On Thu, Sep 15, 2011 at 1:32 AM, Achal Prabhala <aprabhala(a)gmail.com> wrote:
I've been following the Wikinews discussion, and I've been hesitant to
comment only because I know so little about it. The little I know tells
me that it could be something great, and perhaps the reason it's not
quite there yet is because it was ahead of it's time. Turn on the
television news today and it's routine to see tweet-ins and live comment
feeds from other social media; indeed, a significant chunk of what
mainstream American television channels report these days is feedback as
journalism. The other big thing happening here in India, for instance,
is citizen journalism - a tired, catch-all phrase but nevertheless a
firm reality - which forms at least two hours of every major news
channel's content per day.
It really wasn't ahead of it's time. It is actually quiet behind its time.
Amateur news, bloggers broke that barrier much before.
It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that the world now follows the
Wikinews model. But Wikinews started up in 2004...while Twitter was
founded only in 2006, Apple's Iphone only hit the market in 2007...and
much of the infrastructure that could enable the Wikinews model of
journalism in mainstream media was built much after Wikinews was founded
as a project. I don't know enough about Wikinews and what's plaguing it
currently, but as an outsider it would seem to me that it has the
potential to be something really significant.
I disagree, the world follows instant news model. News is faster than it has
even been, free and available in every conceivable format. You are treating
Wikinews as some distinct model, it really isn't. It's a wiki where they add
news instead of articles, nothing more. Let me tell you, what's plaguing it
currently- The review process.
As for oral citations, or the idea of using audio and video interviews
to record knowledge, all of us who worked on the project would be
delighted if there were unintended consequences to the project, like
perhaps being of use to Wikinews, which is not something we thought
about at the outset. Michel (Castelo Branco) suggested earlier that as
Wikinews explicitly allows original research as a policy, it could be
used as a workaround for oral citations on Wikipedia. We don't have
fixed ideas about this and welcome discussion in general - though I
think there is value in facing the boundaries of citation on Wikipedia
squarely. We would like to offer up the project as a way to confront the
limitations of citations as currently allowed, the problem of knowledge
that isn't published in print, and, in time, open up a larger discussion
on this. (We'll be soon posting a wrap-up of the oral citations project
once a few things are done).
I doubt that would be enough to satisfy the no original research
requirement. The idea linking back to a Wikimedia project as a source is not
a new one, it has been tried many times and doesn't work.
A related - and interesting - problem/opportunity is
the vast amount of
audio-video archival material that already exists in the world, almost
none of which has any direct effect on Wikipedia. In most cases, tapping
into the 'raw' archive would be disallowed within Wikipedia on the
grounds of it constituting a 'primary source'. (This is also a problem
for Wikipedians who'd like to use private archives - even corporate
archives - as sources, but can't). But there is nothing to say that
Wikinews could not tap into this vast pool of curated material and
create 'news' out of it. In general, it would appear that Wikinews has a
set of very flexible policies and practices, and it seems as if they
could be put to boundless good use.
Wikinews policies aren't the problem. Wikipedia will still not accept them
and it should not. You can also try Wiktionary or Wikiquote. The issue is
the research is original, not peer-reviewed or published by a reputable
third party and hence, would remain a primary source. And no, Wikinews will
not be able to tap into the raw pool. That would be a different project all
together. Since covering archives and Breaking news stories are two very