[Foundation-l] Closing inactive Wikinewses

Robert Scott Horning robert_horning at netzero.net
Tue Oct 17 15:30:59 UTC 2006

Erik Moeller wrote:

>I suggest the following policy:
>When a Wikinews edition has seen no new stories for 8 weeks, the wiki
>is locked and a site notice is added: "This Wikinews edition is
>currently inactive. If you are interested in working on it, please
>indicate so on [[m:Wikinews/Reactivate an edition]]." (In the correct
>language, of course.) Instead of just 5 votes, you would need 10
>Wikimedians to sign the reactivation pledge.

>Does this policy proposal sound reasonable?
I am curious about what the rationale is for trying to increase the 
threshold for reactivating an older edition rather than establishing a 
brand-new language edition.  It seems to me that it ought to be the 
other way around, where if a language edition already exists (presumably 
with some substantial content already) that the threshold for support to 
reactive ought to be lower than creating yet another new language.  This 
could even be just for maintainence of the existing content alone.

I would, however, also put an additional restriction that the 5 or 10 
(or whatever) votes that are needed for reactivation should happen 
within a specified period of time, like 2-3 months at most.  The purpose 
of this is to demonstrate that there is an active community of people 
who would be willing to keep a sustained effort going once it is 
reactivated, which seems like the point of the whole exercise. 
 Proposals to reactivate that languish longer than this specified period 
of time will simply be archived although a new proposal can certainly be 
made almost immediately (with new votes) if there is still a small group 
willing to participate.  I have seen some of these proposals for things 
like this go on and on for years at a time... just look at the new 
project proposals page on Meta as an example of some proposals that are 
more than 2 years old, some as old as Meta itself seemingly.

I'm still not exactly sure what the threshold ought to be in terms of 
time to declare a Wikinews language edition "inactive", but the main 
goal ought to be to give the community who speaks that language the 
benefit of the doubt.  In addition, I would strongly recommend that if a 
Wikinews language edition is to be closed down, then the related "sister 
projects" of the same langauge ought to have a notification put in the 
Village Pump pages (even if in English... with an appeal for 
translation) that "their" language edition of Wikinews is being shut 
down due to inactivity.  Perhaps also a notification of any related 
mailing list that is specific to that language, if it is listed as an 
"official" Wikimedia mailing list.  I know that this seems like a lot of 
work, but the point here is to try and give a final effort to simply let 
speakers of that language know that Wikinews is even something that they 
could participate with.  

We might be surprised and get a few people to turn out without having to 
shut the project down in the first place.

Robert Scott Horning

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