When is the CC license switch supposed to take effect?
On Thu, May 28, 2009 at 7:54 AM, Brian McNeil
Actually, here is an example of an article I’d urge
people to take an
interest in and have a go at…
This popped up this morning on Wikinews and was genuinely news to me – none
of the big international sources (apart from Al-J) had mentioned it.
If you’re a Wikipedian who has never edited Wikinews…
1. Don’t use <ref>
2. Don’t copy from Wikipedia (the licenses are different)
3. Have a speed-read through [[n:Template:Howdy]]
*From:* wikinews-l-bounces(a)lists.wikimedia.org [mailto:
wikinews-l-bounces(a)lists.wikimedia.org] *On Behalf Of *Ilya Haykinson
*Sent:* 27 May 2009 09:05
*To:* Wikinews mailing list
*Subject:* Re: [Wikinews-l] Wikipedia's 'In the news'
Wikinews has evolved into an entity striving towards a few very different
goals over the years:
- be a repository for open-content articles about current events, written
in a newsfeed style
- serve as a collaborative site for emerging events of global importance
- support original reporting efforts ("citizen journalism" by most
Sometimes, Wikinews really shines. For example, Wikinews has proven its
ability to handle very tough situations (earthquakes, bombings, etc) while
maintaining coherent articles and showing development over time. Some of the
articles are truly great testaments to the benefit of a wiki system. We've
also had a number of really, really wonderful local reporting -- on par with
any regional newspaper.
However, from the big-picture perspective, Wikinews cannot reach its goals
- The "open content" nature of our articles has gotten appreciated, but
hasn't really caught on. Given that each article that just synthesizes
existing news from other sources takes about 2 hours of work to develop, the
time investment doesn't really pay off since very few other sites (and none
of importance) pick up our news stories. The open CC-BY license is great,
and definitely will be appreciated 50 years from now when everyone charges
for their archives, but so far it's not a big draw for consumers of our
content. Compare this with Wikipedia, where the openness of the content
allowed it to be integrated into a lot of popular sites.
- Globally-important emergencies thankfully do not happen very often,
which unfortunately means that Wikinews rarely gets a chance to shine.
There's definitely collaboration on other articles -- I think that I had a
statistic from a few years ago that Wikinews articles receive 18 edits on
average over their lifetime -- but these are not cases of mass collaboration
but rather a small community enforcing certain standards of content and
- Despite some great successes and truly wonderful reporting, we have not
been able to move past the contributions of some very dedicated and capable
individuals in creating a sustainable Original Reporting operation. The main
problems here are the global scope of Wikinews, the lack of a sizable active
user base, and the Wikimedia mandate. In more detail:
* Global scope: Since Wikinews is global, we tend to have some very
disjointed "teams" of contributors. There's a handful of active people
the UK, some from Australia, some from NZ, and a large number from cities in
the US / Canada. At certain times there have been contributors from India
and other English-speaking countries. However, in each case, the number of
active Wikinewsies in a geographical area is counted on one hand. These
people, more often than not, are interested in working on articles with a
global scope rather than of local interest. Even if one contributor really
excels and creates great Original Reporting, when they invariably burn out
their city or country becomes no longer represented. At the global scope,
however, there's rarely motivation or capacity for users to do truly great
original reporting: the news and the newsmakers are too far away to be
* Lack of a sizable active user base: The site has settled into a
predictable pattern, where less than a hundred active users tend to maintain
most of the copywriting, editing, and janitorial duties. Readers, on the
other hand, rarely get turned from casual-reader to active-contributor.
While not unique to Wikinews, this problem for us turns into a shortage of
workable news stories. A large number of casual-contributors would have
allowed us to have a lot of short news stories: starting a story and getting
it to the 90% mark is the bulk of the work, and tends to be done by the
initial author in a lot of cases. The fewer people that are around to spend
that one to two hours starting a story, the fewer actual stories we can
* Wikimedia mandate: the NPOV, notability, and newsfeed-style approaches
limit Wikinews to a great degree. While these are the very things that I
personally find so compelling about Wikinews, they undoubtely restrict our
ability to operate to the detriment of the site's popularity and
attractiveness. There's a great deal of people who start one-line stories
dealing with some local event; usually it's written poorly and does not
match our style, or is very opinionated, or is just plain untenable for a
site with any sort of a global focus. By not having a policy infrastructure
of effectively dealing with these short starts, we not only throw out some
story ideas (that maybe aren't great) but we also scare away contributors
who wrote these short starts (who maybe would have been happy enough to see
their contributions published to stay and develop into better contributors).
In all, I don't see how these trends will change unless we radically alter
the Wikinews parameters of operation. My belief is that the only method that
could yield long-term success would be to transition to having a "news" tab
for Wikipedia articles -- and use some of the know-how in operating Wikinews
as a method of developing policies on WP. This is clearly a big deal, and
would effectively kill Wikinews -- however, I think that the current
situation is not very sustainable.
There are other options too -- over the years there've been discussions of
spinning off Wikinews, or getting funded for some WN-specific software
development, etc. If there are good ideas that were left in a dustbin
before, maybe it's worth dusting them off now.
On Tue, May 26, 2009 at 4:23 PM, Brion Vibber <brion(a)wikimedia.org> wrote:
El 5/26/09 4:28 AM, Fred Bauder escribió:
Wikipedia needs to do what is good for Wikipedia,
and some news coverage
is good for Wikipedia. Detailed original reporting is outside Wikipedia's
mission, as is a sophisticated presentation of the significance of news.
As things happen, information about them is added to the corpus of human
knowledge and thus added to Wikipedia.
Wikinews does relatively little to really support firsthand reporting
either. I'll admit I'm not a hardcore Wikinewsie, but what I've seen
over the last years has generally been either:
* Original interviews
* Re-reporting of news stories in other media
Look at today's top stories:
All four are just rehashes of information found at other news sites --
the sources are all media news outlets: CNN, BBC, Al-Jazeera, Reuters, etc.
There is an original reporting section:
but the stories are relatively rare, and even many of those seem to be
basically "a public event happened, here's a description" or "a press
conference happened, here's some info".
Wikinews lacks a local angle (there's no locality) or a unifying
political angle (we're supposed to be neutral), either of which could
make it much easier to organize original reporting. Compare with say
Indynews, which has a strong political angle and has been much more
active about providing infrastructure. Editorial quality sometimes
suffers, but I at least feel like they've got a mission...
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