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Concerns about voters and WikinewsEdit

  • 1/4 of the valid 'Yes' votes come from people who appear not to be contributors to a Wikimedia project (no other contribs to meta; not a recognizable username), in contrast to 1/9 of the 'No' votes. (Here valid voters include anyone who created an account on meta to vote)
  • Many 'Yes' voters add comments of the form "Yes, but skeptical this will work"; "Yes, but many problems to overcome" -- which is identical to what some of the 'No' voters are saying.

The frequently-mentioned problems should be enumerated and dealt with now, with some care. As I read the commentary, these include:

  1. Original reporting
    • Legal issues surrounding original reporting
    • External PR backlash resulting from original reporting
    • Internal project conflicts resulting from attempts to NPOV original reporting
  2. 'Forking' of community effort from Wikipedia
    • moving News summaries to a new project (what will happen to In the News and Current Events?)
    • by encouraging news reporting on a site not naturally connected to the articles covered in reports (will current-events encyclopedia articles stop getting updated, now that people can write a 2-paragraph news blurb rather than adding 2 sentences to the relevant articles?)
  3. Timing
    • Not a good time to divert attention from other Wikimedia projects; recently created projects haven't really taken off.
    • Why conflate moving 'Current Events' to its own project, with an effort to create a trusted press corps for original journalism? The former could be started first; more robust than doing both at once.

The trend of outside votes is rather disturbing, and I suspect the reason for this is the blog coverage we got. It looks like we don't have to worry too much about it with a large majority in favor, but I'll do a few alternative counts once we're finished. I'll point out that the trend is much less pronounced in other languages.

I do not really see your summary reflecting the actual vote comments very well - the opinions are a lot more diverse than that, and many opinions are not actionable. However, I will do two things: a) Update the FAQ from the comments so far, b) work on a demo site that showcases some example articles in the different stages.--Eloquence

Response to concerns on WikinewsEdit

True, there are a lot of newcomers voting yes on this issue. I'm one of them. But when I talk to other people about the Wikimedia projects, Wikinews is the most exciting project for them-- and the most ambitious sounding. It's common knowledge that the news industry twists events to fit the agendas of their political affiliations-- but most people I know aren't concerned about censorship and propaganda in encyclopedias. Wikipedia is interesting to people because it's successful, large and charitable; Wikinews is fascinating because of the potential to remove POV from "official" hands.

To me, votes by newcomers suggest that Wikinews will attract new people not currently part of wikimedia projects.

I feel that the points against Wikinews are very valid, too. The anonymous editor's list above has excellent points. #4 below is a concern of several "no" voters.

  1. Original reporting
    • It's tempting to not take on original reporting until these issues are solved. However, it would be dishearting to tell a contributer to Wikinews "we can't do this yet, we can't do that." I think we should place those limitations on the reader instead: start the wikinews service with disclaimers at the top of every page, stating that this is an experimental project and we make no claims about anything, the guidelines and policies are still under development, and please come help this project. This allows more people to know that the project is actually underway, and that they can help out.
  2. 'Forking' of Wikimedia community
    • These are good points. The easier it is to integrate projects, the better. Cross-site integration should be one of our design goals. Could we make efforts on one site propagate automatically to the other site? (Perhaps through automatic database updates & better templating, perhaps through improved linking?)
  3. Timing
    • Some Wikimedia projects may never take off. It depends on what people are interested in. I know people that would only be interested in the Wikiniws project, but not the other projects, for example.
  4. Community conflicts
    • Some voters expressed a concern that Wikinews may have bigger NPOV wars. If this becomes an actual problem, we'll need to develop stronger policies for civility. Perhaps we'll be forced to have subsections of a major event that is reported separately by those with greatly differing viewpoints. That prospect alone makes the news more fascinating.

Combining the no and yes voters, the attitude seems to be "Interesting, might work! Let's try it and see." I very much agree with this combined attitude. Chira 18:24, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)

2004-10-28 VoteEdit

2004-10-28: (all languages)

  • yes: 156
  • no: 59

--Shizhao 15:57, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Comments on 50% ruleEdit

50%... A generous offer and a good representation of what some people believe consensus is. Anthere 09:45, 31 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Wrong. This vote is just an guide for the board to decide if to risk this thing or not. In the end the board has to decide if to start it or not. If just 10% say no, but they have good reasons, then the board can say no. And a private person (eg Eloquence) can start it also without Wikimedia. It's just an opinionpoll, no vote, the wording is misleading! Fantasy 11:16, 31 Oct 2004 (UTC)
No, 50% is majority but far from consensus. If we want consensus, we should put the bar higher than 50%. ✏ Sverdrup 13:38, 31 Oct 2004 (UTC)

I have tried to phrase the rule in a manner that is more neutral as to the board's role in the decision making process.--Eloquence

The title of the page "Vote" is already a wrong. If the board did not officially say "the Wikipedians can decide", then the votes are not votes but just opinions. The board has to take the risk, so the board has to decide. And all of this is just a help for them to decide. This is simply no vote (IMHO) Fantasy 11:25, 31 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Well, I announced it as a vote on the foundation-l list, and waited several days before I started it, and it's been running for a few days now, so they've had sufficient opportunity to object to it being called a vote, and I'm going to keep calling it that.--Eloquence
Yes, that is a good argument. If this is not important to the boards members, then it is not important. I also could have said something before, but this thought just occurred to me now.
In the german Wikipedia we changed most "votes" to "opinion polls" (Meinungsbilder), probably the english one has still to go through this process to prevent misunderstandings/hard feelings in the future.
See you in December :-) Fantasy 11:56, 31 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Officially, votes in en are probably more aptly named "surveys". In retrospect that might have been a better name, but I don't see the big deal. Anthony DiPierro 02:07, 1 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Some people get upset, if they vote for something, this something wins (eg more then 50%), but the people in power do something different. With "survey" the surprise should be less ;-) Fantasy 19:24, 1 Nov 2004 (UTC)
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