Wikipedia talk:In the news/Archive 29

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Images of diseased animals

I really don't like the idea of putting diseased animals "above the fold" on the Main Page. I've removed File:Tasmanian Devil Facial Tumour Disease cropped.png from {{In the news}}. Please find a less disturbing image. --MZMcBride (talk) 20:16, 2 January 2010 (UTC)

I don't think there is anything wrong with it. The good thing about it was that it was small enough that you had no clue what you were looking at unless you decided to click on it. --PlasmaTwa2 20:52, 2 January 2010 (UTC)
Have you ever heard of a poll or consensus talk discussion or you always make decisions on your own like this?--Avala (talk) 20:53, 2 January 2010 (UTC)
The image is pretty grotesque. WP:NOT doesn't mean we can't use our discretion. -- Mwalcoff (talk) 23:27, 2 January 2010 (UTC)
I found it less disgusting than the dining habits of a fly and less disturbing than the human eye surgery which featured on the Main Page when the image itself was the focus due to TFP. This one was quite small as well. There should be some consistency. Do readers look at the ITN section for the picture? Or can I or anyone object to other images and have them removed as I wish because of my personal feelings? --candlewicke 00:44, 3 January 2010 (UTC)
For what it is worth, I found the image to be pretty grotesque as well. Killiondude (talk) 08:46, 3 January 2010 (UTC)
Sure, it wasn't pleasant, but nor was it particularly disgusting. There was nothing wrong with that image, particularly if we're happy for that eye surgery one to have been up (which is FAR more disturbing IMO) Modest Genius talk 14:16, 3 January 2010 (UTC)
I am a bit puzzled over those complaints, because I don't recall receiving a single complaint when I used this image of a diseased human on ITN. I found the leprosy image far more grotesque, something straight out of a horror film. And I noticed that most of those complaints come from American users, and Europeans appear to perceive it differently - perhaps cultural differences playing a role here...? --BorgQueen (talk) 15:10, 3 January 2010 (UTC)
As an animal lover, I found the image extremely unpleasant and equally encyclopedic. Not everything in life can be happy and fun, and I think that we do our readers a disservice by filtering the imagery that appears on the main page (thereby calling into question our site-wide practices).
I'll also note that we routinely display images that are considerably more "disturbing" to some readers. Should we ban the appearance of unveiled women on the main page, or have we decided that only certain cultural standards are worthy of consideration? —David Levy 15:58, 3 January 2010 (UTC)
I seem to recall we have had, perhaps multiple times, images of dead people on the main page. One example at least, I think perhaps some Nazi death camp photo or of a grave site may have garned some controversy. Personally I consider such images more disturbing then the Tasmanian devil one. The feces and human eye photo of course also resulted in some controversy. But the only photo we kept of the main page because the content was considered too controversial I'm aware of is File:Michele Merkin 1.jpg Edit: Seems it did end up on the main page eventually. I'm surprised I missed that, it was surely controversial Sorry got confused, it was Picture of the Day on the Commons, not today's featured picture here. I'm pretty sure my initial comment was right, I believe HowCheng started a discussion and eventually decided not to show it. Nil Einne (talk) 17:06, 4 January 2010 (UTC)
I found the image ironic more than anything else: the story was reporting a great breakthrough in the management of the disease, and yet we chose to illustrate it with a victim who was beyond any hope of recovery. It was as if ITN can't really cope with good news! An image of a healthy Tasmanian Devil would have been better (he says, wearing his 20-20 hindsight goggles!). Physchim62 (talk) 17:33, 4 January 2010 (UTC)
While the research in question is a major step from a scientific standpoint (and is appropriate for inclusion in the section), there has been no "great breakthrough in the management of the disease." The research "may eventually help identify a genetic pathway that can be targeted to treat it." In other words, it's a possible precursor to a possible precursor to a "great breakthrough in the management of the disease."
At this juncture, we merely know more about the disease's origins (not a means of countering it), so the image was quite relevant. —David Levy 18:09, 4 January 2010 (UTC)
I said "management", not "cure". In that sense, this work is a great step forward. For example, it allows workers to identify individuals who are infected even before they have visible symptoms. Given that "disease management" already involves isolating healthy individuals away from possible infection, the new results are a breakthrough in ensuring that the strategy is not just a great waste of time. Physchim62 (talk) 21:11, 4 January 2010 (UTC)
While the breakthorough is obviously important and will help in itself, I'm not convinced it will make that much of a difference to the successful management of the disease without further breakthorough particularly given how widespread the disease apparently already is and the fact that managing a disease of this sort in a wild animal population is not going to be easy particularly when you have to capture the animal to tell if it's infected. However the article does indicate that the disease is concentrated in the eastern half of Tasmania so it's possible it will help in reducing the spread to other areas I guess. Note that a management programme is likely to be an extended culling one so it's not as if they're going to look like a 'cute and cuddly' live Devil (although obviously if it's caught before symptoms they'll won't look like a infected one at all). It'll obviously aide the setting up uninfected populations in certain areas as is evidentally been suggested too although it seems that that could have been implemented anyway with proper quarantine measures. Nil Einne (talk) 22:52, 4 January 2010 (UTC)
Just a quick reply to Her Borg Majesty ;) I think there is a difference between human photos and animal photos, namely that all of us know what a human looks like, but most of us have never seen a Tasmanian Devil. The leprosy photo (and there are far worse leprosy images on the net) was obviously informative about the possible effects of leprosy in in humans, something which most readers would never have seen. With the Taz' Devils, we could have used an image of a healthy individual because most of our readers wouldn't even know that a Tasmanian Devil is a small marsupial. But I certainly support the right to show disturbing images on the Main Page, when justified by the text that goes with it: the diseased Devil image was justified by the text that went with it, even if we might have been able to find something more esthetic. Physchim62 (talk) 17:48, 4 January 2010 (UTC)
[citation needed] for the claim most people have no idea what a Tasmian Devil looks like. Although people like to complain about ITN having too many deaths, I would note 4/5 of the current entries including the Tasmian Devils one are largely 'good news'. The current photo is of the completed Burj Khalifa. The previous photo was of Magnus Carlsen. Then of course we had the Tasmian Devil picture. But before that we had a picture of the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant and you could say the shut down is good news even though some people dispute that. Okay before that we had a picture of Abdurrahman Wahid. But then before that we had Cao Cao so again you could say it was good news. Also, I would say that the picture was quite informative in telling people that the disease is serious. Yes in theory the wording should as well, but people seem to get worked up about the importance of pictures and it seems to me that the picture is much more illustrative then a random picture of a Tasmian Devil which may lead to contributors thinking 'okay it looks cute but who cares?' Nil Einne (talk) 22:37, 4 January 2010 (UTC)

Cahal Daly

Please look at this nomination under December 31 as it has support, has been improved considerably from when it was nominated and I feel it is slipping away. An administrator has asked for more input but this has not been coming. --candlewicke 00:48, 3 January 2010 (UTC)

Balloon boy

I've been thinking of raising this for a while. Seeing #"Not notable outside the US" above, I decided now's a fine time since this issue came up again (okay it would have been better to raise it a few days ago but I didn't notice and that thread is now semidead). How many people actually think we should have put the ballon boy story (hoax as we later discovered) up? I've seen people argue we should have put up Anna Nicole Smith or Madeleine McCann but I can somewhat understand that even if I don't agree with it. However I do have trouble understanding anyone supporting us having put that up. Yet it was clearly the top story in many news outlets and surely beat most stuff with a Google test and all that. Nil Einne (talk) 23:31, 4 January 2010 (UTC)

Well, there are two sides to that. One side says we are an encyclopedia and not a news service and therefore should exclude news items that aren't "encyclopedic." The other side says that while Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, it is quite a different encyclopedia from World Book or Britannica in that it includes things like, well, Balloon boy hoax, which is a somewhat substantial article with 75 footnotes. (There was once an argument over whether Wikipedia should even have articles like that, but it seems the "inclusionists" have carried the day forever.) In fact, if the point of ITN is to draw attention to recently updated quality Wikipedia content, the case could be made that we should actually favor things like balloon boy over "serious" news items such as wars in Africa that, for reasons of systemic bias or whatever, don't have a lot of good Wikipedia content behind them!
My view is that we would look silly if we feature tabloid junk news like Paris Hilton getting out of jail. But I would support having pop-culture items that are noteworthy enough to attract attention in "serious" news outlets like The New York Times and Wall Street Journal. Examples would be the hypothetical death of Miley Cyrus or the more-likely marriage of Prince William, both of which generated a lot of opposition when raised as hypothetical ITN items on this page. -- Mwalcoff (talk) 00:28, 5 January 2010 (UTC)
You can always say there is/was/would be "some" interest outside the mother country, such as the argument that Irish Americans keenly awaited the result of the hurling final. –Howard the Duck 06:36, 5 January 2010 (UTC)
P.S. I remembered that same article (Balloon boy) was on AFD, and some of the reasons were... it was not "international" enough. Tee hee. –Howard the Duck 07:45, 5 January 2010 (UTC)


When is the template going to be updated? It's been FORTY HOURS since the last update... UnitAnode 22:35, 6 January 2010 (UTC)

No one has been able to agree on what the update should be. It will be sorted soon. --candlewicke 23:06, 6 January 2010 (UTC)
ITN regulars are very good at opposing suggestions. I personally wouldn't be opposed to having flexible standards that allow some items that don't meet the usual threshold to go up nonetheless on slow news days. -- Mwalcoff (talk) 01:17, 7 January 2010 (UTC)
You have opposed some today as well. Have you changed your mind? --candlewicke 01:58, 7 January 2010 (UTC)
I've opposed a few, but my "oppose" votes are still quite sparse in light of all of the items suggested. -- Mwalcoff (talk) 03:19, 7 January 2010 (UTC)
  • I have a friend who loads Wikipedia up daily, and likes to peruse the ITN articles. He asked why the articles haven't changed for a couple of days. Should I just tell him that it's the politics of the project? UnitAnode 02:26, 7 January 2010 (UTC)
I suggest that you advise him to join the discussions. —David Levy 02:30, 7 January 2010 (UTC)
Which take place at WP:ITN/C for anyone reading this who is unsure. --candlewicke 02:37, 7 January 2010 (UTC)
Seriously? He's just a guy, who reads the project. He has no earthly interest in the project, other than reading it. He knows I edit, so he asked me about it. Why would he sign up, just to be able to argue with folks about what goes into ITN? He just likes to read it, that's all. UnitAnode 03:51, 7 January 2010 (UTC)
Okay, that's fine. I just thought that he might be interested in aiding the process. I'm certainly not suggesting that he's required to. —David Levy 04:16, 7 January 2010 (UTC)
This has kind of turned into an example of how the infighting here ("here" meaning on the general project, not ITN specifically), can hurt the image of the project. Is it normal for an ITN update to take this long? I mean, I just came over to write a hook (to go along with a WikiNews article I wrote) about the third party-crasher at the state dinner, which is leading to changes in U.S. State Department policy. I had no idea how the process worked, so I just thought if you wrote a good hook, about a relevant and interesting story, that it would probably be placed on ITN. UnitAnode 04:25, 7 January 2010 (UTC)
Unlike DYK where articles just have to be expanded 5x or newly created (pretty concrete rules), in this case, there's this ambiguous "international" criteria. With that said, the blurb you'd be suggesting won't probably be added. –Howard the Duck 06:34, 7 January 2010 (UTC)
Sounds like some really ludicrous rules-making to me. I mean, I understand not having every time an American pop princess sleeps around added, but having an "international" requirement seems a bit much. I'm thinking perhaps this isn't the place for me. Good luck everyone. UnitAnode 06:56, 7 January 2010 (UTC)
The thing is, DYK has a lot more suggested items than ITN per day, and DYK is updated four times a day, as opposed to ITN being updated one blurb at a time. You can't say "U.S. bias" to every U.S.-related item there. –Howard the Duck 13:59, 7 January 2010 (UTC)
I'm beginning to see what you mean. One big improvement here could be not letting the anti-U.S. sentiment of a few editors dictate the flow of hooks/articles into ITN. The fact of the matter is, this is the English Wikipedia. The U.S. is its largest constituent, followed (I would assume) by the U.K. To actively weed out articles that would appeal primarily to the largest constituency of the project seems ... I don't know, odd maybe? UnitAnode 14:07, 7 January 2010 (UTC)
Heh, you're beginning to sound like one of the guys here.
I've observed on many U.S.-related items is that Americans seems to do things by themselves. For example, the World Series, Super Bowl, the politics-related events. As opposed to say, Europeans where they'll have to seek out the opinion of other to states or else something bad will happen, or they do things together.
Another is on natural (weather, earthquakes) events -- for example, a big snowstorm happened just south of the Canadian border from the Pacific to the Great Lakes. That's a great deal of land area but that's only one country, and if there are minimal deaths it'll probably have a harder time of being added, as opposed to say, a big snowstorm that hits the same area in Europe, that's already from Ireland to the Ukraine(!!!); even if it has minimal deaths, it'll trump the U.S. snowstorm since it affected many countries. –Howard the Duck 14:17, 7 January 2010 (UTC)
A "U.S.-local" story would also get fewer page hits, judging from the 2009 data. There is a very nice example from March 2009, where 2009 Montana Pilatus PC-12 crash (a U.S. plane crash with 14 deaths) and FedEx Express Flight 80 (a plane crash in Japan with 2 deaths) were posted simultaneously. The plane crash in Montana peaked at 28.3k hits, the plane crash in Japan peaked at 43.0k hits. It was the plane crash in Japan that was pulled early, after complaints that it wasn't sufficiently notable for ITN! Or compare the Geneva County massacre (11 dead in the U.S., peak of 35.5k hits) with the almost simultaneous Winnenden school shooting (16 deaths in Germany, peak of 64.7k hits). Physchim62 (talk) 14:34, 7 January 2010 (UTC)
Meh, it's not always the case. Depends on what case you pick out. As stated earlier, Super Bowl XLII had 212k hits, the 2009 UEFA Champions League Final only got ~121.3k in two days. –Howard the Duck 15:07, 7 January 2010 (UTC)
Given that the median peak for articles featured on ITN Jan–Mar 2009 was 16.9k hits, both stories can be said to be successes! I'm trying to get full statistics for 2009 at the moment, taking into account the criticisms mentioned above. It's not rocket science, but it's not completely straight-forward either: to give just one example, do the 81st Academy Awards (263.3k hits peak, more even than the Super Bowl) count as a U.S. article or an "international" article? And how do such choices affect any conclusions about systematic bias? For the moment, and excluding sports and entertainment, the "general news" stories from the U.S. seem to get lower audiences than similar stories from the rest of the world. But disclaimer: I really need a full year's data set to be sure, given seasonal differences in news stories. Physchim62 (talk) 15:18, 7 January 2010 (UTC)
"how do such choices affect any conclusions about systematic bias?" It won't. We'd still rely on hyperboles and out of this world comparisons. –Howard the Duck 15:24, 7 January 2010 (UTC)
We might have more helpful comments, though. Physchim62 (talk) 15:55, 7 January 2010 (UTC)
As for your question if the Academy Awards is American or international: if the World Series is "American", same thing for the Academy Awards. –Howard the Duck 03:20, 8 January 2010 (UTC)

Honestly? It's really not critical enough to warrant an emboldened, italicised and capitalised question. Therequiembellishere (talk) 04:21, 7 January 2010 (UTC)

  • No, it's just critical enough that a normal person, reading ITN each morning, has noticed and asked about it. UnitAnode 04:25, 7 January 2010 (UTC)
    • To answer your question above, it's not normal that an update takes this long, but it's not unprecedented either (that's why we have the timer, to focus minds a bit). If you're interested (and I see you made a concrete suggestion below), I should have the full 2009 stats by the weekend. Physchim62 (talk) 10:32, 7 January 2010 (UTC)
  • At the moment, I see at least 3 stories that can go up in the next update. Winter storms, Japanese man who survived two atomic bombs and a pipeline. Please, comment there. --Tone 09:40, 7 January 2010 (UTC)

Until someone does empirical research on the topic, I don't think we can claim that U.S. events get fewer hits than events elsewhere. There have been several examples of U.S. news items that have received enormous attention from Wikipedia users yet have been the source of bitter contention on WP:ITN/C for their American focus. A good example is the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor for the U.S. Supreme Court, which generated a ridiculously huge amount of hits on Wikipedia:Popular pages but nonetheless wasn't good enough for some people as an ITN item.

My belief remains that we should judge the news value of an event (which is one of several criteria for an ITN item) by how many potential Wikipedia users care (and how much they do), not how many countries care. -- Mwalcoff (talk) 23:36, 7 January 2010 (UTC)

Since the number of people from developing countries is increasing, including Indians many of who use English as a second language and are likely to be interested in the English wikipedia (particularly if it shows stuff that interests them rather then boring stuff like the World Series), I do however wonder what sort of complaints we will get when we start to list the result of every Indian cricket test, ODI and T20i, as well as news about Bollywood movies and stars. BTW, while I support the World Series as I've said before, I don't think it's comparable to the Academy Awards. While it's true both are mostly American in origin/nature, the international involvement and response to them are quite different. The Academy Awards are one of the highest possible honours for films and the people involved in them and although they primarily honour Hollywood movies, thats synonymous with the dominition (whether people like it or not) of Hollywood movies in much of the world. Even in places like China and India, with language, cultural (and particularly in China) & legal issues and large movies industries of their own, Hollywood movies are still a massive phenonom. The Academy Awards not surprisingly receives great interest in many countries The World Series however, while it does receive some interest, is often seen as an American sporting event with a silly name perhaps symbolising the American POV (many are probably not aware of the reason for the name) for an American sport, perhaps showing they can't really compete in many other sports the world plays so need their own sports so they can (again while this may not be true, it doesn't stop people thinking it). Nil Einne (talk) 05:02, 8 January 2010 (UTC)
  • Baseball is a world game. The fact that you think it's "silly" is utterly irrelevant. And, from your last few sentences, I think your anti-American bias is quite evident. UnitAnode 05:13, 8 January 2010 (UTC)
I think American in this context means non-European, because its the most popular sport in Japan and one of the more popular ones in Latin America (ie the Dominican, Venezuela, Cuba, etc.). ~ DC (Talk|Edits) 05:41, 8 January 2010 (UTC)
As someone who's only just stumbled upon ITN, I've already grown weary of the anti-Americanism (or, as you put it "non-Europeanism", perhaps). I can't imagine what the frustration level of the regular editors of ITN must be like. "Oppose, too American" has to get really old after awhile. UnitAnode 07:03, 8 January 2010 (UTC)
My comment about American meaning non-European was in regards to baseball. More importantly, I've seen less opposes of the "too American" (or more correctly "US-centric") since August (Ted Kennedy's death is a good example). And yes, that was quite frustrating. ~ DC (Talk|Edits) 08:49, 8 January 2010 (UTC)
In fact, U.S. was not the country that was the most pissed off when the Euro-centric IOC nixed baseball from the Olympics. Guess what country it was. And an entire continent too, it seems...Howard the Duck 13:18, 8 January 2010 (UTC)

A suggestion

Why not run ITN like DYK? Users would write their hooks, make their suggestions, and the hooks would simply be verified for the basic requirements of length, references, and style. Then, as needed, various hooks would be queued up, and could even be placed every 8 or 12 hours, instead of every 24 (which isn't even happening at present). UnitAnode 06:17, 7 January 2010 (UTC)

One problem with this suggestion is that it doesn't solve the big bottleneck in preparing stories for ITN, which is the update of the article. In the recent gap in new stories, there were ten news stories proposed. Of those, two of them would probably have been posted to the Main Page if the updates had met our criteria (which are laxer than the criteria for DYK). If anyone wishes to update the story on the Ulster Defence Association decommissioning its weapons, or write the article about the mine fire in China, please do so! It's too late for Sandro (in every sense of the term), but his death would probably also have been posted had the article been in a better shape. Physchim62 (talk) 13:23, 7 January 2010 (UTC)
I doubt it. Some are tired and very fussy when it comes to deaths. --candlewicke 18:55, 7 January 2010 (UTC)
Portrait of Cao Cao from a Qing Dynasty edition of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms
How about separating obituaries from the rest of ITN, as in the example. I noticed today that nlwiki has five obituary pieces (but with a different main page layout) as well as an ITN section. Physchim62 (talk) 20:32, 7 January 2010 (UTC)
If I may, what is "nlwiki"? UnitAnode 02:06, 8 January 2010 (UTC)
I am guessing that it is the version of Wikipedia used in the Netherlands. --candlewicke 02:53, 8 January 2010 (UTC)
That's been proposed before. It got some support, but also opposition and was never implemented, you should be able to find discussions either in the archives here or the death criteria page. I think the more common proposal was to just list the names Nil Einne (talk) 04:40, 8 January 2010 (UTC)

Mushroom cloud

This isn't really a tasteful photo to include for the front page when discussing the fact Yamaguchi passed away...—Ryūlóng (竜龙) 06:39, 8 January 2010 (UTC)

  • I'm not sure I understand the concern. He survived the bombing pictured, so how is that distasteful at all? UnitAnode 07:04, 8 January 2010 (UTC)
One would think that this image in the On this day... section might attract similar complaints about how tasteful it is to include it beside: American forces led by General Andrew Jackson defeated the British Army at the Battle of New Orleans (pictured) near New Orleans, two weeks after the United States and United Kingdom signed the Treaty of Ghent to end the War of 1812. Somebody must have died there too. Not to mention the current lead Did you know...: ... that the bronze Gniezno Doors, of about 1175, are the only Romanesque doors in Europe decorated with scenes from the life of a saint (his murder pictured)? And no one seems to have complained about the video game that is Today's Featured Article yet either. I would have considered the nuclear bomb the least potentially harmful of all these. :-) --candlewicke 09:32, 8 January 2010 (UTC)
We are discussing the man's death and we have an image of the mushroom cloud instead of the individual. That's my issue.—Ryūlóng (竜龙) 10:06, 8 January 2010 (UTC)
I am not sure if I understand your concern either. The man survivied the bombing attacks, and that was officially recognized by the Japanese government. That is why he became notable enough that his death is featured on ITN. The picture is one of those bombings. Therefore, the picture is relevant to the item. It is a featured image, too, and a historically significant one at that. --BorgQueen (talk) 10:51, 8 January 2010 (UTC)
I looked for a free image of Yamaguchi but couldn't find one. The one illustrating his article is fair use and so banned from the Main Page. Physchim62 (talk) 14:29, 8 January 2010 (UTC)
  • There's a suggestion on Wikipedia:Main Page/Errors to move the European weather story back to the top (as it's still ongoing), and use a very striking satellite picture of the snowfall. A possible solution, there? Shimgray | talk | 10:24, 8 January 2010 (UTC)
On ITN/C I proposed adding a blurb on the BCS championship, which has a picture we could swap in too. ~ DC (Talk|Edits) 10:32, 8 January 2010 (UTC)
I'd love to see the satellite image on the Main Page, it is almost becoming iconic in its own right (although that is really for featured pictures, where the image is already nominated and gaining great support). I see that the main issue here has been resolved, in that the mushroom cloud is no longer up. Physchim62 (talk) 14:29, 8 January 2010 (UTC)

New format for WP:ITN/C

The new format for WP:ITN/C does not seem to be working well. We have had two days out of the last five with absolutely no nominations and two occasions where the clock has gone over forty hours without an update. Both are unprecedented in recent memory, insofar as we have two events in such a short time span.

In my opinion, the new format is simply driving more comments onto disputed nominations, of which we have had three during the last five days gaining a great deal of discussion (two on sports and one general). Obviously any editor is invited to make a comment to any nominations, but it would be nice if they could see a greater range of subjects than the five or six that are normally nominated each day when they finish their edit. It would be nice as well if they could see the relevant section from P:CE, so that they could possibly chose another news story to their taste to nominate.

The greater simplicity in archiving is no compensation for the problems I am seeing with the new system. I hope editors will agree to reverse it as soon as possible. Physchim62 (talk) 15:04, 11 January 2010 (UTC)

I agree. ~DC Talk To Me 17:26, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
We can make the trial period shorter. I also think that the old style was more convenient. --Tone 17:32, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
I 100% agree. I am finding it extremely annoying - that's why I have disappeared. This may seem small, but I always went to ITN/C through my watchlist. I don't want another Wiki bookmark. I have too many. I propose that the trial ends on Friday, a week after the start. —  Cargoking  talk  17:38, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
I'm biased and bolshy as usual, but I'd like the trial to end as soon as possible, without prejudice to another (preferably short at first) trial taking place later with a modified structure. I'm the first to accept the need for full data sets for statistical reasons, but two days out of five with no nominations at all is nigh on catastrophic. Physchim62 (talk) 18:16, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
ill add my support to end this trial :) -- Ashish-g55 18:39, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
  • I ended the trial period, seeing that consensus was that it wasn't working. Plus, there was little to no-consensus to do it in the first place. ~DC Talk To Me 01:30, 12 January 2010 (UTC)

Admins commenting on, and calling consensus of, ITN items

I am not happy about Tone (talk · contribs)'s reversal of MSGJ (talk · contribs)'s posting of an ITN item, after he had already given an opinion on here. Is this normal? Is ITN the only place where admins get to participate in a discussion and then call/overturn the judgement of an otherwise uninvolved admin? This seems highly irregular seeing that only admins can actually post to the ITN section. MickMacNee (talk) 15:07, 11 January 2010 (UTC)

In the days 2 people would be talking to each other here, the nominator-admin would just need a "I second the motion" to add the blurb. –Howard the Duck 15:15, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
I answered at the ITN/C page. I simply saw no consensus to post there and we routinely remove items that have no consensus to post. My preferences are irrelevant. --Tone 16:23, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
Your preferences aren't irrelevant, when you've made them clearly known, and then you use your tools to enforce those preferences. UnitAnode 16:26, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
(e/c) And you think that's just normal? Where else would this sort of obvious contributor/administrator COI be allowed on the pedia? MickMacNee (talk) 16:44, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
Infact, Wikipedia:In the news permalink only calls for evidence of multiple supports, which existed. It says nothing about the presence of a consensus, least of all whether that has to be assessed by involved or uninvolved people. MickMacNee (talk) 16:55, 11 January 2010 (UTC)

Don't be silly, any uninvolved admin reading that discussion would see that there was no consensus. It is really MSGJ (talk · contribs · blocks · protections · deletions · page moves · rights · RfA) who is at fault here for posting the item at all. Physchim62 (talk) 16:40, 11 January 2010 (UTC)

If you can't see how pointless it is for participants with a stated view telling others how silly it is that uninvolved people have read it wrong, then ultimately, there is no point even pretending ITN works. MickMacNee (talk)
I !voted support for your proposal, but there was no consensus to post it. In such a situation, it was wrong for an admin to override the discussion. as for ITN "working" or not, that depends on the comparison… it has far higher figures of readership for its resources than the other Main Page sections, but that might also be because of the nature of its content. Physchim62 (talk) 17:20, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
Your 'support' was hardly real, and was merely meant to highlight the fact you didn't get college football up, (and you never came back to address the fact that inadvertantly, your tongue in cheek protest vote can actually be considered a real support, if it is based on your idea of popularity/page views being the be all and end all). If you think an admin is over-riding a discussion where the majority show a clear support something, that's your perogative, but it is hardly logical. ITN gets the most views because it is the top of the main page, on my resolution I don't even see the DYK section without scrolling down, which imo has the better claim to be top spot. However, my comment about ITN 'working' is not about how many people actually look at the tiny amount of entries that ever get posted, it is whether people see the nomination process as a serious and fair system worth participating in, or rather see it as a bit of a random process where people can pretty much make it up as they go along, and can get away with being involved and yet calling an uninvolved admins view as 'silly'. Not helpful when it is the same few people time and again, and everyone seems to be working from an unrwitten code of what 'normally happens' at ITN, rather than what it actually says on Wikipedia:In the news, or what happens in other areas of the pedia. You ironically wonder on the Jan 11 page why we have no new suggestions! I've wasted an entire day on this bollocks, just to have a well supported nomination not go up after weak arguments against it, and the intervention of an involved admin. And to cap it all off, we actually have people suggesting its not even worth crediting people who actually get entries posted by being prepared to go through this nonsense! MickMacNee (talk) 17:44, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
It's also much more prominently displayed. Since readers of English read left-to-right, anything on the upper right gets the most attention. Also, the ITN criteria should be changed to say "there is a consensus to place it on the main page" since that's what goes on in practice. With the multiple support criteria, the BCS championship should've been posted a while ago. ~DC Talk To Me 17:47, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
Im Sorry but that is a decently dumb idea. Even a single oppose needs to be heard (given it proves some valid points). Every entry will make it through the process if we just look at few supports. I think its a very good thing that BCS did not make it up. Otherwise when it comes time for NCAA people will show the link to BCS and put that in. Then someone from other college sport will try and get that up the same way. These kinds of controversial entries need to get a proper consensus before they can go up. few support system will totally screw up things. -- Ashish-g55 18:47, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
I don't think any one would even push for the NCAA Diving Championship to be added at ITN, unlike for example, people pushing for the OFC Champions League to be added since we have Copa Libetadores and UEFA CL. That'll be silly. –Howard the Duck 07:18, 12 January 2010 (UTC)
Attitudes like this are why ITN gets stale, and make WP look more than a bit silly. Darts over the championship of a major sporting event? Could the anti-Americanism be any more apparent? UnitAnode 18:51, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
Nowhere was america even mentioned... why is every topic automatically assumed to be anti-american or is that all anyone can counter with these days? I was talking about college sports. it could be college sports in Europe for all that matters. -- Ashish-g55 18:54, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
You specifically said "NCAA", which is an American organization. Plus college sports mean more to Americans than they do to other people. ~DC Talk To Me 18:56, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
Ok, an involved editor here who's been following ITN. I'm going to be blunt; I'm tired of seeing people accuse others of anti-Americanism. It's a shocking lack of good-faith, and I doubt people wake up in the mornings thinking, "Hmm, how I can show those Americans where to shove it today". If someone opposes a nomination about an American event, go ahead and debate it. Don't accuse people of having a fundamental bias. HonouraryMix (talk) 21:48, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
In an ideal world, admins who !vote on ITN candidates would not judge the consensus. Unfortunately, though, there are so few admins involved in ITN that this laudable principle isn't terribly practical. GreenGourd (talk) 04:09, 12 January 2010 (UTC)
I agree. The admins who do update do a good job (especially BorgQueen), but having more eyes on the page would help. This goes for non-admins who propose and debate on the topics too. ~DC Talk To Me 04:13, 12 January 2010 (UTC)

Ignoring all the off topic discussion, the only relevant view so far seems to be that this anomaly is only allowed because not many editors or admins deal with ITN. I reject that idea completely. We have a whole noticeboard where uninvolved admins are routinely sought out to act as an uninvolved broom, there is no reason why that cannot be used in these cases. The darts entry has overwhelming support now, but of course its all too late, and we are back on the politics and death treadmill. MickMacNee (talk) 20:58, 12 January 2010 (UTC)

It has overwhelming support if you disregard the opposes. –Howard the Duck 02:06, 13 January 2010 (UTC)
Well yes, if that's really the way you want to run ITN. Not a single thing on the main page right now has a bigger support, whether you count opposes or not, let alone whether you actually assess the quality of the arguments. Which is why it went up in the first place, and why the only way it was taken down was by the intervention of an involved admin. MickMacNee (talk) 12:43, 13 January 2010 (UTC)
That item has the second biggest opposition (aside from the BCS one). If you call that consensus, pigs can shoot darts. –Howard the Duck 12:46, 13 January 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I do call a 2:1 support a consensus, in a selection process that is supposed to highlight articles of interest to thousands of readers. It really does say it all when you have to say the words "second biggest opposition", without adding that the actual number of opposers is four, including the admin who removed it after it had been decided by someone uninvolved it had support. MickMacNee (talk) 16:46, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
This is not RFA where they are counting votes. –Howard the Duck 02:37, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
Prior to it being posted then removed, there were 5 supports (not counting Phsychim's because it was meant as sarcasm) and 5 opposes (counting Physcim). This didn't change much after the posting/removal. So tell me how that's 2:1 support/or any sort of consensus. ~DC Talk To Me 04:18, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
We shouldn't really be counting votes since that defeats achieving consensus... –Howard the Duck 11:27, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
Indeed, Wikipedia is not a democracy, it's a "Cluocracy"- it's about the quality of the argument, not the number of people making it. May I suggest we drop this and move on? HJMitchell You rang? 12:03, 15 January 2010 (UTC)

Wording change

I would like to request that, regarding the headline about the earthquake in Haiti, "causing the collapse of a hospital and other buildings" be changed to "causing widespread destruction". It currently seems to understate the magnitude of damage the earthquake took on the city, which according to reports is pretty catastrophic. SwarmTalk 08:06, 13 January 2010 (UTC)

Thanks!--SwarmTalk 16:42, 13 January 2010 (UTC)
You're welcome ;-) --Tone 17:05, 13 January 2010 (UTC)

Considering that there are estimates saying more than 100,000 people have lost their lives, I think it would be more appropriate to mention that instead of "causing widespread destruction" which related to physical destruction of structures.--Avala (talk) 20:03, 13 January 2010 (UTC)

I'd prefer the piece to be a little more conservative and say "thousands dead" (which is pretty much certain to be true) rather than the "more than 100,000 dead" which is still an early estimate. The article has the space to say which sources are giving which figures, but ITN doesn't. Physchim62 (talk) 20:44, 13 January 2010 (UTC)

Swap ITN and DYK on the Main Page

Not sure the discussion at Wikipedia:A proposal to swap the Main Page positions of WP:ITN and WP:DYK has been flagged here? --Stephen 09:35, 14 January 2010 (UTC)

I was hoping to have a broader input first, having listed in on CENT, before bringing it here, for the inevitable steamrollering by the tiny minority of people who think there is nothing wrong with ITN, yet can never quite figure out why there are so few suggestions and updates, and so few regular participants, compared to DYK. MickMacNee (talk) 16:41, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
I've commented there, but anyway I think a better idea would be to start an RFC about ITN, because there are some issues which need to be looked at (ie the nomination process) ~DC Talk To Me 21:54, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
There was an RFC just late last year. –Howard the Duck 02:36, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
I thought there was, I couldn't find it though. ~DC Talk To Me 04:12, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
Alright, in the archives I found two discussions from August. this (appears to be an argument of coverage of US related topics) and this (some suggestions, but nothing seemed to come out of it). ~DC Talk To Me 04:33, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
There are issues with ITN, but moving the position of it on the main page isn't going to make any difference, as I said there. ITN is not inaccessible, but it does need broader input and a higher profile. A lot of experienced editors are barely aware of it and many don't know ITN/C exists. HJMitchell You rang? 10:09, 15 January 2010 (UTC)

Moot point for the moment. Physchim62 (talk) 14:53, 15 January 2010 (UTC)

The people should probably "codify" some of ITN rules. The WP:ITNR page was a good step. This section needs more concrete rules to allow editors if their suggestion has any chance. –Howard the Duck 15:24, 15 January 2010 (UTC)

Nominations without updates

On a somewhat unrelated note, it would be nice to establish a consensus on nominating items before an update- it seems the norm (I do it and a lot of regulars seem to) but some people seem to take exception to it. HJMitchell You rang? 10:09, 15 January 2010 (UTC)

I assume you mean listing an article at ITN/C before the article is properly updated (as opposed to updating ITN with something there's isn't yet a consensus on). Anyway, I have no problem with it. It can draw the attention of ITNers who can help work on the article together. But I do prefer the nominator update the article at least a little before proposing. ~DC Talk To Me 10:26, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
Would agree with DC there. Sometimes I have nominated something I have seen but might not have time to be online until several hours later or even the next day. It allows time for people to become aware of it. --candlewicke 13:35, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
plus not everyone is expert at every topic either. i intentionally did not update few scientific noms that i have made in past and rather let the people in that field update it. but putting the noms there drives attention towards the topic and lets people who know about it more, update it. -- Ashish-g55 14:48, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
  • ITN/C should only contain items that are updated and thus are eligible to go up, meaning that /C discussion should only be concerning themselves with showing support or opposition of something that could be immediately posted. Hosting anything else on /C is just a pointless waste of time and space, and gives the wrong impression to newcomers. If we really need to have one, I suggest an /S suggestions page for temporarily holding speculative ideas where someone can list the potential candidates that they can't/won't update themselves. As an aside, as ever, the reason people quite rightly object to posting non-updated candidates is probably because the guidance on how to list candidates says to update it first! MickMacNee (talk) 15:05, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
If it is guidance it is probably encouraging those who read it to help, not to deposit their nominations and forget about them. Also, you seem to be suggesting another page be created!? Aren't there enough? Isn't that likely to create more confusion? --candlewicke 15:34, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
Candidates/Suggestions is just playing with semantics. Frankly, the guidance is mostly ignored, in my experience, in favour of an ad hoc discussion on the merits of the story and, if anything, i think we need more of that. After all, just having an updated article does not mean it'll get on ITN. HJMitchell You rang? 15:50, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
Delete the guidance if it's a load of crap and routinely ignored then. Why is it that ITN is the only place where useless and ignored guidance is thought to be a good thing? Yet this is the place where nobody understands why newcomers don't get involved! Would you work for a company that said, 'here's the manual, just ignore it though, it's a load of crap, we never use it'. MickMacNee (talk) 19:36, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
we have had few cases where a person would spend time creating/updating an article but does not go up on ITN due to consensus. Then that person gets really mad and either posts garbage all over the place or never comes back to ITN. Therefore putting the nom first is always encouraged... to first see if it even has a chance to go up. Many times articles are created because of the support everyone puts on nominations. -- Ashish-g55 18:54, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
The last thing ITN/C should be acting as is an alternative to the Requested Articles noticeboard. If people are just creating articles to get on ITN, well, we've seen how some people get mad about that sort of trophy hunting. MickMacNee (talk) 19:36, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
Some people might not have time to update everything and want to update whatever is most useful. --candlewicke 19:42, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
I'd have no problem if the guidance page were updated to show what actually goes. Perhaps changing it to "It's suggested that an item be updated before nominating, as updates articles are more likely to get support" or something along that line. ~DC Talk To Me 19:51, 15 January 2010 (UTC)

Significance criteria

Here's the current significance criteria: Unlike the TFA and Did you know sections of the Main Page, ITN rejects items deemed trivial. The criterion was previously written as "a story of international importance or interest". This standard is highly subjective and the focus of much of the disagreement over particular candidates. The most common form of opposition on this ground is that the news is "too local" and not of interest to people in the commenter's country of origin.

  • I think this is rather vague, and needs to be changed. If I were a newcomer to this, I'd think whether a nomination passes or not is a craps shoot. A new standard I suggest (which I go by when commenting at ITN/C) is that the suggested blurb be "about a current or recent event an average reader has an interest in." Thoughts? ~DC Talk To Me 19:58, 15 January 2010 (UTC)

If it happens, what about...

Conan O'Brien leaves The Tonight Show

(Background for non-U.S. readers: The Tonight Show is a famous U.S. TV talk show. It has aired for 55 years on NBC from about 11:35 p.m.-12:35 a.m. Johnny Carson hosted it for 30 years, turning it over to Jay Leno in 1992. Several years ago, with Leno's contract set to expire, NBC promised Conan O'Brien, then host of the 12:35-1:35 a.m. show, that he would take over The Tonight Show in 2009. But when 2009 came around, Leno didn't want to retire, so NBC gave him a show at 10 p.m. Leno's show turned out to be a ratings disaster because people watching TV at 10 don't want to watch talk shows. Now NBC has been talking about giving Leno a half-hour at 11:35 and moving The Tonight Show to 12:05. This has infuriated O'Brien, who put out a statement denouncing NBC and has been bashing the network in his daily monologues. Speculation is NBC (which has already released a post-Olympics prime-time schedule with no Jay Leno Show on it) will put Leno back at 11:35, O'Brien will try to move to the Fox network and NBC will argue O'Brien's contract prevents him from working for another network. Now you know.)

I know we almost never have entertainment news on ITN, but I'm thinking this is a different animal. The amount of attention the Jay Leno-O'Brien saga has received in the media has been incredible -- and I don't mean "entertainment media." This story was on the top of the front page of the serious, highbrow New York Times the other day (before the earthquake), and I also saw it in The Financial Times. It's been in every major medium in the U.S. and is really now as much of a business story than an entertainment one. Secondly, The Tonight Show is such an iconic program, it being [[Johnny Carson]'s for so long and having had only five hosts in 55 years. Third, the show is aired in many countries.

I know we didn't have the departure of the person who played Doctor Who, but I think this is a bit different (despite the similarly iconic nature of that show in the UK). From my understanding (and I must admit I've never seen Doctor Who), the departure of David Tennant was a normal and expected thing, while the Leno-O'Brien imbroglio is a major shakeup. There's also a lot more money involved because NBC is a commercial network.

One caveat: I think if something on this front does happen in the next few days and this suggestion is approved, the item should go below the latest news on the Haiti earthquake. It would be incredibly poor taste to have any entertainment item, no matter how big of a deal it is, on top of the earthquake as long as the earthquake is on ITN. -- Mwalcoff (talk) 00:21, 15 January 2010 (UTC)

That seems kind of irrelevant. Newer news goes on a the top, regardless of whether or not its entertainment, sports, etc. Its not a statement of importance when one item is on top another. --PlasmaTwa2 00:24, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
Possibly. But if this "major shakeup" happened elsewhere and there was an updated article and it was nominated would it be supported? I suppose I'm referring mainly to The Late Late Show which is the oldest talk show with a consistent format going by reliable sources (so serves as the best example) and also an important talk show in the eyes of those who would know of it (just like The Tonight Show is to those who watch it). Presumably some importance is attached to the age here as something famous which is a small number of years old is probably less important than something which is several decades old. When something happens concerning these talk shows I'm guessing it will probably be reported by the media in, for example, the UK, as a separate country to both. The BBC provides a good recent example of both shows actually. The last example is from the "Europe" section as well, not even the "Entertainment" section. I guess what I'm trying to say is they both have some international importance and are reported by the international media. There are probably other shows around the world which have a similar case (I may not be aware of them). So is an event like this concerning The Tonight Show unusual in world terms or does it happen regularly with other shows which are similarly iconic? If it happens regularly it is probably not significant enough to appear on the Main Page. If it happens on a not so regular basis it probably is. The Late Late Show possibly beats what was said after "secondly" as it has had three hosts and the first guy did it for more than the 30 years it seems Carson presented his show. --candlewicke 13:29, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
This "if it happened elsewhere" argument only works for (Western) European items. Third World (and even Japanese)-related items won't get in (I know the Japan Series finally got in but the "compromise" was so laughable). This U.S. vs. (Western) Europe "war" only benefits potential cultural items from those two areas to the omission of countries elsewhere. –Howard the Duck 15:18, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
(ec) I think the weakness in the argument is the amount of explanation that has to go into it! My recent nomination of the Guatemala lawyer seems to have suffered from the same problem. Yes, we can make out a case that this is significant entertainment news, based on the notoriety of The Tonight Show in the United States and its practice of keeping the same presenter for decades. On the other hand, we would need to make that crystal clear in the blurb and in the leads of the articles concerned, to back ourselves up against complaints. News about The Simpsons, or even about Lost, probably wouldn't have so much hassle (but we don't have any). Physchim62 (talk) 15:25, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
@Howard: I don't know any Third World TV shows but please point them out when something unusual happens so they have a chance. :-) --candlewicke 15:30, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
I don't need to go into the Third World. I'd presume any Japanese show wouldn't make it here. –Howard the Duck 15:40, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
The thing with non-U.S. TV is that TV programs don't run together in specified "seasons." A TV program will start any day of the year and will run for a predetermined amount of time unless it has unusually high ratings they'll extend it (but extending it too much screws up the story so their hands are tied). For example program A's original run is from February to June, then another TV program right after its time slot will run from January to April, then another program from another network on the same time slot runs from October the previous year to February. Then these TV programs would be syndicated in another country. A few examples are Koffee with Karan and Meteor Garden. –Howard the Duck 15:52, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
Not notable enough. Think about it, you've got an earthquake that may have killed hundreds of thousands of people, one of the longest eclipses of the sun in the 3rd millennium, etc, etc. A TV show host leaving a show/network is no where near enough notable. Nick carson (talk) 05:44, 16 January 2010 (UTC)
And to think darts was there for a few hours and Oasis "disbandment" was debated to death. This Tonight Show "dispute" came at a wrong time. –Howard the Duck 06:21, 16 January 2010 (UTC)
Duly noted. I shall be demanding higher evidence of international significance for any event you seek to promote in future, because it existed in spades for both Oasis and Darts. MickMacNee (talk) 01:30, 17 January 2010 (UTC)

Interwiki link error

Currently, the template {{in the news}} uses this link [[n:Main Page|Wikinews]] to link to the Wikinews main page. The problem is that when you're using a secure connection, it sends you to the insecure link at rather than to . [[n:Main Page|Wikinews]] should be replaced with {{sec link auto|n|Main Page|Wikinews}} . If you want to also the padlock, you could add "padlock=yes". I've started a similar discussion at WP:VPT#Interwiki.2Finterlanguage_links_not_changing_to_secure.


Anyone agree? Or disagree?Smallman12q (talk) 19:35, 15 January 2010 (UTC)

So anybody plan on changing it?Smallman12q (talk) 00:09, 17 January 2010 (UTC)
Copy and paste this to Template talk:In the news and make an {{editprotected}} request so an admin can deal with it would be my advice. HJMitchell You rang? 00:14, 17 January 2010 (UTC)

2010 Papua New Guinea bus crash

--candlewicke 00:49, 17 January 2010 (UTC)

Looks like its heading for a WP:SNOW keep anyway - Dumelow (talk) 00:58, 17 January 2010 (UTC)

the solid floats on the liquid

As noted in Wikipedia:In the news

The In the news (ITN) section on the main page features articles that have been substantially updated to reflect recent or current events of wide interest to the encyclopedia's readers.

From {{Portal:Current events/Headlines}}

The first experimental measurement of the melting point of diamond (pictured) indicates that at high pressure, the solid floats on the liquid.

Since diamond is in bold, I figure its the article updated to reflect this news item. And it was, but its a particularly bad case of burying the lead. All of the other ITN items link directly to articles where it is easy to find the "substantial updates" that motivated the item's inclusion on ITN: Solar eclipse of January 15, 2010, 2010 Papua New Guinea bus crash, Uzbekistani parliamentary election, 2009–2010, Beach in Pourville, Rodrigo Rosenberg Marzano. Diamond, on the other hand, is a general article, 83K in size. In such cases please consider having the bold word link to something more specific: Material properties of diamond would have been a good candidate, though an alternative could be to link to a section within the article, such as Diamond#Material properties. Thanks. (talk) 04:17, 17 January 2010 (UTC).

After a community effort involving four different editors, the new version:
The first experimental measurement of the melting point of diamond (pictured) indicates that the solid form floats on the liquid form at ultrahigh pressures.
is greatly improved, addressing the issue directly. Well done. (talk) 17:58, 17 January 2010 (UTC).

I think the item should be rephrased to "Researchers determine the melting point and pressure of diamond for the first time." The current phrasing, about the solid form floating on the liquid form, should not be news, as this could have been determined by just melting some graphite and floating the diamond on it. Liquefied graphite and diamond are identical. (The original poor phrasing of this news item prompted me to start a thread on the Reference Desk.) Comet Tuttle (talk) 19:52, 17 January 2010 (UTC)

No matter how much the blurb has been improved, the article has not.
Peter Isotalo 19:55, 17 January 2010 (UTC)
The ITN listing has helped with that. As WP:In the news says, "many Wikipedians are motivated to create and update encyclopedic articles of timely interest." WP remains a work-in-progress (witness (e.g. this thread, for example); ITN appropriately serves to both highlight recent progress, and attract further improvement. Hopefully someone will tackle Material properties of diamond before the discussion is over... (talk) 21:15, 17 January 2010 (UTC)
Have you actually read what you linked to? The criteria specifically call for "substantially updated" articles, with the excpetions for "a highly significant event" while the situation in this case has been pretty much the exact opposite; minimal update and low level of significance. Despite all that debating over how to word the blurb and what the discovery actually meant I was the only one who could be bothered with actually expanding this to a whopping five sentences. And that's not because I'm an expert, but because I found it outright embarrassing that we were featuring something on the mainpage without even a minimum of explanation.
It really bothers me that the standards for getting an article on the mainpage (with a picture no less) can still be this low.
Peter Isotalo 23:54, 17 January 2010 (UTC)

Template:In the news/Sandbox

I was just nosing around and found a page I hadn't noticed before. It is located at Template:In the news/Sandbox. It looks trial version of a new layout. It's only content is some links to the (author requested) deleted Template:*Itn within the standard ITN layout. The only page that the sandbox template is included in is User:Tuesday Teen/Sandbox2 which also has the effect of placing that page into the main ITN category. Do we still need this? - Dumelow (talk) 22:23, 17 January 2010 (UTC)

Solved the category issue. --candlewicke 22:46, 17 January 2010 (UTC)
It's usually a good idea to have a sandbox for a permanently protected template, just so that editors know that they can experiment with new layouts if they wish. In any case, it's harmless! Physchim62 (talk) 00:31, 18 January 2010 (UTC)

Disaster article guideline proposal

See User:Moni3/Disaster. Dabomb87 (talk) 03:25, 18 January 2010 (UTC)

More important than Leno and Conan

On Tuesday, the United States Senate special election in Massachusetts, 2010 takes place to fill the seat vacated with the death of Ted Kennedy. Ordinarily, a special election (bye-election in U.K. parlance) would not get on ITN, but this, I believe, is a special case, especially if Republican Scott P. Brown wins. Here are the arguments in favor of putting this up:

  • If the Republicans win the seat, they will have enough seats to successfully filibuster legislation if they maintain party unity.
  • Speculation is that if the Republicans win the seat, it may derail the Democratic health-care legislation.
  • Massachusetts is often considered the most Democratic state in the country, and the seat being contested had been won by a Kennedy in every election since 1952. A Republican victory would generate huge waves in the American political scene and be a sign of tremendous trouble in the Democratic camp going into the nationwide general elections in November.
  • Obama is personally campaigning for the Democratic candidate in Massachusetts, and a loss would be seen as a major blow to his prestige.
  • Because of the above factors and Brown's unexpectedly strong showing in the polls, the election has generated tremendous national attention, far more than would be the case in a typical special election for a congressional seat. I count more than 5,500 Google News stories on the subject right now.

It's worth a reminder that U.S. Senate elections even in normal circumstances are big deals because senators represent an entire state (in this case, one with 6.5 million people), there's only 100 of them and they have tremendous power over things like judicial appointments and government spending in their home states. It's a lot different than being elected a backbencher in a Westminster-style parliament. -- Mwalcoff (talk) 03:51, 18 January 2010 (UTC)

We'd have to wait to see if it has significant international coverage. And by significant I mean SIGNIFICANT. –Howard the Duck 03:55, 18 January 2010 (UTC)
I'm sure it will be in the major UK and Canadian papers. That said, I still don't understand why an item that meets all the other criteria and is of interest to a great many Wikipedia users should be disqualified simply because those users are congregated in one place. -- Mwalcoff (talk) 00:26, 19 January 2010 (UTC)

Hold on, we don't have a result yet, an the result is probably about 24 hours away (if my time zone calculations are right, and remembering that we don't do exit polls, although we might consider an acceptance of defeat by the other candidate). If you want this story up, you should really be on the phone to the BBC and RTE, so that Wikipedia has external evidence of the international impact. Even with that, a Democrat win would be no change for anyone outside the U.S., so wouldn't be posted. If the Republican wins, in Massachusetts, we can talk about posting if we're backed up by other media. Physchim62 (talk) 00:54, 19 January 2010 (UTC)

Wow. Didn't realize that one blurb hinges on coverage from a media company that is seen by 4.6 million people. Even DWWX-TV has more viewers, and that's only a single channel. –Howard the Duck 14:26, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
You still haven't answered my question. If this, or any story, is of interest to a great many Wikipedia readers and it's "encyclopedic" and it's an example of quality Wikipedia content, why should it matter whether there is "international impact" or not? If something is of interest to, say, 25% of Wikipedia readers, who cares if they're all in the same country? Is it better to have something of interest to 0.0001% of Wikipedia readers and lacks quality Wikipedia content behind it because it's "international?" By the way, I think that because there has been such attention paid to this race, it is notable even if the Democrats do hold on. -- Mwalcoff (talk) 01:39, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
Because ITN isn't a prize? Because we do this for the readers rather than the editors? Is it a prize or a responsibility for the editors of Burj Khalifa that their article was seen by nearly 900 thousand readers earlier this month (sum of hits while it was on ITN, not a daily figure)? Physchim62 (talk) 02:18, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
Exactly! We do this for the readers, not the editors. And I don't think there's any question that there is far more interest among our readers in the Mass. election than in the Uzbek election or in the tragic bus crash in Papua New Guinea. Not all of our readers, to be sure, but a great many. Now I'm not against including the Uzbek election or PNG bus crash, but if we are doing this for our readers and not for ourselves, then we should include the Mass. election as well since so many will be interested in it. -- Mwalcoff (talk) 02:22, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
You'd be surprised, the elections in Andorra got more hits than the elections in Indonesia last year! Crazy but true, just goes to show that you never can tell. I have to go with my position at the start of this discussion – that we wait and see for the result. Physchim62 (talk) 02:57, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
Not that surprising given the proportion of Indonesians that can use the internet everyday as compared to Andorrans who that can use the internet everyday. –Howard the Duck 07:17, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
It is true that Indonesia has a very small proportion of its population with internet access, though it's still twenty-five times the entire population of Andorra - and both are non-English-speaking countries, with flourishing local-language Wikipedia projects. I can't imagine the traffic to either article is going to be predominantly driven by local users compared to everyone else. Shimgray | talk | 18:59, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
Jimmy Wales said "Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge". im sure he did not mean current readers by every single person and systemic biased knowledge by all human knowledge. Point being ITN should be modeled for all people. not just the ones reading it the most. -- Ashish-g55 03:42, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
Don't be ridiculous! The Jimmy Wales quote refers to the encyclopedia as a whole, not to ITN in particular or even to the Main Page in particular. ITN cannot "be modeled for all people" – how the F*** would you start doing that? Any possible news story might be of interest to someone, are you seriously suggesting that each accorded exactly the same weight, perhaps by automagically knitting them into an animated GIF that scrolls up before readers' eyes? Such a GIF, of course, would scroll far to fast for anyone to read it! We would have created the perfect unbiased news service and it would be perfectly useless to the people we are supposedly protecting! Just as the you can't put "the sum of all human knowledge" on the Main Page, you can't put the sum of all world news on ITN. Physchim62 (talk) 13:05, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
woh i didnt say put all the news on ITN... lol. I meant dont just put news from one country. ITN should try to be neutral towards all country... im very well aware that five lines in ITN cant hold all the news -- Ashish-g55 14:15, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
Well should we consider one country represents over half of Wikipedia's readers (nearly 5 times more readers than the runner up)? [1] ~DC Talk To Me 15:40, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
I don't think it's an either-or thing; I think there's plenty of room for both items of interest to our current readership and items from more obscure places. -- Mwalcoff (talk) 05:27, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
If raw population of the country is in question, we'd have an ITN for every Test match that India loses in cricket, and also note that when Pakistan play really bad, especially if they lose to India, the government calls for a senate inquiry, perhaps because matchfixing allegations are always swirling around Pakistani players. Also, we might also have to put results for the Chinese Football league or their national team get bundled over....or losing to Japan YellowMonkey (bananabucket) 00:30, 20 January 2010 (UTC)

Anybody who doesn't want this included is likely blinded by their ideology and a fear of what is to come. This election was far more important than much of the crap that gets into "In The News". (talk) 06:54, 20 January 2010 (UTC)

International significance

Discussion moved over here from WP:ITN/C Physchim62 (talk) 16:41, 20 January 2010 (UTC)

There is no such thing as an "international SIGNIFICANCE" criteria for ITN. There only criteria are international importance or interest. It doesn't have to satisfy both. One is enough. Please do not use the "international significance" argument until the criteria has been modified. –Howard the Duck 16:20, 20 January 2010 (UTC)

Likewise, let's not pretend that every item of proven international interest gets posted to ITN either, unless or until the criteria, such as they can be called criteria, are modified. MickMacNee (talk) 16:26, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
Infact, holy crap - try and find a candidate on this page where somebody has not made a case at all for 'international interest'. This is just another wishy washy way of allowing pure POV voting to rule the roost at ITN. MickMacNee (talk) 16:34, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
How can you measure international interest anyway? How many news outlets should publish a news story before it has international "interest"? What news outlets should we consider? Are we considering its regional (by regional I mean regions such as Western Europe, Caribbean, etc.) reportage? We're stuck with this shit for the next few months these terms need definition. –Howard the Duck 16:38, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
We can't measure international interest (or significance), it is a subjective concept. We can measure Wikipedia interest, but only after the event and only if we're careful to take into account a few demonstrable systematic biases in the data. The two biggest systematic biases (in the available data, not in the interest in the story) are: the time the event occurs during the UTC day; the presence or absence of a named person associated with the event. Physchim62 (talk) 16:57, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
(ec) If you're planning an event for ITN, please make sure that it occurs around 2100 UTC and prominently features a nameable person (politician, if possible) whose article can be bolded. That way, you will be sure to get the maximum score on the simplest statistical model. Natural disasters which occur around 1200 UTC are just not playing by the (statistical) rules! Physchim62 (talk) 17:18, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
International interest can be measured pretty easily, especially in the way it is being done in the arguments for the latest US local news item. Hence the prososal below. MickMacNee (talk) 17:12, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
Eh... we also do that for non-U.S. items, such as the Communist governor of West Bengal. –Howard the Duck 17:23, 20 January 2010 (UTC)

Proposal - fast-tracking world news items

  • Any subject that is the headline item on the 'world news' section of a selected list of English speaking news websites at the same time, can be posted to ITN immediately as a fast-track listing, bypassing the need to show by consensus that it is an item of 'international interest'. The only evidence required for an admin to post such an item would be a snapshot url of each website to be presented on ITN/C, and obviously, the corresponding article must have been sufficiently updated with referenced content also. The list of news websites can be agreed later and be modified to suit. I also suggest a trial period before full adoption. MickMacNee (talk) 17:12, 20 January 2010 (UTC)

Voting will run for 7 days, to then be closed by request of an uninvolved admin from WP:AN.

  • Support. Consistent, neutral, simple. MickMacNee (talk) 17:12, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose The good lord gave us discretion, we can use it. ~DC Talk To Me 17:28, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose. No-brainer items (earthquakes, for example) go up after a very brief discussion and the discussion allows for those experienced in the area to ensure the update meets the requirements. This is too ambiguous, vague and frankly unnecessary. Maybe a proper discussion here would be a better way of resolving the supposed problems with the ITN process than proposal after proposal. HJMitchell You rang? 20:00, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
    A proper discussion might occur? That is about as realistic as thinking ITN has a no brainer earthquake item every day, and formalisation of what else can be routinely considered of 'international interest' is unnecessary. MickMacNee (talk) 20:12, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose. An example: Fritzl case, would have likely been on the top marker of many news websites, yet should not be (and was not) on ITN. SpencerT♦Nominate! 21:56, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
    LOL. What a shocker to discover that your bold assertion that it should not have gone up, as if that is in a guideline or anything and is just obvious, was more like the usual 50/50 no idea what ITN is for all-in melee, with all the usual themes and memes played out as they are today wasting a lot of bytes to say the same old same old. Highlights were your very own 'so what' !vote in the face of international headlines, still a favourite of other people today. MickMacNee (talk) 22:41, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
    A different example might be Madeline McCann, 'balloon boy', death of Anna Nicole Smith or regular stories like those that basically occur every new year Nil Einne (talk) 13:24, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose. As with MickMacNee's proposal to swap the positions of In the news and Did you know, I fully acknowledge that there are significant problems with ITN and believe that this is not a solution. —David Levy 23:34, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose as per HJ Mitchell. -- Eraserhead1 <talk> 18:38, 22 January 2010


  • Oppose We have editorial discretion- sometimes things of no actual consequence like the "balloon boy" make global news without actually having any substance. This could also lead to more stories from the Commonwealth/US/Ireland being posted than should be due to language issues. Obviously I'm fine with admins fast-tracking things of clear importance, but the screen shot way is not an improvement, in my opinion. Bradjamesbrown (talk) 05:40, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

This is still too ambiguous. "The only evidence required for an admin to post such an item would be a snapshot url of each website to be presented on ITN/C." What website? How many? Would concentration within a regional area be accepted (such as a Welsh story reported from across the Irish Sea)? If so, by how much? Et cetera. –Howard the Duck 17:23, 20 January 2010 (UTC)

Let's keep it simple for now - a list of English speaking news websites from around the world, eg BBC, CNN, Al-Jazeera, Le Monde, Reuters, Canadian Press, etc etc, such as that held up as evidence of the international interest in the US senate story. We can maybe work on what counts as regional lists later if necessary, but I can't ever see a situation where interest from only Ireland and Wales would lead to a fast-tracking. MickMacNee (talk) 17:43, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
Some news blurbs may seen as "international" but it is really only within the region that they are popular. Example: Darts. :P –Howard the Duck 17:48, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
I cannot for the life of me imagine how Darts would ever make the lead of the World News section of any website, so I really can't see the relevance of your example to this proposal. But yes, if we maybe extended this fast-track concept to the sites topical section leaders too, such as Sports/Music/Arts/Science etc, it probably would piss on a few people's chips who previously thought they had a good handle on such 'discretionary' things like which sports are and are not internationally followed. MickMacNee (talk) 18:06, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
We already have a page for this: WP:ITNR. –Howard the Duck 18:08, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
/R deals with recurring events, this proposal deals with all events. MickMacNee (talk) 18:25, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
I don't oppose the principle of the idea, but I do question if it is useful. It seems to be simply pushing the perceived problem elsewhere. After all, imagine the debates we would have deciding if Fox News is actually a news service! Which are the stories that weren't included on ITN but would have been fast-tracked under the proposed system? I welcome the fact that the proposal explicitly states that ITN target articles must be updated, but this is another major bottleneck in the ITN process at the moment: just take the example of the debate over the Golden Globe Awards, where one major reason why the story wasn't posted (not the only one) was that the article hadn't been sufficiently updated. Physchim62 (talk) 17:59, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
article update is more important than a news sites reporting an event. A lot of these news items are reported by all media just because they are a news source and need to cover all topics. ITN community uses its own discretion since we only have atmost 5-6 items to list. which should also stay on for a little while since they are current events (unlike DYK). I do not think this fast tracking will work and many people will see this as opportunity to get a lot of weird items posted that really should not be on main page. -- Ashish-g55 19:08, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
And what 'wierd' items exactly do you suppose are going to headline a list of news websites? I did not say coverage in the proposal - I specifically said Headline. The ITN community currently only uses its discretion to flip flop wildly between being a real news service, and listing irrelevant current events rubbish as filler material in quiet periods. "Discretion" is one of the most innappropriate words I have ever seen used to describe what actually goes on day to day at ITN/C. Its more like a mixture of indifference, horse trading and blind panic. Discretion implies a calmness, consistency and rationality that has never existed at ITN. MickMacNee (talk) 20:03, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
For once, I agree with Ashishg. ~DC Talk To Me 19:29, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
  • MickMacNee, I'm not sure why you harbour such strong resentment for ITN and the ITN/C process, but nothing in this latest proposal would seem to achieve anything. It was the same with switching ITN and DYK in position. Maybe you'd like to outline what doesn't currently work, along with suggestions for improving them, which is usually how the process starts, ending with a formal proposal which is subjected to appropriate scrutiny rather than starting with a a proposal and then another one without a discussion.
  • Let me address one of the cans of worms that this proposal opens. There has been some suggestion above of sources like BBC News and CNN being used, which are good sources, undoubtedly, but the problem is that many of these types of news services get their information from the same place- in fact, the majority of the original news comes from AFP and Reuters, thus an item may find itself on ITN because they reported it and several news services copied them. In conclusion, there is nothing wrong with a little healthy debate. We only have around half a dozen lines on the template, so it's right that we should discuss whether an item necessarily belongs there. I doubt this proposal would speed up the process of getting obvious items onto the main page, since they usually go up as soon as an admin actually gets there. Discussion and consensus building is a good thing and there's no need to bypass it. HJMitchell You rang? 20:27, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
    Do I really have to type out all the things that are wrong with ITN again? They were all listed on the DYK/ITN swap proposal, pretty comprehensively. The proposal was rejected, but not because the issues don't exist. All the people that agreed with those observations are the smart people who never waste their time at ITN/C because they know it is utterly broken. I honestly cannot believe how you can watch ITN/C everyday, and not conclude it is an utter farce that could do with some regularisation and consistency. I have to limit how many times I even look at the page, because every single 'discussion' remotely interesting turns into the usual utter time wasting load of crap, rehashing the same points again and again and again, and ultimately, the outcome depends more on the views of the admin arriving than anything else. It was quite funny to see Jehochman today assume that ITN admins discuss with each other before counter-acting. And so what if things get copied from Reuters? Do you honestly think its fine that half the time consensus is that this is a demonstration of international interest, and the other half, it isn't? And half the time this determination has got sod all to do with the actual story, but where the story came from, or bizarrely, whether somebody else has posted a bus crash! As for the idea that it is pretty quick, that's provably false, nearly every other day items that could and should go up are left waiting, just look at the Nigeria story. It's over now, and only just got posted! A lot of admins probably pass obvious things over precisely because even basic stuff like 'what is international interest?' seems to be beyond ITN, while some people laughingly think that 'who cares' is an example of using discretion. Discussion is good. Repeating the same idiotic process time and again, is the definition of madness. MickMacNee (talk) 20:49, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
  • I hope you won't take offence, but that's the first sensible and articulate thing you've said so far in this discussion. I agree that ITN/C can be arbitrary sometimes, but so can the nominations. Common practice for deaths, for example, seems to be to nominate everyone who is remotely notable and yes, particularly there, we could probably do with clearer guidelines and, along with that, a greater willingness not to follow those guidelines where necessary. However, I do not understand your comments on the quality of the discussion. I've only been around ITN since September last year (before that, I didn't know it existed, which is probably its biggest problem) but I've always found the majority of the discussion to be of good quality and clueful, the exceptions to which are occasions like today, when a lot of editors who normally have nothing to do with ITN all pile on and the quality of the argument begins to resemble that at RfA (a case of who can shout the loudest, insult those who disagree with them and be the most obnoxious). I think your comments do a disservice to the editors who work tirelessly in making and evaluating nominations and the very small group of admins who update the template itself. ITN and /C, like anything in life or on WP, can always be improved, and I'm sure many people here, myself included, are willing to listen to your concerns and have a sensible discussion, so let's do that, rather than make formal proposals every other day. After all, neither changing the position of ITN on the main page nor this fast-track process will solve the problem. As I say, I and many other editors (I hope) will hear you out, so talk to us. HJMitchell You rang? 22:42, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
  • Well I hope you don't take offence either, but I never have a clue how you come to any of your conclusions, as we are apparently seeing the same things. I was a little offended at your patronisation though, I am not some interloper, I am one of these regulars who proposes and debates, who I am apparently doing a disservice to by pointing that for the last 18 months they have not progressed the ITN system one iota. Go and look at the Fritzl case mentioned above, it took place in April 2008, yet it could have happened yesterday for all the insight and quality that debate has. 'ITN is for news!' 'no its not!' etc etc. Nobody here is seriously interested in meta discussion here, the status quo of muddling thru day by day is seemingly accepted, and nobody seems to connect the dots that its poorness is why nobody spends any time on it. I'll be back to article writing tomorrow regretting I wasted another day on this dead duck of a process which is sadly allowed to govern an extremely high profile main page slot. I cannot take your suggestion that ITN is simply like all other places and just needs a bit of tweaking seriously at all. It is woefull by comparison to most other processes like Afd or FAC. It can't even get the goddam image right most of the time with items going up and down on the main page like whores drawers. The admin procedures and general way the idea of consensus is handled is outrageous, and should not be tolerated just because there are not many of them here. Your idea that it is the people just turning up today that are the problem, is most grevious. Without any guidance whatsoever, their random opinions are no more distinguishable in the senator debate from the regulars. All the arguments are pretty pathetic it has to be said, and the name calling usually comes from regulars first if anything, who chuck in all sorts of crap they already know is irrelevant, like the stupid references to the bus crash. Where is this supposed 'it has international interest so it goes up, end of story' idea supposed to be coming from anyway, if the regulars are supposedly giving insightfull and considered opinions developed over years of insider knowledge? It's just run of the mill POV b.s. just like any old newcomer would offer, and has been disputed as an ITN argument forever, just as the Fritzl case and about a billion others since have shown all the time. Doesn't seem to matter though. Looking at ITN right now is like reverting the clock back on Afd to the days when 'I like it/don't like it' was considered valid debate. MickMacNee (talk) 23:55, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
  • Excellent, we're having a real, stimulating conversation now (given today's senator debate, it's something of a relief). Rather than try to discount everything you say above, some of which I agree with more than other parts, I'll simply ask a question, as Physchim has done below- what would you do to make ITN in general and /C in particular run better? What would actually solve the problem rather than just moving it or ignoring it? HJMitchell You rang? 00:17, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
  • I don't feel it would be an effective use of my time to list anymore proposals right now. Everything I would change can be pretty much deduced from the long list of observations in the swap proposal, but I promised myself after that craziness that I would not waste any more time trying to steer this tanker around. Any future proposals will come as and when I feel like doing it, or as happened in this instance, it is kicked off by seeing a particularly hypocritical point being made for the millionth time in a specific nomination, but at the rate of attrition of losing one day of writing per failed proposal, especially given the fact nobody even bothers reading it before they oppose or otherwise go off on irrelevant tangents or talking bollocks about darts, it won't be very often, if at all. The holdout opinions in here that ITN is just hunky dory in its anarchic one article at a time format just makes no sense to me whatsoever, and never will, however anybody eventually cares to define what a succesful ITN actually looks like or not (assuming anyone even moves on from the utterly tedious yet never-ending 'is it supposed to carry news or not' debate). I think it was the Fritzl oppose that was the true 'wtf' moment tbh. I think I might be done with trying to reform ITN for good after going and looking at that debate and seeing the exact same rubbish which is indistinguishable from todays own unique brand of ITN process. I am working on a series of articles right now that all have direct national significance in UK law, and are of wider interest to one of the largest religions on the planet. There is a very good chance they will be complete in time for a court judgement that would definitely get proper international coverage. Yet knowing all this is useless for ITN, in every way. I really could not be less interested in even trying to propose it at /C if it does happen, because it really is that much of an utter waste of time when it makes sod all difference every single time whether you know how the place works or not, (and I should know having been here months), or whether you have proper evidence of international interest or not. No, with luck, I will be able to string out a full days worth of coverage at DYK, and ITN readers will just have to make do with reading about whatever filler item has been sitting on the page for 30 hours (meaning about 5 days for the bottom item more often than not), of course accompanied by an irrelevant image, while people make the same points for the billionth time as they tarpit another perfectly valid entry, yet between them could not be bothered to oppose a Bulgarian bus crash on the same basis which gets posted by one of the few rogue admins that turn up and do pretty much whatever while here, all going on between of course the really important world series of baseball and obama takes a shit updates, the international significance of which is 'just obvious' and you are all anti-American morons for even thinking otherwise. MickMacNee (talk) 02:38, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
  • Well thank you for taking the time to try to improve ITN. You do raise a lot of valid points, but the reason your last two formal proposals attracted opposition is because they do not solve the issues that you raise. For example, I'm aware (having a few DYK credits to my name) that DYK is a better process and it's much easier to get one's article featured on there but that brings problems in itself. ITN cannot update every six or even 24 hours because news doesn't happen like that (try watching BBC News 24 on a slow news day- more often that not, their lead story would not even be worth nominating for ITN). We can only update when we have a news item and encyclopaedic content which has been updated to reflect recent events (as opposed to featuring anything that meets a word count and certain reference criteria). All that said, you obviously have ideas on how the process can be improved and I for one would genuinely appreciate it if you would take the time to informally outline your solutions (not just problems) and then we can have a serious discussion on how to implement these. Who knows, we might actually achieve an improvement in the process. HJMitchell You rang? 09:23, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
  • I think the intention is good. I think that when it comes to judging the "importance" or "interest level" of an item, it would be good if we could just rely on the world media rather than try to make such determinations ourselves, since we're never going to find "consensus" on what makes an "important" item. The problem is how do we put such a policy into action? What media do we choose? Do we include only "above the fold" headlines or can they be anywhere on the website? I think a better idea would be to include on the criteria page a paragraph about how one way to assess the importance of/interest in an item is to see how it's played in the major "serious" English-language media of the region, country and/or world. An item that is receiving extraordinary and widespread coverage in serious (non-Paris Hilton) media may be deemed to have met the importance/interest criterion regardless of whether some people think it deserves that much attention. -- Mwalcoff (talk) 23:51, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
  • I think it would be useful if Mick (or anyone else who has concerns, for that matter) could try to summarise what they think is wrong with ITN at the moment. The Process is obviously not perfect, but it is fairly streamlined and produces content which people actually read. I could give a huge list of changes that I'd like, but I'm actually more interested in what other people would like. Physchim62 (talk) 00:04, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
  • i think ITN manages to put up a lot of important events up and creates/updates quite a bit of articles. Mick you were opposing today but saw what happens when you try and oppose something controversial. We had similar thing going in Ted Kennedy debate and it doesnt matter who was right or wrong but it led to a lot of name calling and insulting. Having been here for few years now i can name many more such debates that happened. One thing that is common in all debates is that you will see a massive amount of editors who have never stepped on ITN/C try and prove why something should or should not go up. This always leads to people thinking ITN is a failure and it doesnt work, it needs to be fixed etc etc. Then they leave and basically never come back. If that item got posted then others use it as leverage later on to get more of similar type on or oppose to make sure they dont get on. This little phenomenon makes it impossible to define a particular guideline for what should go up on ITN or what shouldnt. So what the so called regulars of ITN are left with is not a black or white decision for an ITN item but a very gray area that they need to figure out. You saw today what kinda gray area was this election item in. No amount of defining guidelines would have ever prevented this one from going up. So instead of trying to change how everything works my suggestion is you state little things that would lead to improvements of how ITN items are chosen. For instance taking ITNR a little more seriously so as to avoid Golden Globe situation. We had already discussed in detail why that one should be removed and it ended up that way but everyone wasted time discussing it either way. Hence my suggestion would be to have Section in ITN (ITN/Debates) or something where we list items that did not go up and the debate linking to it (if it feels like this may happen again). That would greatly reduce time wastage. Anyways thats just example.... hopefully you understand what i mean by all that. -- Ashish-g55 00:36, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
    • Let's take a more general example. ITN gets a lot of criticism for not being updated often enough: given that ITN/C rejects at least two-thirds of nominations, it is more than reasonable to think that ITN/C is being too harsh. On the other hand, ITN also gets a lot of criticism for items which editors perceive to be unworthy of the coverage being given to them. Five stories have been pulled from ITN this month alone because of criticisms, a figure which is way above the long term average. That would imply that ITN/C is not properly doing its job of screening nominations. Does anyone have any ideas as to how to reconcile those two contradictory conclusions? Physchim62 (talk) 00:53, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
      • I think it's updated enough. It just happens that there are times that no news occurs. As for stories being removed, that seems to be more of an indictment on those who posted them than on ITN. ~DC Talk To Me 01:03, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
      • I agree with Psychim62 here. One of the issues that ITN has is that significant items don't happen in a continous stream. They happen more in waves, with sometimes very few such items, sometimes many an of course sometimes or perhaps most commonly in between those two extremes. Since we aren't news service, when we have 'slow news days', I don't see any harm in us having few updates rather then filling in the void with crap. In fact it was one of the reasons I expressed great concern about the timer. We don't have to put a story on a sign of a strippers leg (I'm thinking of a story that was once the main front page story in the New Zealand Herald which was about a sign of a pair of legs of a strip club and just to be clear it wasn't a controversy of any sort). Sure we get complaints. We also get complaints of the reverse though as Psychim said. To avoid argument, I would agree that there's probably less consensus among sources on headline news on slow news days Nil Einne (talk) 13:38, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
  • I don't know what's wrong with "non-regulars" chiming in here. To quote NewYorkBrad (an arbitrator who doesn't often comment here) "if I or others come to this page to raise a specific concern about the omission of a given item, the concern is sufficiently glaring that posting about it became a priority even for someone whose attention is generally elsewhere." ~DC Talk To Me 00:45, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
There is absolutely nothing wrong with anyone coming in. i was trying to say thats what makes it harder to define some guidelines on what items to post. as controversial items involving non-international-interest always get a lot of people whose usual concern is elsewhere. -- Ashish-g55 00:51, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
That wasn't specifically aimed at you, others seem to be criticizing newcomers too. 01:03, 21 January 2010 (UTC)

Golden W Award

The Golden W, awarded for having content featured in every area of the main page.
The Golden W, with Laurels, awarded for having content thrice featured in every area of the main page.

The Golden W Award goes to editors who succeed in having content featured in every area of the main page: Featured Article, Did You Know, In the News, On This Day, and Featured Picture. It is currently proposed as a WikiProject. Please go to Wikipedia:WikiProject Council/Proposals/WikiProject Golden W Award if you are interested in making this WikiProject a reality. Time commitment is minimal, less than an hour a month at this point. ɳoɍɑfʈ Talk! 16:21, 23 January 2010 (UTC)

State of the Union

Before I go through with proposing it on Wednesday, I was wondering if the State of the Union address is usually added to ITN (though things can change because there hasn't been one since 2008). ~DC Talk To Me 07:39, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

I believe it is not. Of course, unless anything really significant is told in the address. --Tone 08:32, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
Don't think so and it shouldn't. It would be giving a US-only address an elevated position over the Royal Christmas Message, which is to the 54 Commonwealth realms and doesn't get on ITN. And it shouldn't, either. It's just a speech, unless something extraordinary is announced in the speech.-- Love, Smurfy 17:33, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
The State of the Union is different from a Christmas message in that it is a political speech. That said, I don't think it's really news that the president is going to make a speech that he makes every year. If he does say something noteworthy, such as Bush's "axis of evil" remark, that may be worth posting. -- Mwalcoff (talk) 00:36, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
I think if Lizzy were to admit to having a horrible anus again, we might think about posting it! But seriously, the nearest equivalent of the State of the Union address in Commonwealth realms (and elsewhere) is the Speech from the throne, not the Royal Christmas Message. Usually, we just don't post speeches on the grounds that we try to post concrete events rather than crystal ball stories. I agree with Mwalcoff that we could relax this for particularly transcendental events, but that would only be after the event, knowing what had gone on. Physchim62 (talk) 13:27, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
Personally, I don't think a SOTU address need be "transcendental" to go up; the fact that it's covered by all major media in the U.S. to me implies it meets the importance criterion. But "Barack Obama delivers a State of the Union" is not an ITN blurb. The blurb must indicate something important that he said. -- Mwalcoff (talk) 23:44, 27 January 2010 (UTC)

Upcoming sports events on 31 January

This weekend we have three (or four, depending on how you look at it) upcoming sports events all on the WP:ITNR list: 2010 African Cup of Nations, the 2010 Australian Open (men's and women's), and the Super Bowl. Is it standard practice to put them in one blurb? Even then it's three sports items in one day. Should we just go ahead and put up three separate blurbs?--Johnsemlak (talk) 06:35, 27 January 2010 (UTC)

They'd happen in this order: women's Aussie Open final, men's Aussie Open final, Africa Cup of Nations final, (a week after, since they'd play the Pro Bowl the weekend between the Conference Championships and the Super Bowl) Super Bowl 44. I'd suggest we combine the Aussie Open blurbs and separate it with the Africa Cup of Nations with the Guinea presidential election blurb if results come in early. –Howard the Duck 12:20, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
P.S. The debates on the Super Bowl inclusion will BE epic. –Howard the Duck 11:22, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
I hope not (Super Bowl debate)! Yes, we combine the tennis blurbs: so we can post the women's result then combine the men's result with it afterwards. That way, if we're lucky, we can post both photos (first the women's champion, then Rafa Nadal ;). We shouldn't combine blurbs between different sports, IMHO. The nearest we've got in the past is combining the Monaco Grand Prix with the Indianapolis 500, but at least they're both motor sports.
So three separate blurbs, and watch out for the Winter Olympics coming up! We're supposed to run the opening and closing ceremonies and... the women's ice hockey finals! I can see a great scope for endless debate :-( Physchim62 (talk) 12:32, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
Why can't the U.S. be like Saint Kitts & Nevis where the blurb breezed through? –Howard the Duck 12:38, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
P.S. I don't think there'll be a long discussion on the Super Bowl considering the people here just had one recently. But if one party won't let up... –Howard the Duck 12:39, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
last year superbowl discussion was great. we had a mix of cricket, indian politics, nuclear weapons and north korea discussion all in one. or was that the year before... -- Ashish-g55 14:17, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
I would really like to see an end of discussions such as that. The event is on WP:ITNR all we need is a good update. Discussion for removal should is expected to be done at WT:ITNR. –Howard the Duck 14:31, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
Whoops, I was wrong about the Super Bowl being this weekend. Jeez, when I was growing up it was always in January. OK, so just two sports events this weekend. Should be ok. So, we post the Women's final when we know it (article update pending) and then add the male winner to the blurb when we know that?--Johnsemlak (talk) 15:34, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
No we wait for Men's final to finish and post as single blurb. -- Ashish-g55 15:50, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
I thought we posted the women's final right after it ended, then just update/bump it when the men's final is over. (talk) 15:55, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
FYI, the Super Bowl is actually February 6. ~DC Talk To Me 19:03, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
I'm going to bring this up at /R as well, but in earlier versions of the guideline, Men's Olympic Ice Hockey was supposed to be included (at the expense of that year's IIHF WC). I'm not sure when/why the change as made. Random89 19:23, 27 January 2010 (UTC)

Why is bernankes PIC up?

Normally the picture in "in the news" is related to the #2 item. How did Salinger get bumped by Bernanke? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:46, 29 January 2010 (UTC)

We TRY to get a picture for the #1 item, but that's not always possible. There is a rule which applies for the whole of the Main Page, not just ITN, that only free images can be used, not fair use images: there are no free images of Salinger, so we could not illustrate that story. We would happily have illustrated the Salinger story if we could have done: in fact, for a while this morning, we switched images back to Denzil Douglas (PM of St Kitts & Nevis) from Mahinda Rajapaksa (President of Sri Lanka) to give a bit of variety simply because we couldn't illustrate Salinger. Physchim62 (talk) 10:55, 29 January 2010 (UTC)
Gotcha, thanks! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:18, 30 January 2010 (UTC)

St Kitts and Nevis government

The part about the "re-election" of labour party and the current PM of that current sounds incorrect:

  • 1: It would be alright to say that the Labour party in St Kitts and Nevis once again became the largest party in Parliament. However you cannot say they were elected back as the government because:
  • 2: St Kitts and Nevis' constitution does not make that happen. The Constitution of that country decrees that The Queen's representative the Governor-General appoints the Prime Minister as well as the rest of the ministers (thereby forming the country's "government").

Therefore the phrase should be reworded to something along the lines of "The Labour party in Saint Kitts and Nevis became the largest party in Parliament again following a general election, thereby leading to the appointment of a Labour government headed by Prime Minister Denzil Douglas by the Governor General". --~Knowzilla (Talk) 15:11, 31 January 2010 (UTC)

St Kitts and Nevis has a standard Westminster system of government. The Labour party did not simply become the largest party, but gained an absolute majority of the elected seats in the National Assembly: as such, the Governor-General has no discretion as to the choice of Prime Minister. It would be wrong to say that Denzil Douglas was appointed or even re-appointed as a result of the election, as he never resigned as Prime Minister: the result of the election means that he did not have to resign (or be dismissed). The current blurb is a completely reasonable description of the situation, along the lines of those we normally use after elections. Physchim62 (talk) 16:23, 31 January 2010 (UTC)
On a closer inspection of St Kitts and Nevis' constitution, the Governor General is obliged to appoint a PM who is most likely to hold confidence of the MPs and therefore when a party has a absolute majority, there is no need to make a choice between any two (or more) people for PM. And indeed, the Ministers are not being re-appointed either. However, we need to be careful as not to give readers the impression that the government (meaning the Ministers) were directly elected to their positions as Ministers, because they aren't. --~Knowzilla (Talk) 11:12, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
The blurb had dropped off the template, so I thought I should copy it here so that people know what we're talking about.
To address your point about Ministers, I can't think of a single country which directly elects ministers to specific portfolios. The blurb doesn't say that the Labour Party is the Government (note capital, as in the Constitution), but is "elected to a term in government". The inverse of that would be "elected to a term in opposition". Both are standard phrases in describing the result of an election under the Westminster system.
Interestingly, the official website of the Government of Saint Kitts and Nevis does refer to "newly elected ministers"! You have to remember that the Labour Party won six seats to gain its absolute majority: one of those Assembly Members is the Prime Minister, that leaves five people to look after the rest...
Finally, why did I write the blurb like that, rather than choose an alternative? I wanted to stress the "fourth consecutive term" element, as this seemed something unusual for a parliamentary democracy. Usually electors get tired of one party in government for too long, but they don't seem to have done so yet in St Kitts & Nevis. The blurb gives an impression that these elections won't change very much for world outside these two islands, which I think is a fairly valid assumption. The alternative blurb would have been "The People's Action Movement, led by Lindsey Grant, wins a majority in the National Assembly of Saint Kitts and Nevis, ending fifteen years of Labour Party government." Physchim62 (talk) 12:31, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
Yes indeed that what was I was trying to say, that no country directly elects ministers, but the blurb gave the impression that it happened. But, now that it has dropped off the template, this issue is not so important any longer. Just make sure that readers don't get the impression that Westminster system governments (as in the Cabinet) are directly elected. --~Knowzilla (Talk) 14:14, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

Linking to an unreferenced page

Maybe I'm just being picky, but I find it odd that we have a link on the Main Page to an unreferenced article.--Rockfang (talk) 09:45, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
To clarify, maybe news items should be reworded in the future so we don't link to unreferenced articles.--Rockfang (talk) 09:53, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

Interesting idea, but I'm not sure if it would be feasible. Even if it were, it would have to be done across the Main Page and not just on ITN. To give an example, today's TFA summary links to two completely unreferenced articles (Alberta general election, 1935 and Premier of Alberta), three articles with very unsatisfactory referencing (United Farmers of Alberta, Social Credit Party of Alberta and Great Depression in Canada) and one article tagged for NPOV (Social Credit): that's six articles with serious problems out of nine that are linked to. If TFA can't solve these problems with all the time it has to prepare summaries, then ITN is in even less of a position to do so in the short period we have to prepare news stories. Physchim62 (talk) 10:53, 1 February 2010 (UTC)


A woman winning an election for head of state is more notable than a sportsman winning man of the match, so why don't we swap Brees' picture with Chinchilla's? -- (talk) 14:53, 8 February 2010 (UTC)

While I concur on importance, the problem appears to be the photo we have of Chinchilla is so dark as to be nearly useless at ITN's resolution. Bradjamesbrown (talk) 15:35, 8 February 2010 (UTC)
Could it not be digitally edited? -- (talk) 20:37, 8 February 2010 (UTC)
Someone might be able to. My ability at digital images is so close to zero as to be indistinguishable, though. At any rate, it appears the image has moved on to the Endeavour. Bradjamesbrown (talk) 07:51, 9 February 2010 (UTC)

"with runner-up Yulia Tymoshenko stating that she will contest the result"

Tymoshenko did not state that, has not said a word in public about the election. This sort of simplification is close to misinforming the readers... "fellow Tymoshenko party members protest" is a much better wording. — Mariah-Yulia • Talk to me! 12:19, 10 February 2010 (UTC)

That part of the blurb should be pulled entirely: it is irrelevant to our elections piece if the loser is happy or not, except that we tend to post quicker if the opponent concedes defeat. Such discussion belongs in the article, where it can be treated at proper length. Physchim62 (talk) 12:24, 10 February 2010 (UTC)
I have corrected the blurb (I accidentally introduced the error), ongoing discussion is at wp:errors - Dumelow (talk) 12:37, 10 February 2010 (UTC)

Country links for nationalities

The decision by Tariqabjotu to link the word "British" to the United Kingdom article [diff] is inconsistent with the recent decision by The ed17 to not link the word "American" to the United States article [diff]. I think that we should discuss this and determine a standard format (and I've notified both administrators of this post).
In my opinion, it's far more practical to simply include such links than it is to individually determine which countries are sufficiently familiar to not require them, especially given the fact that the links serve purposes other than clarification. (We can expect most of our readers to know what a novelist is, but we retained that link for the Salinger item.)
[Coincidentally, The ed17 removed
the entry added by Tariqabjotu as I was typing this message.]
David Levy 20:08, 11 February 2010 (UTC)

I just naturally link nationalities in ITN; I rarely think about it. I don't care either way though. -- tariqabjotu 20:11, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
(edit conflict) IMHO, we should probably take this on a case-by-case basis. While I would hope that all English speakers are familiar with the United States, United Kingdom, or Russia (for examples), I wouldn't expect them to know of a country like Nauru. Also please note that I removed the Sri Lankan blurb because Sarath Fonseka's article has a lot more issues than you see at first glance. —Ed (talkmajestic titan) 20:13, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
In my opinion, there are two problems with the idea to "take this on a case-by-case basis":
1. It's an unnecessary complication and potential source of conflict. You've cited four relatively clear-cut examples (three that wouldn't be linked and one that would), but there are many countries that fall somewhere in between. We frequently receive allegations that the section's content is affected by nationalistic bias, and we certainly don't need to set the stage for additional arguments. It's far simpler to consistently include the links.
2. It's based on the assumption that said links serve only to clarify the related terms. This is not so; they're useful to readers who are familiar with the terms' meanings and simply wish to read about the countries—just as a link to Novel (which you left intact in the Salinger item) is useful to readers familiar with the word "novelist."
We routinely link the names of countries (no matter how familiar), and I don't see how linking nationalities to the applicable countries' articles is materially different. —David Levy 20:37, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
That seems sensible and simple enough that anyone can follow it. I'd advise people to be careful what they pipe to, though- for example, "British" should be piped to United Kingdom (the sovereign state) and not Great Britain (the rock). HJ Mitchell | fancy a chat? 23:07, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
It was... -- tariqabjotu 23:08, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
That wasn't aimed at you specifically. I was just making a general observation. Kudos for changing it anyway, but my above comment was meant as an observation, not a criticism. HJ Mitchell | fancy a chat? 23:20, 11 February 2010 (UTC)

Update issues

[split from #Country links for nationalities]

It seems bizarre to be worrying about this, when items right now are going up and down on the template in various places, top middle and bottom, for various reasons, depending on which admin turns up. Worrying about standard approaches to linking comes way down the list when this can't even be handled in a standardised, or even understandable, consistent manner. MickMacNee (talk) 20:48, 11 February 2010 (UTC)

The discussion of one concern doesn't preclude the discussion of others (irrespective of their relative importance). —David Levy 21:04, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
It's akin to shuffling the deck-chairs while Rome burns. It is daft that the top item has not moved for days, yet nearly everything below has appeared and dissappeared randomly. If readers weren't paying particular attention, they would have no clue ITN has even been added to recently. Yet when it is, we can seemingly get the death of some fashion wonk up in seconds, yet major international events wait for days, even when the event is known about well in advance. Others items are posted so late they are almost irrelevant, such as the China export non-story (which btw doesn't even link to a dated reference, and whose information is apparently based on '2009 estimates' arcording to the article!). MickMacNee (talk) 21:51, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
Well as I said on /C, the "fahion wonk"'s article was updated quickly, thus allowing it to be posted quickly. It wouldn't have hurt to have left it for 20 minutes while somebody worked on the lead, but it didn't hurt that it wasn't. On a related note, since when did admins start unilaterally adding/removing items from ITN? Admin or not, that kind of thing should be discussed first and consensus and procedure should be followed. The bold article fir the Sri Lanka story, although days old now, has fundamental flaws and thus, no place on the Main Page. HJ Mitchell | fancy a chat? 22:02, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
I'm not sure what you're talking about. Yes, Ed removed the McQueen story (which I posted), but the other changes are nothing out of the ordinary. Ed added the Sri Lanka article and retracted it himself because he didn't realize the problems with it. I added the McQueen story but retracted it briefly myself because of the lead issues that I stupidly ignored even though I definitely saw them prior to posting. Items at the bottom have been removed because of balance, and items have been added in the middle because items are added in order of occurrence. The Goodluck story was only added now due to a lack of update (which came today, this afternoon UTC). The Sri Lanka piece fails to have a good article associated with it. I never would have added the export item because the associated item is a list with hardly a lead. The France-Russia arms deal, I suppose, can be posted, but okay...
If you want items put up more quickly, you should update them or fix the problems with the articles. I think that's too much work to ask you to do, but, alas, you seem to think there's an issue and that's the only sure-fire way of fixing it. I follow ITN/C a lot and there just aren't any contenders in terms of updates, etc. I also think this is the wrong week to complain about updates; this hasn't been a slow news week at all. -- tariqabjotu 22:03, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
I've suggested before that the /C page should only contain nominations that can be immediately posted. The only hurdle then is whether anybody bothers to comment. People didn't seem to see the logic, but it is clear to me. I have no problem only nominating items I know full well are updated, because I do it myself before I do nominate. There is no excuse for experienced editors not updating before they nominate. Why waste time here discussing items that can't even go up? Or items that will only be on the page for half a day because by the time they are updated, they can only go in third or fourth spot anyway? Most readers probably don't even realise items can be inserted mid-template, it is certainly totally counter-intuitive, made worse by the odd idea the image must always be at the top. If this has been a quick updating week, that's just depressing. The ugly mug of that Ukranian has been in top spot for days, as has his story until just now. If it weren't for elections, ITN would never move it seems. MickMacNee (talk) 22:14, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
SDO has been sitting there already updated and ready to go but people are more interested in the fashion designer. happens all the time... slowness clearly doesnt come from updates. -- Ashish-g55 22:19, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
Oh? You mean the one with no comments under it? The SDO whose article says it was only launched today? Sorry, guess admins should be faster and just post things that they want to post. Not sure that will be okay with some of the other people, who lamented at adding/removing things nilly-willy, though. -- tariqabjotu 22:28, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
im sorry but i dont understand what you are implying... that the article needs more updates? or since launch only happened about 7 hours ago its still too early? i didnt think it needed a lot of support since its a space ITNR which was already discussed 2 days ago during the shuttle launch. -- Ashish-g55 22:35, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
nyways thanks for posting it :) -- Ashish-g55 23:41, 11 February 2010 (UTC)