Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/Newsroom/Opinion desk

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Opinion desk


The Signpost is calling for position pieces, calls to arms, perspectives from other projects, debates and essays addressing important issues facing the English Wikipedia and the broader Wikimedia community. Have a project that you'd like to highlight? An issue that you'd like to bring to light? An essay you'd like to publish? Bring it to us and let us help you make it known. The Signpost actively solicits op-eds from the community, subject the approval of the editor(s)-in-chief, currently Go Phightins! and Gamaliel.

How it works[edit]

The opinion desk acts as a holding pen for submissions to give feedback and try to find ways to improve and polish them, and to collect sets of related pieces. The publication of opinion pieces is at the ultimate discretion of the Signpost‍ '​s editors-in-chief, Go Phightins! and Gamaliel. Before continuing please make sure that your particular publication is not more appropriate as a special report instead.

Do you have a proposal for an essay you'd like to write and publish? If so please read and understand the submission guidelines below, then create a new submission in the submissions column below explaining the content of your essay and the reason you think it is topical or should be pursued. Because of the sensitive nature of op-eds, it's good habit to wait on editorial feedback from the editor(s)-in-chief before starting writing.

Would you like to publish an essay you've already written? Do the same as you would with a new proposal, but be sure to include a link to the essay in your submission.

Would you like to comment on essays and ideas currently under consideration? Feel free to do so; this process is open to the community at large. While submissions that take strong positions on important issues are welcome, we ask that comments be kept constructive. If you are unclear on any of the process or have questions related thereto, feel free to use the talkpage.

If you are ready to submit a proposal simply list your submission below; items here are automatically transclused to the Signpost hub, the Newsroom, and so no further action on your part is required until you get a response from the editors.

If you are ready to submit a proposal you can use the proposal button below to do so.

Create new op-ed proposal

If you are ready to start writing you can use the draft button below to do so.



Ideas[edit]

If you are unsure of what to write about, these items, transclused from the Newsroom, are our current editorial focus:


This space is for editors sharing internal ideas about topics or issues the Signpost should focus on or find writers to address, but for which reports or proposals have not yet been drafted. Items here are automatically transcluded to the opinion and special desks so that contributing editors may be aware of our current editorial focus.


  • Copyright: How overly strict copyright limits are hurting Wikimedia contributors? Alternatively, how Wikimedia contributors' copyrights are violated on a daily basis?
  • Public release I've seen a couple of stories about major releases of materials into the Creative Commons of large numbers of literary and scholarly works in the languages of India, specifically Kannada and Tamil, thanks to the efforts of Wikipedians. Perhaps a talk with some of the participants or an overview of these kinds of efforts?
  • LangCom: LangCom seems to have ossified, how come?



Submission guidelines[edit]

The criteria for publishing opinion pieces are quality of argument, originality, and relevance to the community, as judged by the Signpost. Similar to newspaper op-eds, opinion pieces should be accompanied by an extended byline (suggestion: one to three sentences), that briefly introduces the author and indicates why his or her opinion about the topic might interest the reader. The purpose of publishing opinion pieces is to provoke thought and discussion in a productive rather than antagonistic fashion, and so submissions should be well-researched and not factually misleading or unnecessarily inflammatory. A related set of submissions that address the same issue but from editors' different perspectives are especially encouraged.

Unlike the weekly news reporting focus of the standard Signpost articles, and the investigative and evaluative focus of its special reports and opinion pieces are primarily editorial in tone. As the Signpost does not have a house point-of-view or political agenda, it does not endorse the perspectives of opinion pieces, which express only the views of their authors.

Proposals[edit]

Wikimedia Conference 2015: Challenges and opportunities for WMF and affiliates[edit]

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Status:
In progress

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Discussed previously by email with the EICs.
  • Discussion:
  • Hi Pine. I talked to some of the editorial board about the piece, and we were talking about the structure as it stands. There are two choices, basically: 1) it can be a stand-alone "travelogue", which is sort of what it is now or b) it can be an op-ed analyzing the conference from the perspective of an attendee. Which direction do you want to go? Go Phightins! 02:39, 24 June 2015 (UTC)
  • @Go Phightins!: calling this a travelogue is fine. I'm ready to be done with it. I've boldly added it to the TOC for this week and called it a travelogue. --Pine 04:39, 24 June 2015 (UTC)
  • @Pine: Tony was acting on behalf of the editorial board with his revisions to your travelogue. In all honesty, it is long, and many sections are too detailed. We need to streamline much of the content to have reader appeal, and we think some of the images should be placed in an accompanying gallery to reduce vertical space. Having been in our shoes before, I know you can understand our predicament. If you would prefer, we could move the unabridged draft to your userspace and link to it as a NAN in brief. Let us know. -- Go Phightins! 02:14, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
  • @Go Phightins!: I'm fine with shortening the report, but I wish you would have discussed that with me instead of asking Tony to do it. Anyway, what I suggest is breaking the travelogue into a 3 part series. We did something similar last year with my Wikimedia in Education series, which started as a long one-part report and turned into a series. If this is ok with you then I'll break up WMCON report into a series. --Pine 19:02, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
  • @Pine: Pine, it is not about the length, it is about the level of detail. We have decided that we need to make cuts in order to facilitate reader interest. Due respect, readers will not be interested in what movies you watched on your flight over, with whom you ate breakfast, or even about the history of Wikimedia Cascadia, etc. No matter how many installments this is presented in, it is too detailed. Go Phightins! 21:12, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Hi Go Phightins!, there are a couple of points to having those sections in there. First, this is intended to be a travelogue and sort of autobiographical. The reason that is important is that this isn't the cut-and-dry WMDE grant report or list of official follow-up activities; this is my subjective report about the conference, and it's important that readers understand the perspective from which the report was written. Second, those sections are intended to humanize the author of the report. I realize that some Wikipedians have a cut-to-the-chase, just-the-facts mentality that is appropriate for writing many content articles, but that approach is suboptimal when writing what is inherently a subjective report. I could shorten the report by cutting out most of it and going straight to the conclusions section, but I think that would deprive readers of a great deal of information that they might find useful for understanding how I came to those conclusions, and would also deprive readers of links and imagery that would be helpful to people who might have been unable to attend the conference but would like to get a feel for the experience. --Pine 00:35, 27 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Pine, the personal stuff needs to be treated with care. That you had breakfast each day is not something you'd even bother to write home about. I'd remove the trivia. And the photographs are huge lumps in whatever narrative there is. It's a very disjointed effect. Meeting x and y on the street could well be a slight breach of their privacy. Tony (talk) 02:52, 27 June 2015 (UTC)
Given the large number of pictures I suggest moving to a slideshow format, something like this. And absolutely removing the airplanes-and-hotels cruft. ResMar 15:57, 27 June 2015 (UTC)
OK, given the consensus here, I'll work on shortening the piece sometime next week. --Pine 05:00, 28 June 2015 (UTC)
Better now? The entire travel section is gone from the first part, and I made a few other tweaks to remove some of the lighter material. I left the photos as they are, since I think that they are helpful for understanding the conference. Pinging Gamaliel, Tony1 and Resident Mario. --Pine 15:48, 1 July 2015 (UTC)


Previous publications[edit]

Note: The following list is automatically generated using {{Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/Templates/Article list}}. It is complete.

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