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Wikinews And The Growing Wikimedia Empire

By Eloquence in Internet
Sun Dec 05, 2004 at 07:53:56 AM EST
Tags: News (all tags)

After almost two months of deliberation and voting, the Wikimedia Foundation has now officially launched the Wikinews project in English and German editions. More languages will follow soon. Wikinews aims to be to news media what Wikipedia is to encyclopedias: a free, comprehensive and, eventually, reliable source of information, collaboratively created by volunteers around the planet. Wikinews explicitly allows original reporting, making it somewhat similar to Indymedia, while adhering to a strict Neutral Point of View policy.

Read on to find out what the Wikimedia community has accomplished so far, what challenges it faces, and how Wikinews can become successful.

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The Wikimedia Foundation is an international non-profit organization which operates volunteer-driven projects driven by wiki technology. Wikis are websites which anyone can edit - wiki pages are collaboratively created by many different people over time. Various mechanisms are used to control the changes that are made and to review existing articles. These mechanisms are continuously evolving, and Wikinews in particular puts the challenge of quality control in the spotlight again.

All content created by the Wikimedia Community is made available under open content licenses such as the GNU Free Documentation License, ensuring that it will be freely available for copying and modification forever. Aside from Wikinews, Wikimedia operates the following projects.

  • Wikipedia, an encyclopedia in over 100 languages. About 20 of these have more than 10,000 articles each. As of December 2004, the English Wikipedia had over 400,000 articles, and the German edition had over 170,000.

    And these aren't just short puff pieces - more than 30% of all English articles are over 2,000 characters long. See Erik Zachte's Wikistats page for all the statistics you can handle.

    While it is true that Wikipedia covers geeky subjects in excessive detail (one of the most bizarre examples perhaps being the article on OS-tan),it also has comprehensive articles on subjects like the national parks of England and Wales, the Shroud of Turin, the Russian constitutional crisis of 1993, the Olympic Flame, the Origins of the American Civil War, Stanley Milgram's famous experiment on authority, and bathing machines.

    In less than 4 years of existence, Wikipedia has become one of the 200 most popular websites world-wide, according to statistics by Alexa.com. It has received intense media coverage around the world and managed to survive without any advertising, driven entirely by donations and generous support from the project founder, Jimmy Wales.

  • Wikibooks is a younger and less well-known project that strives to create reference sources on specific subjects, some of them of relatively narrow interest, such as the Wikibooks on surviving as a Teaching Assistant in France or Lucid Dreaming. One long-term goal of Wikibooks is to provide open content alternatives to proprietary textbooks, and Wikibooks on paleoanthropology or Physics might one day become just that.

    Some have suggested that Wikibooks should become part of a larger Wikiversity project, a true open-content teaching and learning resource.

  • The Wikimedia Commons, launched only in September 2004, is already shaping up to become one of the Foundation's most popular and successful projects. The Commons is a repository of free media - pictures, sound files, spoken texts - that are potentially useful to at least one Wikimedia project. In less than 3 months, more than 10,000 media files have already been uploaded - whether you're looking for the amazing early 20th century color photography by Sergei_Mikhailovich_Prokudin-Gorskii, Fayum mummy portraits, stereocards from the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition, or photos and stamps from the Fareo Islands, you will find them there.

    Pictures and other files are created and collected by Wikimedians. The Wikicommons does not allow "fair use" of copyrighted photography - all content must be under a free license, so you can be relatively sure that you can use whatever you find there, even in a commercial context. The nice thing about the Wikimedia Commons is that any file uploaded there can immediately be used on all Wikimedia projects - just specify the file name using the appropriate wiki syntax (e.g. "[[Image:MyPicture.jpg]]"), and you're ready to go. In the long term, it may even be possible to offer the same functionality to any wiki site using MediaWiki (see below).

    In my initial proposal for the project, I suggested that it should be merged with another Wikimedia project, Wikisource, which collects free source texts, but this merger has not happened yet.

  • Wiktionary, a multilingual dictionary. Like most Wikimedia projects, it exists in many languages. The English Wiktionary, for example, provides English definitions of words, but also translations, etymology, and related terms (example entry). While Wiktionary is reasonably succesful, the structure-centric nature of the project has led some to question whether a simple wiki is the right tool for the job.

    I have proposed a new project, Wikidata, which will require substantial software changes, but in theory makes it possible to use a wiki-like process to enter structured data of any type. If Wikidata is implemented, it could become a realistic alternative to countless proprietary databases. While Wikidata is still a pipe dream, similar projects already exist: KendraBase and jot.com are wiki-based solutions for storing and retrieving structured data. I believe Wikidata is a requirement before Wiktionary can become truly useful. I also believe this to be true for Wikispecies, a recently created database of biological taxonomies.

  • Wikiquote, a free collection of quotations. It is already quite useful as such, and most entries are neatly separated into attributed and sourced quotations.
  • MediaWiki, the open source wiki engine that powers all Wikimedia projects. While it is somewhat controversial whether MediaWiki is a Wikimedia project, many people consider it as such, and it is certainly essential for Wikimedia's operations. MediaWiki is generally considered one of the most feature-rich wiki engines in existence and used by over 100 wikis, including many of the world's largest.
Building trust

Perhaps the biggest issue facing Wikimedia today is the lack of credibility of the content created by its world-wide community of volunteers. Wikimedians point to recent quality reviews which have found Wikipedia articles to be frequently superior to those in traditional encyclopedias, but the simple fact that an entry may have been turned into rubbish a minute before you have decided to look at it does not inspire much confidence. For this reason, lots of energy and thought has been spent on finding and implementing review methodologies.

An example of one such methodology is the Featured Article Candidate process on the English Wikipedia. Users can nominate Wikipedia articles for "Featured" status, and if community consensus is reached, they will be added to the respective list. But again, once an article has been added, it is not "frozen", and may very well degrade in quality over time.

The flagging of individual revisions of articles as trustworthy is one of the most frequent suggestions for achieving quality control. This would allow for an distinction between "stable" and "unstable" versions of pages. However, the necessary code for this functionality does not yet exist.


This brings us straight to Wikinews. I wrote the original Wikinews proposal on October 10, 2004. Because the creation of the Wikispecies project without much discussion resulted in an outcry by some members of the community, a new process was used for deciding whether Wikinews should be launched. In fact, no other Wikimedia project has undergone such intense scrutiny before its launch. After some discussion, I set up a vote on whether the project should be launched. A large majority supported the idea, and the Board of Trustees of the Foundation authorized a "demo" site to demonstrate the feasibility of the project. Yesterday, this demo site was transformed into the English edition of Wikinews, and today, the German edition has been launched as well.

A look at the English site will reveal that there has been quite a lot of activity already in the last few weeks. About 100 articles have been written, though some major events were never covered.

One major issue with news is that people have to be able to rely on the accuracy of articles the moment they are published, not two weeks later. Some have argued that this makes news inherently incompatible with the wiki idea of gradual improvement. I disagree, as I see wiki as just a specific tool for one specific purpose: to collaborate with other people on writing documents. Whether such collaboration happens over the course of a week, a month or a year is irrelevant. The Wikipedia article on the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, for example, was kept up to date and in decent shape during the course of events.

However, I do believe that there should be a process in place to systematically verify the accuracy, neutrality, legality and comprehensiveness of articles. For this purpose, I proposed the Wikinews review process, which is currently being tested on the English Wikinews edition. Reviewing an article is optional, and articles are flagged at the bottom or top according to their current status (in development, under review, successfully reviewed, review failed, never reviewed). Review occurs on the discussion page related to an article, and similar to the Featured Article Candidate procedure, consensus has to be found before it can be considered successful.

So far, original reporting has not been an issue yet, as the submitted articles relied on external sources. When original reporting is added, a specific process may be required to verify the trustworthiness of contributors, and to make them accountable for their contributions.

Many ideas on the matter can be found in the Wikinews proposal, which includes a brief FAQ, as well as the Wikinews Thinktank page. Current discussions are held on the Wikinews Water Cooler page.

I have heard many arguments and ideas on why Wikinews will, must fail, but the most bizarre reason that has been brought up against it is that "we don't need it", because there are already so many different news sources and blogs. This strikes me as very silly, as Wikinews provides some key advantages over those sources:

  • It is not limited in scope. Articles on Linux kernel releases can coexist with those on a major political crisis. Like Wikipedia, it can become truly gigantic, an überblog, and the only news resource you ever need.
  • It follows a neutrality policy. This is taken quite seriously, and if a viewpoint is attributed properly and on-topic, then there is little reason to remove it from an article. While traditional media focus on moderates, Wikinews can present extreme views without holding them, and as such offer a more useful mix of information.
  • It is not subject to the standards of news selection and exposure used by the traditional media. Much has been written about media bias, and I am a believer in the idea that any so-called "liberal" bias is greatly outweighed by the requirement of privatized media to make a profit, to compete, to keep advertisers happy, and to avoid flak from well-funded think tanks. But even if you hate Noam Chomsky and believe that the media are controlled by evil liberals who want to force their homosexual, anti-war agenda on innocent children, you will still have to appreciate that the only bias in Wikinews is that of its contributors, and that the anarchic nature of the project makes it difficult for any particular faction to gain a foothold.
  • It is completely free. As registration-only access to quality news sources becomes the norm, this freedom increases in value. Wikinews articles can become the basis for pieces in your local district newspapers; they can be used by people who could never afford the licensing fees associated with a Reuters or Associated Press news feed. Even the mere transformation of existing news into free documents if of immense, global cultural value. And no matter whether you read Wikinews or not, it will put the pressure on traditional news media to compete with its free offerings.

Nevertheless, I also believe that making Wikinews successful will, in some ways, be much harder than creating an encyclopedia. The competition from free sources is stronger, the motivation to create something which others have already created smaller, the amount of "real work" that has to be done is larger, and the software tools currently available to us are in some ways inadequate.

How you can help

The success of Wikinews will in large part depend on people like you. There are plenty of things that need to be done. For starters, quite a few changes to MediaWiki will be necessary to make Wikinews a really smooth operation. The most important of these changes is the ability to automatically display the latest stories in a category, so that the various index pages do not have to be manually updated. This would turn MediaWiki into a full-fledged wiki/blog application that could be used for a variety of other purposes as well. So here's what you can do:

  1. If you're a PHP/MySQL developer, subscribe and send an introduction to wikitech-l, and we'll show you how you can get started. MediaWiki is very open in accepting new developers. This kind of help is also crucial for some of the other ideas mentioned above, such as the review process, or the Wikidata concept.
  2. If you're an artist, you could create a Wikinews logo and add it to the respective page on our cross-project coordination wiki (note that you have to be logged in before you can upload files). Artists are also constantly needed in all the Wikimedia projects to illustrate articles.
  3. If you're a writer, then you can start working on Wikinews articles right now - become familiar with wiki usage, if you aren't already, and create a new page in the Wikinews Workspace.
  4. If you're a photographer or filmmaker, and close to an upcoming event, you can shoot pictures, and upload them to the Current Events page on the Wikimedia Commons.
  5. If you've got money to spare, you can make a donation, which will ensure that Wikipedia, Wikinews and similar projects can stay alive and thrive. The WMF may also decide to invest money specifically in goal-oriented software development in the future.

To stay in touch, join the relevant mailing lists and IRC channels. I hope that you will participate in building the volunteer media empire called "Wikimedia". What we see here is merely the first wave of revolutionary changes that the Internet can bring to society. The tools we have right now are comparatively primitive to what we may have in the future -- real-time, WYSIWYG collaboration tools with built-in voice and video chat, running on mobile devices, allowing anyone to participate in the creation of content anywhere in the world. Maybe Wikinews will not be successful in its current incarnation -- if that is the case, then the next generation of the project almost certainly will. And when that time comes, it will be a great day for humanity, and a wonderful expression of our creativity, our goodwill, and our ability to work together in common cause.

Erik Möller, December 2004. This article is in the public domain.


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Are you participating in a Wikimedia project?
o Yes, occasionally. 52%
o Yes, I'm a regular in one project. 30%
o Yes, I'm involved in more than one project. 5%
o No, but after reading your article, I intend to get involved. 11%

Votes: 36
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Wikimedia Foundation
o English
o German
o Wikipedia
o Indymedia
o wiki
o GNU Free Documentation License
o Wikistats
o OS-tan
o the national parks of England and Wales
o the Shroud of Turin
o the Russian constitutional crisis of 1993
o the Olympic Flame
o the Origins of the American Civil War
o Stanley Milgram's famous experiment on authority
o bathing machines
o statistics by Alexa.com
o media coverage
o donations
o Wikibooks
o surviving as a Teaching Assistant in France
o Lucid Dreaming
o Wikibooks on paleoanthropology
o Physics
o Wikiversit y
o Wikimedia Commons
o Sergei_Mik hailovich_Prokudin-Gorskii
o Fayum mummy portraits
o stereocard s from the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition
o Fareo Islands
o initial proposal
o Wikisource
o Wiktionary
o example entry
o Wikidata
o KendraBase
o jot.com
o Wikispecie s
o Wikiquote
o MediaWiki
o feature-ri ch
o over 100 wikis
o many of the world's largest
o Featured Article Candidate
o original Wikinews proposal
o vote
o Board of Trustees
o English site
o Space Shuttle Columbia disaster
o Wikinews review process
o Wikinews proposal
o Wikinews Thinktank
o Wikinews Water Cooler
o wikitech-l
o Wikinews logo
o become familiar with wiki usage
o Wikinews Workspace
o Current Events
o make a donation
o mailing lists
o IRC channels
o Also by Eloquence

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Wikinews And The Growing Wikimedia Empire | 117 comments (106 topical, 11 editorial, 0 hidden)
hmmm... this is interesting. (1.60 / 10) (#1)
by the ghost of rmg on Fri Dec 03, 2004 at 04:37:19 PM EST

i have to wonder though... why did you post it here?

rmg: comments better than yours.
Seems like a natural to me (3.00 / 3) (#65)
by Patrick Bateman on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 09:34:34 PM EST

K5's readership has long been interested in the capabilities of a collaborative media foundation, and Wikimedia is showing the way.

I have to return some videotapes.
[ Parent ]

woah, that is like... so old school.... (none / 0) (#74)
by the ghost of rmg on Sun Dec 05, 2004 at 04:23:04 AM EST

like, retro, man.

rmg: comments better than yours.
[ Parent ]
That's going a little far (none / 0) (#100)
by ksandstr on Tue Dec 07, 2004 at 06:27:26 PM EST

Wikimedia is showing a way. Not everyone appears to agree with their NPOV opinion purge policies.

[ Parent ]
wikipedia (2.18 / 16) (#2)
by dharma on Fri Dec 03, 2004 at 05:19:12 PM EST

It is a good concept in theory but not in practice. No serious researcher, scientist, or student would ever reference wikipedia as a serious, trusted source for information. There is a reason peer-reviewed journals are consider the highest form of publication. And notice the reviewers are other scientists of good standing and not anonymous, random, self-selected individuals with little evidence of the credentials to do a good review.

The quality of the product produced by Wikipedia is ultimately a reflection of the quality of the contributors. If the contributors are of high quality, the 'expected value' of the product will be high too. But without some form of gate-keeping, the asymptotic 'expected value' of typical Wikipedia articles will approach that of the general population. Sites such as this, /. and other discussion sites easily demonstrate that mean value is typically very low mediocrity.

Some try to draw a reference between open source code and Wikipedia but there is a fundamental difference between the two. Bad, incorrect code will never compile or execute in the manner expected. Bad, incorrect reference articles do not have that self-limiting factor.

Re (3.00 / 12) (#4)
by pHatidic on Fri Dec 03, 2004 at 05:57:08 PM EST

No serious researcher, scientist, or student would ever reference wikipedia as a serious, trusted source for information.

No serious researcher, scientist, or student would ever reference any encyclopedia as a serious, trusted source for information. Encyclopedias exist only as a gateway to real research. If Wikipedia has some flaws, it doesn't matter because no one is citing it anyway, so as long as the general idea is correct this is enough.

[ Parent ]

cf for instance the article on the Ukranian famine (1.60 / 5) (#5)
by Battle Troll on Fri Dec 03, 2004 at 05:59:57 PM EST

The Spartacists keep hitting it.
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
Credentials, schmedentials (3.00 / 11) (#7)
by Intelligentsia on Fri Dec 03, 2004 at 06:09:29 PM EST

any "serious" researcher who uses an encyclopædia (I like ligatures) for anything more than a quick, broad reference deserves what they get.

We need to prove that we can spread rumors just like the mainstream media.—waxmop

[ Parent ]
being a reference source is not end-all, be-all (2.16 / 6) (#9)
by cryon on Fri Dec 03, 2004 at 06:36:25 PM EST

You denigrate wikipedia because it cannot serve as a reference source (because someone's career does not depend on it). But that should not serve as the standard to which wikipedia should strive. Instead, wikipedia and wikinews in general should strive to serve as an alternate to the corporate mass media. THe corporate mass media is a corrupting influence upon our politics and culture. It must die, and wikinews can help kill it.

[ Parent ]
it's an active project only 3 years old (3.00 / 3) (#16)
by jsnow on Fri Dec 03, 2004 at 11:31:30 PM EST

Wikipedia hasn't been around long and is still in a state of active change. It's amazing that people are already warning each other "don't take it too seriously, it's only a web page that anyone can edit". The fact that people are already comparing it to encyclopedias that have been around much, much longer is encouraging.

I don't expect wikipedia to stay in its current form forever. Right now, a "lets let everyone edit anything" policy is most conducive to growth of the project. They may eventually reach a point where the quality will not improve without some sort of access restrictions.

I can envision at some point in the not-to-distant future (unless the founders are philosphically opposed to the idea), mediawiki will examine the link structure of the wiki to determine the relative importance of each page (they could use the pagerank algorithm for this), or alternatively it could monitor site traffic to find the most heavily read pages, and restrict anonymous users from editing those pages. Then perhaps they could eventually restrict it further to limit editing to a few users with high reputations (defined by some as-yet-nonexistent reputation system), or require confirmation of an edit by some other user. They could also fork articles into a "stable" version and a "draft" version. All edits must be done to the draft version, and then propogate to the stable version only after some sort of peer review. Another possible enhancement would be to make the "discussion" page for each article into a threaded message board, like k5 or /., where no one can delete the comments of other users. They could also split discussion separate threads for comments about the writing of the article, and discussions about the content of the article, much like k5 does.

I'd also like to see a "confidence index" at the top of each page, indicating how well developed a particular article is, and how thoroughly it's been peer-reviewed. This could be a relatively simple heuristic, and would remind people to take everything with a grain of salt.

This is all conjecture on my part. The administators of wikipedia may take a completely different approach, like creating an annual "stable release" that contains only the most reliable articles.

[ Parent ]

who is judging the quality? (1.00 / 2) (#21)
by circletimessquare on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 12:32:24 AM EST

why is some sort of "expert" a better judge of quality than the emergent statement of hundreds of your fellow men?

an expert on a subjective matter is often little more than some asshole indoctrinated into a given pov and with an agenda to push

meanwhile, if you gather enough subjective opinions on an issue from the common poulation, you develop a bell curve of variation in opinion

i assert to you that that bell curve can't possibly do anything else except overlap with the truth

meanwhile, you somehow blindly place your trust in some sort of "expert"?

it's kind of like jury duty: why have a jury of 12 of your peers rather than of "experts" or judges?

when you understand the wisdom behind the answer to that question, you'll understand my point

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Nice try and all (2.33 / 3) (#35)
by GenerationY on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 10:36:46 AM EST

but what you miss out here is that courts do indeed appoint experts to comment on evidence and issues. Not some random dude they haul off the streets.

Judge: "Is there a chance the DNA evidence is corrupt Mr Random Dude?"

Random Dude: "Er. Hell. If I say no, does that mean I can go now?"

A wide variety of opinions are fine, but they must be informed opinions none-the-less.

[ Parent ]

what you just said (1.33 / 3) (#46)
by circletimessquare on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 11:31:04 AM EST

doesn't challenge my assertion about wikinews, it in fact bolsters it, and undermines your pov

i'lll let you figure out why

but thanks!



The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Hmm (2.33 / 3) (#72)
by GenerationY on Sun Dec 05, 2004 at 03:47:13 AM EST

Well, I'll tell you what I was really thinking.

Recently I read a book called The Wisdom of The Crowds, which you should certainly read if you find this kind of idea interesting. Indeed, I suspect you may have already?

In general this would appear to agree with you, indeed the first page gives an example of a bell-shaped distribution of guesses regarding the weight of a cow (pig?) at a market fair, and then median guess was indeed correct.

That said, the book gives other examples in which absolute nievity or lack of expertise means these principles fail to hold. A large enough heterogenous group of novices will make better predictions (on average) than a smaller group of homogenous experts. But a larger group of village idiots will do a lot worse than both groups.

[ Parent ]

correction: (2.60 / 5) (#28)
by SocratesGhost on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 02:33:39 AM EST

"The quality of the product produced by Wikipedia is ultimately a reflection of the quality of the contributors. "

this should read:

The quality of the product produced by Wikipedia is ultimately a reflection of the quality of the last contributor."

If you think about it, that's even scarier.

I drank what?

[ Parent ]
alternatively (2.00 / 4) (#58)
by circletimessquare on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 05:57:08 PM EST

The quality of the product produced by the bazaar is ultimately superior to the quality of that produced by the cathedral

trickle up emergent statements seem more quality to me than that produced by some sort of authority

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

depends (2.75 / 4) (#66)
by SocratesGhost on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 09:36:46 PM EST

on if you're building a cathedral or not.

You must have missed the recent article on slashdot about this, from one of the editors of an encyclopedia. He took an article about Alexander Hamilton and showed how the wiki process took a relatively good starting article and proceeded to butcher it into internal inconsistency and factual incoherence.

Don't get me wrong, wiki isn't bad. However, it will more likely tend to bring articles to the middle of quality as both bad researchers and writers mingle with good researchers and writers to produce a mediocre result.

I drank what?

[ Parent ]
you know (2.33 / 3) (#67)
by circletimessquare on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 09:50:15 PM EST

you're right ;-P

but so am i (!?)

we're both right... the real point you already hinted at: "depends on if you're building a cathedral or not"

tv didn't kill radio, radio didn't kill newspapers: each medium has their own niche, and that niche was affected by the appearance of the new medium, but the new medium never killed off the old one as the old one could do things the new one could never do

same with wikinews

i won't pretend to know what that niche is, but it won't kill off old news sources, nor will wiki news be able to do everything old news sources can do, but wikinews will be able to do something that old news sources won't be able to do, and it will be valuable

you know, when they invented television, they heralded it as a great tool of education (snicker)

who knows what wikinews will be good for?

but it will be good for something, just like tv is good for something, but nothing anyone who invented it or pioneered it imagined

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Slashdot? (none / 1) (#97)
by ant0n on Mon Dec 06, 2004 at 04:32:42 PM EST

I don't understand why you link to slashdot, there is no slashdot article by Robert McHenry, but anyway here's the link to McHenry's The faith-based encyclopedia. It's great reading.
Every kurobot please see also Why Wikipedia Sucks. Big Time and Don't use Wikipedia as source for more information about this pile of biased US-centric shit called Wikipedia.

-- Does the shortest thing the tallest pyramid's support supports support anything green?
Patrick H. Winston, Artificial Intelligence
[ Parent ]
Research tools versus sources (2.42 / 7) (#41)
by mcc on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 10:58:22 AM EST

First off, I'm not sure how exactly what you are saying particularly relates to the current article.

Wikipedia is not valid as a source. However, Wikipedia could certainly help you to find a valid source. Since Wikipedia always cites its sources, if you are looking for a citable source rather than an overview you can just, you know, follow Wikipedia's source. This means Wikipedia's information is not to be completely trusted, but it gives you a starting point. It is like Google. No one would ever use "i read it on Google" as a source, but serious researchers may well use Google in performing research. Meanwhile, there are a great many potential uses for wikipedia that are quite aside from serious research.

Wikipedia is useful. Does it really need to be anything else?

[ Parent ]

wiki wiki wiki (2.13 / 22) (#3)
by Hana Yori Dango on Fri Dec 03, 2004 at 05:32:17 PM EST

say "wiki" one more time, motherfucker. I dare you.

ns (1.25 / 4) (#6)
by Intelligentsia on Fri Dec 03, 2004 at 06:03:04 PM EST

"'wiki' one more time, motherfucker. I dare you."

We need to prove that we can spread rumors just like the mainstream media.—waxmop

[ Parent ]
Heh. (2.33 / 12) (#8)
by BJH on Fri Dec 03, 2004 at 06:14:15 PM EST

 WWWWW        WWWWW       II      KKKK   KKKK       II
  WWWW        WWWW        II      KKKK  KKK         II
   WWW   WW   WWW         II      KKKK KKK          II
    WW  WWWW  WW          II      KKKKKKK           II
     WWWWWWWWWW           II      KKKKKKKKK         II
      WWW  WWW            II      KKKK   KKKK       II

Roses are red, violets are blue.
I'm schizophrenic, and so am I.
-- Oscar Levant

[ Parent ]
w-1ki (1.20 / 5) (#10)
by power guido on Fri Dec 03, 2004 at 08:30:47 PM EST

[ Parent ]
lack of accountability = no thanks (2.28 / 7) (#12)
by CanSpice on Fri Dec 03, 2004 at 09:11:06 PM EST

Wikinews articles can become the basis for pieces in your local district newspapers

God I hope not. Suppose I live in a small town. I put up a news article on Wikinews saying that Joe Smith, local councilmember, is in favour of tearing down the local Veterans' hospital and replacing it with a crematorium. Then my local paper picks up the story (since Wikinews is supposed to be trustworthy?) and publishes it. Only problem is, Joe Smith hasn't said squat about tearing anything down.

There's no accountability. It's like you take Google News and have all of the stories come from Joe Random Internet User instead of the New York Times.

And why would I want to use Wikinews for big stories anyhow? Why would I want to go to Wikinews instead of, say, Google News for US election results?

you have a logical fallacy (2.60 / 5) (#19)
by circletimessquare on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 12:20:24 AM EST

you are assuming someone goes to wiki to get the word of god

as if they don't have a critical eye or the ability to question what they read

you don't have a critical eye? you believe everything you see in the nyt unquestioningly?

do you believe in a mythical person out there who would read wiki and say "'tis all true! i saw it on the intarweb!"

and even if said moron existed, what other more traditional source of propaganda hasn't turned them into some sort of incotrinated beyond all salvation fuck who is impervious to the idea of impartial news anyways?

perhaps, my old media friend, you need make yourself familiar with the idea of the cathedral versus the bizarre: what tirckles up, what comes into focus from patterns in rumors, and what is shifted and emergent for mthe minds of hundreds of average joes is more accountable than some singluar editor at the new york times, no matter how seasoned

emergent behavior: tell me it is an enemy of the truth and i'll show you someone with a rigid dangerous trust in authority

take a look in the mirror

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

I think people (2.75 / 4) (#33)
by jubal3 on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 08:35:22 AM EST

who get their *news* from unaccountable sources are nuts.

Seriously, we see it all the time on K5 and other boards, as well as in personal conversations. People read something on the net and take it as gospel if it fits in with their previous biases.

The nice thing about the New York Times, or even Fox news, is that when they say "X happened today at 4:00pm" You are reasonbly assured that X in fact DID occur, AT 4:00pm.

When I see the same thing as reported by someone on the web, I assume it's VERY likely to be grossly inaccurate. More than 50% of the time,that kind of thing (web-only "reportage") turns out to be not true at all, or a gross exageration.

I don't mind the spin on articles I read in a newspaper, either it's relatively small, or the publication has aa well-known bias. (One doesn't read the national review without expecting a certain editorial slant).

What I object to is outright falsehoods, or exagerrations to extensive as to make a story a virtual lie.
With the New York Times, they're rarely guilty of printing something flat-out incorrect, and they are held accountable. If the same reporter gets something wrong in his stories repeatedly, he's going to be walking the streets.

There isn't any such control over wikipedia, so it winds up becoming nothing but another discussion site, where one guy says X and the other refutes him, and you never DO know the truth til it's reported by the mainstream press.

I don't object to that, but I wouldn't call it a NEWS source.

***Never attribute to malice that which can be easily attributed to incompetence. -HB Owen***
[ Parent ]

except that (2.00 / 3) (#43)
by circletimessquare on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 11:15:05 AM EST

the problem you point to about getting your news from teh intarweb is a problem already present in traditional news sources

about say, for example, the ukranian elections

say you are a ukranian and you want to know what the hell is going on in your country: you turn to the state-sponsored ukranian news: all cronies of the entrenched powers

you turn to the web: innuendo and conspiracy theories from crackpots in their parent's basements

so are you stuck?

no, because you present a false situation: one person says one thing, another person says another thing, and they cancel each other out, therefore, who knows what really happened...

no, actually, what really happens is that a number of news stories, from trying to be as impartial as possible, to flamingly opinionated, report a range of things, and this range of opinions and "facts" develops into a siuation like this:

2 news sources agree on something, 1 begrudging agrees, 1 contradicts it, and another, which you would expect to contradict as well because of it's track record, is strangely silent

bingo: the bell curve of opinon speaks: what the majority said is probably true

the problem is, you think there is some sort of news coverage out there in the span of history, or at some sort of mythical future time, where this sort of humans coloring the news with their opinions doesn't exist

on the contrary, emergent behavior on the web merely allows for a streamlining about what is already going on about the news being covered

humans have been manipulating the news since the time the news was rpeorted by town criers on horseback going from one town to the next

and they will be manipulating the news far into the future when it is downlaoded directly into our cortex

the problem is you: you seek to believein and trust some sort of mythical news source free of this kind of manipulation

no such news source can ever exist

therefore, alwas listen to the news with a critical eye, and depend upon a range of sources for your news

that's the best you can do, and the best anyone ever can ever do

that's not a bad thing at all, that's just the way it is in a world full of humn beings, we're all fallible

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Well, I don't think you really answered my point (3.00 / 2) (#50)
by jubal3 on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 01:04:17 PM EST

Which is:

when I read the Wall Street Hournal or the LA Times, I am pretty well certain that when tyhey report X happened at X place and X time, that it did in fact occur.

I have no such assurance with anonymous web sources.

Even drudge is more accountable than what I'm understanding about Wiki's idea of reportage.

What about all the internet hype about the draft before the election? It was BS. There was no substance at all behind it. Yet many believed it.

Nope, I don't care about the format, but I do care about accountability.

I don't care about organizational makeup, but I *DO* care about reliability.

I don't care about opinion slant, but I *DO* care about factual accuracy.

The mainstream press offers me all these things, the wiki idea doesn't.

Address these concerns, then you're making a case for something.

In your example, the Ukranian has to look to international sources (easily available now) because the state press isn't any of the things I've said I demand from a news service.

Comparing state-run propaganda with the New York times isn't just an apples and oranges comparison, more like apples to Rhinocerous.

***Never attribute to malice that which can be easily attributed to incompetence. -HB Owen***
[ Parent ]

the problem is that we don't contradict each other (1.66 / 3) (#55)
by circletimessquare on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 03:32:27 PM EST

you seem to making the case that wikinews is useless

and you seem to think that i am saying you can find the same accountability in wikinews as the new york times

i'm not

so you are making an argument about accountability i agree with, and you miss the point i am trying to make!

i am making the case for the more sources of information, the better

90% of the time, and 90% of the news stories, the traditional sources are just fine, if not blatantly superior

but for certain stories, in certain situations, wikinews can do things the traditional news sources can't

so you have to understand that my pov does not contradict yours, it supplements yours

and you have to stop thinking of wikinews as a threat to something it isn't even attacking, simply because you are thinking of wikinews in a mode of thinking that does not apply to it

tv didn't replace the radio

radio didn't replace the newspaper

each has an important niche that it fills

likewise, wikinews will not replace the wall street journal

do you understand?

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Wikinews could potentially be _more_ reliable. (none / 1) (#77)
by irrevenant on Sun Dec 05, 2004 at 07:27:24 AM EST

How often do you see the LA Times, or Wall Street Journal (or whatever) cite their sources?

Which is better: "anonymous web sources" that provide verifiable data, or "legitimate newspeople" whose word you have to take on trust (as you seem to)?

Hyperlinking is ideal for this purpose, as you can read the article and 'drill down' into the sources of bits that interest you...

[ Parent ]

actually (3.00 / 3) (#81)
by jubal3 on Sun Dec 05, 2004 at 01:14:46 PM EST

very few news stories (as a percentage of the whole) use anonymous sources as their sole source. I mean we're talking 1 in a thousand MAYBE.

Reporters don't use anonymous sources for more than a point in the right direction usually.

As a former reporter, I can tell you that I know damn well when someone insists on being anonymous, I need to be extra cautious because the "source" is frequently trying to use me to accomplish some goal of her own.

I may use a quote in a story, but it's backed up by 2-3 people who say about the samething ON THE RECORD.

and if someone says something to you in an interview (which makes 90%+ of your newsgathering)
how are you supposed to link to it onthe net. It's an original attribution.

Nope, I read drudge, but I don't rely on him as a primary source of news, mostly entertainment.

***Never attribute to malice that which can be easily attributed to incompetence. -HB Owen***
[ Parent ]

Sources vs Content providers (none / 0) (#117)
by irrevenant on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 06:29:36 AM EST

I think I've just realised where the mental disconnect is.  You're referring to anonymous SOURCES whereas I'm referring to anonymous POSTERS.  Note that I said in my original post that posters (who can be anonymous) should provide verifiable data - ie. non-anonymous.  

I would envision Irrevenant's Perfect Wikimedia News System (IPWNS) working something like the following:
IPWNS includes a sources database.  When a news story is created, it has a 'sources' section which lists the story's sources for independent verification.  If no source is listed, IPWNS slaps one of those wikimedia boilerplates stating "WARNING: This news article lists no sources and should not be relied on".  Similarly, anyone can flag a news story as referencing anonymous sources, and a similar "anonymous sources" boilerplate will appear.  Finally, until sources have been verified by X posters, a "unverified sources" boilerplate is used.  Wikimedia users being how they are, you can expect unverified sources to be verified reasonably quickly.

I imagine contentious sources will waver between verified and unverified in the standard wikimedia way (Hmm, a 'contentious' boilerplate might not be a bad idea), but you always have the story history  to check.

Essentially it's the "to enough eyes, all bugs are shallow" situation - of every X people who look at the article, one will care enough to check the sources, and flag if they're bogus...

[ Parent ]

Strange (2.37 / 8) (#44)
by mcc on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 11:19:06 AM EST

So you're suggesting your local town newspaper would reprint information it got from some random website on the internet, without attempting to understand its origin?

If so that seems like a problem with your local newspaper, not wikinews.

[ Parent ]

Silly. (2.50 / 10) (#13)
by Dr Gonzo on Fri Dec 03, 2004 at 09:13:24 PM EST

This all seems pretty silly to me. Google News already covers this area, and better, than a horde of untrained human sorters could. I get all my news from Google News because it conveniently sorts through the news of the day for me, without human bias. This is the genius of having computers report on the news, as they have no emotional interest in the situation, unlike their imperfect human counterparts.

In any event, if this Wikinews thing takes off, can we expect to see more quality content like this?

"I felt the warmth spread across my lap as her bladder let loose." - MichaelCrawford

you trust a machine? (2.00 / 4) (#20)
by circletimessquare on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 12:26:57 AM EST

rather than the emrgent behavior of hundreds of your fellow human beings?

taken alone or in small groups, human opinion can color news horribly

but on the wide internet? it's statistics in action: the bell curve of opinion can't possibly reflect anything else other than the truth

i assert to you then that you are the fait accompli of being blindly trusting in authority: you literally trust in the machine

a machine is beyond dirty tricks and manipulation?

while the wide open internet, and the statistical negation of the shaded opinions of hundreds of your fellow human beings is not?

wow, just wow

it's like you've willfully turned off your critical eye

"trust in google"

trust in my ass!

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Your post is wrong on so many points (1.00 / 2) (#24)
by Dont Fear The Reaper on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 01:02:12 AM EST

it's hilarious. Between your misapplication of statistics, your golden mean fallacies, your utter failure to comprehend what Google news does, your paranoia with regards to machines, and your putting words in other peoples mouths - well it's like a truckload of laughs! Good show man, good show!

[ Parent ]
i repeat (2.00 / 2) (#26)
by circletimessquare on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 01:20:16 AM EST

why trust what google news does as more accurate and trustworthy and reliable than what the emergent behavior of a bunch of human beings can produce?

exactly where is the mountain of wrong points in there?


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

ok (2.00 / 2) (#39)
by Dont Fear The Reaper on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 10:52:52 AM EST

You praise the emergent behavior of a bunch of humans beings, but the internet as a whole is a much better example of that than a single wiki is. You hold up the bell curve of opinion, but firstly the belief that you can find truth that way encompasses at least two different logical fallacies, and secondly, google search, google news, google groups, google period is a tool that encompasses the entire internet. How do you get a bigger and more representative bell curve (on the internet) than that? If you don't like google, there are other tools you can use. Or you can just find and read every news source yourself.

Do you trust google search? Because that's what google news is. If you expect it to give you the truth with the top link, you are the one to blame, not the machine. They are tools. Understand what they do, and use them when they are useful.

[ Parent ]

do you know google news (1.66 / 3) (#45)
by circletimessquare on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 11:27:11 AM EST

is censored in china? how do you say what you just said to someone living in shanghai?

what if all the traditional news sources don't report on something... but something like wikinews finds as a source someone actually at the scene of an event that is not a traditional news source?

like that baghdad blogger... he could have been a plant, a false source, BUT NO ONE WAS THINKING THAT HE WASN'T... he was merely an alternative source for your consideration that could not be found on a google news digest of traditional sources of news but would have found in a wikinews digest

i'm not presenting such a nontraditional news source as more trustworthy, i'm presenting it as something you can't get from a machine sampling all the traditional news sources, right?

are you telling me this nontraditional news source is not useful to be considered with a critical eye as to what is being said?

for things like sports scores, lottery results, the weather, go to google news

but more subjective news, about say, the war in iraq, or the ukranian elections, or abortion rulings or gay rights: turn to wikinews, where things that are not said in traditional sources and therefore not present in google's digest can be found

get it?

i'm not saying to turn off your critical eye about what you find in the internet: there are a lot of poisonous tongues out there

but YOU are saying turn off your critical eye when you say you need look no further than google news digests, that it is somehow trustworthy... traditional news sources don't catch everything about contentious news stories, for various reasons, not all of them having to do with censorship or manipluation... sometimes just out of standards of news reporting that serves their continued existence, but does not serve the news reader: guess what, you are missing lots of news that way, and guess what, google news is mssing lots of news that way

wake up!

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Let me revise: (none / 0) (#49)
by Dont Fear The Reaper on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 12:40:52 PM EST

Traditional news sources + MACHINE TOOLS to aggregate and seach traditional news sources + blogs + MACHINE TOOLS to aggregate and search blogs already provide a very broad and accessible spectrum of viewpoints. Google news is a part (not all) of that formula. No one is saying that alternative news sources are not needed, or that we don't need to be critical. Wikinews is not going to solve the trustworthines problem. The best thing you can do is to have as many viewpoints as possible, and you WILL NEED machines to help you sort through it all. What does wikinews add to this?

What does google news being blocked in China have to do with anything? Wikis certainly aren't immune to that kind of censorship.

[ Parent ]

i accept your apology (1.66 / 3) (#51)
by circletimessquare on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 01:23:49 PM EST

you seem to understand that the more variety in news sources, the better

you just haven't thought out the contradictions between your guiding principles and your stated position yet

you'll get there

your mind just hasn't wrapped itself around the fact that adding wiki to the mix is a good thing, and that google news is not an acceptable trustworthy definitive answer without the necessity of further supplements

you understand the notion of the cathedral versus the bazaar, but you just can't wrap your mind around the fact that google's contribution to the equation is prelimited to what the human beings already put into it

wiki news promises to enrich that contribution even more by adding more human beings to the mix

something google news can't do

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

google news censored in china? (2.00 / 2) (#53)
by niklaus on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 02:23:07 PM EST

well, I'm sitting here in china (shijiazhuang, hebei province, to be exact). and google news comes through just fine, no problems there.

[ Parent ]
well, you contradict reuters and bbc (2.00 / 2) (#54)
by circletimessquare on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 03:25:46 PM EST



a watchdog

but since this is a thread about the value of first person accounts that might be found in wikinews versus more traditional news sources, i'll just leave it at that! lol ;-)

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

no accountability= FUCK wikinews /nt (1.00 / 19) (#14)
by RandomLiegh on Fri Dec 03, 2004 at 09:24:48 PM EST

Thought of the week: There is no thought this week.
oh shut the fuck up (1.20 / 5) (#17)
by circletimessquare on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 12:08:49 AM EST

there is accountability: everyone... anyone can contribute

duhhh... durrr...

so what would your standard of accountability be then if not anyone and everyone dickwad?

some panels of "experts"?

experts on subjective issues are usually just assholes indonctrinated into a given ideology with an agenda to push... does accountability in your book equate to a bully pulpit?

and meanwhile, the experts on objective issues are probably busy right now writing wiki articles on higgs bosons and punctuated equilibria

so please, just shut the fuck up

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

by Tex Bigballs on Fri Dec 03, 2004 at 10:32:03 PM EST


you dumbass (1.60 / 5) (#87)
by Jason the Mathematical Solo Guitarist on Sun Dec 05, 2004 at 06:27:08 PM EST

i said he was a "wicked pedophile." Please fix thx.

In a math sense this sig is just applied group theory: what we are talking about is the decomposition of the direct product of 2 irreducible representations of the rotation group into a direct sum of irreducible representations
[ Parent ]

congrats eloquence (2.14 / 14) (#18)
by circletimessquare on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 12:11:03 AM EST

the astroturfing is going well

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

No (3.00 / 3) (#23)
by pHatidic on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 12:56:37 AM EST

The defn of the word astroturfing is when you promote something by pretending to be just a satisfied customer when you actually work for the company. In this Eloquence just posted the story in more than one place. This has nothing to do with astroturfing.

[ Parent ]
for complete irony, i consult wikipedia to rebuff (3.00 / 5) (#25)
by circletimessquare on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 01:15:33 AM EST


In American politics and advertising, the expression astroturfing is used pejoratively to describe formal public relations projects which deliberately seek to engineer the impression of spontaneous and populist reactions to a politician, product, service, event, etc. by many diverse and distributed individuals acting of their own volition, when such reaction does not in fact actually exist.

example: "wow, look at that! all those articles about wikinews in popular blogs like slashdot and kuro5hin!" ;-P

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Of their own volition (2.71 / 7) (#36)
by Scrymarch on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 10:40:13 AM EST

So you're saying that if it posts, it will be because Eloquence, a long time member of the k5 community, put a gun to the head of hundreds of k5 users as part of the sinister WikiWorldDomination astroturfing conspiracy?

[ Parent ]
oh my god man (none / 0) (#40)
by circletimessquare on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 10:57:03 AM EST

astroturfing the word was used entirely acceptably


now please accept my heartfelt apologies for you having to deal with my scandalous and immoral manipulation of this word's god-ordained meaning

clearly, i am way off base, and without you here, i would be getting away with pure murder



The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

you're an idiot (3.00 / 3) (#47)
by regeya on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 11:50:58 AM EST

but we love you anyway.


[ yokelpunk | kuro5hin diary ]
[ Parent ]

What do you mean 'we'? /nt (3.00 / 5) (#52)
by RandomLiegh on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 02:19:05 PM EST

Thought of the week: There is no thought this week.
[ Parent ]
Well, the word was used correctly, (none / 0) (#73)
by Scrymarch on Sun Dec 05, 2004 at 04:15:46 AM EST

... you were just wrong :)  

It was a slightly more carefully phrased version of "-1, buy an ad", but there are limits to even my pedantry in the face of such sincere and touching remorse.

The limit's here somewhere.

Maybe here.  Nope, that's an old copy of Estonian Grammar Nazi Monthly.

[ Parent ]

I couldn't really care for your argument, (3.00 / 2) (#63)
by For Whom The Bells Troll on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 09:19:14 PM EST

and frankly, I think it's still CTS 1 - You 0, but I love the bit about the sinister WikiWorldDomination astroturfing conspiracy. Rather nice to roll it off my mouth on a caffeine-less Sunday morning.

The Big F Word.
[ Parent ]
Anti-Hype Control Feedback Reaction Mechanism #24 (1.25 / 16) (#27)
by Peahippo on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 01:59:44 AM EST

All this ... and still Wiki's stock is worth just about ZERO. Oh, sorry, there I go again, contradicting America's Great Financial Hype Machine. Time to go back to your pumping before the dumping.

P.S. The New Economy is BULLSHIT. Time to wake up from the dream. How are those mortgage payments coming along? Enjoying your time off from work? ... what, no time off, since they made you work almost 60 hours AGAIN this week? It looks like you'll have to buy more Internet stock so you can retire rich at 45 years old and tell your bosses to take that job and shove it. Yeah, rich by 45. Time to buy more tech stock. It's gotta go up. The Great Machine says so. 99% of the Great Machine's stock recommendations are always "BUY", not "SELL". Yeah. The future comes, barreling down on you. What happens to a gerbil when you roll your SUV tire over it? ... oh, oh, here comes the barrel, and you're looking a little furry lately.

hmm? (3.00 / 2) (#32)
by Delirium on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 05:07:33 AM EST

It's a registered nonprofit organization, so I don't think it can issue stock.

[ Parent ]
I hope the news is more (2.58 / 12) (#31)
by GenerationY on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 04:36:36 AM EST

accurate than the encylopedia. I give it a week before the defamation and libel litigation kicks off.

It's a terrible idea (2.60 / 5) (#37)
by Scrymarch on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 10:43:01 AM EST

... because it's stretching Wiki too thin, you'll have shocking liquidity problems in a realtime uberblog, and miss too many amateur experts.  But hey, if there was no chance of failure, it wouldn't be much of an experiment.  Good luck with it.

What I don't get (2.66 / 15) (#38)
by mcc on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 10:47:11 AM EST

As far as I know, wikipedia has the strict rule that it can contain no new information. The wikipedia philosophy, if I'm not mistaken, has the rule that all included information must be a summary of some other cited source.

So basically all you're doing here is writing a Google News digest for persons who can't be bothered to read multiple sources themselves?

I suppose that's potentially useful, but I'm not quite sure how well this works. NPOV is already a bit imperfect because slant is still added to the article by what is left in and what is omitted for space and importance; this problem is certain to be radically exacerbated in news, where bias in mainstream sources generally consists entirely of what is emphasized versus what is omitted. As a byproduct of this wikinews-- because it must summarize news rather than gathering it itself-- will be forced to some degree to repeat the biases of the most easily available news sources.

Meanwhile, what do you do when a Baldrson of some sort comes along and starts adding to nearly every news article large quantities of weird, obscure, and not-really-relevant but often naturally aspersion-casting information on say, random tangential connections of Jewish or Israeli persons to the news event? Can you maintain NPOV if you remove these additions? Can you maintain NPOV if you don't?

I do, however, find this potentially interesting because it has the potential to become a permanent archive of news events. Something which has been frustrating me of late has been the difficulty of locating a cite for specific information on a long-past news event which I can remember the information about but which I cannot remember exactly where I read it.

Source? (none / 0) (#76)
by irrevenant on Sun Dec 05, 2004 at 07:16:41 AM EST

"As far as I know, wikipedia has the strict rule that it can contain no new information. The wikipedia philosophy, if I'm not mistaken, has the rule that all included information must be a summary of some other cited source."

Can you back this up with a reference of some sort?  As far as I can tell from the FAQs etc., while Wikipedia (understandably) wants people to cite sources and for facts to be verifiable, it doesn't say that articles should be limited to summaries of source material.

[ Parent ]

Source for No Original Research (3.00 / 7) (#78)
by jrincayc on Sun Dec 05, 2004 at 09:53:44 AM EST

Wikipedia:No original Research

[ Parent ]
Heh (2.81 / 11) (#48)
by kitten on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 12:37:18 PM EST

Wikinews explicitly allows original reporting, making it somewhat similar to Indymedia, while adhering to a strict Neutral Point of View policy.

...making it absolutely nothing like Indymedia.
mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
People who trust "accountable" sources (2.88 / 18) (#59)
by Polverone on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 06:32:40 PM EST

of news more than wiki-somethings need to wake up. The New York Times might be a pretty reliable source of information when it comes to reporting concrete events and firsthand impressions of witnesses, at least when reporters report instead of making things up.

But stories involve significances and interpretations as well as indisputable facts. Here's where the trouble comes in: most reporters at least sometimes report things far beyond their competence to evaluate. Therefore we get quotations from chiefs of police, Science Experticians, and corporate spokesmen without enough evaluation or criticism to actually make sense of what's said. It may not matter if someone's statement contradicts laws of nature or well-established historical records; somehow it's not the reporter's job to evaluate what people are saying. Sometimes they provide balance by finding the polar opposite of person 1 and giving equal weight to his opinions. Then you get things like a professor of biology and a spokesman for fruit growers treated equally in talking about the effects of dams on salmon runs. Way to Inform the Public, Mr. Reporter!

If you always want understanding instead of just Mynah bird squawking, you must read your newspaper in a large reference library with a team of experts by your side. Of course you, like the reporter, are not an authority on everything and cannot be trusted to evaluate the expertise of experts in the first place. Like the reporter, you may have to replace "truthfulness and expertise" with "importance and prominence" as your metrics for evaluating sources. Now you're back to the point where you trust the Chief of Police as a good source on police matters because he's a very prominent man in police work.

In local reporting, things are even worse than with big stories carried nationally or internationally. A couple times in my life I've been close enough to local news reporting to compare firsthand experience and news outlet product. It was surprisingly bad. In one case, a friend fell into an icy river on a school field trip and was swept away by the current, and his heart had stopped by the time they got him out of the water. Paramedics restarted his heart. He has saved newspaper clippings about the incident. One got his age and location wrong. The other quoted him as saying something like "I am very blessed to be alive after such a near brush with death," while he swears that he never said anything to any reporters. The newspaper didn't print his letter to the editor saying "I never talked to your reporters," either. Who makes news outlets "accountable" if you always trust the word of news outlets over that of private citizens?

Even respected niche publications like the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists sometimes contain errors, and these errors are not always corrected later or revealed through letters to the editor. I tend to notice botched reporting in scientific and technical topics, perhaps because reporters screw up there more than elsewhere or perhaps just because that's what I'm familiar with. I wouldn't count on reporters being a lot better at things I'm not an expert in, like international politics or law, since those topics look no simpler (actually, more complex and in need of expert commentary) than hard sciences or technical topics.

Collaboratively generated articles or commentary on existing news topics can solve the lack-of-polymath-expert-reporters problem. No, I'm not going to trust a random Wiki user as a reliable source based on the strength of his conviction. But I will trust a random Wiki user who can point to peer-reviewed or otherwise respectable references to support the point he's making. Well, I'll trust him as much as a professional reporter, at least. Nobody has the time to be expert on everything. Many people have the time to be expert on something, and to contribute to a discussion that will ultimately be better-referenced and  more diversely examined than anything a newspaper could hope to produce.

Elsewhere in this article people have commented that you can just use Google News and it'll give you diverse reporting without the human problems of collaborative newsmaking. Google News is not a substitute for informed reporting. With Google News, you can get numerous original articles on a topic like the US refusing to sign Kyoto without a single one being written by an expert on international law, chemistry, biology, computer modeling, economics, or any other topic helpful in making clear the significance of the topic reported on. Since 3 out of 3 reporters are not experts on anything relevant to important/complex stories they cover, grabbing a few random Google News-listed stories about a topic is little improvement over reading just one.

I'm highly skeptical of the wiki news neutrality policy. This sounds like somebody has the authority to determine what neutrality means, and exclude what isn't neutral. I actually think that a discussion system like Scoop, where everyone can contribute but contributors can't alter each others' words, is more trustworthy if less coherent than a system where everybody gets to be an editor and some people get to be Really Special Editors. Still, traditional reporting done by professional reporters is so poor that I'm astounded so many comments appeared to defend it or criticize the wiki approach as inferior.
It's not a just, good idea; it's the law.

The reason they get away with it (2.71 / 7) (#61)
by Polverone on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 06:56:58 PM EST

The reason reporters get away with fumbling the facts or clumsily stringing together a bunch of occurrences into a story is that they're reporting on things that are, most of the time, next-to-meaningless for someone in their audience. If a bus flips in Pakistan killing 54 people, what does it really matter if a news outlet reports that a truck went off an embankment, killing 45? It's an equally irrelevant morsel of macabre entertainment for 99.999% of the world's population either way.

I care about the state of news reporting because I think that it can be done much better and I like excellence, not because I think that much improved reporting will give me more control over what actually happens. In the large, reporting can actually change the course of events. But my passion for current events is not tied to idealistic hopes of sparking political change or making my neigbors into people they aren't. I like the idea of better reporting with broad participation, but I don't harbor hope that it will change the world any more than a really good recipe for chicken wings.
It's not a just, good idea; it's the law.
[ Parent ]

I stopped believing newspapers (3.00 / 4) (#94)
by Viliam Bur on Mon Dec 06, 2004 at 11:39:50 AM EST

at an elementary school age, when I won some local math competition, and a reporter came to make interview with me. The part of it was like:

Reporter: "If you are so clever in math, your parents will surely buy you a computer, wont't they?"

Me: "I don't think so."

Reporter: "But, you cannot be sure about it. Maybe it is a Christmas surprise."

Me: "Maybe. I just really don't think it could happen."

Next day, I saw in news my photo, and an interview with me, where I was saying: "...and my Mom told me, that I will receive a computer for Christmas."

Well, lessons learned in childhood are sometimes well remembered. It took me 15 years to speak with jurnalist again. This time it was different - I just spoke about 10 minutes to journalist, then she said "Oh, that's an interesting opinion. What is your name?" and next day, I read an article in web version of newspaper, including: my name, and one sentence which I never said, and would never say. So I decided for another 15 years of media silence (not including electronic media, where I can write the text myself).

It was the same newspaper both times, and it is considered a very serious one (SME; if here are any Slovak readers). Whenever I think "Maybe all the news are being invented in the same way?" I feel that trusting Wiki-anything, or even K5 diaries is no more foolish than reading the "serious" press.

In my opinion, this is how journalists work (at least in Slovakia). First, they find a topic (or their boss tells them one). Second, they invent the story, without any external information. Third, they write the story, leaving an empty place for names of people who said this or that. Fourth, they go to the town and contact people - if you say anything that is somehow related to their story (or later, when they are tired, if you say anything), your name will be inserted to the empty place. Fifth, the article goes to print.

[ Parent ]

The journalist didn't really lie (none / 0) (#96)
by Cro Magnon on Mon Dec 06, 2004 at 04:04:41 PM EST

He probably just omitted some words. You probably said "My Mom told me (There's no way in hell) I'll recieve a computer for Christmas". Technically, that's not a lie, just an omission. ;)
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
I understand your argument (none / 0) (#98)
by Viliam Bur on Tue Dec 07, 2004 at 04:57:31 AM EST

So, any speech reported, is probably a concatenation of substrings of what was really said.

Finally, the jurnalism starts making sense.

[ Parent ]

And up and up: (none / 1) (#101)
by Hiro Antagonist on Wed Dec 08, 2004 at 02:30:38 AM EST

Man, that unmentioned elipsis is a harsh mistress.

You know, I see a lot of Google news vs Wiki and the usual frustrated exclamations of "this vs that".

This is particularly relevant because I'm scribbling out a paper on some stuff for skool. I push through the book (no, not with my wang) and then hit some web sites and because of this article hit Wiki up for some other views. Some of them match, some don't. Now, here is the rub:

Google news is good.
al-Jazeera is good.
Wiki is good.

The reader has to poke around enough sites, not just one or two (or even one that crawls for info ala Google) and then sit back and make an educated decision about what they think.

This is the hard part for most people. I'll use Google for the bulk of my news, but the fact that they will pull /. as a news source kinda sours the all knowing machine aspect for me. Most people will hit the first two or three articles on Google and proclaim themselves a goddamn expert. Of course, no one here would do that. I know, and you know that you are all the best of people. And Yaweh knoweth that no one will take what could be reasonably shown to be their world view and insist that nothing else can exist here. You are all fine folk.

But, the hard part for all those other people with their CNN and FOXnews and gently sloping brow, is filtering information. Hence the potential for reliance on a simple and friendly interface. Thank heavens you all look at things in a balanced and fair way.

Totally fair. I like all of you folks. Have a something.. I have no idea where I was going. Just started to amuse myself with everything zipped.



[ Parent ]
Damn! (3.00 / 2) (#99)
by ksandstr on Tue Dec 07, 2004 at 06:19:16 PM EST

I was going to write a short and snarky comment about how NPOV-style reporting really isn't the be-all end-all of information and how this sort of purging of even the slightest vestiges of "ideology" or "opinion" from content in order to be worthy isn't quite the way to go. But you seem to have beaten me to it, far better than I could have managed. Congratulations, and thank you for pointing out the "some people are more equal than others, at the end of the day we control what is neutral supposedly based on a platonic ideal" aspect of Wikimedia's editing policies.

It occurs to me that perhaps the NPOV strategy is fundamentally incompatible with, or severely ill-implemented in, the entire "reporting of the news" approach to truth. As far as I can see, it was developed to prominence in Wikipedia, and there it may have been a factor in Wikipedia's turning into an useful resource on many subjects. However, there seems to be a fundamental difference between the basic units of information in Wikipedia and Wikinews -- on the 'pedia, it is the encyclopedic article, each version of which is carved on the electronic equivalent of a stone tablet and stored somewhere in a wiki-style revision history, relevant from now to until such trappings become unnecessary for reason or another. Contrast this with the basic unit of Wikinews, the news article, which only retains its relevance until something else pushes it off the front page.

Wikipedia has talk pages associated with (it seems, although I haven't checked) every article so that NPOV-related discussions can be held per article, and this is entirely appropriate given the nature of such articles, but how would a talk page attached to a news article change the article's impact over its limited lifetime (hours, days, weeks in exceptional cases)?

Maybe I'm completely smoking the crack here, but it does seem like the Wikipedia format couldn't be gracefully translated into a news service like Wikinews apparently aspires to be, and that perhaps a more tree-like structure like that of Kuro5hin (i.e. toplevel items ["articles"], and sub-items or follow-ups ["comments"] attached to them in a hierarchical fashion) or what your typical NNTP newsreader program provides in its user interface would be a better fit. Even with the associated problems (spam, trolling, crapflooding, etc -- all of which exist on wiki-style systems as well) such a system would seem to provide a reporting environment free of NPOV pressure and "both sides" -type restrictions.

Looking back, it's somewhat amusing in a crooked way how the age-old netnews format has been reinvented (not so well I might add) in recent times in who-knows how many weblog and forum applications for apparently no reason other than eye-candy provided through the web browser.

[ Parent ]

can a reasonable person get their news this way? (2.60 / 15) (#60)
by the ghost of rmg on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 06:40:43 PM EST

the answer, of course, is NO.

on wikipedia, articles hang around for a while and are policed by an impartial community composed of many. conflicts of opinion create a struggle whose ultimate result, given time, is neutrality, objectivity, and veracity.

the immediacy of news makes it impossible for a wikinews service to operate this way. the result is that bias cannot be fought nor can simple pranks and hoaxing. the result is you cannot trust anything you read on wikinews.

quite simply, it is impossible for any reasonable person to view wikinews as anything but an outlet for rumor mongerers and hoaxers. given the proliferation of trolling and other sorts of internet crime, it is just a matter of time before wikinews is corrupted and authorities need to shut it down, just like what happened with indymedia.

rmg: comments better than yours.

hmmph (none / 1) (#75)
by Phil Urich on Sun Dec 05, 2004 at 05:25:24 AM EST

you had me until the jab at indymedia. I'm not going to argue that they're perfect, but looking at the main site right now, there are even some stories I can verify personally, so I would hardly say that they're anywhere near the level of corruption that a wikinews could, as you have pointed out, become. Oh, and I so wanted to rate you with a 3 . . . honestly, the worst that indymedia usually does is take actual facts from actual news, and then throw their own bias onto it (ie. "see what the capitalist pigs are like! help us fight these evil corporations!" etc), hardly hoaxes or baseless rumors. You may disagree unequivocally with their opinions, but that's a different matter from the veracity of their sources.

(I was under the impression that indymedia was shut down for awhile due to their sources being possible leads to terrorists and whatnot, but that's more of a case of "the reporters have contact with the bad guys, we need to get what they know, since if they can talk to these guys, then maybe we can use that info to find them" However, after the first while of the story coming down, I got sidetracked with events in my life much more personally important, and so I missed the outcomes of that, so I won't claim to be a reliable source myself in this case).

[ Parent ]
rewritten for clarity. (none / 1) (#113)
by Harvey Anderson on Fri Dec 10, 2004 at 12:01:16 PM EST

can a reasonable person get their news this way?

the answer, of course, is NO.

on wikipedia, articles hang around for a while and are policed by an impartial community composed of many. conflicts of opinion create a struggle whose ultimate result, given time, is neutrality, objectivity, and veracity.

the immediacy of news makes it impossible for a wikinews service to operate this way at the instant news happens. the result is that bias cannot be fought nor can simple pranks and hoaxing. the result is you cannot trust anything you read on wikinews at the instant news happens.

quite simply, it is impossible for any reasonable person to view any particular news article as unbiased at the start but our reasonable third party can reasonably increase his trust in that article as time goes on wikinews as anything but an outlet for rumor mongerers and hoaxers. hey look at me i'm a troll la la la but i don't care what you computer janitors think la la la but i'm lying tra la lagiven the proliferation of trolling and other sorts of internet crime, it is just a matter of time before wikinews is corrupted and authorities need to shut it down, just like what happened with indymedia.

[ Parent ]

Write in. (2.64 / 14) (#62)
by Driusan on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 08:21:06 PM EST

No. Just no.

If I believed there was such thing as a "neutral" point of view I'd accuse you of not strictly adhering to it, but as things stand I'll just settle for calling you a hypocrit.

This space for rent.

Point of View (none / 1) (#85)
by NotALamer on Sun Dec 05, 2004 at 04:32:45 PM EST

Wikinews doesn't technically have a neutral point of view, it has no point of view. Each article expresses only the opinions of the author, not of the news service that provided you with the article. So yes, Wikinews is neutral, sort of.

[ Parent ]
Don't take relativism too far (none / 0) (#93)
by tetsuwan on Mon Dec 06, 2004 at 10:09:52 AM EST

simply because you don't believe in it. While unbiased political news hardly exist, it's one thing to report your conscience and another thing report your agenda.

All the while, of course, news bereft of opinionated and personal content is dry and boring.

Njal's Saga: Just like Romeo & Juliet without the romance
[ Parent ]

A question about scaling. (2.75 / 12) (#64)
by Kasreyn on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 09:33:13 PM EST

If Wiki, in all its manifold guises, ever truly does hit the big time - as in, people OTHER than computer geeks hear about it - how will it handle large-scale attacks on its data without resorting to a hierarchical structure (which would result in a controllable, and eventually no longer free, system)?

Suppose Wiki gets so big that everyone hears about it, it becomes bigger than Yahoo, people load wiki articles on their cell phones and see news articles reprinted in their local paper with a Wikinews byline. What then? What's to prevent an organization like, say, the Christian Coalition, from having a group of volunteers work around the clock to constantly edit the articles on homosexuality, god, jesus, christianity, fundamentalism, salvation, morality, abortion, you name it, to what they want? As soon as it's changed back, change it again. Does Wikipedia have a system where a user can undo the changes done by more than one user, or gain more effective use of time, or is it a 1:1 thing? If it takes one wikiman-hour* to undo one fundie-hour of data trashing, I respectfully would like to point out that the fundies seem to outnumber us knowledge geeks by a good deal.

Thus far, Wikipedia has relied heavily on the heavy involvement and nigh-heroic effort of a relatively small cadre of people who are determined to keep it a free and truthful encyclopedia. If John Q. Public comes to play, where will Wikipedia find enough unbiased truth-seekers to keep the revisionist agenda-bearers at bay? It would be a shame if Wiki eventually came to be nothing more than a mirror of the public's vanities, preconceptions, and myths (assuming it's not already!).

(Or, much more simply: am I just totally misunderstanding the nature of the problem? If so, how?)

*not intended to imply that the wiki user is male, but wiki-ite or wikian both seemed cumbersome.
"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
Attacks (2.71 / 7) (#68)
by MostlyHarmless on Sun Dec 05, 2004 at 02:01:46 AM EST

It doesn't take one wiki-man-hour to undo an hour's worth of trashing. All changes are logged and it's very easy to compare one version to the next; thus, if one determines that an edit is entirely garbage, the edit can be rolled back with a few button-presses.

This isn't to say that Wikipedia is entirely invulnerable to attacks; however, I don't think that either wholesale defacement of single pages or more subtle defacement from a single IP is likely to succeed.

"Nevertheless, that is the theorem." - Tom Stoppard
[ Parent ]

Use of time (2.80 / 5) (#79)
by m50d on Sun Dec 05, 2004 at 11:51:05 AM EST

For a start, persistent vandals can and will be IP-banned. Although this is not a cure-all it does limit the amount of damage done in one session. Also, IIRC, if it is discovered that a few edits made by a single IP were vandalism, it's possible to revert all the edits made at the same time by that IP. Things which are contentious enough that there are too many vandals to ip-ban are a) being watched by a number of people (i.e. you get automatic notification when anyone edits the page, something only available to users with accounts) and b) locked. This is something only mods can do, and yes, it does mean it's not truly open. But as long as anonymous users can and do edit the majority of pages and start new ones, that's enough for me. Ultimately there will be something of a hierarchy, just like there is with (for example) Debian. That doesn't make it impossible to be open - after all, if the worst comes to the worst you can fork wikipedia.

[ Parent ]
Lone Hacker (3.00 / 4) (#89)
by Boronx on Sun Dec 05, 2004 at 11:25:41 PM EST

He's not talking about a single defacer or subtle alterer, he's talking about the Ministry of Truth. You won't be able to ban their IP addresses.
[ Parent ]
Simple. (none / 0) (#108)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Thu Dec 09, 2004 at 07:08:42 AM EST

Lock the page. Wait for them to go away. If they don't, keep a constant watch on recent changes (people do you know) and start blocking their IP addresses. It's really not hard.

AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
[ Parent ]
Hmm (2.16 / 6) (#70)
by jeremyn on Sun Dec 05, 2004 at 03:29:13 AM EST

I think the different focus of Wikipedia contributors as compared to traditional encyclopedias is best summed up in this little number. Now, some might say "Oh my god, a page on pregnancy in science fiction, I really needed that". But why would anyone ever need such a thing?

who cares (2.83 / 6) (#82)
by modmans2ndcoming on Sun Dec 05, 2004 at 01:41:59 PM EST

Knowledge is knowledge. an armadillo may not be important information to most people but every encyclopedia has an entry on one.

[ Parent ]
Whilst that is true (2.50 / 2) (#95)
by GenerationY on Mon Dec 06, 2004 at 12:24:46 PM EST

for someone out there they just received a pre-packaged thesis.
Just add erudition and a critical theory of your choice.

[ Parent ]
Well, you never know. (none / 1) (#102)
by Hiro Antagonist on Wed Dec 08, 2004 at 02:32:47 AM EST

The world has shown that grad students will write a paper over just about anything.


[ Parent ]
The news (2.71 / 7) (#80)
by dollyknot on Sun Dec 05, 2004 at 12:26:07 PM EST

The process of reporting events, sometimes from far off places. Over the years of reading /. and K5 one of the things I have found the most interesting and sometimes very moving is reading eye witness accounts of people who are actually present whilst history unfolds.

I would have thought a very good niche for Wikinews, would be eyewitness accounts translated if needed, cleaned up for spelling and grammer.

There will probably be abuses of Wikinews, it would surprise me if there were not. Thankfully it seems only the minority of us blundering bipeds are irresponsible.

Reporters are not known for their lack of cynisism you know.

People who earn their living peddling news, will hate the idea of news for free - tough. Ever since around 1760 working people have been slung on the trash heap, for being surplus to requirements. One tractor and plough can plough around thirty times the acerage a day, that one man with a horse and plough can. One acre is about the area that one man with a horse and plough can plough in a day. Where did all those ploughmen go?

Automation has replaced much manual labour, computers and the internet are dragging the media kicking and screaming into a new world.

I for one wish Wikinews success and if Wikinews shows some of the quality, that Wikipedia has shown, then we can all hopefully be better informed.

They call it an elephant's trunk, whereas it is in fact an elephant's nose - a nose by any other name would smell as sweetly.

Future of Wikinews depends on ppl like me? (2.57 / 7) (#83)
by Russell Dovey on Sun Dec 05, 2004 at 02:07:28 PM EST

You're screwed. People like me are lazy, unimaginative and selfish.


"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan

No (none / 0) (#84)
by Steeltoe on Sun Dec 05, 2004 at 04:06:16 PM EST

Not people like you..


Explore the Art of Living

[ Parent ]

Hey. (none / 0) (#107)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Thu Dec 09, 2004 at 07:05:44 AM EST

Trolls like you get blocked. Works well. Have a nice day.

AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
[ Parent ]
Differences with Indymedia (2.57 / 7) (#86)
by dpi on Sun Dec 05, 2004 at 05:07:15 PM EST

Wikinews explicitly allows original reporting, making it somewhat similar to Indymedia, while adhering to a strict Neutral Point of View policy.

As i see it, there's a couple of huge differences with Indymedia: Indymedia doesn't try to create a consensus on the news which is posted, its mainly grassroot news not covered by other news networks, and on Indymedia one cannot another's news. OTOH, regarding trolls, i think Wiki is better to combat these because they are part of the overal structure of a Wiki whereas on Indymedia these get fully deleted (though one can still ask for the original deleted message). Wikis are more transparent here, but it'll cost time in both cases.

Personally, i don't believe Wikinews will work because i expect (authorised) sources of Wikinews to be mostly the regular media. In heated debates or where facts are not clear, i expect edit wars, which will cost a lot of time. Personal news, i think will either be not authorised from a so-called 'credible' source hence not believed, will be abused by trolls, or not survive the NPOV in one way or another -- which partly happens on Indymedia as well. This depends on the 'moderators' and 'wiki gnomes' though. Also, and this is my main point of criticism, NPOVs are often developed after a political crisis (take that term roughly) which means more, or the truth comes out years after the event whereas news reports from that time were not accurate. All the time, we see politicians and other powerful people admitting they were wrong only years after the event.

I do welcome the experiment itself and i'll keep an eye on it because i'm interested in how it turns out. Futhermore, i'd like to interview a Wikinews spokes(wo)man for an interview in which i'd like to ask some in-depth questions about Wikinews. If you are involved in Wikinews and interested, please contact me.

(PS: I might be biased because i'm a Indymedia contributor.)

I'd trust somebody making money (1.50 / 4) (#90)
by auraslip on Sun Dec 05, 2004 at 11:48:56 PM EST

more than i would "non-profit"

there're no free rides

I'd trust somebody making money (3.00 / 2) (#92)
by dollyknot on Mon Dec 06, 2004 at 09:18:23 AM EST

Very puzzling - surely the only the only thing you can really trust, is that they would like to make more money, ala B. Gates. I suppose you are right in assuming people who do things only for money, are more trustworty in that they are more predictable, but experience tells me they are usually more venal, greedy and unprincipled in more ways than I know how to count.

As to people doing non-profitable things it very much defines what you mean by profit, there are many more ways of profit than just money, one being the profit in the smile of a child, or a bunch of good friends, or clean air, or the idea that, as you breathe your penultimate breath, the thought crosses your mind, that you might have left the planet an infinitesimally bit better than you found it - ahem.

They call it an elephant's trunk, whereas it is in fact an elephant's nose - a nose by any other name would smell as sweetly.
[ Parent ]

-1 fawkin hippy (1.33 / 3) (#109)
by auraslip on Thu Dec 09, 2004 at 09:34:08 AM EST

[ Parent ]
makeing money (none / 0) (#116)
by peter318200 on Fri Dec 17, 2004 at 02:54:32 AM EST

ludic work is hardly work at all(bob black et all) money is what defines expenditure of effort as work in the social sphere. There is no world without work but there are worlds without money. wish i could have been present when bucky fuller organised a put up a geosidic dome event where people suddenly came to see each other as colaborators and not competitors. its time to tell the organ grinder(great name sadly)to take his chain and peanuts and fuck off.

[ Parent ]
attention: (1.50 / 2) (#91)
by DJ Google on Mon Dec 06, 2004 at 07:14:44 AM EST

all you people that say that this will fail please recall what taco said years ago when asked about the wiki concept and then reflect if he was right or not.


Join me on irc.slashnet.org #Kuro5hin.org - the official Kuro5hin IRC channel.

Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius (2.50 / 2) (#103)
by nairobiny on Wed Dec 08, 2004 at 08:13:24 AM EST

Someday, Wikipedia will be subject to a Tlon attack. But how will we know?

WTF?!? (none / 0) (#112)
by ant0n on Thu Dec 09, 2004 at 05:07:33 PM EST

What the fuck is a "Tlon attack"? And what the motherfuck are "Uqbar" and "Orbis Tertius"?!?!?

Please explain, I'm curious.

If you should dare not to explain I will srunitionarize you at the next Oqbaal, you stupid Son-of-an-Oulgrough.

-- Does the shortest thing the tallest pyramid's support supports support anything green?
Patrick H. Winston, Artificial Intelligence
[ Parent ]
This is what it is (none / 0) (#114)
by jazzido on Mon Dec 13, 2004 at 12:05:41 PM EST

"Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius" is a story by the argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges

Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius [Wikipedia Article]

Read the article and the story, and you will understand what a "Tlon attack" is

"Patriotism is the last resource of scoundrels" (Samuel Johnson)

[ Parent ]

Wikimedia empire (none / 1) (#104)
by Nyarlathotep on Wed Dec 08, 2004 at 05:09:31 PM EST

Your title alludes to it, but you never say it:  wiki is a better starting point for almost everything.  Sure security may be an issue eventually, but wiki is still a better place to start.  Blogs and K5/. sites may become obsolete.  What is the point of having 500 people posting garbage "chat" when the 5 who actually know one thing about one line can make a change to that line (or add a small paragraph, or eye witness account).  Its the ultimate rating based filter, and there is no rating involved, its built on people trying to minimize their own change.

Campus Crusade for Cthulhu -- it found me!
K5 is Dead, Long Life the Wiki (2.50 / 2) (#105)
by thelizman on Wed Dec 08, 2004 at 07:07:58 PM EST

Hate to say it rusty, but K5 stands as a dismal failure in the face of what is capable with wiki. And with all do deference partners, it's your fault. You've had ample mandate, time, and financing to upgrade K5, solve problems wtih rating abuse, trolling, et al. You did nothing at all until your wife got slandered on the site, then you clamped down the iron fist.

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
K5 and MW serve different purposes (none / 1) (#111)
by jsnow on Thu Dec 09, 2004 at 01:25:02 PM EST

Mediawiki does not have any sort of reputation system like /. or formalized method of peer review like K5. What it is good at is storing information in a format that can still be found easily a few months from now. As such, K5 is better suited for debate, whereas mediawiki is better suited for storing long-lived information. Both projects could adopt some of the good ideas of the other.

[ Parent ]
I don't want news (3.00 / 3) (#106)
by Eight Star on Wed Dec 08, 2004 at 07:35:16 PM EST

I don't want another news source, no matter how good it is. I want an open intelligence agency. I want a running report on the civil disturbances (if any) in Uganda. I want to know when the next elections are in Bolivia, who is projected to win, and whether violence is a likely result. I want to know who the major parties are in Poland, what they are promising, and where they get their money. News is not designed to handle a large number of ongoing situations, it is about events, after the fact.

Wikipedia and Wikiverse (none / 1) (#110)
by echocharlie on Thu Dec 09, 2004 at 11:48:36 AM EST

I'm a big fan of Wikipedia and I think any article on it should mention threats to undermine it. One such threat is Wikiverse.org. They describe themseveles as "an up-to-date high speed static mirror of Wikipedia". However, they use some rather deceitful tactics in order to get people to point to them rather than the original source. This article goes into more depth and should be required reading for Wikipedia users.

-- AnimeNEXT (June 17-19, 2005) NY/NJ/CT/PA Anime Convention

The power of the people vs. the quality of Encarta (none / 1) (#115)
by holmesmoran on Tue Dec 14, 2004 at 07:48:20 PM EST

Is it possible that the common effort for give mantenience to a database could beat a Microsoft product? For me seems to be so, and of course is refreshing get a dynamic community commited to mantain some that at first sight seems naïve, a kind of many Davids defeating the single and lonely Goliat.

Wikinews And The Growing Wikimedia Empire | 117 comments (106 topical, 11 editorial, 0 hidden)
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