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Accreditation question[edit]

Okay, so people can only become an accredited reporter once they have been approved by another accredited reporter, that's fine. I have a chicken and egg question, though, where do the first batch of accredited reporters come from?

Oh, yeah, I'm interested in becoming one, albeit eventually. -- BenM 04:33, 21 Oct 2004 (UTC)

The "other accredited reporter" is only for the purpose of identity verification, but that can be done by other people as well as long as we trust each other.--Eloquence
Alright, I guess that covers who the proto-chickens will be. -- BenM 12:55, 21 Oct 2004 (UTC)


I'm a little hesitant about a policy of requiring real names for accreditation. Trust on a wiki comes from a record of good contributions, not from having a name and address. With or without a real name, it's not like we can really hold a Wikireporter accountable for what they write beyond banning them. The only substantial advantage to real identities is to easilly prevent the return of banned editors.

Just as on Wikipedia, I expect that there will be editors on Wikinews who prefer to remain pseudonymous. I can understand why we might not be comfortable publishing reports on Palestine or Iraq from such an author. But a report on, say, the international convention of basket-weavers should be pretty harmless, and I don't see why we couldn't accept it from a pseudonymous but trusted member of the wiki community. Isomorphic 00:04, 27 Oct 2004 (UTC)

It should be possible, I think, for a contributer to establish a pseudonymous account and obtain accreditation much the same as anyone else. The value of the establishment of such a pseudonym, especially if that pseudonym is used elsewhere (e.g. on alt.anonymous.messages) ought to be enough to keep most contributers from deliberately sabotaging or biasing the project. Such pseudonymous identities are only truly valuable after a long establishment of reliability and consistency, so they would rarely be wasted on a false representation which could be proven as such. The idea of reporter profiles (in addition to user pages) being accessible from each article would be useful here too.
Of more concern should be the attitude towards anonymous sources. On the one hand it is easy for someone to make up anything if they know they will not be personally identified with the information. On the other hand anonymous sources are a staple of news coverage and investigative journalism, a reporter for any service should be able to protect his or her sources if that is the agreement they come to (e.g. Deep Throat). --BenM 10:29, 30 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Two-source rule?[edit]

One guideline used in journalism when dealing with anonymous sources is called the "two source" rule. Basically, if your source isn't willing to go on the record, then you should confirm the information from a second independent source. I think it'd make sense for Wikinews to adopt this as policy. If it turns out to be too restrictive we can reconsider, but one of the big concerns of Wikimedians is that Wikinews might become a rumor mill, and adopting a two-source rule can fight against that possibility.

Of course, accredited Wikireporters will essentially be at their word that they are adhering to the rule, but that's OK. Anthony DiPierro 02:00, 1 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Obviously we can choose our policies as we wish, but this issue is essentially the same in wiki format as it is in traditional journalism. I don't see why Wikinews would be any different than a traditional news source in its treatment of anonymous sources. If the two-source rule is accepted practice elsewhere, then I would support using it in Wikinews. Isomorphic 16:23, 3 Nov 2004 (UTC)

a different idea...[edit]

It is probably too late and maybe a bit off topic, but here is a very different idea as to how wikinews could be organized (feel free to move this elsewhere if you think things would be better organized that way):

It seems to me that the goal is to make a (1) neutral, (2) accurate, (3) open, grass roots collected, and (4) free (libra, gratis) news source that anyone can contribute to, and take news from. The trouble is that the first two goals, neutrality and accuracy, conflict with the third goal, as a situation where anyone can contribute will necessarily lead to inaccurate and non-neutral articles. The solution (as I understand it) presented here is to have a set of accredited reporters who filter the content and approve only those stories that are accurate enough and neutral enough.

The problem I see with this is that it essentially puts neutrality and accuracy in the hands of a few people. Granted, they are people moderated by the masses, and ideally, anyone can become one of those people if they work hard enough at it, but it is a hurdle which I think takes away a lot of the openness, and still puts our trust in a few people whom we might not necessarily like. Further, it reduces the extent to which people who _want_ a non-neutral news source can be satisfied with wikinews content, as the only stories available to collect from the wikinews agency are the ostensibly neutral approved stories.

What if instead of having one set of accredited reporters, there were another strategy? The model of Indymedia is a neat thing because everyone can post, but the trouble with it is that it is unabashedly leftist and as such gets no respect from non-leftists. But what if instead of having a small collective of people who are highly leftist (as in Indymedia) or a small collective peopple who are trying to be neutral (as in the proposed WikiNews) who decide which content makes it to the front page, you set up a site which would enable _anyone_ to be a filter? So you allow everyone to post any story to the aggregate news database. And you allow anyone to make their own "News Front Page" which shows only the stories that the person thinks are "good". So a group of people trying to be very neutral can make their neutral front page, a group of people trying to be very leftist can make their leftist front page, and a group of people trying to be very rightist could make their rightist front page. The role that wikinews would play is as the collector of news in the large, unfiltered database, and the provider of tools for people to set up their individual filtered news front pages.

What would happen in that case is exactly what happens with blogs: the stories that are the best would filter to the top of most peoples' news feeds, and the people who have the best news feeds would become more popular. The judge of what is the "best news" would then be discriminating viewers, who can choose among a number of different slants, biases, or attempts at a lack thereof. This also solves the problem of there being a large amount of political/legal pressure on wikinews to be a certain way, as the system is entirely in the hands of the contributors and news filtering people. The reputation of individual news filtering people is what would suffer in the event of a snafu.

Either way, wikinews is a cool idea. Hope it works out.--Yourcelf 07:52, 10 Nov 2004 (UTC)

dead link[edit]


this link at the bottom of the page is dead, thanks anyway it was an interesting read, I am investigating how wikinews works and if I can contribute, despite the constraints,concerning this page, I guess I come too late! --Hope&Act3! 19:55, 26 February 2010 (UTC)