[Foundation-l] Wikinews - not so much a state of the wiki

Thomas Dalton thomas.dalton at gmail.com
Tue Dec 4 16:57:41 UTC 2007

> My first thought on this was that a private wiki is required,
> embargoed.wikinews.org or similar. Yet, the story up on Slashdot at the
> moment, and accusations of a Cabal-esque secret mailing list would not be
> mitigated by opening another private channel for communication and
> cooperation. I cannot think of alternatives that would meet the needs of
> these situations unfortunately.

There is a difference between lake of transparency and secrecy. Having
an embargo sub-wiki should be fine as long as its existence and
purpose is transparent. What is happening on it at any given time has
to be secret, but that doesn't mean people can't know that the site
exists. The other key point is that embargoes are, by their very
nature, temporary - things happening on the embargo site will be
transwikied to the main site after a fairly short period of time. I
suggest keeping all discussion about a particular embargoed story on
that article's talk page, and transwikiing that as well, then people
know exactly what's going on, just not straight away.

> Moving on from that, and on to a related item; one that has probably been
> asked by 1 in 5 of every new Wikinewsies that sticks around. "Why aren't we
> listed on Google News?" The simple answer is we have no editorial control.

One reason we don't have editorial control of any kind is because with
editorial control comes editorial responsibility. At the moment, any
libel (or whatever) is solely the responsibility of the person that
added it (at least, until WMF is formally notified). If someone takes
editorial control, by my understanding, they would also be liable for
anything illegal on the site.

I'm surprised the current workaround works - if the blog just reposts
every story without any editing, then I can't see why Google accept
it, if the person running the blog is taking editorial responsibility,
then they are putting themselves at significant risk (unless they do
verify every article they post, which is a hell of a job).

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