From the editors
A call for contributors
Like physical newsrooms, The Signpost'
s newsroom and IRC can be a hub of activity around the weekly deadline, and has on occasion seen breaking news rushed through at the last minute.
As the most prominent publication devoted to the English Wikipedia and issues of interest to its authors and followers, we envisage The Signpost
as a digest of essential reading, chronicling the most important developments and concerns of the week, from news originating within the Wikimedia movement, to external coverage of the movement, to the dynamics of the biggest single project, the English Wikipedia. This involves volunteer journalists hunting down, reviewing, and presenting in appropriate context stories relevant to the readership, a copy-editing team on hand to correct and refine the reports, and managing editors to review reports and take responsibility for the overall integrity of each issue.
As articulated by the last editor-in-chief Jarry1250 in his outgoing address, The Signpost aspires to evolve beyond mere transmission of news, to challenging and provocative treatments of issues of importance to the English Wikipedia and the associated infosphere.
Alas, of late, many areas of interest on which we'd like to deliver high-quality coverage are underserved by our current volunteer resources, and in recent months, maintaining quality of service in the most basic reports has been a struggle. For this week's edition, this shortfall in manpower unfortunately resulted in us having to drop the 'News and notes' section.
This is a call for fellow Wikipedians to help us ensure The Signpost can be as consistently excellent and ambitious as its readership deserves. Are you a keen follower of the topics The Signpost covers, capable of thinking critically while writing objectively about those topics? If so, we ask for you to step forward now. Areas of potential contribution are as follows:
- News and notes: This section features news and reports about the English Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects, as well as the Wikimedia Foundation itself and its chapters. Much of the input to this section is easily available, but reporters who can critically examine, investigate and contextualise developments within the Wikimedia movement are most needed.
- In the news: The English Wikipedia is reliably raised as a subject of news coverage by noteworthy newspapers, magazines, websites and other periodicals on a weekly basis. Contributors to this section are required at a basic level to harvest, summarise and synthesise the most remarkable stories about Wikipedia published in the preceding seven days.
- Dispatches: What skills do English Wikipedia editors need to have to create a high-quality encyclopaedia, that they currently lack? Past dispatches include missives on how the Featured content processes work, the evolution of the assessment scale, finding reliable sources online, as well as the canonical injunction "Let's get serious about plagiarism". Unfortunately, no dispatch has been issued in nearly a year. If you have expertise in an area in which most contributors flounder or about which misunderstanding is common, please consider – for the benefit of your colleagues and the project – sharing it.
- Discussion report: If The Signpost aspires to tell you all you need to know about developments relevant to the English Wikipedia during the week, how can it go without a report on the key discussions raging on-wiki? Unfortunately, the report dedicated to just such a project has been dormant for many months. Are you an assiduous follower of WP:CENT; the village pumps; the dispute resolution, administrator's or arbitrator's noticeboards; AfD, CfD, RfD, MfD or requested moves; debates at FAC, FAR, GAN, GAR or WT:DYK; or any other discussions of importance to a dedicated editor? A few lines of summary from observers of each domain on a weekly, fortnightly, monthly or even quarterly basis could make a dramatic difference in informing fellow Wikipedians of narrow focus or whose reading time is limited.
- Sister projects: How much does your average English Wikipedian really understand about Wikinews, Wikibooks, Wikisource, or any of the Wikimedia Foundation's other projects? How are we to learn about the dynamics and developments of our sister projects – and what they can tell us about our own history and future – without volunteers to investigate, interview and introspect about the diverse communities contributing to the compilation of the world's knowledge? Are you a contributor to other projects who gets frustrated by the apparent obliviousness of the English Wikipedians or the Wikimedia Foundation to the needs and particular culture of your project? Consider informing us. English Wikipedians fluent in or contributors to projects and language versions other than this one are particularly best placed to offer insight in this domain.
Other news beats, such as Featured content, the WikiProject report, the Arbitration report, and the Technology report, tend to be comparatively well served, but could always use further assistance and review.
The bulk of The Signpost is compiled weekly by a half a dozen volunteers from an editing community of thousands. Imagine what we could accomplish with two dozen.
Thank you for your continued support,
Skomorokh and SMasters (managing editors)
Check back for the next Signpost