Talk:Wikinews/Archive

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I thought of another brilliant sister project idea: Wiki + news = Wikews.

The point of this project is to have the news on a wide variety of subjects, unbiased and in detail.


There is Indymedia.

-- nichtich


I see no reason why not to do this. Competition doesn't hurt, and Indymedia isn't a wiki style project. user:zanimum


There should be requirements for authorship for anyone writing 'news' that we 'publish'. For instance someone writing on economics should probably have read all of the w:list of economics articles. And someone writing on a sensitive topic about the Middle East should probably at least know what the w:list of Islamic terms in Arabic all mean. We can do this with a test!

Hard to do this fairly, but eventually the board can do it, letting us off the hook.

Current Events on steroids? Smack

Wikiversity would come in handy with that. Only Wikiversity graduates and professors allowed! - Calmypal 01:58, 31 Jan 2004 (UTC)


Wikews - Ugly name. Wikinews, at least. -- Kwekubo

Yes, please! Emperorbma

Certainly not Wikews. It reminds me of female sheep. Of course, a wiki on female sheep could be (cough) interesting. I vote for Wikinews - Pingveno 02:12, 4 Jan 2004 (UTC)

How about Wikivents? Or Wikevents? --Spikey 22:43, 10 Jan 2004 (UTC)

Wikipedia already contains a huge amount of news, especially news on the same topic over many years, listing only the unbiased facts. What you are suggesting sounds like a commentary site. This may be possible, but you should definitely not have authorship requirements (otherwise it may be very slow to grow, like Nupedia). (I vote for the term Wikinews also. Or maybe WikiNews.)

One big difference between Wikipedia and WikiNews would be time. Wikipedia acts like everything is history and timeless, but WikiNews would put things in relative terms, like "yesterday" and "this afternoon". These articles would need to look good as a final article, so we would need some kind of criteria to show the article on the main page (something like Wikipedia's Featured Articles). I think it would start pretty quickly because many Wikipedians would join the cause. Plus, it's not too hard for someone to contribute, they can just write their own article on something no one's written about and more people can add to it. - SamE 12:28, 14 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Use Current Events. 'Nuff said.—Eloquence 18:18 7 Aug 2003 (UTC)


Current events doesn't really go into depth, it's more of a summary thing.
That's what the linked articles are for! --Maveric149 20:44, 29 Aug 2003 (UTC)

The articles aren't newspaper articles, they are encyclopedia articles. They could contain news reports, but as time goes by these would be changed to reflect new changes. Also, some (most?) people don't want to have to read an encyclopedia article when they want news. Perl 14:18, 14 Apr 2004 (UTC)


Damn! I came here in order to propose the creation of WikiNews and I find that it is already proposed LOL:) In the past I had started a similar effort with the website http://www.newsgr.org the idea was to create an independent news agency where the news reporters are normal Internet users. I was planning to accept both NPOV and POV material, but I was labeling the NPOV ones as "news reports" and the POV ones as "articles/essays". But it wasn't based on a wiki. Later I stopped the project since I hadn't enough time to manage it. Optim 23:24, 18 Jan 2004 (UTC)


Another naive person who came to propose WikiNews. Oh, well.

Anyway, I had a different charter in mind. My proposed charter for Wikinews is to catalog and document news sources, articles and media for each notable event. For example, take a train crash, the relevant entry in Wikinews would include a chronological linked index of videos, newspaper articles that covered the event. As time went by, there would be a separate table in the same entry covering articles and videos about the investigation. About the sidestories that emerged. Then the trial and so on.

The key point being that someone three years into the future can access the entry of an event and hope to follow the chain and multitude of coverage of that event as it unfolded. Of course, the chief problem here is that web links can go dead. In which case, contributors can excerpt from the linked sources. The 'page history' function and peer review that characterizes Wikipedia should ensure that true and fair excerpts always remain accessible, should the links go dead.

While some may see a similarity to an encyclopedia, the difference is that an encyclopedia reflects the bias of its times and necessarily summarizes the developments. My proposed charter aims to catalog those who recorded history as it happened. -- Gyan 18:35, 23 Apr 2004 (UTC)-

Sort of like Google News powered by a massive collection of human minds rather than a massive algorithm? I like that idea. Perhaps we can integrate with the Internet Archive to keep working links. Say, a little feature which made external links when viewing old versions point to the Archive's version of that page at that time. Shouldn't be hard to do, given the Archive's easy URL interface. --Spikey 19:05, 25 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Would the address be "www.news.wikipedia.org" or something like "www.wikinews.org"? Just wondering. ;-) - SamE 03:22, 28 Apr 2004 (UTC)


Hmm. The proposals above sound like they intend WikiNews to be a secondary source, just repeating what other news media have said. I don't really see what the value in such a project would be.
On the other hand, I could certainly see this project being a primary source, with WikiReporters (WikiNewsies?) writing what they know about things happening around them. The down side would be that most participants are not reporters, and don't have the training, etc. The up side would be that in a lot of cases we might have someone on the spot where major news outlets don't. We might have someone who thoroughly understands some development, where a non-specialist reporter does not. Also, the wiki process means that when we make major errors (as news media often do) knowledgeable readers can simply correct them instead of writing letters.
I'm not sure how this would turn out (would there be non-stop edit wars?), but it'd be an interesting idea to try. Certainly our reliability and accuracy would be questioned, but how would that make us different from any other news source? After all, when a reporter from the New York Times can write total fiction, how much worse could a wiki be?
Oh, and the difference between this and Indymedia is large. Indymedia has a stated point of view, and has a definite political position. That limits both their readership and their contributor pool. Isomorphic 04:02, 14 May 2004 (UTC)

You may be interested in my thoughts on the matter on w:User:Eloquence/Platform#New projects.--Eloquence
Yes, interesting thoughts. As it happens, I had not so much imagined us competing with standard news (as we do on the encyclopedia front) but as a somewhat different sort of beast. If we want to follow a standard news model, then yes, we need to worry quite a bit about marking "in progress" articles, and making articles editable only by sysops after they're completed, and such. However, the closer we get to a standard news model, the more we become merely a poor imitation of a mainstream news service, with amateurs doing the same jobs that a professional would do elsewhere. We have to keep in mind that that power of wiki is the size and variety of our contributor base. Contributions should be kept as open as possible.
I do, however, agree that reputation is important, and we should consider requiring a user account before contributing. It's a small step, but in order to trust original content, it's probably a necessary one. Possibly we could also use a karma system like what Slashdot has. Then an article might display the karma of the most trusted user who has "approved" the content. Isomorphic 06:20, 14 May 2004 (UTC)
Well, the restriction would not be very different from what we already have on Wikipedia, where the Main Page is, after all, protected. The Wikinews Main Page would be protected and only link to stable, reviewed articles whereas there would be an Editor Portal (linked in the sidebar like the Community Portal on Wikipedia) that points to the articles currently in progress, with the necessary disclaimer. Considering that people have been killed and wars have been started over news articles, I think such a separation is necessary. We have a responsibility to our readers to exercise due diligence before "going public". And when we have to correct ourselves after we publish a story, that correction should be clearly marked so that we don't create the impression of covering up mistakes.
Wikinews editors will be doing a lot of the things that professional journalists do, and we may even find ways to pay them for it. The key differences are NPOV (an article can include views from the entire political spectrum, whereas mainstream media tend to ignore non-mainstream opinions), collaborative rather than hierarchical editing, no space limits (articles can and should provide as much background material as possible - e.g. in an investigative report, scanned source documents), no topic limits (we can report about Linux kernel releases alongside news from Iraq), direct connections to background articles (interwiki to Wikipedia), and of course, open content. This is a huge project and if properly done, socially more important than Wikipedia because news reports have such a direct, immediate effect on our lives.
I'm skeptical of karma-style systems as I haven't seen them work (I don't think karma has improved Slashdot comment quality, rather the opposite). People who repeatedly insert false claims would have to lose their editing privileges according to community consensus just like they would be fired from a newspaper staff, other issues should be resolved in the article editing phase.--Eloquence
The karma thing seems unnecessary now that I think about it, but I think I have a better idea for dealing with original content. We can simply use an adaptation of Wikipedia's NPOV policy with respect to attribution. If we're reporting facts that can be independently verified, we treat it just like Wikipedia. If we're including eyewitness reports by Wikimedia reporters, or similar original content, then we attribute, not just to Wikimedia, but to the specific Wikimedia user. That way, we allow readers to see where the information comes from, and they can build up trust in individual Wikimedia reporters who have a solid history. As part of this policy, anonymous editors could have the right to copyedit and supply background, but would not be entitled to add original content. Isomorphic 02:39, 21 May 2004 (UTC)
This project would be the most important project, even more than Wikipedia, should we endeavor to use it. The only bad thing it would do is take good users away from the other projects. I can just imagine an interview with lots of microphones pointed at the interviewee, one of them being a WikiNews microphone (maybe with the "W" symbol?). This project has the most potential and usefulness of any of our projects. - SamE 22:40, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC)

A friend of mine made a useful suggestion. Instead of karma, each reporter could have a subpage where others can make comments about them and about the quality or accuracy of their reporting. That would be simple, and more wiki-like than having an automated numerical karma rating. It addresses the problem of allowing a casual viewer to determine the reliability of a reporter. Isomorphic 04:14, 18 Jun 2004 (UTC)

I imagine a format where an article might say "WikiReporter Isomorphic <link to Isomorphic's comments page> reports that..." That way, there's a quick and easy link to see what other's have to say about this reporter. Isomorphic 04:28, 18 Jun 2004 (UTC)
Or, we could just list the main reporter(s) (the person that started/wrote the page) and all of the major editors under the title, with links to their list of contributions and that comments page you're talking about. That would make it flow a bit smoother and take the authorship arguments out of the actual text. - SamE 20:05, 3 Jul 2004 (UTC)
It's not about authorship, it's about sources. Any time we're just repeating what other news sources say, we should attribute those news sources; ]who wrote the Wikinews article doesn't matter in that case. On the other hand, if any part of our information is original reporting by a Wikimedian, we should make clear a) which information is original reporting by Wikinews, and b) who the reporter is. In cases where we have entirely original reporting, we can put the reporter's name below the title. If there's original reporting mixed with info from other sources, I think we should make clear in the text which is which. We should take citing sources very seriously, because as a completely open project, that's the best way we can provide credibility. Isomorphic 05:57, 6 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Let's start[edit]

We could start here on meta with some tests. First this discussion should be moved to the discussion page. And then we can make a Wikinews Main page :) The Meta-Wiki is probably okay to try out some concepts. Guaka 21:06, 20 Jun 2004 (UTC)

I agree. Let's get started. Most needs are already covered by mediawiki 1.3 and this will be a work in progress anyway. So, who'll go ahead and create the Wikinews Main page? I might during the weekend if no one else has the time...(will be away tomorrow, saturday, though) --Vikingstad 23:50, 25 Jun 2004 (UTC)
Meta-Wiki is a good place to design a concept for wikinews, but not for starting Wikinews here - please ask someone to set up an own wiki for it (and move it from Category "Proposed projects" to "Wikimedia projects" then). If you are creating pages about Wikinews here on meta, please list them in the category Wikinews. --Elian 18:15, 26 Jun 2004 (UTC)
Ok, can someone set up a wiki for it? I think we should move this text to Talk:Wikinews so we can already design a main page, and possibly link to Wikipedia articles for now. I'll be bold right now and hope everybody will be happy with that :) Guaka 20:26, 1 Jul 2004 (UTC)
When I go to wikinews.org, I get an "International Friends of Pompeii homepage". It comes from a Wikipedia article, but otherwise is unrelated. My suggestion is that instead we use news.wikipedia.org, an uncreated site. What exactly do we want from this domain name? - SamE 04:21, 3 Jul 2004 (UTC)
Change the p to an m. A Wikimedia-wide vote will be needed to start a new project anyway. --mav 04:34, 3 Jul 2004 (UTC)
I actually like that better. Wikimedia sounds more like news than Wikipedia does. We could make more sections, like sports.wikimedia.org, or movies.wikimedia.org. I'm not saying we should start a whole lot of projects at once, rather that that could be easily expanded with a different name. One question, though. Why are they meta.wikipedia.org, quote.wikipedia.org and sources.wikipedia.org? - SamE 20:05, 3 Jul 2004 (UTC)
historical reasons. Everything developed out of wikipedia. See Move meta.wikipedia.org to wikimedia.org. --Elian 13:34, 4 Jul 2004 (UTC)
When would this Wikimedia-wide vote take place? - SamE 20:09, 3 Jul 2004 (UTC)
when a concrete proposal is set up (so that we have something to vote on) and someone bothers to organize the vote. --Elian 13:34, 4 Jul 2004 (UTC)

'Cough' I registered the wikinews.org domain for an unrelated project. It's registered over a German company, but it should be possible to transfer it to Wikimedia somehow. I'll see what I can do.--Eloquence

I'm sorry if I seemed to insult the current wikinews.org; I didn't know you had registered it. Just wondering, why did you choose wikinews.org? Never mind. We can still use news.wikimedia.org; you don't need to try to get wikinews.org. We would only need it if curious people just typed wikinews.org in. Then again, that could be handled with a simple link on that page, if that's not too hard to negotiate. - SamE 00:59, 4 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Proposal?[edit]

As Elian pointed out, we need a concrete proposal before setting up a new project. What's currently on the content page is basically a recreation of Wikipedia's current events page. Eloquence and I both feel that the Wikinews should go beyond just being a news digest. I'm going to try writing up an actual proposal based on what he and I were discussing, plus other comments made here. Isomorphic 05:57, 6 Jul 2004 (UTC)

OK, I've just finished the beginnings of a proposal. I would welcome comments, modifications, and expansions. Isomorphic 06:43, 6 Jul 2004 (UTC)
Add me to the list as someone supporting a true, open-source original journalistic endeavor. 216.102.92.153 19:17, 18 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Real name requirement, revoking reporting privileges[edit]

1) I think that reporters should be required to use their real name rather than a pseudonym. This makes it a lot easier to weed out sock puppets and builds trust. It does not hinder whistleblowing at all -- whistleblowers would simply go through another Wikinews reporter, who would then quote them.

2) While I think the comments page is a good idea, I also believe that we need a way to prevent untrusted users from continuing to insert false claims into articles. Imagine some pro-Palestinian or pro-Israeli propagandist inserting completely false claims into every article about the Middle East. Without a way to permanently or temporarily revoke their editing privileges, we are basically giving people an unlimited platform for propaganda. That's not what we want.

So I think that there should be a process by which reporting privileges can be revoked. I'm not sure if a process for granting reporting privileges is needed in combination with the real name requirement, although I wouldn't want to rule out the need for it completely either.

We have to remember that people are killed over the content of news stories. We cannot simply use NPOV as our refuge here -- we actually need a thorough fact checking process and ways to deal with people who abuse the system.--Eloquence

With regard to false claims, I have two thoughts. First, we should follow standard Wikipedia-style NPOV and verifiability policies for everything other than original reporting. Second, we should use original reporting only when we have a unique source of original information, such as a first hand account or an insider report. So in your Palestine/Israel example, we shouldn't even consider leaving the claims in our article unless the user can make a claim to have first-hand or insider knowledge.
A hotel employee in Palestine, for example, might have first-hand knowledge of the Israel/Palestine situation, where an auto worker in Detroit would not. And an officer in the IDF would have excellent information access, if questionable bias. A policy of requiring real names would make this kind of determination vastly easier, since most people would have no credible claim to unique information on Israel and Palestine.
We will probably also need a policy that original reporting requires a consensus or near-consensus approval to be included. The consensus can be implicit (i.e. a claim is added, and is neither disputed nor removed) but I think that the default will need to be NOT to include any given original reporting. This may seem like censorship, but I'm sure that we'll still end up much more open than a traditional news source. It also serves as your process for "granting" reporting privilege: editors simply won't be able to make original claims until other editors are comfortable with them doing so. What the thresholds will end up being is anyone's guess, but that allows wiki-style decision-making. Of course, anyone can still make original claims on talk pages, and intelligent discussion/reporting on talk pages would probably be how editors become trusted enough to do reporting.
Incidentally, I am picturing something closer to a giant group blog than to a traditional news service. Blogs are gaining popularity and credibility as sources for both original reporting and commentary, as evidenced by the Democratic National Convention's recent decision to issue press credentials to a small number of bloggers. We may not choose to use blogs as a model, but they will serve at least as a useful comparison. Isomorphic 06:55, 8 Jul 2004 (UTC)
A "consensus on all original reporting" policy is dangerous - it allows for exclusion of undesirable reports by objecting to them: "I don't trust this user", "This report is unpatriotic", etc. We have to ask ourselves whether we could report something like Watergate or the Abu Ghraib scandal within the framework we come up with. By allowing anyone to gradually advance in the hierarchy and revoking their reporting privileges only if they provably abuse them, we avoid self-censorship. Consensus will of course be required about how a particular claim is worded, and it is perfectly valid to ask for backup information, but if the user in question is a trusted member of the community, then the reply "I have an anonymous informer" should be enough -- until the reporter is no longer trusted. This is how traditional news media operate, too, we just have to find a good way to keep out the bad apples. I think a formal granting process can help with that.
Regarding the blog comparison, keep in mind that Wikinews will have reports on a very, very wide array of subjects, from a Linux kernel release to a hostage crisis in Iran. So we need to make it easy to view only topics of interest. The sequential blog model is not sufficient for that purpose, but thanks to transclusion ({{blah}}), we can offer different views on the same content. Readers could even build their own personalized news pages by transcluding just the blocks that interest them and arranging them in a layout of their own.
One thing that is typical for blogs is mixing of opinion and fact. That is of course unacceptable for us. But should we have an op-ed section? It could be interesting for two or more sides of an issue to work separately or together on building the "perfect editorial" from each point of view. So all the conservatives might come up with a persuasive, apologetic editorial about how the abuses at Abu Ghraib aren't torture and all the progressives might collect the evidence that shows that they are.
Another thing: We'll probably want a broader discussion policy. After the editorial phase is over, expressions of opinion should be allowed on talk pages, "letters of the editor" so to speak.Eloquence
WRT consensus on including a given report, I suggest that as with many similar discussions on Wikipedia (requests for adminship, featured article candidates, etc) people should have to explain their objection, and things like "I don't want this to be true" aren't good enough. Perhaps the bar should be lowered from "consensus" to "majority" or even "strong plurality". My concern is two-fold: first, to avoid original reporting where it's not necessary or doesn't add much to the article, and second to allow the community a say in what we trust or don't. There will need to be a balance struck: the more open we are, the more nonsense we'll end up publishing. On the other hand, the more closed we are, the less chance of a big scoop.
I'm more worred about credibility than about censorship though... if we have reporting that's both sensational and even somewhat credible, the chance to publish something sensational will weigh hard against anyone wanting to squelch it. Also, if a story is important enough, other Wikimedians will surely try to verify it. There's plenty of room for discussion on talk pages, and interested readers can always look at what's being said there. Once something is on the site, even only on a talk page, it won't go away if it's for real.
Not sure what to do about original articles based completely on reporting by a new contributor. Perhaps there should be an internal news workshop on the site where such claims can be considered before an actual article is started. Or, perhaps we could merely flag such articles with a standard {{newuser}} tag.
I favor considering the merit of individual reports rather than granting users "reporter" status. The degree of trust needed varies with the type of reporting and with the claim being made. If someone wants to report that Sharon is secretly having a homosexual affair with Arafat, that had better be the most trusted contributor on the site, or they'd better have some impressive evidence. On the other hand, routine or non-controversial stuff should be much more open; a first-hand account of a Star Trek convention can come from just about anyone. Also, many people will originally become contributors because they have something interesting and worthwhile to report. We don't want to automatically exclude such reports just because the user hasn't been around long enough to be "promoted." Isomorphic 15:15, 8 Jul 2004 (UTC)
Agree, btw, that there should still be a process for revoking reporting privileges. If for some reason a reporter's credibility is severely damaged, we can have a barring process after which we simply don't consider or allow any claim the user makes. Isomorphic 15:22, 8 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Protecting news pages[edit]

I believe that news pages should be protected from editing once they are "published". They would then be frozen for all edits except 1) spelling corrections, 2) official "updates", which would usually link to other news articles with a brief summary. A news article is a historical record and should not be altered at will.

The Main Page itself would primarily link to published articles, but there would also be a prominently linked "workspace" which shows works in progress (with a big fat disclaimer that they may contain completely bogus information).

Again, in terms of potential impact, news articles are much more sensitive than Wikipedia pages. When we say that George W. Bush was assassinated, it should better be true and not just someone's delusion.--Eloquence

We could also choose which published pages go on the main page using the number of page views. We would have to use "Number of IP addresses that have viewed this page" instead, though. I see no need to use this "publishing", just a page views milestone to mark an article as a good one. Who would be authorized to publish an article anyway? And how would we be able to define an update? - SamE 02:56, 7 Jul 2004 (UTC)
Again, I must remind you that news can be much more critical than encyclopedia articles in terms of public reception. When we report on some disaster, a person's death, a political victory etc., then people's lives will be affected by it. We can't treat this with a laissez-faire attitude and hope that things will work out somehow. The wiki model, as great as it is, doesn't magically guarantee accuracy at any given time -- in fact, it does quite the opposite.
"Who decides when an article will be published?" is really one of many questions to which the answer is: "The Wikimedia decision making process applies." This means: The people involved in the topic try to resolve all conflicts through consensus, and if this fails within a defined timeframe, then a vote can be held. In practice, there will be a section on every article talk page where people can say when they think the page is "ready". On top, articles which are nominated to be ready should be added to some category so that they can be easily located. Others will then chime in and voice objections and if there are none within a reasonable timeframe, the article is posted. This is really the kind of thing we do all the time with sensitive changes on Wikipedia.
I do think it should be possible and easy to browse articles in progress in an unrestricted fashion, but every such article should carry a disclaimer, and they should not be linked prominently from the Main Page.--Eloquence
But what exactly would happen when an article gets published? Do you limit the editing or closely watch it? What I suggest, is that when someone wants to edit it, it doesn't show up immediately; rather a proven source (maybe someone who edited it majorly before it was published, or one of the "reporters") has to OK the edit (or actually edit the page) for it to go through. This complicates the system and software a bit more, but as you said, we have to be cautious about what we allow to show on our site. - SamE 04:16, 7 Jul 2004 (UTC)
We can use the MeatBall:FileReplacement model to protect pages while still allowing general editing. The basic policy would be that any significant updates that happen after publishing have to be prominently recorded (e.g. Updated on ...: corrected error about..). The article would enter different stages of freezing -- after 3 days, only sp/grammar and similar minor errors could be corrected, after 14 days, the article would be permanently frozen for historical purposes.--Eloquence

Great project[edit]

I welcome this evolving idea with great joy. We have sources of relatively reliable sources of information (the BBC) but sources of open information (like Indymedia) are unbearably tainted with bias. I expect Wikinews to be both credible and balanced (NPOV). Best of luck for the project, Kpjas 08:02, 8 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Though still Indymedia people are probably sooner adding stuff here than BBC journalist. And for many events IMC news is probably more reliable than BBC or Fox. And it is definitely interesting get permission to copy (and modify) IMC texts. Guaka 20:25, 8 Jul 2004 (UTC)


Focus[edit]

In the beginning we will probably have troubles to attract sufficient contributors in order to report about all or any news. Maybe it's good if we create a little list of specific topics we try to work out, so that they will be covered sufficiently, with hopefully a high Google rating. It's probably best if these topics will be hot during the next 6 months, such as the US elections and the events in Iraq. Guaka 20:38, 8 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Another policy consideration[edit]

Another issue that might come up: what exactly constitutes news? On Wikipedia, the lowest bounds of notability are often formed by verifiability, not by any specific policy on what should be included. Since Wikinews doesn't use verifiability, what is the smallest event worth noting? The election of a national president is news. The election of a provincial or state governor is news. But what about the election of a mayor? Of a school board member? Of a student body president at a university? Of a class president in a primary school? Somewhere, the line must be drawn, but where? Isomorphic 07:36, 12 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Personally, I think we need to draw the line at exposure, rather than inclusion. We can use the wiki model to develop a structure where certain news items receive high (Main Page) exposures, whereas others can only be found through subcategories. Like on Wikipedia, policies will gradually evolve to regulate the decision making process.Eloquence

Doubts[edit]

After reading this discussion, I've serious doubts if a Wikinews would be a good idea. First, problem of accountability: allowing only real name, logged in contributors is against the spirit of a wiki. A wiki should be editable by anyone. If you set up the hard restrictions which might be necessary to solve the problem of credibility and accountability, you have a Content Management System, but no wiki anymore. Second, problem of modification: a general policy of protecting pages which might be necessary is also against the spirit of a wiki. All the things which where proposed to solve the problem of an open _and_ useful news website target towards a CMS and not a Wiki. And then I don't understand why we should call it Wikinews. I don't want to prevent anyone creating this, but I doubt if it will work and if wiki is the right technology to use. To the people who want to realize it: it would be nice, if you could prepare a formal description of the proposal on Proposals for new projects. --Elian 20:09, 12 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Everyone will be able to edit pages, but there will be some barrier to entry for reporting original material. That is an important distinction. As an anonymous user you are free to, say, summarize an article in the Washington Post, but you're not free to say that you saw 20 Palestinians killed by the IDF (unless someone trusted vouches for you). Given that Wikipedia does not allow any original research by anyone, this actually means that Wikinews is more open than Wikipedia, not less. A UseRealNames policy is actually adopted by many wikis, and again, in our case it would only be enforced for original reporting.
As for protecting pages - the most important page that will be protected is the Main Page, just like the English or German Wikipedia Main Page is protected. And there's an important distinction between a finished news article and an encyclopedia article. A finished news article is a historical record which needs to be preserved. Hence, keeping it in an openly editable form is of questionable value. But this only happens once the article is finished, and even then with some delay to allow for updates.
So it's still very much a wiki by all reasonable definitions of the term - all current pages are openly editable. We have to be wary of treating wiki like a dogma. It's not a dogma, it's a tool, and tools need to be flexible to be useful.--Eloquence
Hmmm...
The funny thing about a news service - is no one will look up a subject about an event unless it has really occurred. So, if there are no explicit gateways to a myriad of esoteric articles - no one will ever find them - this is an important statistic to consider. One exception to this, is folklore - for instance the story of the aliens in Roswell New Mexico - those people who show enough interest to type that into the search box will all, likely, agree upon the tenets of the story; so there should be a way to have a page about this topic earmarked as folklore and relegated to the back filing cabinets of the website.
One idea I would offer, would be to very visibly offer an invitation for people to leave comments about the story, and publish, next to their comments, the geographic location of the IP address - so one can clearly see if they have the authority to speak about the story - if they are indeed, themselves from the town in which the events written of took place. There might be statistically enough people who visit the website from a community to let the natural rhythm of a wiki confirm or deny the occurence of some event written about their community.
I like the idea of independent film and photo documentation added to the site - although it would increase the bandwidth usage quite a bit - and that might send overhead costs soaring.
Another idea: it might be possible for the subjects of wikipedia reporter interviews to give some affidavit over the web, that they were interviewed for the article and that their views were represented accurately. This affidavit could be posted alongside the story. Rainbird 01:47, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

MPOV[edit]

why not considering multiple points of view as concept since news articles are seldom really neutral? in my opinion mpov is an interesting idea because you can get many points of view which together build up a clearer view on an issue. another reason would be: why should we hack around on one article to get a consens with many users while some will - of course - be unsatisfied with it?. a summery page (where the visitor comes to first) could sum up the topic and links then to the mpovs. i think npov is absolutely too slow for a newsletter. --Pythagoras1 23:17, 2 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Well, there is fact, and then there is opinion. There ought to be at least two sections of the website - one for news analysis, and another for writing narratives of real events. Rainbird 01:54, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Agreed that news and analysis should be separated. Whether the speed of the NPOV process would be a problem depends on how fast you want articles published. Television and radio news happen in near-real-time. Newspapers come out every day. News magazines are weekly, monthly, or even less frequent. Wikinews would need to decide or discover when each of these time-scales is most appropriate, and how to adapt the wiki process to each. Isomorphic 23:10, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Yes, timescales are an important factor to consider.. I imagine such a news wiki could have an article about the event on one page, and then on a parallel page, hypertext gateways to various people's analyses of these events - putting them into a deeper cultural context(each user could have their analyses posted within their own section under their own username or IP). There could be a third parallel page which could be a page for a long term follow up narrative about future events related to that article...Rainbird 23:41, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Yes! This can easily be accomplished, and at least in our biggest newspaper in Finland we have such a system in use: there's the actual article that's as NPOV as possible, then there's these separate boxes that are titled "viewpoint", which usually even have a picture of the writer and identify the text in the box as a separate viewpoint by that particular writer. This is an excellent thing! --Tmh 19:27, 25 Sep 2004 (UTC)
can we now change it to MPOV in the project description? --Pythagoras1 09:29, 11 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Domain name update[edit]

The transfer of wikinews.org to a new registrar is now complete, so that I can set the nameservers to Wikimedia and we can set up a wiki under that domain. Before we rush into that, however, please give me a couple of weeks as I'd like to formulate some detailed requirement specifications and policy drafts for the project.--Eloquence

Editorials[edit]

How are the proposed editorials going to be any different from blogs? Does Wikinews risk becoming a collection of news blogs? How does this fit in the NPOV policy? Are these not intended to be NPOV? Are they intended to be collaborative? If not, is a wiki really the right place for them? Angela 05:11, 10 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Have to agree with Ang on this, the stated proposal addresses new issues than Wikipedia does now. To quote, "Wikinews could offer editorials written from all points of view and retain its neutrality."
Wikipedia has used the article as its "unit" of NPOV. The proposal implies that in Wikinews editorial, it's the entire set that strives for NPOV. Does that mean you could have one blistering anti-Jewish tirade, as long as it is balanced by a Zionist anti-Palenstinian rant? Lots of serious issues with this. Fuzheado 06:11, 10 Oct 2004 (UTC)
There could be a limit of one editorial per day, and a voting process by which it is decided what the topic of the day is going to be. Yes, editorials would represent all substantial factions, but the same is true for NPOV articles - the editorials just take the NPOV text apart and hone the individual positions.--Eloquence
We should perhaps start with a "best practices" review (gee I hate that phrase) of other efforts online. The one that comes to mind is en:OhMyNews, which started with citizen reporters on the 'net, edited by fulltime editors. Fuzheado 02:55, 12 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Image uploads[edit]

I strongly suggest that image uploads are turned off on the Wikinews site to encourage use of the Commons, which is an excellent place for the resources that Wikinews will use. I also suggest we collaborate with ourmedia for storing resources over the 20mb limit that the Commons has, such as journalistic videos. Angela 05:11, 10 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Several problems with that idea:

  • The images will vanish from the news archive when deleted from the commons, so it loses the permanence objective for stories. The commons project may do that accidentally, because there are no indications taht the image is in use in another project or just because it doesn't share the same permanence objectives.
  • So far as I know, it is curently not possible to allow external links foro only one site
  • So far as I know it is not currently possible to use the wikii syntax image templates with external image links.
  • Fair dealing and fair use images are necessary and very well accepted for news coverage in general - very much so in the US. Those images are not, so far as I'm aware, accepted at the commons, so image uploads will need to be on for them, unless the commons changes its practice. Jamesday 10:59, 17 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Wikinews lexicon[edit]

Having undertaken the "difficult" task of translating the proposal into French, I am left with quite a few questions as to which term to use where and when. I would then be very grateful if you could try and summarize the exact meanings of different terms used re: Wikinews. As a matter of fact, I believe it would be helpful if we tried to define exactly what is what, in order to avoid misunderstandings.

  • articles / news reports / reports (I suggest they be tagged with the prefix Wikinews ie. Wikinews-articles or Wikinews-reports when appropriate, in order to avoid confusion when you make parallels with "normal" news reports or articles).

I am also faced with another problem concerning those. There is IMO, a huge difference between your Hurricane example report and what you otherwise define as a well researched, sourced article made by a Wikinews reporter on a specific event. We have two words in French, which would probably translate as "article" and "news-feed". Although I can see the relevance of both in Wikinews, I believe those should be somewhat differenciated .

  • summary/summaries (Those seem to take quite a few different meanings throughout the proposal - ie. compilation of other sources, news-feed type report, Wikinews reports...)

Last, either my English has gone completely awry, or in the #1 question of the FAQ, where it says "Nevertheless, Wikinews would also benefit from good summaries", it should say Wikipedia, and not Wikinews (and here for example, is a use of "summary" that I found difficult to translate). [[User:Notafish|notafish }<';>]] 00:10, 16 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Here's the main vocabulary in a nutshell:
  • Wikinews article - any Wikinews article, regardless of whether it contains original reporting or not.
  • Wikinews report - any Wikinews article which contains original reporting
  • Summaries of external sources - expressing the content of external news sources in our own words and eliminating redundancies which result from aggregation.
  • Summaries of Wikinews articles - condensing the content of a Wikinews article into a one or two paragraph summary (AKA abstracts, introductions).
I have tried to make the page more consistent in its usage of these terms. I have also used the term "aggregated summaries" in the mission statement, which perhaps better describes what I mean. Unfortunately, a little ambiguity cannot be avoided, as there are indeed at least two separate processes of summarization.
I have clarified the item in the FAQ which you refer to. I was indeed talking about summaries of Wikinews articles within Wikinews, which could then be used by Wikipedia.
Does this make sense?--Eloquence 04:38, 16 Oct 2004 (UTC)


It does, thank you. [[User:Notafish|notafish }<';>]] 10:26, 16 Oct 2004 (UTC)