hi, I am forwarding this mail to the foundation,
because I think it is an important one.
--- David Speakman <david(a)speakman.com> wrote:
I tend to categorize things so I'll do it here too.
I see three main points
1. Wikinews as a Wikimedia Foundation project.
2. Wikinews as a wiki.
3. Wikinews is a new form of journalism.
==As a wikimedia Foundation project==
It needs to be clarified in every Wikinews project
that as a Wikimedia
Foundation project, each wikinews must adhere to the
adopted by the foundation. It also must be stressed
that these standards are
open to interpretation in many areas, but may not be
overruled or ignored by
an individual project. Some Wikimedia Foundation
principles are mandates
that are not debatable. These include:
1. All content on the name namespace of a project
must strive for an
2. The creation of all content is to be
collaborative in nature.
3. Use of and access to the content is to be as
unrestricted as possible.
It is clear to me that "editorials" are a clear
violation of Foundation
mandates since they are clearly biased in nature. I
also have doubts that
any opinion-type of writing can truly be
Right, I totally agree with you.
We had an irc discussion today and some said it was
mostly problematic as the community is small. They
claim it would not be such a problem with a big
community. I do not agree with this opinion. An
editorial is by definition pov. Big community will not
change this fact.
Another argument was that we could balance by
providing many editorials, with several orientation.
Again, I do not agree. NPOV is not about listing major
opinions, but also about representativity of all
Finally, it was suggested that we could possibly write
in describing editorials made by other people
(important journalists for example). But I think the
main interest of a wikinewsie writing an editorial is
not about reporting another person personal opinion...
but about reporting *his*, so I doubt that would make
==As a wiki==
Wikis content is open for modification. An editorial
on a wiki needs to be
open for editing by anyone. This means that a person
with an opposing POV
should have as much access to the editorial as the
original writer(s). ON a
wiki, an editorial - unless protected - will most
likely devolve into an
It also runs the risk of having that project, all
wikinews project, or even
the foundation taint as a biased organization where
a given topic is
concerned. On a legal level, I have concerns about
liability issues for the
foundation in regard to views expressed in the
==As a new form of journalism==
It seems that among the Wikinews projects there is a
common identity crisis
when it comes to what is and what is not allowed in
regard to content.
The issue comes in 2 flavors: newspapers and blogs.
I believe this stems from the fact that wikis are
mostly text based. When it
comes to text-based news, lowest common denominator
that most people have
deep familiarity with are newspapers. Many folk
assume a newspaper-oriented
outlook when developing an idea for where a wikinews
project is going. This
is strengthened by the fact that wikinews is
internet based and currently
most Internet-based news is controlled by media and
news sources originally
developed for newsprint. But, there are inherent
flaws in this viewpoint
since the business model and "raison d'etra" for a
newspaper differs from
that of a Wikimedia Foundation project. And the
limitations of a newsprint
mentality when applied to the Internet is astounding
when one considers the
complexity and opportunity of collaborative
journalism, which may be
In wikinews project policy votes and community
discussion, you will often
see something like, "We should do it because
do it." Aside from not being a cogent argument on
its face, a newspaper is
more than just a news source. It contains other
content which is not
translatable to wiki or foundation goals. Some
newspaper staples such as
classified ads, horoscopes, editorials, advice
columns, product reviews,
games (crossword, trivia quizzes) are fun parts of a
model - but are not news per se. And they really do
not fit in the NPOV or
You have it right ! Maybe there are new other types of
content which could be added in wikinews ?
Some tend to confuse collaborative journalism with
the other new form of
Internet journalism. As someone who has been
involved in wikinews for quite
some time, the difference between a blog and
wikinews is obvious. In fact
they are almost diametrically opposite. A blog
revels in its biased POV and
the fact that it is the work of a single person (or
small group of people
acting as one mind). It is clear that blog-type
content really has no place
in a wikinews project under current wikimedia
Totally agree with you.
Thankfully, for those who do wish to write blog-type
opinion columns, there
are many free Internet alternatives to wikinews.
Since editorials on a wikinews project declare a
specific point of view on
an issue in controversy, they are incompatible with
Dan seems to imply german wikinews adopted editorials,
but Elian said they seem to have stopped. I would be
interested in knowing current situation :-)
In addition, they may open the foundation to legal
and/or image related
problems since the foundation is ultimately
responsible for defending all
content on each of the Wikimedia projects.
Furthermore, individual project participants may not
overrule or ignore
basic Wikimedia Foundation minimum standards for
content. This means the
basic principles of Wikimedia may not be put up to a
popular vote on any of
the individual projects, it must be a Foundation
decision for both
stability/uniformity among projects and legal
One of the major issue here is simply that many
wikinewsies have never been wikipedians before, so are
not familiar with certain mandatory rules... not with
general habits build over experience and consensus
over the past 4 years. Reinventing the wheel :-)
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Mountain View CA 94041
Thanks for your answer
Behalf Of Anthere
Sent: Thursday, July 21, 2005 4:15 AM
Subject: [Wikinews-l] Editorials
Recently, I have decided that it was time I adopt
new project. A small one :-)
So, I started participating to wikinews in french.
It is quite a challenge I must say, because there
a handful of very nice participants... but most
them are not participants to wikipedia, so quite
newbies on some issues. On the other hand, plenty
motivation and ideas which is good :-)
Still, today, I have something disturbing me a
bit. A new main page was set up this morning;
at it, I realised the html was probably not
(some wrong columns size or locations) and saw
some areas were just empty (for example, it did
mention other projects or other languages).
So it appeared to me to be a working stage, and it
not seem a good idea to make changes live; So I
reverted the page to yesterday version and moved
new version to a temp page :
I then was told this version had been approved and
vote ended yesterday. So, it should be the main
in any cases.
Then, to list the problems of the html, I looked
precisely at it. And I discovered 3 new
One is the "Analysis section". There is one
it, the link being a user sub page. So, first,
means it is very likely a non editable page (since
is a user sub page). Second, there is a mention
stating "the section can be ambiguous in
NPOV, as it is only partially submitted to it"
Two other sections are "Editorial" and "carte
(I am not sure I really see the difference).
sections are empty for now, and a note indicates
"These two sections do not respect NPOV and have
been adopted by the community".
I then commented in saying that these sections
probably not be here in any cases, since NOT
by the community. I was answered they actually
adopted, so the little text should be modified,
they should be on the main page.
I looked for a discussion, and found this
So, to me, a site with
1) articles submitted to NPOV,
2) personal analyses only partially submitted to
and not editable, and
3) editorials not submitted to NPVO
has a name, Indymedia.
Not wikinews :-)
And I do not agree. I think all wikimedia projects
should adhere to NPOV. Strictly. As much as we
But I then thought I had no idea what other
have been doing on this issue and that possibly
of them have adopted editorials (which will
naturally report a pov).
Is this the case ?
If so, how did you organise yourself to explain
readers the difference between the neutral parts
the site and the non neutral parts ?
And do you try to maintain an overall neutrality
within editorials ?
Or do you limit the topics concerned by editorials
Thanks in advance for your comments.
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