[Foundation-l] Re: Formal request: Wikinews project

Andrew Lih andrew.lih at gmail.com
Tue Oct 12 14:11:32 UTC 2004

On 12 Oct 2004 14:44:00 +0200, Erik Moeller <erik_moeller at gmx.de> wrote:
> Andrew-
> > Erik, I'm intrigued by the idea, of course, as it's my area of study.
> > However, with the Wikinews project having to source original content,
> > identify individuals, institute a reputation system and the establish
> > a workflow, I questioin how apt the title "wiki" is to this project.
> The Wikipedia project has to do the same things:
> * identify individuals - that's what we do when we figure out sources for
> factual claims in an article
> * institute a reputation system - [[Wikipedia:Requests for adminship]]

RfA isn't quite a reputation system like Slashdot karma or eBay's
ratings. Adminship is a one-time bar to pass, usually for life, and
there are is no metric to capture  the highs and lows of a
contributor's performance.

> * establish workflow - [[Wikipedia:Featured article candidates]],
> [[Wikipedia:Peer review]], [[m:Article validation]]

But these are completely optional, and not required at all for article
writing. I'd wager that more than 3/4 of Wikipedians never use any of
these pages.

> > It has more similarity to [[OhMyNews]], [[Indymedia]] and other
> > citizen reporter efforts.
> I don't know OhMyNews, but Indymedia is largely non-collaborative.
> Individual reporters write individual stories. They don't use a wiki model
> of open editing.

I thought Wikinews was largely aimed at one reporter, one story model.
Perhaps this needs clarification.

There is a notable difference between Wikipedia and Wikinews -- the
matter of deadlines and edition time. Wikipedia's content is
continually morphing. But for news to be news, it must be frozen at
one point in time, and that puts Wikinews within a different dynamic.
Perhaps the only thing comparable now in Wikipedia is VfD, where folks
rush to improve an article before its day of reckoning.

Wikipedia is secondary-source journalism, so it is typically one step
removed from direct lawsuits because plaintiffs will go after primary
sources, and Wikipedians are quite good to remove unattributed
information on controversial topics. That's where "no original
research"  helps Wikipedia stay out of lots of trouble.

Wikinews will be venturing into original, primary-source journalism,
which means the contributors themselves or Wikimedia are on the hook. 
Therefore, it must be ready to face the standard dilemmas with
journalistic content:
- Publishing of state secrets or classified information
- Contempt of court, in relation to United States law
- Libel, slander, defamation
- Obscene or objectionable content
- Providing legal, medical or financial advice
- Sourcing, three-source rule, multiple independent confirmations
- Being "played" by a source

I've studied some of these issues before, but IANAL. Wikimedia should
get the appropriate legal counsel for this, given cases such as
Gutnick vs. Dow Jones in Australia:

-Andrew (User:Fuzheado)

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