Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2005-01-10/From the editor

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The Wikipedia Signpost


From the editor

Welcome to the inaugural edition of The Wikipedia Signpost! I hope this will be a worthwhile source of news for people interested in what is happening around the Wikipedia community. I plan to publish it on a weekly basis, every Monday.

The name, The Wikipedia Signpost, was chosen to be like the name of a newspaper, since a newspaper is what I would call this project. Though it will almost certainly never appear on newsprint paper, it will nevertheless take on this role for our community. It should have some resemblance to the other newspapers you may happen to read in the course of your life (which I venture to guess many of you read online anyway, rather than the paper copy).

With no slight intended to other projects or languages, The Signpost will focus strongly on the English Wikipedia. The news coming from other language Wikipedias could undoubtedly fill its own newspaper. Correspondingly, rather than trying to translate The Signpost for the benefit of other segments of the community, I hope that as other projects develop a need for this kind of resource, they will adapt and develop this idea for their own uses.

The name also especially suits Wikipedia, because it alludes to a practice here and on other wikis, in that we communicate primarily through "signed posts," as on talk pages. While the wiki system may be used to develop and publish articles, because this is original reporting the reporters will use a byline to "sign" their posts. Since this is not in the article namespace, guidelines such as "no ownership of articles", and particularly "no original research", will not necessarily apply. However, The Signpost will strive to maintain its objectivity as would be appropriate for an independent media organization elsewhere.

The need for a community newspaper is tremendous. Already long ago the speed of recent changes on Wikipedia surpassed anyone's ability to follow edits thoroughly. By now, we are well past the stage where, even when considered in broader terms, anyone can singlehandedly stay on top of events here. To attempt this, your watchlist would be unmanageable, your inbox inundated with mailing list posts, your browser overwhelmed with open tabs, and your time spent flitting from reading about Wikipedia in the blogosphere to hanging out on IRC—even when asleep! I hope The Signpost can spare people the effort of trying to be everywhere and read every discussion.

The subjects covered here should be whatever community subjects interest the readers. Some people will be more interested in things happening with featured articles, others will want to follow Wikipedia's statistical trends. Not everyone will share all interests, but I hope to have something for everyone, and to hear from readers what else they want to know. And to those who might call this navel-gazing, I merely ask—so why are you reading then?

Finally, given the size of Wikipedia that makes it necessary, even a small community newspaper is a huge task. I don't plan to do it alone, and anyone interested in writing for The Signpost should get in touch with me so we can organize the work. I especially welcome anyone who's been dying to try their hand at original reporting, but isn't really sure whether they have material worth publishing on Wikinews (and no, this project is not meant to make navel-gazing publishable at Wikinews). And really, what more logical place is there to develop our skills with original reporting than here, where news is being made and people are interested in this news?

With that, I wish you all happy reading!

--Michael Snow