On Wikinews

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On Wikinews

Marcus Buck-2
English Wikinews is in a market with many, many professional  
competitors. Competitors with a paid staff that steadily create  
reliable news output quick and in most cases _for free_. While good  
encyclopedias were still sold for thousands of dollars in 2001, news  
were already available for free back then. So there's no big advantage  
for the reader in using Wikinews instead of some other news resource.

A further point is steadiness. A Wikipedia doesn't loose much value if  
you leave it unedited for some days because of contributor shortage.  
On Wikinews on the other hand most readers will leave forever if there  
are no current news since days. It's very hard to build a userbase if  
you cannot guarantee a continuous flow of new news.

And it's hard to gain authors if you have no readers because the texts  
will only be of interest for a few days. If you write a news article  
and noone reads it you have wasted your time. On Wikipedia however, if  
you write an article you can rest assured that people will read your  
text. If not today then in a year.

Other than a Wikipedia where even a single person can build an  
increasingly useful resource over time, Wikinews has a critical mass.  
If it doesn't reach the criticial mass of steady contributions, the  
project will never lift off.


It's my opinion, that Wikimedia should try to support a Wikinews by  
paying a editor in chief and a core team of reporters to secure that  
the project always stays above the critical mass.

Ideally that isn't done in the oversaturated market for English  
language news but in a language that doesn't have any native language  
news outlets. Pick the language with the biggest number of speakers (I  
guess that'll be in rural Africa or Asia) that has no own media and  
hire an editorial team. Send them out to make contacts into the  
diaspora of the language and into the countryside to find volunteer  
reporters and correspondents. Let them do a mix of world news and  
original local news reporting. Go into print. A few newspapers per  
village will probably suffice if you distribute it to the right places  
and propagate sharing.

Provide free and open news to people who haven't had access to native  
content before.

That of course means spending some money. Perhaps it won't work. But I  
think it is worth actually exploring it further and trying it out. At  
least that would be a form of Wikinews that could actually _make a  
difference_. The current model of "give them a wiki and don't do much  
else until six years later the project crumbles to dust" does not lead  
to anything making a difference.

Marcus Buck
User:Slomox


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Re: On Wikinews

Emilio J. Rodríguez-Posada
I agree with this analysis.

2011/9/13 <[hidden email]>

> English Wikinews is in a market with many, many professional
> competitors. Competitors with a paid staff that steadily create
> reliable news output quick and in most cases _for free_. While good
> encyclopedias were still sold for thousands of dollars in 2001, news
> were already available for free back then. So there's no big advantage
> for the reader in using Wikinews instead of some other news resource.
>
> A further point is steadiness. A Wikipedia doesn't loose much value if
> you leave it unedited for some days because of contributor shortage.
> On Wikinews on the other hand most readers will leave forever if there
> are no current news since days. It's very hard to build a userbase if
> you cannot guarantee a continuous flow of new news.
>
> And it's hard to gain authors if you have no readers because the texts
> will only be of interest for a few days. If you write a news article
> and noone reads it you have wasted your time. On Wikipedia however, if
> you write an article you can rest assured that people will read your
> text. If not today then in a year.
>
> Other than a Wikipedia where even a single person can build an
> increasingly useful resource over time, Wikinews has a critical mass.
> If it doesn't reach the criticial mass of steady contributions, the
> project will never lift off.
>
>
> It's my opinion, that Wikimedia should try to support a Wikinews by
> paying a editor in chief and a core team of reporters to secure that
> the project always stays above the critical mass.
>
> Ideally that isn't done in the oversaturated market for English
> language news but in a language that doesn't have any native language
> news outlets. Pick the language with the biggest number of speakers (I
> guess that'll be in rural Africa or Asia) that has no own media and
> hire an editorial team. Send them out to make contacts into the
> diaspora of the language and into the countryside to find volunteer
> reporters and correspondents. Let them do a mix of world news and
> original local news reporting. Go into print. A few newspapers per
> village will probably suffice if you distribute it to the right places
> and propagate sharing.
>
> Provide free and open news to people who haven't had access to native
> content before.
>
> That of course means spending some money. Perhaps it won't work. But I
> think it is worth actually exploring it further and trying it out. At
> least that would be a form of Wikinews that could actually _make a
> difference_. The current model of "give them a wiki and don't do much
> else until six years later the project crumbles to dust" does not lead
> to anything making a difference.
>
> Marcus Buck
> User:Slomox
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>
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Re: On Wikinews

theo10011
On Tue, Sep 13, 2011 at 4:37 PM, emijrp <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I agree with this analysis.
>
> 2011/9/13 <[hidden email]>
>
> > English Wikinews is in a market with many, many professional
> > competitors. Competitors with a paid staff that steadily create
> > reliable news output quick and in most cases _for free_. While good
> > encyclopedias were still sold for thousands of dollars in 2001, news
> > were already available for free back then. So there's no big advantage
> > for the reader in using Wikinews instead of some other news resource.
> >
> > A further point is steadiness. A Wikipedia doesn't loose much value if
> > you leave it unedited for some days because of contributor shortage.
> > On Wikinews on the other hand most readers will leave forever if there
> > are no current news since days. It's very hard to build a userbase if
> > you cannot guarantee a continuous flow of new news.
> >
> > And it's hard to gain authors if you have no readers because the texts
> > will only be of interest for a few days. If you write a news article
> > and noone reads it you have wasted your time. On Wikipedia however, if
> > you write an article you can rest assured that people will read your
> > text. If not today then in a year.
> >
> > Other than a Wikipedia where even a single person can build an
> > increasingly useful resource over time, Wikinews has a critical mass.
> > If it doesn't reach the criticial mass of steady contributions, the
> > project will never lift off.
> >
> >
> > It's my opinion, that Wikimedia should try to support a Wikinews by
> > paying a editor in chief and a core team of reporters to secure that
> > the project always stays above the critical mass.
> >
> > Ideally that isn't done in the oversaturated market for English
> > language news but in a language that doesn't have any native language
> > news outlets. Pick the language with the biggest number of speakers (I
> > guess that'll be in rural Africa or Asia) that has no own media and
> > hire an editorial team. Send them out to make contacts into the
> > diaspora of the language and into the countryside to find volunteer
> > reporters and correspondents. Let them do a mix of world news and
> > original local news reporting. Go into print. A few newspapers per
> > village will probably suffice if you distribute it to the right places
> > and propagate sharing.
> >
> > Provide free and open news to people who haven't had access to native
> > content before.
> >
> > That of course means spending some money. Perhaps it won't work. But I
> > think it is worth actually exploring it further and trying it out. At
> > least that would be a form of Wikinews that could actually _make a
> > difference_. The current model of "give them a wiki and don't do much
> > else until six years later the project crumbles to dust" does not lead
> > to anything making a difference.
> >
> > Marcus Buck
> > User:Slomox
> >
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > foundation-l mailing list
> > [hidden email]
> > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
> >
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>


I don't quiet agree with that analysis. You comparison with professional
competitors might have held true in the last age of publishing, the playing
field has been much more leveled. Even the New York Times has a hard time
being competitive in this age, when they can't compete with individual
bloggers posting and copying stories from everywhere. Amateurs already won
that race.

The same point applies to Encyclopedias- Wikipedia is proof that just about
anyone can contribute to an encyclopedia, not just a published versions  by
white, old, Academicians and instead refine it, continuously to compete with
any other Encyclopedia. Now, the difference of concept between an
Encyclopedia and a News source are undeniable, you can not refine a news
article and you have to be correct and quick at the same time. The
difference is, Wikipedia already does this, breaking stories do link back
Wikipedia article from Google News. The difference between the two projects
is the number of contributors.

The concept of this movement is based mainly on volunteers. it has proven
that random volunteers from around the world can accomplish anything, if we
pay people to contribute, it goes against the ethos of all the projects.

The biggest strength that a Wikinews like project can always have, is the
most diverse contributor base anywhere. We have contributors from so many
countries, they all know how to contribute, they speak a hundred languages
and have access to things a news/wire service will never have. Wikinews was
never able to capitalize on this.

Theo
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Re: On Wikinews

Milos Rancic-2
In reply to this post by Marcus Buck-2
On Tue, Sep 13, 2011 at 12:24,  <[hidden email]> wrote:
> It's my opinion, that Wikimedia should try to support a Wikinews by
> paying a editor in chief and a core team of reporters to secure that
> the project always stays above the critical mass.

That's a kind of heresy. But it's impossible to drive [relevant] news
source without paid editors. In a private talk with Sj, I mentioned
that to him a year or so ago in private conversation, but it was, as I
said, heresy, For his ears :P

The main difference between Wikipedia (projects with similar dynamics)
and Wikinews is necessity for maintenance. And that's -- huh.

Serbian Wikinews is driving on deal with the news agency Beta and bot
which I wrote. But, for ~10 days it doesn't have content added by bot
because formatting of Beta pages changed. I have to: (1) remember on
which server I run that bot; maybe password, as well; (2) analyze four
years old code; (3) change it; (4) but, most importantly, I have to
have free time for that. And willingness.

Now, imagine news source without that bot and with necessity to have
news between ultra important events. Five persons would be needed to
cover 24/7, not counting editor. But, let's say that we just need
those 5 persons and that editors would be people from the community.
~40 stewards, volunteers, are able to cover most important issues
24/7, mostly. And stewards are volunteers of the system which works.

Wikinews is not working and up to ~10 days ago the only useful
Wikinews -- as general source of information -- was Serbian Wikinews
and just thanks to the deal with a news agency and one bot. I tried to
do the same with English Wikinews, but, maintaining harvester from a
couple of sources is a job which uses a lot of time, on daily basis.
(Still, if anyone with Python knowledge is willing to share workload
with me to cover English [and other] Wikinews editions, I am still
willing to activate bots.)

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Re: On Wikinews

Lodewijk
In reply to this post by theo10011
Am 13. September 2011 13:34 schrieb Theo10011 <[hidden email]>:
<snip>

>
> The biggest strength that a Wikinews like project can always have, is the
> most diverse contributor base anywhere. We have contributors from so many
> countries, they all know how to contribute, they speak a hundred languages
> and have access to things a news/wire service will never have. Wikinews was
> never able to capitalize on this.
>
> Theo
>
>
Do we really have such a diverse base? I agree that Wikimedia is quite
diverse - although even Wikipedia is made up of way too many intellectual
white men (or rather, too few elderly people, women, people from the 'global
south', people who did not have a university degree or are getting one etc
etc etc) - even Wikipedia is quite biased in its community. And then we're
only talking about the English language - you can imagine that the Dutch
language projects have relatively many people living in... (no kidding) the
Netherlands. We are not perfectly diverse, but we do have the potential to
be very diverse indeed. On some aspects we might be *relatively* diverse,
but on many others we're not.

It is this potential that does matter though - but to achieve that, we
should work on it.

But more importantly - you are correct that Wikinews' user base is simply
too small. You can theoretically write an encyclopedia with 3 skilled
people, as long as you take your time and do a hell lot of research.
However, this is not true for a news source - to make that work you always
need up to date everything, you need to cover the latest news and have
interesting research. If Wikipedia stands still for a week (no edits) we can
just continue after that. If the New York Times would do the same, most
likely they have lost a lot of their readers. Continuity and masses are even
more important for Wikinews than for Wikipedia to make it work.

Therefore, I'm not so sure if forking is good per se. Wikinews was already
too small to my liking, and splitting it up might bring the community even
further below the critical mass. At the same time it might bring the
apparently needed changes for some, and make them work - I do hope though
that both communities will quickly figure out what methods work best, and
join together again to make it more likely to pass this threshold of
activity.

Lodewijk
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Re: On Wikinews

Tom Morris-5
In reply to this post by theo10011
On Tue, Sep 13, 2011 at 12:34, Theo10011 <[hidden email]> wrote:
> The biggest strength that a Wikinews like project can always have, is the
> most diverse contributor base anywhere. We have contributors from so many
> countries, they all know how to contribute, they speak a hundred languages
> and have access to things a news/wire service will never have. Wikinews was
> never able to capitalize on this.
>

When Wikinews works, it can be truly fantastic. A personal example: I
wrote a short article earlier in the year for English Wikinews on the
smoking ban in Spain.[1] It very quickly got translated into Farsi,
French and Hungarian.

At Wikimania this year, I spoke to some guys who write for Spanish
Wikinews and once of the things they pointed out was that in a number
of South American countries, the national newspaper websites often
have paywalls for older articles. Making sure that ordinary people can
access both current news and a historical archive of news with
verifiability provided by checked, reliable sources and context
provided by deep links into Wikipedia is much *more* important for
democratic citizenship in countries with less free-as-in-beer media
available than English. The multi-lingual benefits of having it be
free-as-in-freedom are good too.

This is especially true now as cuts to the BBC have led to less
availability of independent news coverage in some countries.[2] (And,
yes, I know, some people are going to question the independence of the
BBC...)

[1] http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/Spanish_smoking_ban_takes_effect_in_bars_and_restaurants
[2] http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/jan/28/bbc-world-service-cuts-response

--
Tom Morris
<http://tommorris.org/>

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Re: On Wikinews

theo10011
In reply to this post by Lodewijk
On Tue, Sep 13, 2011 at 5:55 PM, Lodewijk <[hidden email]>wrote:

> Am 13. September 2011 13:34 schrieb Theo10011 <[hidden email]>:
> <snip>
>
> >
> > The biggest strength that a Wikinews like project can always have, is the
> > most diverse contributor base anywhere. We have contributors from so many
> > countries, they all know how to contribute, they speak a hundred
> languages
> > and have access to things a news/wire service will never have. Wikinews
> was
> > never able to capitalize on this.
> >
> > Theo
> >
> >
> Do we really have such a diverse base? I agree that Wikimedia is quite
> diverse - although even Wikipedia is made up of way too many intellectual
> white men (or rather, too few elderly people, women, people from the
> 'global
> south', people who did not have a university degree or are getting one etc
> etc etc) - even Wikipedia is quite biased in its community. And then we're
> only talking about the English language - you can imagine that the Dutch
> language projects have relatively many people living in... (no kidding) the
> Netherlands. We are not perfectly diverse, but we do have the potential to
> be very diverse indeed. On some aspects we might be *relatively* diverse,
> but on many others we're not.


You seem to have misunderstood my point. The diverse base is the number of
communities we have, not a mix of it. There are homogeneous language groups
and communities, I never disputed that but there are so many of them. It has
something to do with sociology, why certain type of individuals or groups
gravitate towards certain things. I think you know, but others might not, I
am from the Global south. There is something different that attracted me
towards the projects. It is and was open for me to join, as I am sure it was
for anyone in my part of the world, the difference is, you can not go and
get people to care and recruit just for the sake of having diversity. This
in no way means the projects are not diverse, there are projects in both my
native tongues, I merely chose enwp.

For example, can you tell me how many similar Dutch language projects exist
similar to ours? in Netherlands? and from those, who work side-by-side by
French, German, Swahili or Hindi? I can make a call to translate and have
any message translated in 2 dozen languages within a day. In order to do
that, they have to have knowledge of multiple languages and how to edit.
These groups exist, there are volunteers in those languages willing to
contribute their time for nothing in return, we just can't tap it well
enough.

The case of English Wikipedia only echoes what the Dutch projects might
have. It *is* the language of old, white intellectuals, all the history of
the world reaffirms this notion, most anthropology looked at the world from
this perspective and in doing so, negated its own neutrality.

I beg to differ, we most certainly are diverse. You are just looking at a
single project or language and trying to find diversity in it, I am saying
look at the bigger picture and all the languages. English might be the most
widely spoken language and that is why you even have as much diversity as we
do now, compared to several other Romance languages you'd find even less
diversity in the contributor base, its simply a matter of a larger
contributor base. Maybe not on this list or the English Wikipedia as much as
we'd like to be, but there are dozens of mailing lists and projects in other
language, we are discussing this issue on just one of them.

Theo
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Re: On Wikinews

Andrea Zanni-2
In reply to this post by Tom Morris-5
I'm no expert here,
but it seems to me that Wikinews were born with wrong premises.
I discussed extensfully about that with some fellow wikipedians,
and we agreed that Wikinews could not compete with other newspapers/journals,
especially because, right now, it relies on them.

Wikipedia creates knowledge and (neutral) narratives from primary and
secondary sources,
Wikinews never succeed to be a primary source of news, but instead it
collects links about (not so recent) news.
Often small, brief articles that add nothing to the link, in the first place.
As a user, I wonder why should I check Wikinews instead of the New
York Times website, which is much more update.

I think Wikinews could work well on some topics, news that don't last
a single day, but instead
needs a history and a timetable. On those topics, Wikinews could fill
an informative gap,
because even newspapers archives are just aggregating different
articles on the same subjects,
but none of them write a (neutral) narrative integrating all of them.
This could be an interesting direction.

Furthermore, there could be a (very bold) help from the community of Wikipedia:
in case of patent "recentism" (unfortunately, often catastrophic events)
people swarm on wikipedia adding interesting/less interesting/trivial
facts on something that already happened.
If they could be redirected on Wikinews, that would be the right place
where to write all that stuff.
Moreover, Wikipedians could write a more neutral article when things
have slowed down,
relying on the Wikinews article.

My 2cents, obviously.

Aubrey

2011/9/13 Tom Morris <[hidden email]>:

> On Tue, Sep 13, 2011 at 12:34, Theo10011 <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> The biggest strength that a Wikinews like project can always have, is the
>> most diverse contributor base anywhere. We have contributors from so many
>> countries, they all know how to contribute, they speak a hundred languages
>> and have access to things a news/wire service will never have. Wikinews was
>> never able to capitalize on this.
>>
>
> When Wikinews works, it can be truly fantastic. A personal example: I
> wrote a short article earlier in the year for English Wikinews on the
> smoking ban in Spain.[1] It very quickly got translated into Farsi,
> French and Hungarian.
>
> At Wikimania this year, I spoke to some guys who write for Spanish
> Wikinews and once of the things they pointed out was that in a number
> of South American countries, the national newspaper websites often
> have paywalls for older articles. Making sure that ordinary people can
> access both current news and a historical archive of news with
> verifiability provided by checked, reliable sources and context
> provided by deep links into Wikipedia is much *more* important for
> democratic citizenship in countries with less free-as-in-beer media
> available than English. The multi-lingual benefits of having it be
> free-as-in-freedom are good too.
>
> This is especially true now as cuts to the BBC have led to less
> availability of independent news coverage in some countries.[2] (And,
> yes, I know, some people are going to question the independence of the
> BBC...)
>
> [1] http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/Spanish_smoking_ban_takes_effect_in_bars_and_restaurants
> [2] http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/jan/28/bbc-world-service-cuts-response
>
> --
> Tom Morris
> <http://tommorris.org/>
>
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>

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Re: On Wikinews

Przykuta
In reply to this post by Emilio J. Rodríguez-Posada
> > And it's hard to gain authors if you have no readers because the texts
> > will only be of interest for a few days. If you write a news article
> > and noone reads it you have wasted your time. On Wikipedia however, if
> > you write an article you can rest assured that people will read your
> > text. If not today then in a year.
> >

Sometimes people look for old news, but our category system in Wikinews is not too good (alphabetical). Bugzilla knows this problem for years.


But - click http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Random and http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/Special:Random

and next use http://stats.grok.se/

Articles in en Wikinews are more popular, than articles in smaller Wikipedias

przykuta

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Re: On Wikinews

Marcus Buck-2
In reply to this post by theo10011

Zitat von Theo10011 <[hidden email]>:
> I don't quiet agree with that analysis. You comparison with professional
> competitors might have held true in the last age of publishing, the playing
> field has been much more leveled. Even the New York Times has a hard time
> being competitive in this age, when they can't compete with individual
> bloggers posting and copying stories from everywhere. Amateurs already won
> that race.

My main point was (although I didn't make it overly clear) not that  
"professionals" do inherently better work than amateurs/volunteers,  
but that they constantly dedicate eight working hours every day to  
creating content. That's something you can count on to provide the  
base load of the critical mass. Most volunteers on the other hand can  
only dedicate one or two hours a day and only if they have no other  
obligations. Sometimes volunteers stop contributing for no apparent  
reason. You cannot create large articles, background pieces or  
interviews in just one or two hours. That's why professionals are  
useful.

Marcus Buck
User:Slomox


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Re: On Wikinews

theo10011
On Tue, Sep 13, 2011 at 9:03 PM, <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
> Zitat von Theo10011 <[hidden email]>:
> > I don't quiet agree with that analysis. You comparison with professional
> > competitors might have held true in the last age of publishing, the
> playing
> > field has been much more leveled. Even the New York Times has a hard time
> > being competitive in this age, when they can't compete with individual
> > bloggers posting and copying stories from everywhere. Amateurs already
> won
> > that race.
>
> My main point was (although I didn't make it overly clear) not that
> "professionals" do inherently better work than amateurs/volunteers,
> but that they constantly dedicate eight working hours every day to
> creating content. That's something you can count on to provide the
> base load of the critical mass. Most volunteers on the other hand can
> only dedicate one or two hours a day and only if they have no other
> obligations. Sometimes volunteers stop contributing for no apparent
> reason. You cannot create large articles, background pieces or
> interviews in just one or two hours. That's why professionals are
> useful.
>
> My main point (although I *did* make it clear), was that volunteer-work is
what this movement is built on. Tell me a single content project that was
built by paid employees? If we abandon our identity, then how would we still
be volunteer-driven and open. I can argue volunteers do inherently better
work than paid staff, because they believe in what they do and are
passionate about it. It is however, just a job for most people who get paid
to do the same. You can not pay someone to care, is what my point was.

You are also making generalization about volunteers, that they might have
only one or two hours to contribute. Even so, there are still thousands of
them, many, many more than how many people can be employed at a time.

My argument was, a) paying/hiring staff to edit a project is against the
general ethos of our movement b) why only pay Wikinews staff to approach
critical mass then? Why not Wikiquote or Wiktionary? or some new project? c)
What happens when the staff finishes it's term? who sustains the project
then? If people didn't care earlier they are likely to not care later and
lastly d) You can not form a community from paid employees, they will leave
and when the position ends, who runs the project?

Regards
Theo
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Re: On Wikinews

Milos Rancic-2
On Wed, Sep 14, 2011 at 16:17, Theo10011 <[hidden email]> wrote:
> My main point (although I *did* make it clear), was that volunteer-work is
> what this movement is built on. Tell me a single content project that was
> built by paid employees? If we abandon our identity, then how would we still
> be volunteer-driven and open. I can argue volunteers do inherently better
> work than paid staff, because they believe in what they do and are
> passionate about it. It is however, just a job for most people who get paid
> to do the same. You can not pay someone to care, is what my point was.

Theo, volunteers do not care about things which require to be
accurate. Besides that, more and more volunteer positions were
replaced by paid staff, beginning with Brion. And that's not the
problem of principle, but the problem of having job done.

For example, I am not interested to be paid for writing bots for
Wikinews. As nobody with sufficient knowledge of Python answered on
many of my calls, the product is that nobody is doing that, as I don't
have enough of free time to program that bot. Although all Wikinews
editions could benefit from that (there are many programmable things
for a news service). I even remember that for a short period of time
the bot boosted English Wikinews itself, as editors got news and just
had to fix the text (quality, NPOV). Would it be better to find
someone who would program that bot?

The other issue is that I want to contribute to Wikinews just if I
have news. In the mean time, someone has to make things to flow
without problems. Who can guarantee ~50 news/day on one Wikinews
edition to be almost as attractive as other news services are? News
services regularly have more than 100 news per day.

I agree that there are some structural problems with the rules which
English Wikinews community imposed (while I understand that reviewing
articles is good idea; having very high standards without relevant
community is irrational), but that just catalyzed the inevitable: news
service is not a news service without constant care, which could be
done just by paid staff or extremely large community: 5 edits per
month is not enough to be counted as Wikinews contributor if it is not
at least about one new article; and 5 edits per month is usually not
one article on Wikipedia.

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Re: On Wikinews

Yaroslav M. Blanter
On Wed, 14 Sep 2011 17:48:58 +0200, Milos Rancic <[hidden email]>
wrote:
> On Wed, Sep 14, 2011 at 16:17, Theo10011 <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> My main point (although I *did* make it clear), was that volunteer-work
>> is
>> what this movement is built on. Tell me a single content project that
was
>> built by paid employees? If we abandon our identity, then how would we
>> still
>> be volunteer-driven and open. I can argue volunteers do inherently
better

>> work than paid staff, because they believe in what they do and are
>> passionate about it. It is however, just a job for most people who get
>> paid
>> to do the same. You can not pay someone to care, is what my point was.
>
> Theo, volunteers do not care about things which require to be
> accurate. Besides that, more and more volunteer positions were
> replaced by paid staff, beginning with Brion. And that's not the
> problem of principle, but the problem of having job done.
>

Actually, a precise statement would be SOME volunteers do not care. Or
even MANY volunteers do not care. I always had difficulties, at least when
I was still active on Russian Wikipedia, but I believe this is the issue on
all projects, to explain that some things just need to be done DOES NOT
MATTER WHAT. And these things need to be done properly. And if nobody was
doing them I felt myself personally responsible for doing this stupid,
uninteresting, dull but necessary staff, and was obliged to hear arguments
about the wiki way, working for pleasure, and advises of not doing things
if I do not find them interesting enough. I must say this was a very
frustrating experience. But I hope I am not the only one.

Cheers
Yaroslav

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Re: On Wikinews

Milos Rancic-2
On Wed, Sep 14, 2011 at 18:19, Yaroslav M. Blanter <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Wed, 14 Sep 2011 17:48:58 +0200, Milos Rancic <[hidden email]>
>>
>> Theo, volunteers do not care about things which require to be
>> accurate. Besides that, more and more volunteer positions were
>> replaced by paid staff, beginning with Brion. And that's not the
>> problem of principle, but the problem of having job done.
>>
>
> Actually, a precise statement would be SOME volunteers do not care. Or
> even MANY volunteers do not care. I always had difficulties, at least when
> I was still active on Russian Wikipedia, but I believe this is the issue on
> all projects, to explain that some things just need to be done DOES NOT
> MATTER WHAT. And these things need to be done properly. And if nobody was
> doing them I felt myself personally responsible for doing this stupid,
> uninteresting, dull but necessary staff, and was obliged to hear arguments
> about the wiki way, working for pleasure, and advises of not doing things
> if I do not find them interesting enough. I must say this was a very
> frustrating experience. But I hope I am not the only one.

I probably worded it wrongly, but, I think that you didn't get my
point anyway. One thing is to do boring job, the same thing is to have
responsibility for taken job, even it's about voluntarism; completely
other thing is to do that on time for prolonged period of time. If
it's not about really really motivating task (I mean, you could find
such volunteers if it's about sex), it's hard to organize <whichever
number> of volunteers to do something in particular time frame.

The problem is the next:
* There is a need to have news every day and to keep eye on important
events 24/7.
* Note that it's not about regular stewards' night shift, when we have
bots and users who warn us about irregularities and that the most
complex irregular tasks require 10-15 minutes of doing simple things,
like clicking on right links is.
* Take as many volunteers as you want and give them the task to care about it.
* Try to cover 24/7.

It is likely that you'll need ~5 persons per small amount of time
(let's say, one hour per day) + some people to replace the core
editors for weekends or so -- to be sure that everything is covered
and that volunteers are still motivated as they don't have too harsh
tasks. That's around 100-200 highly involved persons, which is around
the top Wikipedias -- as 100 edits/month is not enough for being
"highly involved": 10 edits per workday makes more than 200 edits
requirement and I don't think that any of Wikipedia editors think that
their productive Wikipedian day was when they made 10 edits. Now, just
imagine how many edits have to be made during *one* day to create a
decent news story. And note that you'll have to *organize* them,
actually, unlike in the Wikipedia case.

In other words, to have successful Wikinews, you have to have editor
pool which have Wikipedia itself and to be more structured. The only
other option is to hire someone to do that job.

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Re: On Wikinews

Andrew Lih
On Wed, Sep 14, 2011 at 9:44 AM, Milos Rancic <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> In other words, to have successful Wikinews, you have to have editor
> pool which have Wikipedia itself and to be more structured. The only
> other option is to hire someone to do that job.

Wikinewsie Brian McNeil's signature says, "Facts don't cease to be
facts, but news ceases to be news."

The corollary to this is: "At some point, news stops being news. A
Wikipedia article never stops being an article."

This is where the tension lies -- Wikinews is not a clean mapping over
of Wikipedia principles. Wikis depend on eventualism: given an
infinite timeline, pages eventually get better. News cannot survive on
that. The "decay" of the value of breaking news and eventualism are at
odds with each other.

The question is, would paid staff be a healthy temporary boost for
sustainability or be futile artificial life support? I fear it's the
latter.

-Andrew (above taken from an earlier, longer post)

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Re: On Wikinews

theo10011
In reply to this post by Milos Rancic-2
Hi Milos

On Wed, Sep 14, 2011 at 9:18 PM, Milos Rancic <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Wed, Sep 14, 2011 at 16:17, Theo10011 <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > My main point (although I *did* make it clear), was that volunteer-work
> is
> > what this movement is built on. Tell me a single content project that was
> > built by paid employees? If we abandon our identity, then how would we
> still
> > be volunteer-driven and open. I can argue volunteers do inherently better
> > work than paid staff, because they believe in what they do and are
> > passionate about it. It is however, just a job for most people who get
> paid
> > to do the same. You can not pay someone to care, is what my point was.
>
> Theo, volunteers do not care about things which require to be
> accurate. Besides that, more and more volunteer positions were
> replaced by paid staff, beginning with Brion. And that's not the
> problem of principle, but the problem of having job done.
>

You are arguing that volunteers do not care about accuracy, I think that's a
sweeping assessment for a very wide spectrum of volunteers. What about the
hundred of editors covering breaking news stories on enwp by the minute?
Would you like to dispute that they don't care or strive for accuracy as a
story develops?

Yes, more volunteer position were replaced by paid staff, that did
not necessarily make things any efficient. I can instead argue it created
un-necessary bureaucracy and hierarchy where it didn't exist before and made
things more inefficient. A lot of people would dispute if there is wisdom in
replacing tasks that are handled by volunteers with staff- OTRS, IRC,
certain Elections come to mind. For example, there is the recent case of the
upcoming steward election which was previously handled by Cary as a
Volunteer Coordinator (among several dozen things Cary did) but since his
departure, those tasks have been handed back to volunteers.[1] In the mean
time, there is an entire community department with more than a dozen staff
members yet the appearance is, it is still preferable that the community
handle it.


> For example, I am not interested to be paid for writing bots for
> Wikinews. As nobody with sufficient knowledge of Python answered on
> many of my calls, the product is that nobody is doing that, as I don't
> have enough of free time to program that bot. Although all Wikinews
> editions could benefit from that (there are many programmable things
> for a news service). I even remember that for a short period of time
> the bot boosted English Wikinews itself, as editors got news and just
> had to fix the text (quality, NPOV). Would it be better to find
> someone who would program that bot?
>

That is not exactly what I talked about. I referred to regular editors.
Bot-writing is not a common task everyone can do, or do well at least, I
never disputed anything about providing more tech help to any project. I am
all for it, in fact, I think we should look at ways of motivating more
bot-work from the community. However this in no way means hire non-community
members and then explain to them how wikis work, what we need and how they
should go about writing a bot. They might perform the task but not care
about what happens next.


>
> The other issue is that I want to contribute to Wikinews just if I
> have news. In the mean time, someone has to make things to flow
> without problems. Who can guarantee ~50 news/day on one Wikinews
> edition to be almost as attractive as other news services are? News
> services regularly have more than 100 news per day.
>

I think Wikinews needs to find its own identity first. There is no way it
can compete with large news sites you are thinking of, but there are plenty
of other ways it can have its own identity. In the age of news aggregators,
micro-blogging and smartphones, getting constant feed of information is not
hard if you know how to tap into it.


> I agree that there are some structural problems with the rules which
> English Wikinews community imposed (while I understand that reviewing
> articles is good idea; having very high standards without relevant
> community is irrational), but that just catalyzed the inevitable: news
> service is not a news service without constant care, which could be
> done just by paid staff or extremely large community: 5 edits per
> month is not enough to be counted as Wikinews contributor if it is not
> at least about one new article; and 5 edits per month is usually not
> one article on Wikipedia.
>

My point still stands, you can not sustain a project on paid staff. If you
do, it is not a wiki, or a community, just office work.

Theo

[1]
http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Stewards/elections_2011-2#Election_Committee
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Re: On Wikinews

Sarah-128
In reply to this post by Andrew Lih
On Wed, Sep 14, 2011 at 12:02, Andrew Lih <[hidden email]> wrote:

> of Wikipedia principles. Wikis depend on eventualism: given an
> infinite timeline, pages eventually get better. News cannot survive on
> that. The "decay" of the value of breaking news and eventualism are at
> odds with each other.
>
> The question is, would paid staff be a healthy temporary boost for
> sustainability or be futile artificial life support? I fear it's the
> latter.
>
> -Andrew (above taken from an earlier, longer post)
>
There are current affairs issues that would continue to be of
interest. I've always felt this was an area Wikipedia and Wikinews
should pursue: video interviews by Wikipedians of interesting people.
Not necessarily celebrities or news types -- interviews with ordinary
people, oral histories of certain communities, people who've had odd
experiences, etc.

It has been discussed a few times, and I know David Shankbone did some
good ones, but for some reason it has been limited. Adding some
original videos to our articles (adding them to Wikipedia articles,
supplied by Wikinews) would be very attractive to readers, I think.

Sarah

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Re: On Wikinews

Thomas Dalton
In reply to this post by Milos Rancic-2
On 13 September 2011 13:06, Milos Rancic <[hidden email]> wrote:
> On Tue, Sep 13, 2011 at 12:24,  <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> It's my opinion, that Wikimedia should try to support a Wikinews by
>> paying a editor in chief and a core team of reporters to secure that
>> the project always stays above the critical mass.
>
> That's a kind of heresy. But it's impossible to drive [relevant] news
> source without paid editors. In a private talk with Sj, I mentioned
> that to him a year or so ago in private conversation, but it was, as I
> said, heresy, For his ears :P

If volunteer written news is an impossible model to make work, then we
should just close Wikinews. We shouldn't turn it into a professional
project. That's not what we do. It's not even something we know how to
do. Our expertise in is voluntary, collaborative content generation.
We shouldn't stray away from that.

So, the question is whether it is possible to write a newspaper using
volunteers. I suspect it is, but only if you can somehow reach the
critical mass. Once you've got there, it should be relatively easy to
stay there. Does anyone have any ideas for how to achieve that?

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Re: On Wikinews

Thomas Morton
In reply to this post by Sarah-128
The elephant in the room in all this is that Wikinews lacks the critical
mass of editors to overcome these issues.

So...

you could have a strict review system; if there were enough good reviewers
you could cover a broad spectrum of news; if there were enough editors
you could implement collaborative & freely edited original content; if there
was enough interested editors

The problem is that Wikinews already has a high barrier to entry - it
doesn't fit a model of casual contribution once or twice a week (or month).

Producing a functional daily news outlet (website) requires a substantial
full time staff... of course so does an encyclopaedia, but an encyclopaedia
doesn't have a weekly time limit on story completion... so we can adopt a
more leisurely model.

For "news" that model does not simply cut-n-paste across.

Tom
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Re: On Wikinews

Kim Bruning
On Wed, Sep 14, 2011 at 07:17:49PM +0100, Thomas Morton wrote:
> The elephant in the room in all this is that Wikinews lacks the critical
> mass of editors to overcome these issues.
>
> So...
>
> Producing a functional daily news outlet (website) requires a substantial
> full time staff... of course so does an encyclopaedia, but an encyclopaedia
> doesn't have a weekly time limit on story completion... so we can adopt a
> more leisurely model.


Actually, wikipedia did have a paid full-time editor at bootup. Perhaps
wikinews needs something similar, and never really booted properly, due
to lack of it?

sincerely,
        Kim Bruning

--

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