[Foundation-l] The systematic and codified bias against non-Western articles on Wikinews

Shii shii at shii.org
Tue Sep 6 04:53:53 UTC 2011

I am an American Wikipedia administrator living in Japan. Recently, as
you may have seen on the news (but not Wikinews), Japan got a new
prime minister. I watched his press conference and decided to grace
Wikinews with this breaking story within minutes after it happened.
The review process might delay it a few hours, but as it was 4AM EST,
I figured Wikinews would probably still scoop Reuters and the AP.

Five hours later (hmm, 9AM EST...), a reviewer finally looked at my
article and failed me on one count: THE FACT THAT THE EVENT TOOK PLACE
IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY. No joke. He informed me that because the people
at the press conference were not speaking English, and the reporting
on the article was not in English, it was likely the article would not
pass anyone's review. I asked for clarification on this astounding
statement, requested another review for the article, and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

And waited.

No changes were suggested to the article.

Nobody questioned the article's writing quality or accuracy.

It was simply ignored by every single reviewer on Wikinews.

Four days later, the article was junked, because it was "no longer
news". That's right: when I asked Wikinews to explain their policy of
denying all articles that had not been reported on in English, they
shut me out of their review system, with utter silence on the
discussion page, until my article was safely past an arbitrary
expiration date.

Naturally, I was pissed, because I put a good hour of work into the
article. I bothered the reviewers with new intensity, and finally they
told me that if I were to remove all the Japanese sources from the
article, it WOULD have been able to pass four days ago, but of course
their silent treatment had its intended effect of preventing this from
happening at all, so as far as Wikinews is concerned Japan has no new
prime minister and never will.

What did we learn from this? Wikinews does not permit articles about
non-Western events. If you attempt to submit such an article, even if
the event is obviously newsworthy, you will be ignored until your
submission is old enough that it is no longer news. This is how they
deal with "problem" articles.


Of course, their front page doesn't say anything so blatant-- you have
to dig into the policies to find this statement. But what a Goddamn
waste of bandwidth! I certainly won't be donating to Wikimedia as long
as they are hosting such wastes of time like this.

The whole, Kafkaesque discussion can be found here:



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