the most important newsworthy and notable issues, such as the parliamentary elections, meetings, award ceremonies, etc) as well as presents short news lists in articles devoted to individual months (see e.g. pl:w:Czerwiec 2019 - 30 items). Wikinews holds a lot of local items that might be of interest to the local populace, but again - it requires a critical mass of contributors to push the project forward and keep it alive. Wojciech Pędzich Talk 15:16, 18 July 2019 (UTC)
      Fair enough. If you are agreeable, then I intend to do two things right away:
  1. Move the page to "Closure of Polish Wikinews" instead of "Deletion ..."
  2. Change the proposed outcome to "soft closure"
Then we'll let things play out a little longer here. If people are then agreeable, I'll report to LangCom, and we'll get this wrapped up.
By the way, would you nevertheless be so kind as to inform Wikimedia Polska and Polish Wikipedia? Thank you.
StevenJ81 (talk) 16:18, 18 July 2019 (UTC)
For the last things: 1. It's Wikimedia Polska initiative! 2. Wikipedia users don't need to know, most are not users of Wikinews and they don't care about it and shouldn't decide on behalf other group of [potential] users. --Wargo (talk) 19:43, 18 July 2019 (UTC)
It is not Wikimedia Polska initiative - it is my initiative as a Wikimedia project volunteer. I hold a separate user account for matters that are strictly WMPL-functionary-related and tend to use it, especially where my role as a project volunteer needs to be distinguished form my role as a chapter functionary. I do agree Wikipedia users do not necessarily need to get involved. And soft close would indeed be the preferred way for me. Wojciech Pędzich Talk 10:28, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
Soft close is bad, because it discourages visitors to contribute. --Wargo (talk) 19:43, 18 July 2019 (UTC)
As I wrote above, I am against this proposal to delete / close Polish Wikinews and I generally agree with Wargo. Wikinews includes articles that are not available in Wikipedia - first-hand journalism materials or events not suitable for an encyclopedia, but suitable for creating an article in a news portal. Openbk (talk) 21:35, 18 July 2019 (UTC)
OK. So here are a couple of points related to where we are now:
  1. As you see, the page has been moved, and the proposal is changed to soft closure
  2. Concerning notification: It does not matter if this is a Wikimedia Polska initiative or not. The policy is to notify both chapters and wiki communities that have a reasonable potential interest in the question. It is, of course, up to anyone in those places whether they'd like to get involved. But I would like them to be informed, please. (Notification is, in part, in place in the hope that perhaps a few people will see it and be interested in getting involved in the project.) Better that notification happen in Polish than in English. Please let me know by adding links above when those notifications are complete.
Dormant or semi-dormant Wikinews projects are certainly a problem. Nearly any other WMF project can survive dormant periods pretty well. (Hence, "Inactivity in itself is no valid reason".) But Wikinews projects where there is not a regular flow of new stories start to look embarrassing or useless. And once you say that, inactivity is no longer "in itself". So it's fine for @Wargo and @Openbk to object, but what I am hearing is that there is really not a sufficient flow of new stories to sustain the project.
I am prepared to let this proposal sit for three months and to let people try to recruit new contributors and write more stories. LangCom does not prefer to close projects (hard, soft or otherwise). But I'd like to see people objecting to the proposal get serious about getting it back in gear. StevenJ81 (talk) 13:59, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
@StevenJ81: - the community of Polish Wikipedia and Wikimedia Polska will be informed about the discussion we are holding here in the next issue of WMPL Newsletter; the note is currently in the sandbbox version here and the release of the new issue is scheduled for July 26. Wojciech Pędzich Talk 12:23, 22 July 2019 (UTC)
@Wojciech Pędzich: Thank you. Please post a copy in the Village Pump-equivalent of Polish Wikipedia, too. But I'm fine with Friday being the target date. StevenJ81 (talk) 13:42, 22 July 2019 (UTC)
It's structurally difficult to revive projects like Polish Wikinews. Take active users of Wikinews. If they haven't successfully done it so far, why could they be in position of having more chances now? Is there any difference, they have more leverage, software has been radically improved? No, of course. They won't bring a new life themselves, I think. The chapter? No. I perceive such practices as blood transfusion to dead environments. Like necromancy. The chapter should focus on the support for existing communities, and not on creating new ones, especially when there's a high risk of failure. Last but not least, come on, all of those arguments have been raised in many discussions. We won't invent a wheel. Such projects should be closed, and their usable content - exported. Tar Lócesilion (queta) 12:54, 20 July 2019 (UTC)
I'd forget to add: We should not close the possibility of writing to those who have the will - I disagree. Wikimedia projects, primarily, are not about being edited, but about making a change in terms of knowledge in the world. We have success when our content gets re-used. That's why Wikimedia projects are so accessible and are on a viral license. I think this might be the underlying problem in this discussion: who's the center, what is the goal. Tar Lócesilion (queta) 13:43, 20 July 2019 (UTC)
I think soft closure = moving the project to incubator does not prevent creation of new articles. Their creation in incubator will still be possible. Ankry (talk) 18:56, 21 July 2019 (UTC)
My mistake for not fixing this earlier. In a soft close, the content remains available for editing and updating behind the soft closure notice. StevenJ81 (talk) 13:41, 22 July 2019 (UTC)
But first it need to be published on wikis first. No content, no reuse. "If they haven't successfully done it" - yes, in the past it worked better. --Wargo (talk) 14:04, 20 July 2019 (UTC)
I think your comment is not an answer to my point. WMF, WMPL, or any other organization doesn't conjure editors or entire communities. It was actually years ago when Wikinews turned out to be a failure. Tar Lócesilion (queta) 22:44, 20 July 2019 (UTC)
Tar Lócesilion For the record, you are welcome to discourage the chapter from getting involved. You are welcome to think this is like a blood transfusion to an already-dead patient. But the rules are that the chapter and other related communities need to be notified; if they are not, the request is closed as unsuccessful due to lack of notification. I am grateful to Wojciech Pędzich for doing so. StevenJ81 (talk) 13:41, 22 July 2019 (UTC)
StevenJ81, I didn't mention I'm against notifying. I'm not :) Actually, I wrote a note in the upcoming issue of WMPL's Bulletin, and tufor wrote on pl.wikipedia's current events. Tar Lócesilion (queta) 15:02, 22 July 2019 (UTC)
What about placing message encouraging to revive Wikinews on Wikipedia's main page? Msz2001 (talk) 09:20, 25 July 2019 (UTC)
Actually there are more activity on Polish Wikinews when ever, maybe this no good time for closure? --Fallaner (talk) 15:24, 17 August 2019 (UTC)
@Fallaner and Wojciech Pędzich: Any reactions to Fallaner's last comment (from anyone)? StevenJ81 (talk) 15:18, 22 August 2019 (UTC)
I completely agree with Fallaner. Openbk (talk) 15:25, 22 August 2019 (UTC)