Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2019-11-29/From the editor

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Put on your birthday best: "We get by with a little help from our friends"

Please vote in the current ArbCom election, if you haven’t already. As of November 28, 1,483 voters have submitted a ballot, compared to 1,858 last year with 4 days left to vote. Ballots may be submitted until 23:59, 2 December 2019 (UTC).

Several indicators of Wikipedia’s progress will be celebrated over the next several weeks. The English-language Wikipedia is likely to mark its six-millionth article, sometime between New Year’s Eve 2019 and January 8, 2020. Wikipedia itself will mark its 19th birthday on Wikipedia Day, January 15, and The Signpost reaches its 15th birthday on January 10.

Like Wikipedia, The Signpost has been involved in a few disagreements but continues on an upward path. The Signpost, we are convinced, is the best place on Wikipedia for Wikipedians to write about, read about, and learn about Wikipedia. You can help us prepare for our upcoming birthday by contributing in many ways. No, we're not asking for money, but your participation in our little newspaper will ensure our continued success.

You can contribute in several ways:

  • Comments – just add your thoughts to the comments section below the articles. Unlike many online publications, our comments sections are a feature, not a bug. Starting an organized, well thought-out discussion on important subjects is a major goal of our articles. Please let us know what you think.
  • Suggestions – if you think we should cover a story but you don't want to write it yourself, drop a suggestion off at Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/Newsroom/Suggestions, including as much solid information as you can such as links to Wikipedia pages or to news stories.
  • "In brief" sections in "In the media", "News & notes", "Discussion report", and "Arbitration report" – if you'd like to write one or two sentences about a story that fits in these columns, please just write it up. We’ll fact check it and may extend the coverage if we find something else. Be sure to sign it or leave a short note if you want credit: for example, -S
  • Adding a paragraph or more to a story – if you'd like to write more than a couple of sentences, please mention this at the newsroom talk page and we'll get you started.
  • Submit an article – if it's your first submission to The Signpost it might be easiest to start a draft in your user space and drop us a note at the newsroom talk page. If the proposed article is sensitive, e-mail it to the editor-in-chief. Submitting the article via Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/Newsroom/Submissions at least a week before the next issue is the usual method.
  • Start a new regular column – let us know what you'd like to write about on a regular basis and we'll consider it. Right now it would be great to have a regular column on the cultural and academic sectors – call it GLAM+ if you'd like. We'd love to have a column written by a woman – but we don't want a "woman's column" – nothing like Better Homes and Gardens anyway. There are women Wikipedia editors who have different interests than most male editors and we’d love to offer something to these editors – but please don't assume that there won't be male editors interested in the same material. Regular columns on Wikipedians in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, or South America could work. Any proposals for new columns will be carefully considered.
  • Join our copyeditors – by letting us know on the newsroom talk page.
  • Become an editor – this involves writing, selecting stories, editing with the aim of improving content as well as presentation, basic copyediting, finding Wikipedia editors who have a story to tell, and helping the other editors in planning the newspaper's direction. In short doing everything that it takes to get this publication out every month.
  • Any other improvements that you'd like to suggest and can work on – just let us know.

Our system of writing and publishing is a combination of individual work and group effort. You will get credit via a byline in most cases, but at least one other editor will check your work, and help you with fact checking and copyediting. The editor-in-chief will then check that Wikipedia's rules have been followed.

What are the rules that apply to writing for The Signpost? This is a WikiProject like many others, such as WP:Military history or the National Register of Historic Places WikiProject. Within broad limits we set our own rules, like how an article is approved for publication or how the editor-in-chief is selected. It is important to remember that we are not writing encyclopedia articles for the mainspace, but writing journalism for a newspaper. Journalistic standards apply as well as Wikipedia rules. The policy on not including original research does not apply to Signpost articles. We always strive to be fair and accurate in our news articles, but occasionally the exact wording of the neutral point of view policy may not apply. We encourage opinion and humor pieces as well as news stories.

The policy on biographies of living persons does apply to all pages on Wikipedia, but this does not mean that we can't write about administrators, paid editors, or any other editors who put themselves in the public eye. If an article meets journalistic standards and the text would be acceptable on another WikiProject, at the administrators' incidents notice board, or during public Arbitration Committee proceedings, then it will be acceptable on The Signpost when approved by the editor-in-chief.

There is another way that our regular readers can contribute to The Signpost. Some Wikipedians love to argue vociferously and at length about what many people consider to be minor matters. Some writers find it difficult to accept that one of their submissions has been rejected. Others love to argue about grammar. It would do wonders for the morale of our staff if readers would occasionally let these folks know that we are volunteers contributing our time and just trying to do our best. Reader participation really is the key to our future success.

There are some types of "contributions" that we do not accept. For example, sometimes a subject of an article decides that they are better qualified to report on themselves than our reporter is. This almost never works out. If you are the subject of an article and anything the least bit controversial is reported, then the reporter will contact you for your side of the story. Letting the article subject write the article itself will likely deprive our readers of other sides of the story. If you'd like to write an opinion piece about yourself, you may contact the editor-in-chief, but this type of article is not in great demand.

A particularly obnoxious "contribution" that we will never accept is from those people who try to inject their point of view into a news article, or into some other author's opinion piece in the couple of hours just before publication. There are multiple aspects of articles we have to check and recheck before publication. Interfering with this process is at best obstructionism. Uninvited submissions are generally not accepted during the day before publication. Trying to edit war your opinions into an article at this time is a form of censorship, and is simply unacceptable.

So please do consider how you can best contribute to our upcoming birthday celebration. We appreciate your support.