Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2018-04-26/Signpost

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Future directions for The Signpost: How to revive and evolve The Signpost? Big blue-sky proposals and small concrete proposals from the community and from two regular Signpost contributors.

Bri is a 10+ year Wikipedia contributor and acted as interim publication manager for this month's and last month's issue of The Signpost. Eddie891 has been contributing to Wikipedia for over one year. They have both been involved in reviving The Signpost since June 2017.

We heard you

Man Reading Newspaper - Granada - Nicaragua (31797765272) (2).jpg
Pitching-in on a participatory publication

Feedback from The Signpost's readers on Kudpung's op-ed last issue "Death knell sounding for The Signpost?" was robust, and as somewhat frequent contributors, made us think of solutions, both incremental and major. Here are our cards on the table. This is intended to document a few of the incremental changes made so far, and to keep the conversation going.

Immediate problems

Publishing is hard and requires unusual technical skills; see Bluerasberry's 2017 grant proposal for a solution, or Bri's followup rapid grant submitted after the last issue. The rapid grant proposal is intended to demonstrate for a short time (three months) that a funded publication manager role could help keep the publication on time and basically keep the work on its feet until we get some of the other stuff sorted out. Bri listed himself as the fundee because it was easier and quicker than finding an organization to sponsor it and finding another individual with the required skills.

Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/Newsroom/Submissions is buried and user contributions are inordinately hard. To trial a solution, we have put together WP:Signpost/Quick Start to make it easier for first-time contributors. We're still working out the kinks.

Publication manager update

Just before publication of this issue, Chris troutman announced he is willing to take over as publication manager starting with next month's issue, for which we are very grateful. This apparently renders the grant proposals moot.

Incremental fixes

Lots of ideas worth exploring came in from the community. Here are a few:

  • Different publication schedule
    • Navigation links
    • Autofill submission block (duh)
  • Automate tedious parts (e.g., part of F.C., traffic report, etc.)
  • Consider allowing the Arb report to become just scripted by arbitration clerks, almost like the summaries.
  • Change all Signpost page names from Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost... to Wikipedia:Signpost...
  • Consider Wikipedia talk:Wikipedia Signpost/Mirroring
  • Email addresses for team members at a custom domain (or a "group" email-list address like en-signpost-team@wikimedia.org might be helpful)
  • Enable Visual Editor for contributions

Simplifying the publication model

A longer discussion took place related to whether we should strip away the gloss that makes it hard to publish, and make contributing to The Signpost a lightweight process more like editing any article. Would we lose brand identity doing this? Would editorial control evaporate? More discussion is required before committing to this.

Community

An energized community of contributors, readers, and newsroom volunteers are what really would keep The Signpost going. Can we do some incremental things to reinvigorate, reward, and recognize?

  • Participation badges/chicklets.
  • Reach out, e.g., an automated notice once a 500(?) edit milestone is hit. Increase visibility.
  • Figure out why others (OZOO, Armbrust, EpochFail, Piotrus, Milowent, Kaldari) stopped writing and if they will come back.
  • Becoming a User group?

Moving towards social media

The Signpost has a tiny social media footprint which we could probably leverage better. We need to put our heads together to think about responses to modern social media. Just a few ideas off the top of my head listed here. These would be tiny steps on the way to an overhaul listed below. Would somebody be willing to create The Signpost Show? We could start just by reading headlines for the Spoken Wikipedia's channel on YouTube, but I could see a video outlet becoming more of an integrated entity or even driving The Signpost (more below).

  • Why is our Twitter feed not visible in the pages of The Signpost?
  • Where do replies to Twitter icon Twitter go?
  • The Signpost Show

Dream big: Signpost 2.0

"Dream big" ideas have been floating around but need a place to land. Here are some of the things that have been discussed, in a grab-bag fashion. Readers are invited to further discuss how to organize and implement (especially where funding is required).

 · Radical look & feel overhaul: integrated video, modern look and feel, easy user interaction, easy social sharing (incl. hashtag feedback), you know, more 2018 and less 1995. Re-imagining the whole thing from the start, in other words. Ideally with input from new media experts with specific knowledge of Web based platforms. · Overhaul the submissions pages to make it inviting and easy as pie to contribute. · How about a "feed" of content proposals automatically formatted? That and some programming changes on the editorial side including short-term snippets and longer-term serious reporting and roll-ups. · More bot curated content as has been suggested – traffic report has been specifically mentioned here.  · User-customizable editions, filters, periodicity. · Upvote/downvote model for TOC presentation. · Multiple curators of multiple views  · Ad-hoc and self-organizing editorial board based on followership.