Talk:Wikinews/Archives/2004

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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

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?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

Image uploads

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

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)

Wikimedia is not ready yet for Wikinews

Although I support new Wikimedia projects 100%, I don't Wikinews is the right step for Wikimedia. If we want to publish new information and act as primary source, that's OK, but I don't think this process of accrediation is necessary. I've been saying this for a long time, but I find it quite scary that Wikimedia is heading towards a hierarchy where there are these "classes" of contributors and where only when your identity is revealed can you actually contribute. I'm sorry to say this... but that will never work. The reason why people are attracted to wikis in the first place is because they are there for the common people. Anyone can contribute, anyone can be an encyclopedia writer... that's what encourages people to contribute... that they can effortlessly and anonymously contribute to a good cause. In a way, in enables people to contribute in a new cyberworld, where no-one knows who they are... this is a good thing! Now I know that someone will say that it's stupid to let anyone publish news articles which can have so much political significance... and to that I say "Yes. Of course. Wikinews is not a good idea either way." It will only work if we exercise control and restrictions... but that defeats the purpose of wiki. If we're willing to do it the wiki way, then it won't work. My verdict therefore is... Wikimedia is not ready for Wikinews. Ronline 08:00, 19 Oct 2004 (UTC)

A process of accreditation is not part of the Wikinews proposal. It is up to the individual language versions to implement the policies necessary to satisfy the requirements outlined therein. Accreditation is only one strategy.
As for that strategy, it is different from what you describe. Anonymous users can contribute and even do original reporting (called witness reports), as long as there is consensus among the contributors that the inclusion of these reports is valid. The accreditation system discussed on Wikinews/Thinktank adds an additional layer of official wiki-reporters, which has many advantages in interaction with companies, institutions and individuals, which allows us to include anonymous whistleblower reports, and which lowers the threshold of inclusion for controversial reports (imagine an Abu Ghraib type scandal).
I agree with you that effortless contribution is essential. Effortless contribution in combination with pre-publication review is what will make Wikinews work. That being said, you are free to cast your vote any way you please starting October 22nd.--Eloquence
OK, I understand more now. What I still don't understand is the proposal for Wikinews to become like a news agency, with its own reporters. I always thought Wikinews would be repository for existing news which are written in a NPOV way, like a library of news articles. When breaking news occurs (in Romania, for example, news about the Bastroe Channel), I (or any other contributor) would write an article about it, similar to how Wikipedia articles on current events are written (of course in a different style and form, but same approach). You mentioned witness reports... do you really have to experience these things first-hand (if you're reporting on a train crash that kills 22 people (let's say), do you actually have to be there to report it or is it enough to hear about it and then report it)? Ronline 08:21, 19 Oct 2004 (UTC)
The project will be a combination of news summaries from external sources and original reporting. Initially, most Wikinews articles will be very similar to what is currently on pages like ro:Actualităţi, only much more detailed. We will scour the various websites and blogs for interesting stories, summarize them in our own words and add sources. So in your train crash example, it would be perfectly fine to cite the Associated Press, Reuters or anyone else on what happened.
In fact, in the first stage, the vast majority of our articles will be summaries from external sources. That is not to be frowned on, most newspaper articles are slightly rephrased Reuters or AP stories. The first original reports will probably be about events that are easy to attend: a street demonstration, an exhibition, a sports event. As the project grows, I anticipate that the range of the reporting we will do will also grow.
Getting back to your point about effortlessness, here's the process of writing a Wikinews article as I intend to implement it:
1) Write the article under [[Article title]]. Add {{development}} at the top.
2) Once you are ready, replace {{development}} with {{review}}.
That's it. Articles in the development stage will be listed as "Requests for collaboration" on [[Wikinews:Community portal]]. Anyone will be invited to contribute to them. Articles in the review stage will pass through peer review and, if consensus has been found, officially listed on the various Wikinews category pages.--Eloquence
Thanks for the explanation! I am more reassured now... and I support the founding of Wikinews. The Romanian translation of the page will come... Ronline 08:37, 19 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Just one more thing (I promise this will be the last ;-) - what type of news articles will Wikinews focus on? Large worldwide news or will it just be restricted to interesting quirk news (Ananova-style) or more local news, or magazine-style reportages. Ronline 08:21, 19 Oct 2004 (UTC) (PS: I'm interested in Wikinews, that's why I wrote here in the first place, I was just a bit taken aback by all these regulations, mainly in the context of some problems at ro.wiki which had to do with this need for "real names"... maybe I was too harsh in my previous message though :)
No problem, I understand your concerns. Again, I want different Wikinews versions to experiment with different strategies to ensure that our reporting is accurate while we retain as much openness as possible. On Wikipedia, many ideas have only developed because of our internationality. For example, I was inspired to create the page w:Wikipedia:Featured article candidates by the German Wikipedia equivalent. I'm sure there will be a similar, mutually beneficial competition of strategies on Wikinews.
The scope of Wikinews, the way I see it, is almost unlimited. There will be categories for all major and minor world regions, politics and law, sports and entertainment, science and technology, economy and business, etc. Local stories are perfectly appropriate, but will not be highlighted on the Main Page. Deciding what is a major and what is a minor story will be a big challenge. Perhaps the article validation tool currently in CVS can be used for that purpose. The category system will be key to organizing our content.--Eloquence

Naming

Were there any discussions about the name of the project? I wonder if newswiki would be better than wikinews. -- Arne (akl) 09:25, 19 Oct 2004 (UTC)

There's been some discussion (see archive). Most non-Wikimedia wikis are named in the form "FooWiki": IndymediaWiki, FoxWiki, ToothyWiki, TclWiki, MeatballWiki, UnrealWiki, LinuxWiki, OsafWiki, EvoWiki, and so on. Most wikis which start with "Wiki"-something, on the other hand, are Wikimedia wikis: Wikipedia, Wikibooks, Wikiquote, Wikisource, Wik(i)tionary. The notable exception here is Wikitravel - and lo and behold, it has in the past repeatedly been seen as a Wikimedia wiki even though it is not. This indicates that there is already a "Wiki"-something brand identity associated with Wikimedia.--Eloquence
Okay, that's a good argument for wikinews (nevertheless newswiki seems easier to pronounce). Shouldn't we register the newswiki domains also, just to avoid that anybody else starts a similar project which could lead into confusion? -- Arne (akl) 10:22, 19 Oct 2004 (UTC)
With regard to pronounciation, NewsWiki has the problem that the pronounciation is only obvious if you write it in camelcase - newswiki could be pronounced "new-swiki" by someone who does not know what a wiki is. As for registering it, I don't think confusion between the two is particularly likely and I'd like to keep running costs for the foundation at a minimum. A bigger problem is that we don't have wikinews.com, where there could be some confusion. I'll contact the current owner and see what he's up to, he doesn't appear to be using it right now.--Eloquence

Transclusion of news to Wikipedia

Quote: "It makes sense to aim for cross-wiki transclusion of this content: Wikinews could provide the abstracts, and Wikipedia could dynamically transclude them (like template pages) on a page like w:current events."

I'd like to comment on this suggestion that I believe once we have Wikinews up and running there is no more need to display "current events" on Wikipedia. It's off topic. Remember Wikipedia is an encyclopedia and not a news source. If people want news, they should go to Wikinews. --Neitram 14:33, 20 Oct 2004 (UTC)

I don't like any of these two proposals; Wikipedia has always provided links to encyclopedia articles related to recent events, regardless if Reuters or Wikinews also covered news in a better way. I think as long as we try to have a dynamic side of Wikipedia (main page and current events and cousins of CE), it's not wrong to have this very small overlap between projects. Also, using wikipedia using wikinews as a substitute for CE would require wikinews to link to wikipedia articles all the time, which I'm not sure they would like to do. ✏ Sverdrup 18:15, 21 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I definitely think Wikinews will have very high linkage to Wikipedia, though only to articles which exist.--Eloquence
I believe Wikinews will likely have great internal linkage between news articles as well, in a similar way Heise articles (popular German IT news site) do. --Neitram 14:13, 22 Oct 2004 (UTC)
As far as that goes, I would prefer the inside look for links from Wikinews to Wikipedia, for the effect of immediacy, as opposed to the outside look. --dbabbitt 13:54, 29 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Wikinews article names

In Wikipedia we have a simple sufficient article naming convention: every article represents a term by which it is named. Are there any suggestions how Wikinews articles should be named? If we give each article a name that corresponds to a headline (e.g. U.S. pilot killed we will run into the problem of duplicate headlines if a similar news occurs in some future point of time. So maybe we should introduce namespaces such as 2004/10/22/U.S. pilot killed or naming conventions such as U.S. pilot killed. Comments, ideas? --Neitram 14:47, 22 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Similar to other news websites, lead into the keyword function.--Shizhao 15:47, 22 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Run with that idea, it works. -- user:Zanimum

Internationality

<quote>The internationality of the Wikimedia foundation is one of our biggest strengths, and the Wikinews projects will build on this strength right from the start. Our first requirement is that Wikinews will be set up like Wikipedia, with a country domain for every Wikinews project:</quote>

Actually we have a language domain for all wikinews porjects (ie., brasil and portugal both use pt.wikixxx.org) Was this a simple typo or are we looking at country codes? I dont think that we should; however some kind of filtering software for the front page would be good. I think it would be done by having certain premade filters (ie. nz.en.wikinews.org (or maybe en.wikinews.org/wiki/wikinews:nz ) would preference articles in the catogries: New Zealand, sheep, hobbits and rugby) or users could define thier own preferences. i certianly think having easy to create catogries and subcatogries like wikipedia would have to be a must.

en:the_bellman

You're absolutely right, it should read "language domain".--Eloquence

Momentum

I am just a humble wikipedian, and before the votes for yes, and who them are I don't expect to stop your fun. But I would like to give my opinion.

I am a real enthusiast of all things wiki. More often than not I wish to be able to edit thc maqazine article I am reading. But all wikis have a momentum, a time when there are enough active readers to produce enouqh quality information to attract more readers. Before it you only have a bunch of editable text, but after that momentum the wiki magic begin: articles get written, reviewed edited and npov-ed by it's own.

It's the lack of this momentum that makes many other wikis like wikitravel, wikibooks and most local languages wikipedias a source of information unreliable and incomplete compared to the majority of other websites on the subject. And we're talking about information with no expiration date. Once you wrote an article about your city on wikitravel it stays: we are one article closer to a decent travel book.

But now man, news, by definition are thingies with are real short life span. Some wiil last some hours none will endure more than two weeks. That means the effort needed to reach that momentum is not additive, you have to restart from zero every day.

Now if you have a small team of full time reporters (to counterbalance wikipedia's gigantic team of spare-time contributors) ready to make a normal online newspaper AND then you decide to wiki, you will have a great project and a really different newspaper. Count on me as a reader. Otherwise, just make yourself a personal wiki.--Alexandre Van de Sande 14:19, 23 Oct 2004 (UTC)

There are many ways to gain momentum. We will always have a large set of articles, prominently listed, which are in open editing, where anyone can participate immediately. Moreover, there will be a highly visible "Write your own news article" link explaining to people how to start working on Wikinews. Take a look at Indymedia or OhMyNews - none of these projects are wikis, yet they have gained more than enough momentum to be useful. Indymedia is almost as international as Wikipedia.
I also consider your criticism of Wikitravel, Wikibooks etc. unfair. These wikis are not substantially more or less reliable than Wikipedia -- Wikipedia has pages on topics nobody knows anything or cares about, which never get edited by anyone but the original author. A large active user base is a necessary, but not sufficient requirement for increasing accuracy. A woring peer review mechanism is much more important in this context.--Eloquence
Plus the comment about a "short life span" regarding the articles is not entirely accurate. Sure, articles or editorials will have to become un-editable after a certain point. Not because stories don't develop over time, but because as a useful resource there's a point when they must be set in stone. If they're not then the very fact that they can be changed further down the track renders them useless as news source documents (like AP, AAP, Reuters, etc.). Should stories develop with further information, then it is simply a matter of producing a series of articles to cover newer information.
In the case of news articles and similar reports, setting things as "fixed" is actually a strength. It may turn out in a given case that some of the original reports (e.g. from some witnesses) are incorrect or incorrectly reported, but even fixing that progression of information is useful. Actually, a really good example of the establishment of sources, developing them and even showing how sometimes decent sources can be misinterpreted is in All The President's Men by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward. It pretty much illustrates some of the better, ongoing journalistic processes and investigations. Even with some of the mistakes along the way. --BenM 15:48, 23 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Of course there are ways to gain momentum, but my point is that wikinews would only launch after it has gained this momentum. Putting links on "how to create your news article" simply is not enough: if someone has come to this link she probably already knows what wikinews is.
What I mean is: I'm someone who's trying to launch portuguese wikitravel. SO far I haven't got a single contributor but me, but I do not care. I know that (after the project starts) if contributors write a few article a week, after a year or so our travel book will have some hundreds of travel destinations and maybe starts getting some more influx from google and more articles get written. If wikinews writers are able to write a few article a day, wikinews will be just a few articles newspaper, that is, a weak newspaper, and will never gain any momentum.
If you can figure out how to start with a thousand active contributors, I'll believe in the project. I love wiki, I dream the day there will be a wiki legislative power, and my country law book will turn into a wiki and i could edit any stupid thing someone tries to turn into a law. But you can just copy paste wikipedia system to other needs and hope it will just work the same way. --Alexandre Van de Sande 15:38, 24 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I don't. Wikinews will be indexed by news.google.com, it will be linked in the blogosphere, it will be mirrored and forked, its content will be google-able, and most importantly, it will be highly visible within the Wikimedia world. There are many vectors through which new people can find us. But I can't give you 1000 contributors when we start, sorry.--Eloquence

I'm new to Wiki but have been in journalism since 2nd grade ("Room 210 Tooter") and as the first guy I know to be full-time paid Web-only local news reporter in Bend, C. Oregon (www.bend.com) - we since started a weekly paper, The Bugle - I'm jazzed about this whole concept. I know the potential downfalls/shortcomings as well as anyone, but hope to play a small role in whatever comes to pass on this. If nothing else, as a copy editor, always better at finding others' typos than my own;-) I'm not sure everyone who wants to do reporting should do it, but they sure should be given a chance - and this is it! Barney Lerten - Bend, Oregon New input--As an Irish-American, I know that there are some languages, like Irish, Gaelic, and Cmyric, that have come close to extinction, but have vibrant communities that wish to keep the languages alive. Because there are some similarities among them, learners in the three diffrent communities are likely to look at what the others are saying, if only to learn a bit more about how the language can be used, or to appreciate the differences in the cultures. I would think that there are more examples of this, but these are the ones I am most aware of. --jfdunphy-- Clifton, NJ, USA

Hemanshu's comments

First of all, Why create Wikinews? aren't there enough news sources in the world? the wiki model works great for Wikipedia but won't work for a news site. Second of all, are we allowed to edit someone's orginal report? How is it an original report then? What does this have to do with wikis where anyone can edit anything. We already have wikinews on Wikipedia Current Events where it works. Thirdly, the failure of Wikinews can give a bad name to Wikipedia. I am against this. --Hemanshu

1) Why create an encyclopedia? Aren't there already enough? The difference between Wikinews and other news sources are many: a) It is completely free as in beer. No "registration required". No mega-size Flash banner ads. No "first 14 days of archive are free, $0.20 per article afterwards". b) Being free of advertising, it is also free of the influence that comes with it. c) It can be used by others to create derivative works, such as local communities who cannot afford a Reuters or AP newsfeed. d) It is written from a neutral point of view - that means that we can look beyond the simple black/white, good/evil scheme of the current mainstream media and report the facts from a wide variety of colorful perspectives. e) It is written by people like you and me - the only middleman is the community. f) It is much more inclusive than traditional news sources and allows us to cover special interest topics neglected by the media, as well as transfer all the benefits a)-e) to all news topics which we choose to cover, which will be many. (Wikinews is not paper)
2) Are we allowed to edit someone else's original report? You are certainly allowed to rephrase it, and you are allowed to question its veracity. Obviously you are not allowed to just make stuff up, but if you have your own report to contribute which contradicts an existing one, then the different reports will simply be phrased accordingly ("According to our reporter XY..").
3) Wikinews and current events are very different in their nature and purpose. See the FAQ.
4) Any failed project can give Wikipedia a bad name. That is hardly a valid argument not to start. The question is, is Wikinews doomed to failure? I see no evidence that this is so.--Eloquence

Joi Ito's Comments

I am not convinced that Wikimedia should do Wikinews. I think it's a good idea, but there are a variety of risks.

1 )It is VERY political. It's not similar to the other sub-projects in this way. Wikipedians will come under the scrutiny of and attract attention from a whole new set of people. The people of the the professional news media are much more aggressive than encyclopedia publishers and librarians. Do not under-estimate the feedback you will get from professional journalists. Bloggers have been struggling with their relationship with big media for a long time. I suggest you take a look at some of the back and forth. Wikinews is obviously different from blogging, but some of the criticism bloggers get will apply to wikinews.
2) Wikipedia is doing great and is incredibly important. I think focusing on wikipedia is important and I think that the foundation board members and other components will end up being distracted by the variety of issues that it will face from starting wikinews.
3) Arguing NPOV for wikipedia makes sense and works. The notion of NPOV for news is deteriorating and I'm not sure it works. In particular, it is important to note that news influences the news. It is self-referential. What you decide to write about and focus on is inherently political and ends up being POV. The criticism of systemic bias of wikipedia will be amplified. For instance, hostage taking occurs primarily BECAUSE of the mass media. What constitutes an article worthy of being written? What do you do about a bias in the focus of the articles? What do you do about negative feedback? Do you defend yourself? There are so many things that will tend to chip away at NPOV compared to wikipedia because of the crazy feedback loops and amplification that occurs.
4) You will need a new community. Wikidictionary, quotes, etc. are all wikipedian like activities. Part of wikinews is wikipedia-like, but news requires risk taking and aggressive activities which I don't see as a traditional wikipedian trait. I see it more among some of the bloggers. Adding the type of people who would get into wikinews into your community will change the nature of the community.

Having said all that, I am still willing to be convinced. Looking at the votes, this is going to happen whether I'm convinced or not. In any case, I will happily help the project and I think it will be a lot of fun. I'm probably more suited for wikinews than wikipedia. I just want to point out some of these issues that I think this project will face.

Joi 07:41, 24 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Hello Joi,

thanks for your comments. It may help to know a bit about me: I'm a journalist, I have worked for magazines and newspapers. I'm also the author of a coming book about wikis, blogs and open source software (German). I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with the blogosphere: I think it's a great start, but I also think it could be so much more. When it comes to one aspect of this "so much more", the collaborative aspect, I believe strongly that Wikinews can break new ground.

Allow me to elaborate on each of your points.

1) You are absolutely right that Wikinews is more political than Wikipedia. Nevertheless, for balance I have to add that Wikipedia has huge amounts of highly political content of its own, both of current relevance and on historical matters. To give you two specific examples, check out w:Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse and w:MKULTRA. I am choosing these examples because in these cases, Wikipedia goes into much more detail than traditional encyclopedias and reference works would (MKULTRA is in fact not even mentioned by Britannica and Encarta). And these articles aren't hidden - they receive their bursts of high exposure. MKULTRA was article of the day, Abu Ghraib was linked from the frontpage just yesterday.

For further balance, I have to add that much Wikinews content will be completely non-political. There will be quite a few people focusing on reporting the same stories Slashdot does, for instance. And much of the original reporting I anticipate we will start with will be local events. Finally, Wikinews articles will not contain much background information - they will refer to Wikipedia for that purpose.

But I agree with you - we will also have Indymedia type people who want to report on every street protest, and we will have loads of political stories on every world event of any significance. Also, to be useful, news have to be organized in a way in which they can have an immediate impact, i.e. they need to be prominently exposed for some time. While these bursts of exposure happen on Wikipedia, they are fundamental to the way Wikinews will work - short term impacts as opposed to long term impacts.

Will there be hostility from the traditional media? To some extent, yes. I think in the immediate future, we will have to worry about people accusing us of regurgitating their content and passing it off as our own. In the long term, if the traditional news media see us as a threat, they can fight us systematically with all kinds of FUD. I am prepared to fight back if necessary, but I don't think it has to come to that.

We don't have to worry too much about outside hostility. After all, we are trying to create a new content sphere, and most people already have a natural distrust of the mainstream media. If Wikinews itself gains a reasonable amount of authority, then these people will stay with us. Words cannot hurt us, lawsuits can. This is something which I intend to spend much more time on: making sure our stories are waterproof - not just in terms of the facts they contain, but also that they do not by any reasonable measure infringe on someone's copyright, or get us into legal trouble for other reasons. I'm strongly opposed to any kind of censorship, but Wikinews has to abide by the law because that's the main vector of attack which we have to anticipate.

2) Distraction. Any major new project will face this argument: "We have limited volunteer resources. Won't this steer people away from our main project(s)?" Yes, it will steer some people away. But it will also attract a completely new group of users who have not been very or at all active on Wikipedia. And because the projects are highly interlinked, it will even lead some of them to contribute to Wikipedia. I would not underestimate this effect, as Wikinews content - including the Wikipedia links - will get mirrored by many sites, hence leading more people to discover Wikipedia articles. And of course these new people will also get involved with the Foundation. Many lessons we learn with Wikinews will be valuable to Wikipedia.

When it comes to the Foundation itself being overstretched, I don't think there's any immediate need for them to do anything except set up the wiki. Wikipedia itself produced more than 100,000 articles before the Foundation even existed. The main purpose of Wikimedia is to give us legal backing if we need it, and to make sure that the servers are running. They do not get involved in the everyday policies of the projects.

3) NPOV. Bias is indeed a huge issue when it comes to news, and hard to avoid. However, I think we can do a much better job than the current media system. It is important to remember that NPOV is an ideal. It helps to hang out on the more controversial articles on Wikipedia to see what that means. Currently there's a huge Wikipedia-wide war about the circumcision-related articles, for example. Many times complete POV nonsense is inserted. Still, Wikipedia generally does a better job at handling these topics than traditional encyclopedias, which either tend to ignore one side of the issue, or ignore the issue altogether. For example, the Britannica article on circumcision was, last time I checked, very short and decidedly pro-circumcision and propagated some long-refuted myths.

When it comes to Wikinews, every article will be reviewed in multiple categories before it is published, and one of these categories is neutrality. I think because of this systematic reviewing process, we will do a fairly good job of at least making sure that every opinion is attributed. Given that the process is consensus-based, any article that is clearly biased in one direction is unlikely to pass unless we, the editors, are biased. In order to determine the priority of a news story, I'm currently thinking of a fast, democratic process which can be invoked if someone disagrees with the original author's classification: Basically a quick way to ask everyone "People, what's your opinion - should this story be classified as major or minor?" These kind of questions cannot always be resolved in consensus.

You are correct that there will always be systemic bias -- not covering certain topics or giving too much information about others -- but my attitude here is somewhat more relaxed. We have the tool of visibility to reduce the impact of this bias. Even if we have 90% Linux stories and 10% politics stories, we can cover the Linux stories on the "back pages" of Wikinews, and give the politics their fair share of exposure. Again, this is under the condition that we, the editors, are not biased, which we obviously are. But that's true for Wikipedia as well.

4) New community. I agree and disagree. I agree that current Wikipedians do not tend to do some of the things that Wikinews will require. I also believe that we will be able to convince a sufficient number of them to start doing these things in due time. In the proposal, I wrote that Wikinews will already be useful before we've got a world-wide network of wiki-reporters. This is very important. We can get people excited about this project by starting with Wikipedia-like things: summarizing stuff which is on the web, for example. And that will help us to build a community, and many of the people in this community will recognize that more is necessary and possible, and start doing it. As a parallel, as soon as image uploading became convenient, Wikipedia became home to a growing community of wiki-photographers (see some examples of their work). Now we have the Wikimedia Commons as a shared image repository. Even though it was not widely announced, even though it is not yet properly integrated with the other wikis (I just checked in the necessary code), it already received 1000 picture upload in its first months.

What I disagree with is the notion that communities are fundamentally different. Ultimately, what people in a community will do is defined by a simple formula: things they like to do AND things the community encourages and facilitates. Currently Wikimedia does neither encourage nor facilitate news reporting. As soon as we begin doing so, some people who would like to do it will start doing it. Yet of course I agree with you that we need to attract the kind of people who already do these things. So I want to go into the blogosphere and bring the best and the brightest into the Wikinews community. I hope that you will help me with that when the time comes. Blogs provide the opinionated antithesis to Wikinews. The two worlds can learn a lot from each other.--Eloquence

1) Yes, but the attention you will get as a news source will be much more critical than you are getting as wikipedia.

2) In the public view, it will be distracting. There will definitely be a sense of, "who are these people?" And it is possible, if you're successful, that the media will talk about wikinews a lot and I think there will be some identity issues.

3) I'm interested in seeing how your NPOV news experiment goes. I think it's a great idea, but I believe it is a bit naive... but I've been wrong before.

4) I think "antithesis" is a bit strong. The goal is in a way similar. Blogs are like the talk pages of wikipedia, where the ultimate goal is a type of NPOV. The way you deliberate about ideas, how much is viewable in the open, what constitutes a conclusion, etc. These are procedural differences. Just like blogs, wikipedians have a very right dialog that most people don't see in the open so some of the dynamic of the community can be misinterpreted. I just urge you to think about the dynamics of the community quite carefully when putting this project together.

One more way of expressing the culture thing. Take the en:Talk:Nick_Berg discussion for example. There will be a lot of dispute about what you report on, regardless of whether you report it with NPOV. Every time a journalist (or blogger) decides to write about something, that act in itself affects the news and even if the reporter is neutral, the act of reporting is not neutral. There is also a risk that reporting causes other issues, like further kidnappings or political changes. Journalists and reporters have to take this risk and stand by their words. This is what separates great journalism from normal journalism. The strength to take risk. Watergate defined the Washington Post, etc. In a sense, I think journalism is a lot about leadership of strong journalism. I'm not sure how much you can do by committee.

Again, there are examples such as OhmyNews of community journalism, but most of the people who work on that are activists. They are trying to cause political change. Wikinews sounds to me like Switzerland trying to become France...

I'll hold my tongue now for a bit. I think I've said enough. (Maybe more than enough.)

Joi 17:45, 24 Oct 2004 (UTC)
1) That's possibly true, but I'm more worried about actions than about words.
2) Actually, that's a good thing. Having for once a big project which doesn't sound like Wikipedia builds the Wikimedia brand identity, which is currently very weak. We have to communicate that we are more than an encyclopedia to give more attention to the other projects and to more effectively raise funds, and another big project helps with that.
4) Talk pages are very goal-oriented, they are not there to share personal beliefs about the topic but to improve the article at hand. As such, I do see them very different from blogs. On Wikinews, I want a more relaxed talk page policy so that after publication, people can express all kinds of opinions as they can in blog comments. Again, I am working towards convergence of the wiki- and blogosphere.--Eloquence

Sj's thoughts

0.   The initial bulk of work on Wikinews will be on reviewing and summarizing existing news stories. This has been going on, in very low volume, on Wikipedia proper for years. It is fairly uncontroversial, can be NPOV, and some of the subtleties of choosing and vetting sources has been hashed out on WP in the past.

I.   I would propose, as an alternative to this bold project fork, building a foundation for Wikinews by developing subject-specific news summaries (and gathering interested contributors) on Wikipedia. This could start as a new outgrowth of existing news channels there, encouraging contributors to:

a) sign up for modern publications they regularly read, and would be willing to skim with this project in mind (from a checklist of major pubs)
b) sign up for news-topics they naturally keep abreast of, and regularly add blurbs to that topic-channel (from a set of major topics)
c) identify in advance events that WP should cover, and maintain a calendar of events, with blurbs about them before they happen
d) briefly cover local events near them; contact local papers and 'zines to find out if they are amenable to having some of their content published via WP

    This would be slightly less of a Grand New Thing to announce, and it would demand less of a complete diversion of the attention of interested Wikipedians. But these changes have their good aspects. Many criticisms would be levelled against a grandly announced project, with outsiders projecting their own conceptions onto the project while it was still in development; and reduced division of effort might be productive, if only to moderate the already tiring rate of change within the Wikimedia community.

II.       The scope of Wikinews is grand; it will one day be a fantastic project, if it succeeds. It would be nice to see at least as many people actively engagaed in the daily grunt work of it, as are actively interested in the various small-scale current events projects on each Wikipedia, before a new project (with its isolated RC, Watchlists, adminship, etc) is launched. That goes for every new project that wants to branch away into a new domain, rather than working within an existing one.

+sj+ 08:25, 24 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Wikipedia is an encyclopedia and not a news magazine. Already, some people are complaining about the "In the news" section on the Main Page, and even the current events page itself. Any concerted effort within Wikipedia will bring out these people, and rightly so. They will say: "Why are you doing this here on Wikipedia? Why aren't you supporting the Wikinews project on Meta?" I can appreciate that Wikinews is a big project and that some people are scared of trying something so big and different. However, Wikimedia has grown up. We are a huge community and we have faced many challenges together. As the German quality reviews have shown, we have a tendency to paint ourselves as more fragile than we are. We can do this. There's no need to push it into a place where it doesn't belong.
Conflating news summaries with original reporting and research seems like a poor idea. Whether the original foundation of news readers and summarizers is developed on WP or on a new project isn't important. Developing that foundation, which will produce most of the benefit and none of the controversy, before jumping into the policy and POV turmoil of original peer-reviewed work, is.
The reasons for developing news summaries on WP are 1) to leverage the body of existing content, and the power of red/blue links, to enhance the summaries, and 2) to distinguish that simple effort from the novel and more elaborate one laid out in the current WN proposal. +sj+
Every newspaper conflates summaries and licensed content with original reporting. It's natural for news. I have to reiterate my point - using Wikipedia for this is not an option. It will either generate outrage as inappropriate, or wither and die into obscurity.--Eloquence
Let me reiterate as well - whether using Wikipedia or using Wikinews, summaries should come first (and relevant policies worked out) before confusing the issue with original content, fact-checking and peer review, and public controversy. When it comes to the process of generating content, it is impossible to conflate these two types of content; we have many years of experience in developing NPOV content from existing sources, and none in developing the same from original reports / research. +sj+ 09:56, 26 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Summaries will inevitably come first since they are easier to do. However, both have to be reviewed prior to publication because of the way news works. So there's no sense in waiting before we allow original reports, because we need to use a multi-stage process with pre-publication review anyway.--Eloquence
I am not too fond of the sink or swim principle for the various languages either. I chose it because I knew it would make the proposal less controversial and thus more likely to be accepted. The good thing about it is that we can experiment relatively freely with different models for things like pre-publication review, so we can get some empirical data about what works and what doesn't. I have to remind you that this principle is also the basis of Wikipedia - individual languages are fairly free how to satisfy the requirement of a "free, neutral encyclopedia".
Yes, the wikipedia languages are free to do that now -- but they had the benefit of an initially-unified community, a meta-wikipedia, etc. To imagine that starting the project afresh, with a crisp mission and a group of unrelated trivia-hounds, would produce the same result requies an extra leap of faith. +sj+
I concur that having the English Wikipedia hash out some policies before the others came along was helpful. That's why I will invite Wikinewsians to work with me on draft policies in the lead-up to the project, and why I intend to use Meta as a place of coordination right from the start.--Eloquence
To make use of the good side of this principle, and reduce the impact of the bad side, we will use Meta to catalog "what works and what doesn't", to describe precedents and to share ideas.--Eloquence

Smaller languages

Wellparp 20:10, 23 Oct 2004 (UTC) - I think we should start only with the english wikinews. Too many projects in the smaller languages risk to spread out the participants too much.

Do you agree to shut down Swedish Wiktionary until we are "finished" with en.? I know this isn't the right place to discuss but have you ever considered that there might be people who wouldn't participate at all if there were no projects in their language? -- Mathias Schindler 20:16, 23 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I think you misunderstand me... there should of course be projects in all languages, but if there are too many projects in the smaller languages the limited number of participants would be spread out between the projects. In Sweden ofcourse a swedish wikinews would take energy from the wikipedia and wiktionary. Better with one or two good swedish projects than three or four not so good. The english community is much larger and can handle an extra project. // Wellparp 10:18, 24 Oct 2004 (UTC)
We can't and shouldn't dictate what people work on. If there are many Romanians or Bosnians who care more about Wikinews than about Wikipedia, then those people should have a chance to do that, instead of us saying: "Hold it, volunteers! Finish writing the encyclopedia before doing anything else!" Ultimately, Wikipedia and Wikinews will energize each other, as Wikinews articles point to weaknesses in Wikipedia, and attract people who want to fix these weaknesses. Wikinews also helps to convey the idea that we are not just this one project, Wikipedia, but that we are a world-wide community of people doing all kinds of things in a different way: the wiki way. This in itself can attract many people who do not care about the concept of a free encyclopedia per se.--Eloquence
I still don't agree. Take an example. Four people are working on the swedish wikipedia. After a while the swedish wiktionary is started and two of these move to work with the wiktionary. Then we have two communities which move at half the speed of the initial project. The best way to get new people to work with the projects is to show that it is usable. When having half the speed it will take more time to make any of the two projects usable. The result is a loss of momentum as few new people will join. If instead we wait with creating new projects and make one (or a few) projects usable for non-contributers first. We can get more contributors faster. It is only a matter of tactics. I am not against the idea of wikinews, I just think the timing is not right to create yet another project for the small languages. First we have to publish our first complete book at sv.wikibooks.org for a start... Until you can convince me that starting sv.wikinews.org will attract more participants to all the projects I will remain sceptical. // Wellparp 17:52, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)


The provocation concerning "Smaller languages"

Following opinion is pure provocation for each non-english-enthousiast and double provocation for the milliard non-english-able humans! Wellparp 20:10, 23 Oct 2004 (UTC) - I think we should start only with the english wikinews. Too many projects in the smaller languages risk to spread out the participants too much. Are you completely silly dilly or what: the language having the most information source on the world, no more, the language requying in sordid kind the exclusivity of the communication or almost that in the world has to get one exclusivity more and the other communities has to go back with empty pockets? Are getting your money at the C.I.A. or Pentagon? Oui 22:06, 28 October 2005 (UTC)

The matter with the "5 participants and her 200 hundred contributions"

is really revoltant! On http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikinews#Internationality you write Before a Wikinews language version is officially recognized as a Wikimedia project, and before the first sysop can be appointed, there must at least be 5 participants. This condition is there to prevent a single individual from effectively becoming a "benevolent dictator" in a Wikinews language version. In my opinion it is only a non avoued way to avoid to create Wikinews for smaller languages! The statistic today is English Wikinews (stat) 3,158 4,495, German Wikinews (stat) 2,067 1,131, French Wikinews (stat) 436 294, Dutch Wikinews (stat) 236 111, Spanish Wikinews (stat) 629 317, Swedish Wikinews (stat) 320 62, Bulgarian Wikinews (stat) 12 38, Polish Wikinews (stat) 1,249 181, Portuguese Wikinews (stat) 806 157, Romanian Wikinews (stat) 232 46, Ukrainian Wikinews (stat) 114 37, Italian Wikinews (stat) 538 137, Serbian Wikinews (stat) 177 25, Japanese Wikinews 440 227! No chinese (1,3 milliard speakers), no hindustanis (1 milliard speakers). One reason is the difficulty to start a wikipedia project in a new language, to pass the phase of the formalities (the wiki-tyrannie ;-) ), to learn to use this undocile internet animal where all is different as in the all other internet especially the working conditions under foreign languages, of by using templates etc., the disturbtion by working caused by the numerous wikikings, wikityrans (or more): your work stay days or weeks with an banderole don't change this page etc... etc. you can't avoid benevolent dictator with five candidats! you only can build with 5 usual workers 5 benevolent dictators at the same time!.Oui 22:48, 28 October 2005 (UTC)

A sordide approach of equity

Which completely sordid human can think that if communities with milliards of speakers start really as difficult her new site, really little communities with 5 or 10 millions of speakers in countries without good electricity distribution, without money etc.. has a chance to start a day a "News-site"? But especially those countries needs more information in her languages! I did find there following description of the situation in this situation accentuing the confrontation nord-sud: French is the official language in Mali. However, it is not even spoken 30% of the population. Bambara is Mali's lingua franca, with 30% native speakers and 80% of the population capable of communicating in Bambara. In a lot of arm countries is a better information urgently needed! A lot of errors happen because of information misere. If big and good informed giant people can under estimate different climatical, environment, or political problems in spite of her ideal information and education, what is the matter in the sahara or other deserts! In sud-USA it is only a little problem if you under estimate different dangers. in one real desert it is a good reason to lose millions of humain with famine, diseases etc.!Oui 22:48, 28 October 2005 (UTC)

Danger of a tendencious information of dirty information

The real danger of Wikinews are not the numerous wikidictators already active (::) but the distribution of durty information! And I see no mechanic to avoid that! One way would be of course to allow the creation of information only on different sites (information creating sites, ICS) and then to allow without limite the use (translation / copy) of this information on local sites. Of course, the same persones needs large and generous right to create also adequate information for her countries or conviction if moderate enough, polite and objectiv (what to do in case of homophile / homophob, moslemophile / moslemophob etc.?) on the ICS to assure that the kind of information "needed in a desert" is really handled in the ICS with the objective to be used in a desert! But if one wikidictator begin to find on an English or French etc. site, that is not worthy for such an important site, and erase the work, as usual in wikipedia, he creates a problem of equity and of liberty... I suppose it would be better, that all the ICS diffuses the same information. But how to make that? Oui 23:11, 28 October 2005 (UTC)

Is anonymity in case of transmission of news really possible?

I find it surprenant! No sign in, no acceptance of a charta of fairness etc. I am certain that problems will appair! Oui 23:14, 28 October 2005 (UTC)

Ethnocentricity

Let me begin by saying that this is a fantastic idea, and I hope that it does take off.

One concern that I do have, though, is that the nature of the geographical distribution of Wikimedia sysops will lead to some inadvertent ethnocentricity. For instance, assume that I write a really spiffing news article about, say, an election in New Caledonia. This will have to compete for frontpage space with a great bulk of other, well-written stories, most of them written by people in North America and Western Europe, about things in North America and Western Europe. While these regions certainly are important, I would argue that news from places like New Caledonia, (or India, or Fiji, or Botswana), is just as important to the success of such a project.

Wikipedia already has an inadvertent, but perceptible Western bias on its frontpage, and I presume this has very much to do with the fact that most of the editors are Westerners. But I think that it would be a desirable attribute of this project to give equal airtime to stories concerning things which don't figure prominently in the local sphere of the NA/EU writers. Will there be a mechanism to ensure that stories about, say, cricket, aren't overshadowed by stories about basketball or association football?

Lankiveil 10:48, 24 Oct 2004 (UTC)

It is probably better to be able to view a "main page" for each country reported on, rather than just for each language articles, reports and summaries are written in. --BenM 11:42, 24 Oct 2004 (UTC)
So we're going to have a seperate Main Page for every country? That strikes me as being possibly problematic, not only will there be a lot of fragmentation between things, but managing things like au.de.wikipedia.org, au.en.wikipedia.org, au.ga.wikipedia.org - it's just going to be something of a mess. Especially when smaller countries are factored in, again, the ones that might not yet have much representation in Wikimedia. Who is going to, for instance, look after the Indian Wikinews page?
No, I think that forking into thousands of different Main Pages is most definitely not the way to go. But that still doesn't address the problem of how we're going to eliminate subliminal ethnocentricity from the project.
Lankiveil 12:09, Oct 24, 2004 (UTC)
See my response to Joi Ito regarding systemic bias. I think there will be clear bias when it comes to which articles are written and which ones aren't, but as long as we ourselves believe in neutrality, we can work with the instrument of visibility to give all topics a fair share of exposure. The Wikinews Main Page will present news from all world regions, and there will be separate index pages - within Wikinews, not as subdomains - for different topics. In fact, it will also be fairly easy to make your own Wikinews setup to give more attention to topics you care about.--Eloquence
Alright, that sounds like a much better way to handle locating of either geographic or topic specific content. --BenM 13:18, 25 Oct 2004 (UTC)
You talk a good game, but I don't think this issue has yet been addressed in enough depth.
The original poster's point about cricket is a good one. The majority of those who would be in charge of what goes into the "breaking news" section are not going to be from cricket-playing nations. Yet, I would argue that for a large section of the world's population (ie: India), cricket is a very important thing, and should definitely go onto such a page.
The comment regarding anyone being able to create their own news index pages is taken, but lets face it, the Wikinews Main Page is going to be where the prime realestate is. Me putting lots of links to stories on cricket news in ((news:User:MichelleG/Newsindex)) isn't really going to affect things that much. It's all very well to say that the selection of topics on the frontpage will be balanced, but you've not given us any information on how this is to actually be achieved.
Until someone can address this, my vote is going to "No", although I do like the idea in principle. MichelleG 11:14, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)

MPOV

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)
No. NPOV will always be the main underlying doctrine of the Wikimedia projects. It is, however, possible that we will have editorials, but this is something which we should discuss as soon as Wikinews exists.--Eloquence
well, i'm pretty shure that npov won't work at all for a news project. did you read the discussion above? --Pythagoras1 18:28, 27 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Non-reporter Input

Can there be a section of commentary or non-reporter input? Meaning, have the talk page or a sub page where the random passer-by can contribute opinions, thoughts, interpretations, info, expieriences, etc. in more of a wiki-like enviroment (as opposed to the more closed area of just reporters and editors I'm sensing). Such input may or may not be incorporated into the article proper. --Astronouth7303 23:03, 24 Oct 2004 (UTC)

I definitely think that there should be a relaxed commenting policy so that people can contribute opinions as soon as an article is published, and maybe we'll have a "Letters to the editor" style section. I've also been thinking about editorials, but this aspect is fairly controversial so I'll try to focus on the main component for now.--Eloquence

Collaborative Filtering - not multiple languages or multiple front pages.

I've seen many suggestions to fragment wikinews fornt page in multiple pages according to country, Some suggestions to stop or not a smaller language. The wikinews proposes to have many subdomains for each language.

Well I do not think this is the best way. I for example am a brazilian and can read portuguese english or french. So I am personnaly interested in news articles in any of those languages, maybe even more than I will be interested in a local new from brazil that I've already extensevely read.

Why divide the front page by country? Why divide it by language? Why not divide it by topic, putting news about log running in a proper section? Because it would generate more topics than anyone would be interested. If you try to please everyone in the front page you will put news about a the elections in a serbian province along with news about a new geek gadget, and it would please no one in particular. If you try to please the majority you will have no more than a normal newspaper.

I suggest to use a collaborative filter technique on the articles on the front page. Be it web based like [Jester] or tollbar based like [Stumble Upon] it should be discussed. But it would work something like this:

A dozen article from everywhere, all languages, appears on the front page, all of them with two links, Read more or I don't Care. When you clicked the first you were taken to that article's page, when you click the latter the front page article dissapear and is replaced by another. In either way the computer would keep your reading preferences so to filter the next wikinews articles to fit your taste. If you don't read german, soon no article in that language would appear (because who reads that article reads many other in german), if you do not care about sports, no article on it would appear. Soon enough maybe the news about a ping pong championship could prove more relevant to you than the whether bush was re-elected.

Of course this would need some kind of login of the user. Maybe anonymous users IP could be used to try to define the taste of other people from that same region. So if a lot of readers with IP from amsterdan used wikinews, soon the wikinews for amsterdam users would reflect their tastes.

And this changes affects only the front page. From there on, it's a normal wiki.

Of course this is a new idea and should be thought about many problems that will arise. When criticizing it do not keep on small points that could be solved with some dscussion over it, but about the whole idea of collborative filtering (a technique sucessfully apllied to many areas) applied to WikiNews. --Alexandre Van de Sande 02:36, 26 Oct 2004 (UTC)

A much simpler system which would work without massive modification to MediaWiki would be to keep Wikinews as a normal wiki and build the collaborative filter on top of it. You could tell your filter what languages and topics you were interested in and then it could grab the relevant stories from the appropriate Wikinews subdomains.
I expect that, if Wikinews is successful, a collaborative filtering system like this is just one way people will read Wikinews content. I see no need to build it into Wikinews itself. -- w:User:AaronSw 21:51, 7 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Launch timetable

Indymedia will be 5 years old on November 24. The vote goes until Nov. 12, and it looks like Wikinews will be approved. Maybe we can have an official press release on November 24, to coincide with the Indymedia anniversary. We could then cite Indymedia as a successful example of independent news reporting, while also pointing out the key differences (neutral point of view, open editing).--Eloquence

I'm not sure we want to create a lot of news coverage for this. After all, if it fails miserably we won't want the press attention. Also, I think there's a better chance of success if we start with a group of mostly veteran Wikimedians. Obviously we want the project to become large and to attract many new writers, but I worry that lots of early press coverage could flood the site with clueless newbies and POV-pushers before it's had a chance to get it's act together. Isomorphic 00:56, 27 Oct 2004 (UTC)

MediaWiki feature for Wikinews

I just had this idea about how articles could possible be organized. The idea comes from the fact that searching Wikinews may have to be slightly different from searching other MediaWiki sites. I thought we could add Categories to articles sure but really the categories would be more useful for categorizing the condition of the article (Ready for publishing, Reviewed etc.) So, for organizing news by subject, there should be something which would function similar to categories but not exactly the same. namely keywords. Keywords should behave in a similar manner to Categories except there should be a way to find all the articles which have the Keyword X as well as Keyword Y (and Keyword Z and so on). That is, when looking at the list of articles having Keyword X (say George Bush), we should also get a list of other keywords on such pages (John Kerry, Iraq, etc.) and then be able to click them and go to a list of articles having that combination of keywords. Hope this is meaningful and technically feasible. --Hemanshu 21:20, 26 Oct 2004 (UTC)

This is an excellent idea, although I have to tell you that you're not the first one to have it. :-) Crossing categories for the purpose of filtering has been suggested a few times, particularly in the context of the Wikimedia Commons, where it is desirable, e.g., to see all images which use a certain license. I have a strategy for how this could be implemented, but this feature won't be there before phase 2 or phase 3 of Wikinews.--Eloquence

Implementing

I feel strongly that each Wikinews language should start out with just news summaries. As has already been mentioned, it's a natural outgrowth of what we already do, and it will allow the communities to form and to work out the basic process before tackling the complicated issue of original reporting. It will also serve as a test of whether NPOV can really work fast enough for news. Isomorphic 00:56, 27 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Well, there's no question that original reporting will have to wait until the policies are worked out. The same is true for news summaries, but here the policies will be a lot easier. So I think what you and sj want will just happen naturally as the project starts - we can't do original reporting unless we have policies to do it.--Eloquence
I agree that it will probably happen naturally. I just have a nagging fear that Wikinews might see an early flood of cranks before they have their "defenses" in place. 13:14, 29 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Maha_ts' comments

Actually I like the concept. But that is all about it. A strong No for these reasons

The colloborative nature of Wiki won't match the speed of processing required for news reporting
We'll be stretching our resources (not necessarily material, but human) too thin
I'm afraid if we are overenthusiastic from the "success" of Wikipedia; personally I feel even Wikipedia has a fairly long way to go before it can be termed so.
Establishing NPOV within the short time span required for news reporting will almost be impossible, to any degree of fairness and accuracy.
If a point is made that publication need not match the speed of reporting of conventional media, then why call it "news"? Post-occurrence analyis and reporting can very much happen within Wikipedia; no need for investing in a new and separate project.--Maha_ts

1) I will repeat what I have said a few times, it is not up to us to decide how volunteers shold spend their free time. There is no question if Wikinews will be done - it will be done, by me personally, if it is not approved as a Wikimedia project. I hold the domain name and have servers. However, I see many advantages in having it an official Wikimedia project from a long-term perspective.

This lends a kind of pre-decided finality for Wikinews to happen.--Maha_ts
True. It's mostly about whether we stupidly have to do it outside Wikimedia or not, duplicating many things Wikimedia provides - a good decision making process, infrastructure, an integrated community etc..--Eloquence

2) If you look at the Wikipedia articles on current events, then it is very much clear that the wiki-model is suitable to produce articles as fast as traditional news sources. Look at the history of articles like w:Hurricane Ivan - the information was literally added as it happened. The argument that wikis can't do information at a high speed has already been refuted in practice.--Eloquence

This is true only for the English wikipedia. For smaller languages this is impossible. Let us only start with an english wikinews. // Wellparp 17:56, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I feel this is like comparing apples and orages; you are overlooking a major - and perhaps only - point against Wikinews: Wikipedia is unmoderated in real time whereas Wikinews has to essentially go through a moderation process. Note that the current Wikipeida model allows tremendous - in fact the most - speed in content evolution only because it is not moderated in real time.--Maha_ts
Wikipedia is not unmoderated - we have many different processes by which we review articles: RC, diffs, watchlists, WP:FAC, Wikipedia:peer review, etc. etc. etc. We just don't do systematic peer review and flagging of specific revisions yet, but we will do so soon. This is absolutely so - Jimbo is very strongly in favor of it, to get a print edition and build credibility for the online version. Wikinews is not very different here. It can perhaps best be compared to getting a Wikipedia article into print.--Eloquence

legality

"Our fourth requirement for Wikinews is therefore that there must be processes in place to ensure that original reports are accurate and legal in the country of publication (and possibly the country of the primary readership, but this is left for individual Wikinews communities to decide in agreement with the Wikimedia Foundation). "

The laws of the each nation not same, but the different nation may use the similar language. So we can't be like wikipedia so, set the each sub domain according to the language, but the orientation should set with the nation. For example can use country code top-level domains or ISO 3166 country codes:

.....

--Shizhao 16:26, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Also is to say, consider the legality first, then consider the language.If a nation uses various languages, can use the method editor, translation of the similar meta.For the news, the affairs of the same is in the different region, his influence is different --Shizhao 17:30, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)

This is an important point. We really have two ways of organising a multilingual Wikinews:
  1. Based on language then country - domain names will be en.wikinews.org, ro.wikinews.org, de.wikinews.org, and then there would be separate categories or sections for each country - for example, the Romanian will be divided into Romania and Moldova, German into Germany, Austria, Switzerland, etc.
  2. Based on country than language - Shizhao's idea. This is actually a valid organisation since you can argue fairly strongly that news are based on a country-level rather than a language level. For example, it would be a lot more logical to sort out news that are related to France and Cote d'Ivoire separately (at their respective ISO 3166 subdomains), rather than have France and Cote d'Ivoire at the same subdomain, fr.wikinews.org. However, this poses a big problem - what do we do with multilingual countries like, say, France, Spain, Switzerland, Finland, etc. For the French country subdomain, fr.wikinews.org, we would then need to have news in French, Occitan, Breton, etc. How will we manage this on the same subdomain? We could have a pseudo-interwiki system like at meta, where interlanguage links are placed at the top of each page (for example: on the French Wikinews, we would have a section in French, Occitan, Breton, Basque, etc.). But what about the interface, which can't be translated... that will have to remain in French, which is discriminatory to Occitan and Breton (by this I mean all the other minority languages as well). This then opens another, much bigger, can of worms: what about minority languages that transcend national borders, like Basque - would we have a Basque section at both es.wikinews.org and fr.wikinews.org... I think it would all be too confusing! Therefore, it's better to stick with language subdomains, as this is also how other Wikimedia projects are structured. Ronline 11:48, 29 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Or like this:
  • zh-cn.wikinews.org
  • zh-tw.wikinews.org
  • en-us.wikinews.org
  • en-uk.wikinews.org

zh.wikinews.org and en.wikinews.org be each from these subdomain integration website.--Shizhao 12:52, 29 Oct 2004 (UTC)

What if we just store everything in one server and use filtering (filtering based on region, keywords, topics, language, etc. Filters can be set by the user) or guessing (based on IP and browser settings, if user preferences is not set or for anonymous user) to decide which content and news to show to the user. Interface must be multilingual (interface languages can be switched instantly). Subdomains (e.g.: japanese, china, asia, science, www, -wikinews.org etc.) can be set up, but they just set proper filters and redirect to main wikinews server. A problem with this is that we need to change the MediaWiki software. 202.65.112.42 06:23, 30 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Shizhao - yes, that's a great idea (making zh-cn.wikinews.org, etc). It would still be language-centered, but it would mean different content for different countries and would solve the problem of interface localisation. The only problem would be that it would be fairly confusing. The idea proposed by 202.65.112.42 is even better potentially, though it would require major changes to MediaWiki. I think it's a good idea to store everything on one server, and it has been contemplated many times, even for Wikipedia. The only problem would then be. For this reason, I support the "standard" structure for now - having Wikinews in different languages with categories/subsections for each country from the Main Page. What do other people think (Eloquence?) Ronline 08:47, 30 Oct 2004 (UTC)

The language subdomain approach is the only one which is feasible with the current software. Language integration may become part of MediaWiki 2.0, but that's still a long way off (think 6-12 months). As for the focus on different countries, this is a matter of content organization. Using templates we can offer people different views, starting with a fairly neutral one which is similar for all languages. People can then choose an entry page which matches their preferences. I will demonstrate this shortly.--Eloquence

External Links

Just took a look at this. Good thoughts; recommend that everyone read it. Isomorphic 13:25, 29 Oct 2004 (UTC)

some more good ideas

  • WikiOS : let's all write from scratch an operating system; non of what is out there is good
  • WikiTV : a collaborative project to launch a tv station
  • WikiSimpsons: a collaborative project to write Simpsons' scripts
  • Wikimoon: a collaborative project to build a spaceship and send a wiki-user to the moon

serioulsy though... we are jumping the shark here. Let's focus on what wikis are for. They are not for the latest news.

Sez you. What are you worried about, a dilution of the grand "wiki" name/effort? If it dilutes the encyclopedia, that would be a bad thing. Otherwise, I hope it succeeds. (You left off WikiPeace, WikiLove and WikiGod;-) BLerten 07:35, Nov 5, 2004 (UTC)

good idea

I thought of a WikiBlog newssystem before and I think this will work. I´m pretty confident that a wiki is "fast" enough to keep up with internet news :)

This project will attract many bloggers out there to combine their efforts! --MilesTeg 16:02, 5 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Language versions

Once the Wikinews vote is terminated, will the versions in those languages which received more than 5 positive votes be set up? For example, will the German Wikinews be set up alongside the English Wikinews because there are already 5 users who said 'Ja' on the German Wikinews vote. Or will there be a separate procedure afterwards? I'm asking this because we already have about 4 users on the Romanian Wikipedia who are interested in Wikinews. Cheers, Ronline 11:00, 7 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Article stages clarification

In Article stages it says:

"Article publication, in which ... [c]orrections and updates can still be made for a limited time...alongside the article"

but also:

"Archival, in which ... [c]orrections and updates can still be linked to"

Can someone explain the difference between these two things? Is it simply a difference between, say, a box on the side of the page versus a link at the bottom? If so, such stylistic/presentational matters hardly seem appropriate for being enshrined in the charter.

The speed issue

One of the chief criticisms of this project has been speed-of-process, but people are overstating its importance. There are several reasons I'm not worried about it.

  1. News doesn't always have to be fast. Newspapers are printed every day, but respected publications like The Economist or Newsweek are weekly or even less frequent. They aren't as up-to-the-minute as daily newpapers or TV news, but they are better-researched and better-written, and that's why people read them. Wikinews would adapt well to such a format.
  2. Face it, we already do news. Breaking news is covered in Wikipedia, sometimes in ways that are more appropriate for a newspaper than an encyclopedia. Is anyone seriously prepared to call en:2004 U.S. election in progress an encyclopedia article? If it works well enough in Wikipedia, why shouldn't the same effort work when moved into a more appropriate project?
  3. What's to lose? Legal or political issues I can understand, but if our biggest worry is speed, there's not a lot of risk there. If we discover that NPOV really is too slow for any kind of news, we either work as a community to find ways to speed it up, or we close down the project as a failed experiment. Would that be a disaster, or just a learning experience? Isomorphic 18:05, 8 Nov 2004 (UTC)
It would be a learning experience, but it could be easily twisted as an embaresment (sp?). -- user:zanimum
Which is why I hope we start the project without a lot of fanfare and press releases. I think it will succeed, but there's no reason to tell the world until we know one way or another. Isomorphic 15:18, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)

67.180.61.179 06:54, 21 Nov 2004 (UTC)'s comments

Wikinews needs to do all of these things:

  • It needs to support uploading of unedited video interviews. This requires high bandwidth and harddrive space but is absolutely essential for unbiased news, and photographs. The most important competative advantage for wikinews has to be the acsessesibility of direct sources
  • I think essentially wikinews should be wikipedia+primary research. That is, much like wikipedia does now, any big story or event should be in one article that gets updated with new information, but primary research is allowed.

Fair use

I am curious about whether operating strictly as a news summary service might overstep fair use of others' work, and how you intend to avoid that. I am registered on the English Wikipedia as Maurreen. 67.240.69.143 06:03, 23 Nov 2004 (UTC)

IANAL, but my understanding is that facts aren't copyrighted. What's protected by copyright is the "creative" aspect of a work. Summarizing what's being reported elsewhere won't infringe because we're writing in our own words, and applying our own editorial judgement about what to include. Even summarizing re-reporting what's been said by a single news outlet shouldn't cause a problem, but an article written using several other news stories would certainly be a new work. Isomorphic 17:13, 23 Nov 2004 (UTC)
You're probably right, especially if it is several sources, and not just one or two, and if things are attributed properly. What "IANAL" mean? -- Maurreen 4.152.51.96 05:50, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)
IANAL = "I Am Not A Lawyer"

Misspell Language it is Hebrew not " HEBRUW "

public domain news sources

there are already some frequently updated news sources in the public domain, including VOA News. I know, it's hardly NPOV, but if we're worried about not being able to cover things than this could serve as a base to be edited and neutralised. The NOAA also has weather-related news items. Most things by the US Government are released in the public domain, and maybe other governments have similar policies?