Craig Franklin <craig(a)halo-17.net> wrote:
Scr�obh Eric Moeller:
There has now been a vote, organized by Formulax,
among Chinese language
Wikimedians on whether there should be a Chinese Wikinews.
I think it's interesting, but I hope that the board would withdraw support
for a Wikinews that would have as a central plank of policy, a rule which
conflicts with NPOV. Unfortunately, the Chinese government suppressing an
NPOV Chinese-language news site is a very real possibility. I think that no
zh.wikinews is still a better option than a zh.wikinews that panders to the
I do not think any of us in the board would support a site which would not follow the
If I had a couple of words to define what is in common with all of our projects, it would
* community built
Any of these four failing would sign the failure of our project ihmo.
The first two ones are the only way we can insure that anyone can access the information.
Libre information can circulate without restriction. It does not matter very much that
some of the content is not free of charge on other websites or on cdroms... what matters
is that there is at least one accessible gratis version somewhere, so that financial
issues do not become a bottle neck in the access to information. We can be that gratis
The third one is somehow part of our mission statement. We are not activists (but for the
point we all believe knowledge should be freely accessible), we do not support one
religion or on political party or whatever. Staying neutral is the best choice for us to
prosperate, the best choice for us to be able to work together without to get stuck on
philosophical issues, the best choice for anyone reading us to make informed consent and
make the best decisions. This might be the hardest point to respect, the hardest to
understand, but we should not, ever, agree voluntarily to go on a path where it is so easy
to get diverted already.
The fourth point... is not only about us all having fun together. The fourth is also a
requirement for the number three to get respected. We need to be open and to work
together, because it is the only way to get really fully neutral. As soon as we start to
give more authority or more rights to a certain group, be it for political reasons, for
expertise reasons, we fail in this that we accept a certain view of the world to have more
weight than other views. For example, if we start "protecting us" by removing
all the people who do not fit in a certain frame, we might very well end up eliminating
any editor from african or asian countries, we might end up building a resource for them
to use, we might impose them our resource instead of letting them built it.
This is why the chinese wikinews stuff is so tricky.
If we open it, we might end up either with a closed site, in particular full closing of
all wikimedia projects => hence failing in our will to inform anyone
If we open it, we might end up with a site agreeing to self-censorship => hence failing
in our will to be neutral
But if we do not open it, we end up not allowing chinese editors to build up their own
resource, we force them to only rely on the english resource for example => hence
failing in our will to inform anyone since not all of them understand english.
I might also suggest chinese editors to join the english speaking wikinews to ensure
balance of views... but again... that requires fluency...
At that point, I think it is to the chinese community to decide, because I think they
should balance the risk of self censorship to happen, the risk of full closing of
project... with the benefit of having their view points better taken into account if they
think they are not.
A tricky temporary solution might be (if enough chinese are good speaking), that more
chinese editors participate to english wikinews, and that an independant website translate
en.wikinews in chinese every day.
People might scream as I suggest this I suppose :-) But here is what *I* think. And what
*I* fear a little bit...
Contrarywise to wikipedia, wikinews is much more "localized". The best proof of
it is the number of editors who want to build a geographically localised portal page (such
as scandinavian wikinews) to inform scandinavian editors. I fear that if we are not
careful, wikinews slowly slip from being based on languages to being based on countries or
ecoregions. The result of it might be possibly that more and more people focus on their
local news... and of course report common local frame of mind.
It might be that ... a geographical bias or cultural systemic bias will be much much much
stronger on wikinews than any other wikimedia projects. The opposite on the scale being
wikicommons. This suggest to me that it could make sense to favor more a few languages
where participants of many languages and countries and cultures participate, and then that
articles are translated in other languages.
At the same time, this is so english-centric that it is scary :-)
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