Wikipedia:How to edit a real time update

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Proposed New Guidelines[edit]

(For editing In The News and Current Events.)


Innate bias exists in the media we receive our news from. Apart from overt political biases, almost every news outlet is biased where topical coverage is concerned, and this goes against the Wikipedia policy of NPOV (this page offers some loose statistical information and graphics conveying the extent of topical bias in The New York Post, as an example.) In order to help counter this natural bias on Wikipedia, the following steps are recommending in adding items to the Current Events page, from which items may be taken to be added to the In the News section.

  1. Look for headlines on the BBC/ Google/ Yahoo News websites pertaining to regions other than the US, US areas of interest (Iran, North Korea, etc) and UK. These sites may not be unbiased themselves, but a broader selection exists.
  2. Help to avoid systemic bias by finding important articles about these ignored regions. Links to underdeveloped articles will eventually help in the improvement of those articles, as evidenced in every news item that has been linked to a weak Wikipedia page. THERE SHOULD BE AT LEAST ONE HEADLINE FROM EACH CONTINENT (other than Antarctica, of course) and THERE SHOULD BE NO CLEAR MAJORITY OF ARTICLES RELATING TO THE SAME COUNTRY. For the "In the News" template, remember that not more than one headline per country is allowed.
  3. Where the US/ UK/ overemphasized regions are concerned, try to find important articles that relate to a completely new event, rather than some record in a long, ongoing process in the above named regions (ex. the US invasion of Iraq) that are, in any case, overexposed in the news. Obvious exceptions are allowed, such as the murder of Margaret Hassan, but the allowance of exceptions should not regress into a habit.
  4. Add a link to the source.
  5. Update the page and the corresponding article as per the rest of the guidelines.

If an editor has added a little known news item, do not revert without checking for sources. If an editor has failed to follow the guidelines but the story has merit, do not revert the headline but try to format according to the guidelines. If the update is incomplete or inadequate, do not revert - find and add information yourself; in brief, since this is an encyclopedia, consolidate information and try to edit rather than taking the easy way out.

These are some good places to start though you should by no means restrict yourselves to those sources (in fact, you are encouraged to find news stories from well known local sources where applicable) unless they are not as reliable: BBC - Europe, Yahoo - Latin America, Yahoo - Africa.

Further information[edit]

This topic has generated a lot of debate in the past. To newcomers/ skeptics: this is in fact a problem, since Americentric news or trivia do dominate the relevant pages, as you will see yourself by browsing the respective articles or their edit histories. There has been a heated debate recently at the Village Pump, here - which contains links to some of the arguments dating further back; a perusal of at least that section will provide a flavour of discussions related to this topic and a background to the necessity for new guidelines.

Comments / Votes[edit]

Vote status: 2 support, 6 neutral, 14 oppose

  • Support. Sounds reasonable to me. --Rebroad 14:19, 22 Dec 2004 (UTC)
  • No - I don't like stupid, personal-agenda proposals forced down peoples throats without people that know how to formulate a guideline having any influence on it. violet/riga (t) 09:11, 27 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  • NO. [[User:Neutrality|Neutrality/talk]] 01:46, Nov 28, 2004 (UTC)
  • No. Agree with the intent, but it's much too specific. Can't we simply say, "Please remember that Wikipedia is an international project, and the news list should not include items that are only of US, UK, or other single-country interest." And if you want to also list a bunch of worthwhile international news sources, sure. -- Jmabel | Talk 02:09, Nov 28, 2004 (UTC)
  • No, I agree with Jmabel. Andre (talk) 08:46, Nov 28, 2004 (UTC)
    • I suppose the numbers make you uncomfortable. Would you both care to suggest/ assist in drafting a broader policy on the Talk page? -- Simonides 09:48, 28 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  • Neutral. Totally agree with the intention, but this seems too prescriptive. Even the BBC doesn't always have a new item every day in their Africa section. I would also like to see a slight push to include some more offbeat or unusual news items to help inject a little fun into the news section. -- Solipsist 10:10, 28 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  • Don't support. I don't understand what problem this is supposed to address. Nothing is stopping anyone from writing about current events from Africa or elsewhere. If no one is volunteering to do so, why not try to recruit people from the Countering Systemic Bias project? Tuf-Kat 18:53, Nov 28, 2004 (UTC)
  • Oppose. At best, it'll just limit the amount of news we can have. --Improv 21:02, 28 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  • oppose. Gentgeen 21:25, 28 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  • Neutral. I take the point, don't know that this will solve it. Quill 22:29, 28 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  • Neutral, Solipsist perfectly worded my opinion as well. -- [[User:Solitude|Solitude\talk]] 20:36, Nov 29, 2004 (UTC)
  • Neutral. I agree with the intent but I doubt that this will make the situation any better. Jeltz 20:06, 2004 Nov 30 (UTC)
  • Opposed. Who is going to decide what is biased? Quite frankly, if it's a major news organization, they can't afford to be biased, and if they are, they don't let it affect the facts GregNorc 23:05, Nov 30, 2004 (UTC)


  • Neutral. I believe that wikipedia (like every other source of information) does indeed have some systemic bias (there seems to be a lot of US based material, much less about non english speaking countries). I suggest however that the way to improve is to recruit more editors from Africa, Asia, and South America, not to constrain the amount of material from the US and UK. I also quesiton why an encyclopedia needs a real-time breaking news feature anyway, but that is another question. Morris 05:17, Dec 1, 2004 (UTC)
BTW, see Wikipedia:WikiProject Countering systemic bias. -- [[User:Solitude|Solitude\talk]] 10:17, Dec 1, 2004 (UTC)
The news feature is good. I like looking up background information on news stories in the 'in the news section'. I agree that this proposal is no good but what might make sense is to create a page of links to various news websites that will foster a less biased news section without forcing the issue (in fact I just might do this). Barnaby dawson 12:13, 3 Dec 2004 (UTC)
  • Oppose Barnaby dawson 12:13, 3 Dec 2004 (UTC)
  • Oppose. The "In the news section" is already supposed to be checked for country-centered and subject-centered bias. I also found recently that the In the news facts displayed were nearly 3 days old (!) I agree that news items should have some form of notability, but there's no use in restricting people further in what they can post in current events. This would just limit material available for the template. [[User:MacGyverMagic|Mgm|(talk)]] 10:45, Dec 1, 2004 (UTC)
  • Oppose. We could use less parochialism in the "In the news section" but this isn't the way to do it. -℘yrop (talk) 23:43, Dec 1, 2004 (UTC)
  • Oppose the above poorly-designed rules. Would possibly support a better set of rules with similar intent. I think that there is too much parochialism in Template:In the news and Current events. —AlanBarrett 18:49, 2 Dec 2004 (UTC)
    • All those who share the intentions of improving Current events and the ITN template, but may disagree with the above guidelines, are strongly urged to make suggestions on the Talk page. -- Simonides 04:21, 6 Dec 2004 (UTC)
  • NO, anti-American bias, also poorly written. --Librarian Brent 03:29, 6 Dec 2004 (UTC)
    • Anti-american?? Do silly people ever stop using cliches or is it inherent?... -- Simonides 04:21, 6 Dec 2004 (UTC)
      • Do you ever stop insulting people who disagree with you or is it inherent? -- Cyrius| 15:08, 9 Dec 2004 (UTC)
        • I don't insult people who merely disagree with me, I insult stupidity when I see it. But then you'd have to figure that out. -- Simonides 01:13, 17 Dec 2004 (UTC)
  • Support. These are reasonable expectations. --[[User:Eequor|ᓛᖁ♀]] 20:38, 8 Dec 2004 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Limiting a vocal set of contributors doesn't make the voices of a less vocal contributors stronger, it only serves to diminish the whole. --Chris Brown 13:34, 9 Dec 2004 (UTC)
  • There was a huge positivism dispute in social science. The question is whether the new guidelines end the romantic period and introduce a new positivism style that is orineted towards "majority rule" and leads to a more conservative pratice. The style will be then to conform the official interpretation and remove criticism.
  • Neutral. While the concepts and concerns in here are valid, a policy mandating this sort of thing isn't. BTW, I'm actually liking Solipsist's comment on the off-beat. -- user:Zanimum

Close the poll[edit]

Since no date has been set for the closure of this poll I would suggest it finished three weeks after it opened - tomorrow therefore. I doubt the current result will be turned around any time soon anyway. violet/riga (t) 11:46, 17 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Since it's just a guideline, not a policy, does it need to close at all? Many polls on such pages remain open for years (example). Angela. 20:40, Dec 22, 2004 (UTC)
True, but while it's labelled as a guideline it seems to me that the original intention was for this to be a policy. Perhaps it's done what it set out to do insofar as widening the scope of the news - I've not seen the ITN be filled with news from just one country for a while. That's a good thing. violet/riga (t) 23:38, 22 Dec 2004 (UTC)