[Foundation-l] Is popularity a good thing for us?

Brian McNeil brian.mcneil at wikinewsie.org
Mon Dec 17 18:18:21 UTC 2007

-----Original Message-----
From: foundation-l-bounces at lists.wikimedia.org
[mailto:foundation-l-bounces at lists.wikimedia.org] On Behalf Of Robert Rohde
Sent: 17 December 2007 18:43
To: Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List
Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] Is popularity a good thing for us?

On Dec 17, 2007 8:53 AM, Thomas Dalton <thomas.dalton at gmail.com> wrote:

> On 17/12/2007, GerardM <gerard.meijssen at gmail.com> wrote:
> > Hoi,
> > This is an argument that points in two directions. If you know anything
> > about me, you know that you arguing my typical case. :) You are battling
> a
> > turf war, is it Wikinews or Wikipedia that can do news. You want to take
> > away from  Wikipedia something that Wikipedia excells in. So make them
> an
> > offer that they cannot refuse.
> Why should Wikinews have to give Wikipedia something in return for the
> news articles? We should be working together here, not competing...

At the risk of being blunt, I believe Wikipedia coverage of current events
is often intrinsically superior to Wikinews.  This is a side effect of the
fact that Wikinews "publishes" and locks articles, so Wikinews often lacks
comprehensive coverage of news events which unfold over several days.  In
the best cases there is a series of overlapping articles, but Wikipedia
provides a single, comprehensive article that I often find much more useful
in understanding current events.

Not to mention that I've seen Wikinewsies fight to protect "published"
material that contained serious material errors or lacked meaningful
objectivity.  The publish and protect process at Wikinews eliminates one of
the best aspects of the wiki in my opinion.

I have no objection to Wikinews doing what it is doing as long as it does
not interfere with other projects.  However, if it were presented as a
choice of either Wikinews covers current events OR Wikipedia covers current
events, then I would happily eliminate Wikinews entirely rather than remove
current events from Wikipedia.  So, you can take that as a very strong
statement that I am opposed to removing current events from Wikipedia (as
some in this thread suggested).  Much better that we keep doing as we are
now and try for a happy coexistence.

I will be blunt, no risk about it. Wikipedia coverage is better because of
people having the attitude you exhibit here and saying "Why have sister

Wikipedia is not, and should not attempt to be, a news source. If you can't
accept that news coverage is incomplete and *not encyclopaedic* then you
don't understand the differences between the projects.

I don't want to get dragged into a prolonged flame war on the subject, but I
agree wholeheartedly with the philosophy that Wikipedia should not try to
act as a news source.

Someone dies? The facts (date/time/cause) go on Wikipedia. The obit goes on

Some politician is embroiled in a scandal? Wikipedia should not speculate
but defer coverage until closer to consensus.

If these two examples seem unreasonable, then I think people are viewing
Wikipedia as the be-all-and-end-all of online references and, whether they
mean to or not, disparaging the efforts of Wikinews contributors who - from
my experience - often set themselves near-unreachable goals of impartiality.

As an aside, I am disgusted that Wikinews can interview figures such as Al
Sharpton and be dismissed by Wikimedians who could use the sister project's
original reporting as a source.

Brian McNeil

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