Multi-lingual southern Africa Wikinews conceptEdit
The basic infrastructure for such a project already exists within the available software. Using the DynamicPageList extension and other templates it should be possible to create a main page which automatically includes material from the several languages on the "Main Page", while only including articles from a given language on each language portal. This is how the main page of en.Wikinews is built, and how each of the Portals on that edition only carry articles related to their topic (for example, the Football portal carries articles only about football.)
One issue we will need to make clear early on is that Wikimedia Foundation will likely not support a country-specific Wikinews. For example, there is almost no chance the WMF community would support a United States edition of Wikinews, even though a high percentage of the news carried on en.Wikinews is about news events in the USA. For this reason I suggest we consider the primary languages of southern Africa and plan to support each of them as soon as they have contributors interested in writing news in that language.
Using templates to create the main page which are also used on the language portals, differentiated by language name, makes updating the many languages much easier. It may be possible to have the user's language preference modify either the templates or the links to direct them more easily to pages they will be interested in; I will look into this.
To address your points:
- Yes, manpower will be needed to get portals translated for each of the primary languages. If you gain enough support to begin this project it may be possible to find short-term help with translations - enough to get things started.
- Maintaining activity in all languages may not be possible. This is a fact of life on the wiki projects; wikis are communities of people who have different levels of internet availability and interest, so a fairly large number of people must be involved to give each other enough feedback to keep their interest going. Having many languages on one wiki, and many people able to read more than one language, is likely to be very helpful in supporting languages which have a smaller number of contributors.
- Gaining readership, and contributors, is difficult. The largest part of the en.Wikinews community is the readers who never contribute, or only contribute by correcting spelling or punctuation as anonymous IP numbers. We have had several efforts to improve our number of contributors, with many successes, such as adding links to Wikipedia articles which are related to our news coverage, and working with other websites who may be interested in carrying our news articles on their websites (Wikinews is licensed under the CC-by 2.5 license, which allows others to reuse or broadcast the content if there is a clear attribution to Wikinews and mention of the copyright license.) Most of our readers, however, keep visiting our sites because our coverage is accurate and NPOV, and includes sources for all factual statements. Accuracy and npov are most often mentioned to me, and people say they like to be able to read our sources and reporter's notes "so they can make up their own mind."
- Primary language groups should be focused on, but it is very easy to create a new portal for a new language when someone is willing to begin it. One language group I would very much like to support is Swahili, which is gaining a significant body of localised software, but which appears to have almost no web presence. Each of the languages you mentioned has, I believe, a Wikipedia or Wiktionary or both; working with these other Wikimedia projects is one way to improve all of them and to increase the size of their communities.
I apologize for writing such a long treatise about this, but I feel it is a very interesting approach for Wikinews, and one which we should follow. News is more regional-oriented than language-oriented; I do not keep track of the english news from Pretoria and I do not expect you to track the english news from Ottowa. But we might each be very interested in news of several languages which are near to our home states. - Amgine / talk meta 17:40, 21 January 2006 (UTC)
Well, having read your reply, I think the obvious thing to do is to start something! We can debate this for hours, but that won't amount to much. Therefore, I ask, where do we begin? How is collaboration coordinated?
Furthermore, the Afrikaans pages have been created, and for the English, well, if acceptable, I think we can use the proposed Open_English pages? I haven't seen any activity over there recently. I will try and contact people from the other languages.
So, do we start working on the Main main page?
We could start by creating a page on Meta, with multiply interconnected pages, but Meta does not have the DynamicPageList extension installed.
If you don't mind working with a different .css than the one you'll eventually be working with, I am willing to host a project on Journowiki.org. This is my personal wiki site, and has some slight software differences from a standard wikinews installation, but the important ones are the same; it has DynamicPageList and Inputbox installed, which you will probably want for the southern Africa Wikinews layouts.
- Thank you for the gesture. I do have an objection (sorry) to it. Most of the images are hosted on WikiMedia servers, and it would cause unnecessary clutter etc. if such a project was started on/at another server/location. I think it would be rational to start such a page on meta, although I do understand that the DynamicPageList extension is not installed, there may be some alternatives. I hope.
- I am willing to hear your suggestions on solutions. Mr. Anonymous 20:26, 21 January 2006 (UTC)
- Sorry I didn't get time to work on this last night.
- You're probably correct about creating a portal page of the type you're envisioning; it would be very difficult for the WMF community to create wikinews language editions exclusively for a region.
- What I was envisioning is a single multi-language wikinews edition. Meta, for example, is a single multi-language project, as is Commons. Using this one multi-language site it is possible to create multiple portal pages, each of which could be a main page for one language carrying navigation and articles in a given language. Is this something which you would be interested in working on? - Amgine / talk meta 20:41, 22 January 2006 (UTC)
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