Wikipedia talk:Wikipedia Signpost/Archive 1

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Redirect subtalk pages here?[edit]

As my question at Wikipedia talk:Wikipedia Signpost/Newsroom/Review desk has gotten no answer for the past few days, I conclude that (almost) nobody is watching that page. How about redirecting such talkpages here? --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 17:14, 11 May 2010 (UTC)


Fonts[edit]

  • Why don't you add Droid Serif font along with these Georgia, Palatino, Palatino Linotype, Times, Times New Roman?
It has a large x-height such as Georgia & renders the numbers better than the irregular way Georgia does. --Mahmudmasri (talk) 03:18, 12 May 2010 (UTC)
It's a nice font, but I'm not sure it's worth tracking down every font-family parameter seeing as it's not (yet?) widely used. — Pretzels Hii! 23:17, 13 May 2010 (UTC)


Signpost books[edit]

I just had an idea.

All signposts issues are in this (or similar) format: Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2005-01-10

These could easily be shoved into books. For example

Which could then be read as a PDFs, or be printed out for offline reading. I could make the botreq for this if there is interest. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 18:39, 18 May 2010 (UTC)

BOTREQ. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 19:20, 18 May 2010 (UTC)

Alright, all previous signpost editions now have a book edition of them (See Book:Wikipedia Signpost) for a full list. I've updated all archive templates and the front page, but {{Signpost archives}} could probably use some extra attention. It would probably make a good Signpost story too. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 03:27, 31 May 2010 (UTC)

Also, if there are structural problems (missing articles, etc...) please report them to User talk:Signpost Book Bot. If there are rendering issues for some editions, use Book talk:Wikipedia Signpost (instead of a specific issues' talk page). This will make is much easier to keep track of things. Thanks Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 03:31, 31 May 2010 (UTC)

Tweak for book editions[edit]

Some old versions of the signpost aren't as well-formed as the new ones. I made a request to get these cleaned up for the print version. Nothing controversial about it (the online version of articles is unchanged, and the transclusion behavior of old Signposts is made consistent with newer Signposts), but the Bot Approval Group wants a thumbs up from this place. So if someone could drop by and give the thumbs up, it'd be nice.

Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 02:36, 1 June 2010 (UTC)

Wikiproject Report... how?[edit]

I would like to have wp:ships do a project report. How may I go about doing so? Thanks. --Brad (talk) 01:09, 6 June 2010 (UTC)

Suggest it at WP:POST/WP. mono 01:31, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
I've copied it to the suggestion list. -Mabeenot (talk) 05:46, 6 June 2010 (UTC)

Ideas for reforming "The Signpost"[edit]

Rebranding. It's not that I mind the very black olde-worlde script that currently appears at the top of each page; I guess it draws on the style of masthead used by the hard-copy broadsheets that are rapidly dying off. But is there any feeling that a re-branding of The Signpost is in order? Something a bit more identifiable, unique, memorable? Possibly the use of colour? An icon? There's also the redundant clutter above the masthead; for example, the unfortunate "Wikipedia:Wikipedia"—in fact, just about everything appears twice or three times. Talk about zippy, not.

Front page. This is one aspect of hard-copy broadsheets that could be taken on: the conflation of "News and notes" and "In the news" into a single, high-profile, newsy front page. A sense of front page would give the publication a centre of gravity. The Signpost seems over-structured at the moment. My preference would be to aim for an image on the front page, where relevant, free and not overtly gratuitous.

Interwiki potential. Most Wikipedias have no Signpost or equivalent—I wonder whether there is any chance of exploring the possibility of an international edition, either in English or through prompt translations of the weekly front page—or of a monthly aggregated version. Most or all of the information in "News and notes" and "In the news" is of interest to all Wikipedians. A subscription system would need to be offered on the relevant WPs, and contributions encouraged from non-English-speaking editors. Tony (talk) 06:18, 26 May 2010 (UTC)

These are all good ideas, if not particularly easy to implement. I think a new masthead is worth exploring--one that is a little more distinctive stylistically and points to the Signpost as a wiki news source. Moving the main page to Wikipedia:Signpost also makes good sense to me, if it can be done in a way that doesn't disrupt the way people normally get to it; we could start by just mirroring the content at both places and replace the most prominent links to point to the new preferred page.
Combining "News and notes" and "In the news" is worth thinking about, although when both are well-stocked they sometimes serve distinct purposes (and yet, sometimes they mostly overlap); sometimes outside coverage is of little interest except to note, oh, look what this source is writing about us, but sometimes it actually substantive stuff that intersects with issues of more immediate concern to the community. So I'm torn.
Localization is of course a great goal, but not one I've figured out how to accomplish. Cross-wiki subscription and delivery via bot might be a step in the right direction: first readers on other wikis, then translators and contributors.--ragesoss (talk) 01:37, 27 May 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for your comments, Ragesoss. On one point, the conflation of "In the news" and "News and notes", the mere noting of outside coverage could be relegated to a section called "Outside coverage" or the like, at or towards to bottom of a front page. Tony (talk) 03:24, 27 May 2010 (UTC)
The international equivalent of the Signpost, in a manner of speaking, is Wikizine. Graham87 05:49, 27 May 2010 (UTC)
Ah well ... not to be rude, since I'm sure the contributors are well-meaning, but ... take a look. Wikizine needs to be rethought, put to death in the kindest possible way and revamped, preferably in collaboration with the newsy part of this publication and a trajectory towards more international participation. The Signpost is five steps up the ladder, but it's my firm belief that there remain easy opportunities—low-hanging fruit—by which to engage readers more and increase the readership, both inside the wiki community and further afield, where PR really matters. I guess both The Signpost and Wikizine started with a model of being merely a centrally produced and regular newsletter to an inner core of wiki adherents. The result is horribly grey for Wikizine (geeky, really—sorry), and a bit grey still for The Signpost, which can easily and naturally evolve to be a vehicle for all WPs' public image, a sign that there's actually a community behind the product. WP can easily be attacked from outside, and is often the subject of ill-informed and POV comment in the international media; this publication is an important anchor for public image.
Images. On occasions where there's no obvious free, relevant image to go on the front page with the newsy items (but I can think of a few for this week's edition), I wonder why a thumb of one of the newly promoted featured pictures couldn't be showcased adjacent to the top section, with a caption announcing it as such: "Bosch's The Garden of Earthly Delights (1480–1505) is among the newly promoted featured images this week." This is just a move to use our resources to become more reader-oriented, I think. [[:Tony (talk) 07:37, 27 May 2010 (UTC)
I like the idea of offering a joint version of The Signpost either weekly or (more realistically perhaps) monthly. This could be done several ways. One way would be a special version could be written monthly in English that covered topics about all Wikipedias and then translated to other languages as interested people wanted to do it. This could spark other Wikipedia's to create their own articles for their own Wikipedia in their own language. All of the local articles most likely would not be included in the international version but only in their translated version. This might be a way to get The Signpost started on smaller wikis that do not have enough people to write a complete version every month. And for the wikis that have no interest in creating their own version then, the local users would have access to the international English version that could be offered by subscription.
I don't see this as a competition with other communication tools (such as other publications or announcement list) but rather a supplemental way for users to gain information about matter of interest to wiki contributors. FloNight♥♥♥♥ 17:29, 29 May 2010 (UTC)
I fully support updating the Signpost's style, and moving to Wikipedia:Signpost, but an international edition may be very difficult - especially when most major Wikipedias already have equivalents like the French Wikimag, Italian Wikipediano, Portugese Correio da Wikipédia and Hebrew he:ויקיפדיה:הטילדה הרביעית. Perhaps it would be interesting to set up a cross-wiki collaboration to include some brief headlines from each language Wikipedia in News and notes?
Something I noticed when exploring the international Wiki newspapers is that they tend to be on one page - but their reports are much shorter and less in depth; I don't think this format would work for the English Signpost. Does anyone else have any thoughts on that?
I think it would also be good to continue moving away from editors picking from a Suggestions page and encouraging people to edit the upcoming issue itself, wiki-style... this should be considered in any redesign. — Pretzels Hii! 18:43, 29 May 2010 (UTC)
Pretzels, thanks for your ideas. It would be a good first move if the foreign-language equivalents to The Signpost could be listed down the left side, as they are for articles. I guess there's no complete list, but these four you mentioned would be a good start. I can tell you, I'd be looking them up regularly and google translating them to survey what's on offer throughout the WPs. How does one look for them, I wonder?
Gosset 1 22 polytope.svg
When you say, "it would also be good to continue moving away from editors picking from a Suggestions page and encouraging people to edit the upcoming issue itself, wiki-style", do you mean regular Signpost contributors should build up their own networks and methods instead? Sorry, I'm a bit out of the loop.
Just to kick off on the visual rebranding issue, this image and a whole class of related ones is on the Commons. I'm not saying it's suitable, but maybe we should run a competition in the community to find a good one and think about fonts, or nose around the Commons ourselves, to get ideas for a new-look masthead. But it's just a thought. The advantage of a competition would be some nice exposure for The Signpost. Tony (talk) 13:18, 30 May 2010 (UTC)
Thanks Tony. Actually, the interwiki newspapers are linked on the Signpost homepage - on Vector skin, click Langauges on the left to unfold the list. It's roughly an even split between mature, "proper" projects, and some more irregular or abandoned ones. They're sometimes based on the Signpost's design. I can't say I'm a big fan of that image as a logo, either aesthetically or conceptually, but I'd love to have a go at a fresh, modern redesign.
In terms of the editing issue, I meant that the Signpost isn't entirely wiki-like at the moment. For the most part, users post to a Suggestions page, and an editor will take those ideas and write an article entirely by themself, or with perhaps a few others. Wouldn't it be better and more in spirit of the project if we didn't even need a Suggestions page, and anyone felt able to just add items straight into the article? Of course, they could then be reiterated by other editors until publication date. — Pretzels Hii! 14:41, 30 May 2010 (UTC)
Yes, the image is a bit like Dr Who meets Edward Teller. I think The Signpost is a special genre all of its own. Yes, there may be space for wider editorial contribution to some of the pages ("anyone can edit"), but it's a very public and published-all-at-once-for-a-week-only genre: these are very different from the conditions pertaining to WP articles. And it's hard to get enough contributors as it is. There needs to be stronger editorial management given the deadlines and public expectations of The Signpost than for other WP pages. And occasionally the publication hosts interviews and book reviews that are likely to be written by one or more distinct, named editors. Please have a go at a redesign. Tony (talk) 15:46, 30 May 2010 (UTC)
Perhaps a simple newspaper logo made of puzzle pieces would be good? Although again, that remains quite Wikipedia-oriented. I agree getting enough contributors to achieve a deadline is a difficult task on this wiki! I think our extended reports, book reviews and interviews are some of our best content. — Pretzels Hii! 18:53, 2 June 2010 (UTC)
  • I like the masthead and design of the post; while I wouldn't raise a fuss if it were changed, I wouldn't particularly support it. I don't think N&N and ITN should be merged—they are two distinct pages with two distinct purposes that only occasionally overlap. They are also usually the most substantive pages we have; if we merged them, I think it would drown out everything else. I speak no other language fluently so I have nothing particularly to contribute to a discussion about international efforts. Also, I don't agree with Pretzels's idea about making the Post more wiki-like. Ragesoss did that with the Commons deletion page, and I myself thought it didn't go well at all. This model has worked for years, and I see only detriment and no benefit to making it more wiki-like. Just my thoughts. ÷seresin 20:11, 30 May 2010 (UTC)
Just to clarify, seresin was referring to Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2010-05-10/Commons deletions.
While I agree with Pretzels that there are many people which should be encouraged to contribute more directly, there will always be those who have news to contribute but don't have the time to do a proper write-up or are unsure if and in which form their information might be appropriate for the Signpost. For them, the Suggestions page is a good thing. Many suggestions end up as stories with minimal editing (e.g. [1]). I myself used to contribute suggestions only for a long time; seeing their text getting adapted for the Signpost frequently was in fact what encouraged me to contribute stories directly.
Regards, HaeB (talk) 07:42, 4 June 2010 (UTC)

I agree that the signpost needs to be modernized. I was thinking about changing the logo/header a bit (if needed, there could be a few people to come up with a new one), definitely moving the page, and some others:

  • Delivery to email
  • Internationalization
  • Contests
  • More content than just recent changes and ArbCom findings
  • More user-created

Those are just a few to start off with.  A p3rson  20:32, 30 May 2010 (UTC)

Just chipping in because there were talks of internationalization. Some mentioned Wikizine and the french version of the Signpost (or something close to it). The Germans also have their thing (Der Kurier). Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 01:08, 31 May 2010 (UTC)
On the internationalisation issue, FloNight has suggested it might be entered into the Strategic planning wiki Call for proposals, which is looking for well-defined proposals with a based of supporting editors. Tony (talk) 13:31, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
  • Would it be helpful if I advertised this discussion more widely? — Pretzels Hii! 14:48, 2 June 2010 (UTC)
    • That would be most helpful. Tony (talk) 14:58, 2 June 2010 (UTC)
    • Posted to the Community Portal, and added to the Signpost footer. Is it worth advertising somewhere on other wikis? — Pretzels Hii! 18:53, 2 June 2010 (UTC)
    • Posting on other wikis would be useful. However, English wikis only. Also, how hard would it be to sell things like ad space (or put in wiki ads) for the new version? Would we have to ask a higher up in the Wikimedia Foundation, or will just some admins do?  A p3rson  22:55, 2 June 2010 (UTC)

Hate to say this, but Wikizine's logo is unappealing and looks like a byproduct of DOS OhanaUnitedTalk page 11:59, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

I just got here from a post in the Wiktionary Beer Parlour saying that the contributors to the Signpost community newspaper are discussing "expanding the project to cover more news from Wikipedia's sister projects". How much sister project news are we talking about here? Major events only? (I notice that the Signpost didn't have anything about WT's enabling of the LiquidThreads extension a few weeks ago...) Policy changes? Or the same kind of thing the Signpost covers for Wikipedia (New policy stuff, technical things, new admins, bots, etc.)? --Yair rand (talk) 16:55, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
I, too, just got here from the enwikt Beer parlour. As a Wiktionarian, I appreciate that the Signpost is looking to include news from the other projects. But is there any reason to believe that the Signpost audience wants it?—msh210 17:33, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
The more content, the better. People who don't want to read it can just not click on a link... Titoxd(?!? - cool stuff) 02:23, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
I've never seen anyone complain about too much content in the Signpost. The limiting factor has always been people to write coverage, especially for sister projects.--ragesoss (talk) 03:23, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
  • Perhaps a new font:
Signpost Header Idea 2.png

and some kind of updating "ticker" (see [[2]])? mono 02:07, 4 June 2010 (UTC)

Also, I would move the discussion to a sidebar where it would encourage discussion. mono 02:10, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
About internationalization: I think a lot (not all) of the Signpost's content is of interest to readers from other projects and languages. The problem is how to make a translation effort sustainable.
Wikizine used to have versions in Spanish, Indonesian and German, but they all seem to have petered out even before the English original (even though its telegram style presumably made translation easier than it would be for the Signpost).
From 2004 to 2005, there existed the Wikimedia Quarto (old issues) - nominally an international newsletter by the Foundation, but actually not so different from the Signpost in several aspects; it covered internal issues (among other things) and was contributed to and read by community members. Its end after just three quarterly issues might have had something to do with the huge translation efforts involved.
Regards, HaeB (talk) 07:42, 4 June 2010 (UTC)

Continuing the discussion[edit]

I think we've found potential for some changes. Let's focus on more clear discussion about certain ideas.

  • Rebranding: New header/name/page structure. Perhaps a logo or a contest for some new designs.
  • Front page: More interactive, images, headlines. Possibly more frequent updates. Model online news source, such as CNN.
  • Interwiki potential: Other languages, different projects (Wikinews, Wikibooks, etc.)
  • Images, graphics, and more: Inside articles (graphs for certain articles) and on main page.
  • Enhanced discussion: Making discussion and interaction more prominent. Moving discussion to sidebar?
  • More user-created content: more reports, possibly an opinion/editorial section every weeks with opposing viewpoints.

These seem to be the main ideas, add to them and discuss them as you wish. If you'd like to discuss them in real time, hop on to my IRC channel, ##trode. Thanks, mono 21:24, 4 June 2010 (UTC)

I wouldn't classify that as consensus yet, but yes, those are some interesting points for discussion.
I was intending to steer the discussion toward finding "solutions".
Let me raise a starting idea: to drop "Wikipedia" from the title. It would broaden the scope clearly and definitively, and it's referred to as the Signpost by just about everyone anyway. This would also facilitate a later move to Meta, Wikinews or wherever, if desired. What do you think? — Pretzels Hii! 22:18, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
I agree. As I proposed in the Rebranding idea, a rename would be good. Have you looked at a new header design (you did such a nice job on the WP:APPLE one)? mono 22:29, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
What do you think of a ticker (see n:Template:Ticker) and enhanced front page? mono 22:31, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
I think a front page with short excerpts/summaries for each article would be a welcome improvement. We need to be careful not to go overboard, I think, and it was a specific challenge when putting the current design together to stay within the style and constraints of the en.wiki environment (code limitations, accessibility concerns, general stripped-down feel). For this reason, I would hesitate to support a ticker, in addition to the duplication it would be of our identica/Twitter feeds and the fairly slow pace of news. — Pretzels Hii! 22:44, 4 June 2010 (UTC)

Wow. I just found out about all of this. Here are my thoughts:

  • I agree that the masthead could use a redo (Tony's contest idea sounds good) and that "Wikipedia" doesn't need to be in the name anymore.
  • I second OhanaUnited's appraisal of the Wikizine logo. Reminds me of FAQs for Metroid and the Legend of Zelda.
  • I'd like to see News and Notes remain separate from In the News although one of them should be renamed to prevent confusion between these two "news" sections.
  • I like the idea of creating a newspaper-like frontpage with a big picture and short blurbs about the articles, although that may create a lot of extra work. Whatever we do, it needs to be something that can be easily maintained.
  • I agree with Tony that treating the Signpost like an "everyone can edit" Wikipedia article doesn't work very well when there are deadlines to meet. When RegentsPark and I revived WikiProject Report, we were open to including every editor who was interested in writing about any project, as long as they weren't just advertising their own project. We had a nice rotation among five editors for a month and a half, but that didn't last. Whenever an editor didn't get their article done, we tried to get another editor (usually me) to take up the slack. I've written all but one of the past nine articles and I'm the only editor currently scheduled to write more. Recurring sections will only stay alive if dedicated editors keep them going.
  • The Sister Project section has been dead for a while, with only short-lived attempts at revival. It seems everyone wants to see inter-wiki coverage but nobody is willing (or has the patience) to make it happen. Perhaps we need to invite other projects to write their own Sister Project news in the Signpost rather than have our writers seeking out interviews with editors from other wikis.
  • How about creating a "Featured Digest" section that provides a round-up of the week's featured articles and featured pictures from the frontpage (similar to seresin's revised Features and Admins section)? A bot could automatically create the article each week, providing a nice overview of weekly frontpage content that would always be ready in time for publication.

-Mabeenot (talk) 02:19, 5 June 2010 (UTC)

  • About the dynamic/semi-dynamic front page, you could do something with templates. See rotation and portals for ideas.
  • I attempted to revamp the Sister Projects report; it was difficult as not that much seemed to occur in my language! Meta/commons news was about it.
  • About the bot, let's not fire serisin. While some updating (live) stats might be good, I like having an actual editor writing stuff.
  • Forget Wikizine; too geeky and the logo is horrible. What did people think of my above logos? (i support a contest, though)

mono 02:56, 5 June 2010 (UTC)

  • Interwiki potential and re-branding- If other wiki projects are to be included within the scope, we need to rename The Wikipedia Signpost to something like The Wiki Signpost.--Nilotpal42 07:35, 5 June 2010 (UTC)
I think the idea of one editor per article is a lousy way to divide work, especially on reports like the WPreport. It ought to be a collaborative effort, like articles on Wikipedia. mono 19:47, 5 June 2010 (UTC)

Wikimedia Signpost, and interviews[edit]

Why not have a Wikimedia Signpost, and have local editions for each major wiki? A lot of news is Wikimedia-wide, such as new projects at MediaWiki.org that potentially impact all users of MediaWiki. But some is of much interest only to the users of a particular wiki, which can be addressed by having a section that differs by project (e.g. the "Local" section could have an enwiki edition, a Wikiquote edition, etc.). That would be similar to how most The Washington Post has a Metro section with a Prince William County, Virginia edition, a Fairfax County, Virginia edition, etc. Readers get the advantage of having the content that is of general interest to the whole region, as well as content tailored to their own subregions.

Also, I think it would make things more interesting if we would have more interviews of members of the community. E.g., we might interview someone and ask "What's it like to be a bureaucrat?" or "What made you decide to be a developer?" or whatnot. I think a lot of people get so involved in their niche on Wikipedia that they don't experience other roles, and this would be an opportunity to do so vicariously. I might be able to conduct some interviews, if you're looking for journalists... Tisane (talk) 15:00, 2 June 2010 (UTC)

Yeah, we're always looking for journalists. If you want to do interviews, that's fantastic; the interview desk is the starting point, although it's been neglected for a while.
As for a Wikimedia-wide paper, we try to include news from across the projects, not just Wikipedia. But local editions for different projects isn't something we've had quite the volume of coverage to justify, I think. Cross-wiki delivery is something possibly on the horizon, though.--ragesoss (talk) 16:21, 2 June 2010 (UTC)
If the Signpost already tries to include news from across the projects, and is trying to do so to a greater extent (per a discussion further up the page), then why is it housed at enWP rather than at meta? Should it be moved?—msh210 17:35, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
I'd love to write stuff about Wiktionary. Interview-style, maybe --Soleil levant (talk) 09:53, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
Sounds good, Soleil. The only bottom line is that it be interesting to our readers: why not present a proposal? We already have a "Sister projects" page.
On the location of The Signpost at en.WP, well, it is in English. And I think it would be easier to build it up to have more news and notes from other WPs here, with a medium-term objective of moving it to meta, if it develops in such a way that it's the logical thing to do.
I wonder whether there is sufficient support here to make tentative steps at other WPs, asking for regular information of certain types for the News and notes page. Possibly one might start by locating people who edit on both en.WP and another WP (there are even categories and userboxes in some cases); finding someone to feed in to The Signpost on a regular or occasional basis would be highly desirable, I think. Where there is an active equivalent to The Signpost, that would be the obvious port of call. There's the possibility of simply winding in such reports, or of creating a stand-alone section on the page called "News from other Wikipedias". I'm unsure. Tony (talk) 10:58, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
I hope it'll be interesting. At least as interesting as the usual shit on Signpost [which TBF, is no Holywood]. There's no romance on wikt, but a bit of sex, some backstabbing, a spadeful of territorial pissing, and plenty of useless bickering. Also, I'm willing to divulge the innermost secrets of the Wiktionary editors. --Soleil levant (talk) 22:38, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
(I should point out that Soleil levant, aka Rising Sun, aka Wonderfool, has just been indefinitely blocked from Wiktionary.) --Yair rand (talk) 17:40, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
From a Wikisource: perspective, it would be nice to highlight some of the projects and works that have been undertaken, and the references that are being transcribed in support of citation of Wikipedia articles. For instance, look at Wikisource:WikiProject DNB's transcription of Dictionary of National Biography. Highlighting and encouraging crosswikiness, especially through feeding into WP would be most beneficial. billinghurst sDrewth 15:40, 9 June 2010 (UTC)

About an international edition[edit]

Starting over because these threads are confusing, and there's a few different issues to sort out -- what to do with the Signpost, and whether or not there should be an international newsletter.

1) Should there be an international (e.g. community wide?) newsletter? My answer is yes. Here are my thoughts:

  • it should be on Meta, not here.
  • I can imagine a bi-weekly edition (monthly feels too long, weekly is too short), with columns as follows:
    • news from the projects
    • news from the WMF
    • news from the Chapters & community
    • outside coverage
    • misc stories/features/reviews [includes reviews, indepth analysis, whatever]

This is relatively self-explanatory and could be expanded as necessary. Interwiki links are a must; all languages accepted but ideally with an English summary. I don't care if items get reprinted from the Signpost or Kurier or whatever.

Why this is needed I think this is a good idea because there is *no* venue for this kind of news on an ongoing basis currently; knowing what is going on in the community is a way to help bring us all together. Many, many people think that inter-wmf communication is not very good; this could be a way to help. However, this is clearly not an english-wikipedia specific sort of initiative.

Why this is hard: Honestly, if you haven't spent more than a few months working on the Signpost in a continued fashion, you might not realize just how hard it is to get people to write articles and keep up with publication on an ongoing basis. It's *really* hard. This is why WikiZine faltered after Walter stopped single-handedly collating it, even though many people offered to help. (WikiZine is a great initiative; I'd support simply reviving that over starting an entirely new project). I'd bet good money that we will get a lot of help for this in the first couple of months then none at all: what then? so there needs to be a strong support system in place.

The other hard thing is figuring out what news to include, mediating disputes over tone etc (see our own article on the porn controversy for why this is hard) etc.

At the same time, we can't be too editorially strict, in that it has to be a self-sustaining exercise -- the quarto failed because it was too much work to keep up on an ongoing basis.

2) What to do with the Signpost? In my view, having an internationally focused newsletter may or may not affect the Signpost. I'd like to see the 'post stick to its current level of quality, but maybe it should become more en:wp focused.

As for a redesign, I'm not quite sure what everyone wants to see so badly, but I like the current masthead :) And I hate the CNN front page (and front pages like it) with a passion, so I'd want to see a potential mockup of what is being proposed here. (I think the Kurier is more like what you're thinking -- check it out). -- phoebe / (talk to me) 18:20, 5 June 2010 (UTC)

I'm assuming you mean this Kurier. If that is the case, I think the design looks very nice, with the exception of the bright red masthead. Although, the page is a little long... -Mabeenot (talk) 05:09, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
yes, that is what I meant; the page is long because they don't publish in issues like we do; they just stack new stories on top and archive every once in a while. We discussed this publication model a while ago and generally agreed we liked issues for the signpost more. -- phoebe / (talk to me) 05:20, 6 June 2010 (UTC)


Ideas for a make-over of formatting and content[edit]

Following a request by the regular contributor, Seresin, for feedback, I showed before publication how a make-over of this week's "Features and admins" might look. Briefly:

  • a re-ordering of the sections;
  • a greater use of bullets, since on this page the information tends to be particalised;
  • the highlighting of one of the new featured pics at the top (this happened to present itself this week);
  • some trimming of wording, such as "this week", and the removal of the mentioning that no promotions were made for various featured categories; and
  • brief information about featured-content demotions, and a about the new admin appointed this week.

This was not intended to be prescriptive, of course. Each page needs presents different opportunities for change.

Comments, critical or otherwise, would be appreciated. Tony (talk) 15:19, 2 June 2010 (UTC)

Stepping down as Signpost editor[edit]

With the discussion about possible new directions for the Signpost, this seems like a good time to announce that I'm stepping down from the Signpost; I'm taking a job that isn't compatible with much Signpost involvement.

I'm not sure a specific "editor-in-chief" or "managing editor" is strictly necessary, but I do think that it's a role that can do a lot for the Signpost, especially if someone is willing to put a lot of time and energy into it. In addition to managing the publishing process and making decisions about whether individual pieces should be published, I've been running the @wikisignpost accounts on Twitter (with close to 800 followers) and Identi.ca, and I don't think we should let those fall by the wayside. Also, I've been publishing a table of content each week to wikisignpost.com/blog, which makes a convenient feed for alerting people to new issues (e.g., on the blog planets). Blog and microblog maintenance don't necessarily have to be the responsibility of an editor-in-chief, although they might be. So we should have a discussion about who, if anyone, ought to head the Signpost from here. --ragesoss (talk) 03:19, 4 June 2010 (UTC)

That's sad news. Thanks for doing a lot of excellent work as Signpost editor and writer. I hope that you will at least continue to contribute as a writer sometimes.
Other people might find more good candidates, but the first name that came to my mind is Phoebe. Without wanting to preclude other suggestions (and without being too optimistic that she will agree anyway), I am going to prod her if she might consider commiting to the job for a while. Collective editorship might also be an idea, although I think it is indispensable that each week exactly one person is designated responsible for the publication of that week's issue.
I've been subscribed to @wikisignpost for almost a year and agree it would be a shame to see it becoming abandoned. (@WikipediaNews is no replacement.) Before that happens, I would volunteer to contribute at least the weekly new issue (+highlights) tweet, and the odd news link.
Regards, HaeB (talk) 06:53, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
This is a great pity. Ragesoss is one of our best writers and has been an excellent managing editor. Congratulations on a job really well done, and thank you, thank you, thank you.
If there's to be a new managing editor, I hope that person will be predisposed towards supporting the recent noise being made about moving the publication away from its newsletter origins towards a more reader-friendly, dynamic publication. My agenda is to identify opportunities to make the publication more visually appealing, snappier, a little more journalistic in places, to provide more information in places, and to explore its potential for being a cohesive agent to bring together the WPs of different languages. We sit on a goldmine in that last respect, and FloNight, as an active participant on the interwiki project, would be a valuable source of advice and support. While I would be a shockingly bad managing editor (too self-opinionated, to start with), I am willing to contribute to the reform process, especially over the next few months, since that is when I will have the discretionary time. Tony (talk) 08:47, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
I agree. It is too bad, however I feel the Signpost can take this as an opportunity to adapt. mono 20:40, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
Thanks, HaeB, for the offer to maintain the @wikisignpost accounts. It might be useful to have multiple people posting to them, since it benefits from being a sort of round-the-clock operation if possible. I'll email you the password, as a start.--ragesoss (talk) 20:56, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
I'm really sorry to hear this news. You've made a really fantastic editor, both a great writer and a diplomatic project coordinator. Congratulations on your new job, though - well done! I hope you are able to stay on-wiki in a lesser role and offer input from time-to-time.
My first thought for replacement would also be phoebe, who would be an excellent candidate. I think, especially through this transition period, we should have a senior figure to help keep things moving. Once we have perhaps settled a little into our new format, we could arrange a change of leadership style. — Pretzels Hii! 22:56, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
I second Pretzels' motion. -Mabeenot (talk) 23:58, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
Sage, we'll miss you! (you'd better at least still contribute the occasional guest article). You did wonders in reviving the Signpost and making it more awesome than ever. HaeB, thanks so much for volunteering to take on the @wikisignpost accounts... Sage is right, these are important. I can post the occasional link as well, though am not good about keeping up with twitter on an ongoing basis.
As for editorship... I think HaeB would make a great candidate, actually :) He's been contributing quietly for years and has taken on the role of filling in when other people (including me) don't do their work. As for me being editor... I do very much want to see the Signpost succeed, and I am really intrigued by the recent discussion that's come up of having a larger Meta-based newsletter for the whole community; I think this could be a very interesting direction to go, and something we need (I have thoughts on this but will post them in the appropriate thread). And I do really enjoy writing for the 'Post and getting others to contribute. But despite all this, you may have noticed me slacking in recent weeks and not writing News & Notes to the same standard I was last year -- this is because of real-world commitments on my part, as well, and until they end I shouldn't take on something that requires the time of being editor-in-chief. (I hope -- but am not sure -- that I will have more time in the summer; I won't know for a while. It's entirely possible I won't). I am still very willing to help, however, and I'd be willing to share editorial duties with someone or a few people if that would help convince others to do it :)
So I have an idea: what about an editorial board? Perhaps led by an editor-in-chief? The jobs of an editor are, at the basic level, to get people to contribute content (even when it's like pulling teeth); support long-time contributors; determine when stories are ready to be run; and publishing the issues (including the blog & twitter). At a slightly more advanced level, editors recruit stories; if something big is going on, it's obvious that we need a story, but it often takes editors asking other people to write about it (or doing it themselves) to get the story done. At an even more advanced level, there's taking on improvement ideas -- like starting a community-wide newsletter, or managing a redesign, or mediating between opposing views on what to call T.R.O.L.L. :) All of these things can be done by a group of people; as HaeB says, it's helpful to have a strong leader who can really beat the bushes and make final decisions, and be the "face" of the Signpost, but if that person is sometimes busy or unable to do their work the whole project shouldn't fall apart.
What I like about the Signpost is that it's both a long-term project, with long-time contributers (some of us have been writing for the 'post for years) but also a project that *anyone* from the community can help with, or contribute a single article to. It's a lovely participatory way to bring the community together, and something that we have a big responsibility to collectively keep going. I know there are many newsletters in many languages, but to my knowledge the Signpost is the only one that is regularly published with all-new content on an ongoing basis and has a "staff" of writers. We are also widely read, and provide a big service to those who want to keep up with the community but can't follow every thread. I hope that we can keep that going, maybe even expanding to new ground. -- phoebe / (talk to me) 17:59, 5 June 2010 (UTC)
  • Returning to comment on the first post in this thread: While I know Signpost will very much miss your contributions, Ragesoss, I wish you nothing but the best in your new job, and much future sucess as well. Thank you for all of your contributions here, and in many other parts of the project. Risker (talk) 03:24, 6 June 2010 (UTC)th
    • Just in practical terms, who is going to manage the next publication, which is soon? Tony (talk) 03:46, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
  • Tony, go for it. You'd be a great Signpost editor-in-chief. :) And the smiley doesn't mean I'm not serious. SlimVirgin talk contribs 03:51, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
  • Slim, thanks for the vote of confidence, but (1) I'm too new to it; (2) for five months a year I have little time for WP; and (3) I'm a computer klutz—I had to get Ragesoss to create a draft page for my last article in The Signpost. Tony (talk) 04:04, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
Editors-in-chief are always computer klutzes, famously so; that's why they have managing editors. :) It's a pity because you'd be brilliant at it. SlimVirgin talk contribs 04:06, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
OK, since no one else has committed to do so yet (seresin?), I will take care of publishing the next issue and would generally be willing to take on the responsibilities of a managing editor for the foreseeable future.
I think we can afford some more time to think about the editor-in-chief role or a possible editorial board; right now we should focus on producing the next issue (there is a lot to be covered this week).
Regards, HaeB (talk) 14:12, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
  • I also want to add my thanks to Ragesoss for his service as editor and all the work that must have entailed. SlimVirgin talk contribs 04:09, 6 June 2010 (UTC)

Thanks, everyone, for your very kind words; I'm deeply touched. It's really been a pleasure working with so many great Wikipedians on the Signpost this last year and a half.--ragesoss (talk) 00:31, 7 June 2010 (UTC)

Let me add my nth thanks to all those above - great job! – ukexpat (talk) 18:11, 9 June 2010 (UTC)

Fortnightly publication would be much more appropriate; plus other points[edit]

Rapid publication cycle. I was just about to suggest what Phoebe did: publication every second week. The disadvantages of such a quick, seven-day cycle are:

  1. it's a struggle to find the editorial resources, and preparation is usually done at the last minute after the deadline;
  2. some editions are a little slender on information, and it's harder to say no to less interesting material when there's a shortage to choose from;
  3. for the amount of work required, having quality pages up for only seven days seems too short (two weeks is typical for WP events such as RfCs and elections, to take into account users' RL workloads, vacations, etc);
  4. the special factor in the subscription notifications is low when they're so frequent—twice a month and people would really notice.

Masthead. Phoebe, where is the "Kurier" you spoke of? Is that a font? Of the two that Mono posted above, the first is kind of breezy, which is nice, but lacks authority, I think. The second, straight vertical font has more authority, but is a little typewriter-like (what is the font?). I like the ranging colour—or whatever the technical term is for it—although the red becomes very bright towards the end, and could be toned down just a little. Why not create a subpage for try-outs, numbered so people can comment? Tony (talk) 04:14, 6 June 2010 (UTC)

Here's the Kurier: de:Wikipedia:Kurier, the German counterpart to the Signpost.--ragesoss (talk) 04:41, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
I like it, except for the small-font clutter underneath the name: if this were taken on, underneath THE SIGNPOST could be just the date in small text. Tony (talk) 04:45, 6 June 2010 (UTC) PS And I rather like the layout of the publication, too. Tony (talk) 04:47, 6 June 2010 (UTC) And I like its mission statement: "Mission: The Courier is the tabloid newspaper of the Wikipedia community. Not neutral, not encyclopedic, but hopefully entertaining and informative, it reports what Wikipedia [gerade bewegt—google won't translate properly]. Tony (talk) 04:54, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
a couple clarifications -- I suggested biweekly publication for a hypothetical international newsletter, not for the signpost (though we could consider it here too); and I was referencing the kurier for its page design (which I'm not totally in favor of either), not the masthead. I rather like our old-fashioned masthead :) -- phoebe / (talk to me) 05:23, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
Points taken, but now I've seen the German version, for the first time, the ways in which the en.WP publication might consider changing are clearer. The German one is monthly—I'm not suggesting that, but weekly is a very short cycle. Tony (talk) 06:38, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
Can I voice my support for continuing the local version as weekly? I appreciate that it's difficult getting things out on a weekly basis - I even tried my hand for a while, but just couldn't cope - but I really enjoy having it (even when there's not much in the way of news). I might also worry that the nature of wiki-contributing means that even if you did it fortnightly you'd still get the same last minute panics. - Jarry1250 [Humorous? Discuss.] 10:48, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
The Kurier is not published monthly. As Phoebe has said above, it is updated continously.
I have been reading the Kurier for six years (and occasionally contributed to it in the past). I would hesitate to recommend it as a model for the Signpost.
To German readers, the "Kurier" nameplate (aka masthead in British English) evokes the logo of Bild (a controversial German tabloid), just as the Signpost's nameplate alludes to traditional journalistic values by using a similar font as broadsheets such as the NY Times, the LA Times, the Daily Telegraph or FAZ. Of course the Kurier's self-description as "tabloid" is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, and it has a lot of sober, informative writing too, but fact is that it is much more prone to rants and poorly written insider jokes than the Signpost. Sometimes this has lead to edit-wars and severe conflicts over what is appropriate content. See for example the case I mentioned in this Signpost article, where a provocative Kurier rant exacerbated an existing public controversy about Wikipedia and was eventually removed after a backlash at Scienceblogs and elsewhere.
Regards, HaeB (talk) 14:41, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
HaeB, that is invaluable information. What an inadequate tool is Google translate. The continual-update model to me is most unsatisfactory; their archiving list misled me into thinking they are monthly publications: all very odd. I get more of the picture now—the German version is less controlled, less reliabl=y authoritative and serious a publication, as The Signpost (?). This is a linguistic subtletly that had eluded me. Tony (talk) 15:00, 6 June 2010 (UTC)

[edit]

The fonts in my quick examples (I threw them together) are Herculanum and American Typewriter. mono 00:28, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
There is support among some editors for keeping the olde worlde broadsheet script in the title. I wonder whether this could be made a little more zippy with a subtle use of ranged colour from left to right. The colour would have to be carefully chosen, and without seeing it it's hard to know whether this is a mad-hatter idea. Mono, any ideas? Or maybe that script just has to be thick and black to work ... Tony (talk) 14:03, 8 June 2010 (UTC)
I think that might be worthwhile exploring; with a left-aligned masthead, removing the word Wikipedia, and a sort of sheen on the lettering, it could look very fresh. — Pretzels Hii! 14:40, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

←I think a smaller display of the logo would look good, perhaps with a toolbar like interface (see [3]). I threw together a colored gradient version of the logo. mono 18:44, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

Ugh, ugh, double ugh (in my humble opinion, of course) - keep it simple, keep it one color, leave the fancy stuff to MySpace, keep the old-style "newspapery" font. - DavidWBrooks (talk) 18:57, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

Mono, what about a uniform colour of the hue of your "g" or the "i" in "Signpost" (a very dark red) above, without the "Wikipedia" word? Do you have time to make up an example? And I wonder whether it could approximate header size; however, it's my feeling that the current black version is a bit thick and dominating, and could be a bit smaller (unsure, 20% smaller? But not as small as your example above). Tony (talk) 12:38, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
I'll keep working; I agree, a smaller implementation of the logo is better. Btw, the logo is not in SVG format, however, I can make it much bigger. mono 17:47, 9 June 2010 (UTC)

Working on DavidWBrooks's suggestion to "keep it simple, keep it one color", I looked at some modern news publications and drew up a few alternative logo designs that might retain the formal feel of the current Old English logo while offering a fresh face. The layouts of each can be mixed and matched regardless of the font used.

Any thoughts? -Mabeenot (talk) 05:33, 10 June 2010 (UTC)

I like the first one best. monosock 06:13, 10 June 2010 (UTC)
So do I: simple and not lacking in authority. But can the "The" be normal size and position? Tony (talk) 13:12, 10 June 2010 (UTC)
I kind of like the offset, personally. monosock 15:53, 10 June 2010 (UTC)
I used Segoe UI Light, although a light version of Helvetica, Futura, or Myriad might work well too. Keeping with Segoe, here are some variations on layout. The only difference between the top and bottom ones is that the letters are closer together on the bottom. I agree with mono that the offset looks best. -Mabeenot (talk) 17:21, 10 June 2010 (UTC)
How about these? Please tell me what you think of them. Rock drum (talk·contribs·guestbook) 16:14, 10 June 2010 (UTC)
Wikipedia Signpost logo mockups.jpg

Rock drum, the offsets tend to be a little exaggerated on those. What is the name of the font used in the last one? I don't think it would work well for the Signpost, but I like it in general. -Mabeenot (talk) 17:21, 10 June 2010 (UTC)

The Signpost icon
Like seresin, phoebe and DavidWBrooks above, I have to say that I quite like the current logo for its "Certificate" font and the journalistic connotations it conveys, and would support "keeping the olde worlde broadsheet script" (as Tony has put it two days ago). So in that respect, I like Mabeenot's last one best. Of course it doesn't have to be the exact same font; for example, the "Certificate" font doesn't seem to go very well with small resolutions.
Another thing to keep in mind is that along with the logo we also need an icon that is visually derived from it, and the "S" has done that job very well, not least due to the distinctive nature of the "Certificate" font. (Just like the distinctive "W" with the crossing bars from the Wikipedia logo became Wikipedia's favicon.) The icon is important; apart from the numerous direct uses on this wiki, it also appears elsewhere in derived form, e.g. Ragesoss used it to create the avatar for the @wikisignpost feeds on Twitter and identi.ca, and the Signpost barnstar.
Regards, HaeB (talk) 17:35, 10 June 2010 (UTC)
How about this: File:Signpost logo mockup 2.jpg I'm not so sure but, hey, what harm can it do? Cheers, Rock drum (talk·contribs·guestbook) 18:54, 10 June 2010 (UTC)
  1. If we're going to discuss these examples, could they be numbered?
  2. The second one above, where the stray "The" is nestled in just above "Signpost" might be OK, but where "The" is like a satellite above a planet ... weird ... it just won't fit neatly across the banner at the top of each page. I do not like the frilly, ornamental fonts, because they are harder to read and detract from the air of authority. Tony (talk) 07:38, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
The mock ups have been numbered below. If anyone intends to submit another logo, I suggest that they be numbered accordingly

File:SignpostMockups numbered.gif
I personally favour 1, 2 and 5--Nilotpal42 08:50, 11 June 2010 (UTC)

  • Thanks for that, Nilo. I presume everyone is sold on plain black on a white background. Is that the case? Some of these examples might just work as white lettering on a red background, like the German Kurier masthead.

    Either way, I favour Number 2, because it uses a strong, authoritative but simple font—but with the "The" in normal position. If we have to have a superscript "The", I guess No. 2 is the most satisfactory, nestling it above neatly.

    May I emphasise that users should visualise the examples as they will appear across the top of each page? It is important that the display be horizontally "spread", and not take up too much space vertically—that is what worries me about the superscript "The". Remember that we've thankfully removed the guts of the title ("Wikipedia"), so let's not end up with a little blob sitting uncomfortably in the middle of the header. Tony (talk) 10:59, 11 June 2010 (UTC)

For the reasons discussed above, I personally wouldn't favor a red background. But otherwise I still wouldn't rule out a different coloring entirely. I also agree with Tony's caution to take the intended usage of the logo into account, especially with regard to the "The". And as said above, we need to think about the Signpost icon too - each proposal should contain a suggestion for both logo and icon.
By the way, Wikipedia talk:Wikipedia Signpost/Images and logos has some older discussions on the topic which might still be interesting.
How about we have some further discussion on this page, generating a shortlist of proposals where there is rough consensus for each that it is at least technically suitable (meaning that the remaining differences are only about personal tastes), and then invite readers to vote on the shortlist, in a "from the team" editorial in one of the next issues? It might be a great way to generate more general interest and involvement in the Signpost from the community, something that we can always use.
Regards, HaeB (talk) 13:49, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
In terms of the icon, on number 15 I deliberately used the same font as the current icon to save hassle changing it over if that one is chosen. Thanks, Rock drum (talk·contribs·guestbook) 14:57, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
That's not the same font. :) — Pretzels Hii! 16:05, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
Since we are talking about using some colour, I have an alternate version of #5.

TheSignpostLogoMockup16.jpg
The "S" of the "Signpost" is of considerably larger size than the rest of the word. This helps the "The" to fit in better without taking much horizontal space. The red line increases readability of the font (I think).--Nilotpal42 17:35, 11 June 2010 (UTC)

Out of all the options, the original #5 is by far the best IMO. Either that, or an inline version of it. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 07:12, 16 June 2010 (UTC)

International liaison[edit]

I'd like to propose that The Signpost have an international correspondent, who might forge links with an English-speaking representative from as many as possible of the foreign-language equivalents. The purpose would be to liaise with them concerning news that might be considered sufficiently important or interesting to include in The Signpost. Tony (talk) 14:59, 6 June 2010 (UTC)

Yes, there is definitely potential in such outreach activities. Of course, the English Wikipedia community is in the fortunate position to have native speakers from many languages, but to give an example, recently I asked unsuccessfully on the Suggestions page for a Hebrew speaker who could summarize an interesting BLP case on the Hebrew Wikipedia. And at the moment it would be very nice to have summaries of Wikimedia Israel's blog about the current developments of the "Wikipedia bill" before the Knesset - the initial Signpost coverage two weeks ago had to rely on an English language newspaper article.
There is also the existing embassy system, but I don't know how well it works.
Regards, HaeB (talk) 13:05, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
Might be easier to establish contacts through en.WP native-language categories. For example, the Hebrew one contains 332 pages, although many may not be active. Tony (talk) 13:59, 7 June 2010 (UTC)

Rename to the Signpost[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

The Wikipedia Signpost is now The Signpost@ I'm breaking this out into its own thread so we can focus on each issue properly. I'm proposing, as a start to the above discussed "reform", that we officially rename this publication to simply the Signpost. This is a quote from the first issue of The Wikipedia Signpost, written by the then editor Michael Snow:

The name, The Wikipedia Signpost, was chosen to be like the name of a newspaper, since a newspaper is what I would call this project. Though it will almost certainly never appear on newsprint paper, it will nevertheless take on this role for our community. It should have some resemblance to the other newspapers you may happen to read in the course of your life (which I venture to guess many of you read online anyway, rather than the paper copy).

With no slight intended to other projects or languages, The Signpost will focus strongly on the English Wikipedia. The news coming from other language Wikipedias could undoubtedly fill its own newspaper. Correspondingly, rather than trying to translate The Signpost for the benefit of other segments of the community, I hope that as other projects develop a need for this kind of resource, they will adapt and develop this idea for their own uses.

The name also especially suits Wikipedia, because it alludes to a practice here and on other wikis, in that we communicate primarily through "signed posts," as on talk pages. While the wiki system may be used to develop and publish articles, because this is original reporting the reporters will use a byline to "sign" their posts.

Renaming to simply the Signpost makes sense to me for multiple reasons:

  • It makes a very visible signal that we report from other Wikimedia family projects too
  • It would facilitate a possible later move to hosting on Meta, Wikinews or wherever
  • It will fit better with our new, more modern, redesign
  • It's referred to as just the Signpost by everyone anyway

What do you think? — Pretzels Hii! 19:51, 6 June 2010 (UTC)

I fully support. Most people refer to it as "the Signpost" anyway... mono 00:21, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
Yes, much better. Tony (talk) 02:20, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
I support this too.--ragesoss (talk) 02:30, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
Support.--Nilotpal42 03:11, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
I think that "the Wikimedia Signpost" is a better name, but "the Signpost" is an improvement over the current "the Wikipedia Signpost". The vernacular name will probably be "the Signpost" no matter which name is chosen. --Yair rand (talk) 03:57, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
An additional benefit would be that the Wikipedia:Signpost link would not require the redirect, so I like that idea. Titoxd(?!? - cool stuff) 06:25, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
Support -Mabeenot (talk) 06:38, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
I support this suggestion as well, on the condition that 'the' is part of the official title. Just 'Signpost' doesn't sound as authoritative. Peter 19:57, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
And upper-case "The", even if in the middle of a sentence, don't you think, as is conventional for regular news publications, such as The New York Times. Tony (talk)
  • Support rename to The Signpost. Sounds professional, looks neat, no need to repeat the "Wikipedia" prefix since it's already in the namespace, although admittedly, as a link Wikipedia:Signpost is preferable to Wikipedia:The Signpost, it's not that big a deal. -- œ 16:55, 8 June 2010 (UTC)
  • I much prefer the link to be without "The", as you've got it there. I think we should normally refer to the publication in running prose as The Signpost when it's a noun; but as an adjective, "This week we have seven Signpost articles".

Well I think that's consensus - wide support to change the name of our community newspaper from The Wikipedia Signpost to simply, The Signpost. I'd suggest we hold off updating main visible templates like the page header etc until we have a full redesign ready to go, or we'll be changing the layout every week and bugging our readers. I will however, and invite others to, start with updating more internal references, userboxes, indexes and page moves! It would be useful to put the above short agreement over use of "The" in our name into some sort of brief style guide... I'll get on it. — Pretzels Hii! 22:05, 9 June 2010 (UTC)


The above discussion is preserved as an archive. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.


About the ticker[edit]

While I was looking at what Wikinews does for its ticker, they are using the DynamicPageList extension to generate headlines; if we were to go that route, we would need to install it here, which would require sysadmin approval. Although you could contact Bawolff as well, since he wrote the Wikinews ticker. Titoxd(?!? - cool stuff) 06:23, 7 June 2010 (UTC)

Do people like it? I find it irritating. Tony (talk) 13:43, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
I'm pretty sure it's unneccessary; tickers are for sites with a lot of fresh content all the time where there's not enough space to display it all. For a publication that comes out in regular issues, we don't need this and can better curate and organise our content. — Pretzels Hii! 14:15, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
I wasn't thinking a real-time ticker; just something for people's pages. mono 19:26, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
Ah, I see. Yes, this is a cool idea for a unique type of userbox. I doubt we would get an extension / global javascript added just for this, but it may be possible with a variation of the code we're using for our footer ticker (Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/Ticker) - to display a random article from this week's issue. — Pretzels Hii! 19:53, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
  • Idea: an "about the author" section in every article.[discuss]--mono 19:26, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
    • Two issues: some authors will want to remain private here, as they do on WP at large; and The Signpost, I thought, deliberately downplays authorship—for example, by displaying authors' usernames in very small font. I quite like that. However, an "about the regular authors" special article might be interesting, for those who wish it. Tony (talk) 09:05, 8 June 2010 (UTC)
      • Well, if there's a new "official" editing board / chief editor (or whatever the "wiki" version of that is), I would love to read an article giving some details about the people involved. Even the most private people (that would put themselves forward as Signpost editors) can probably come up with something about themselves they don't mind sharing. Which reminds me, I really ought to pick up some of the BRION slack at some point. - Jarry1250 [Humorous? Discuss.] 09:15, 8 June 2010 (UTC)
        • Perhaps not personal info, maybe just interests and WP activites. Each editor could write their own thing. mono 18:29, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

Mission statement and scope[edit]

Could we put together and formally agree on a mission statement and scope definition for the Signpost? I think it would help to agree our basic principles and purpose, so that we are all on the same page. A great start on this was made last August, and is well worth a look. — Pretzels Hii! 21:19, 7 June 2010 (UTC)

Yes. The attempts at that link are all far too long and contain redundancies ("worthwhile", for example). One aspect of The Signpost that strikes me is that it is a mixture of neutrality with the occasional opinion piece (e.g., book reviews). I see no problem with this: it's intuitive, and readers probably appreciate the distinction made without even thinking about it. Tony (talk) 09:00, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

ArticleAlertBot in the news[edit]

The "WikiProject news" section said to contact Legoktm about fixing the bot, but from what I see at Wikipedia:Bot owners' noticeboard#ArticleAlertBot User:Tedder should already be working on that. Just wondering how up-to-date the news is. VernoWhitney (talk) 20:38, 15 June 2010 (UTC)

I must have missed that very recent thread when I added it to the news. Reading the older threads, I was under the impression that tedder was still unable to do it because he lacked toolserver access. Modified the news blurb. -Mabeenot (talk) 04:34, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
Yes, tedder is still unable to do it apparently. However I'm unsure if his lack of access is actually a block, or if tedder would simply prefer to not recode the until he has access to the toolserver. Either way, it's been at least two months now, and there is no sign of progress on the question. The original message to contact Legoktm to save the day should probably be restored. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 07:32, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
Restored previous message but included both Legoktm and tedder as contacts. -Mabeenot (talk) 07:43, 16 June 2010 (UTC)

Category:Lists of popular pages by WikiProject[edit]

You may wish to publicize the new category Category:Lists of popular pages by WikiProject.—Wavelength (talk) 21:12, 15 June 2010 (UTC)

Added to the sidebar news section at the WikiProject Desk. -Mabeenot (talk) 05:02, 16 June 2010 (UTC)

New logo/masthead[edit]

in this issue:


How about this logo? mono 01:29, 18 June 2010 (UTC)

It's not bad. Where would it sit? Flush left or centre? Tony (talk) 15:01, 18 June 2010 (UTC)
It looks best in the left for me. mono 00:35, 19 June 2010 (UTC)
Me too. Need to know whether others like it. Is it the right size? I was thinking just a touch larger, but it's hard to tell unless it's on a mock-up page at the top. Is it easy to provide an example on an archived page, say, in your userspace? Tony (talk) 14:03, 19 June 2010 (UTC)
Yeah, I copied the code from the template. See User:Mono/Signpost. mono 20:37, 19 June 2010 (UTC)
Well, I like it very much. Other opinions needed. Just one thing: the double horizontal bands above and below are probably the predetermined size for the current logo. They could be drawn a little closer together—in particular, there's spare space underneath the logo. Thanks for your work. Tony (talk) 05:09, 20 June 2010 (UTC)
I don't know if we found consensus on changing from the olde type font. If we have found consensus, I think the logo mockup works very well, although I agree with Tony that we'll need to decrease the space between the two horizontal bands. Is there any chance the "the" could be moved a little further to the left so it is nestled closer to the "i" and "g". It almost looks centered above "Signpost." I also think something could be done to spruce up the section name to the right of the logo. "news and notes" might need to be larger, bolded, given a couple capital letters, or maybe even turned into a nice graphic to complement the Signpost's new logo. -Mabeenot (talk) 05:27, 20 June 2010 (UTC)
I for one am against the revised font. Sticking to mockup #5, or something similar, would be preferable IMO. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 09:19, 20 June 2010 (UTC)
I too like #5 better.--Nilotpal42 10:01, 20 June 2010 (UTC)
  • I agree with Mabeenot's points. And "The" in No. 5 is pretty awful. Tony (talk) 10:39, 20 June 2010 (UTC)
    • Whilst I am not against a move away from the olde worlde font, I think this design may be a bit too far the other way. I agree with Tony that the "The" in #5 is not good. #2 is my personal favourite. With both this and #2, of course, you have the problem of what icon the Signpost might use, but there you go. - Jarry1250 [Humorous? Discuss.] 10:54, 20 June 2010 (UTC)
  1. 2 doesn't look half bad. Could the creator upload it by itself? mono 23:54, 20 June 2010 (UTC)
Jarry, the icon could remain unchanged, I guess. It's used in a very different way on the page. Tony (talk) 05:15, 21 June 2010 (UTC)
It's not about the ways in which the logo (nameplate) and the icon are used - they are indeed different. It is about what they represent: The same thing, namely the Signpost. One of the requirements for the logo-icon pair is to convey this visually.
For the same reason, it is customary for newspapers and magazines to take an initial from the nameplate (in the same font) as a logo - see this whole alphabet of examples.
Regards, HaeB (talk) 08:10, 21 June 2010 (UTC)
So... we either need to incorporate the old "S" or come up with a new icon (maybe a new yet distinctive "S") to replace it. As far as iconography goes, does anyone here have drawing skills? I think a simple "fingerpost" graphic with blank appendages would do nicely. -Mabeenot (talk) 08:20, 21 June 2010 (UTC)
  • The logo is invisible to users of the greenscreen gadget. DuncanHill (talk) 08:28, 21 June 2010 (UTC)

How about this:

The Wikipedia Signpost

in this issue:


Any thoughts? It's using elements of Mono's idea and using elements of No. 5 above. Rock drum (talk·contribs·guestbook) 17:38, 21 June 2010 (UTC)

It certainly looks sharper than the current logo. Which Old English font did you use? -Mabeenot (talk) 18:02, 21 June 2010 (UTC)
I'd rather the "The" was formatted normally unless it's nestled in above; but the nestling idea just doesn't seem to work with the olde worlde font. The problem with that font, to me, is not only its old-fashioned look, but that it's too decorative. Decorativeness is a hard way to convey authority. Tony (talk) 18:06, 21 June 2010 (UTC) PS What is a "greenscreen gadget"? Which fonts are we restricted to by this gadget? And to respond to Mabeenot's comment, yes, it's sharper, but lacks the weightiness (thickness of line) of the existing decorative logo. I would rather keep the existing logo, remove the "Wikipedia" and reduce its in-your-face size by about 15% if it comes to that. But Mono's example above, or something similar—straight, simple, with a little character—would be ideal. Tony (talk) 18:11, 21 June 2010 (UTC)
I don't care for it, agreeing with Tony1. mono 18:17, 21 June 2010 (UTC)
How about if I had the 'The' normal, not higher? Rock drum (talk·contribs·guestbook) 16:25, 22 June 2010 (UTC)
It looks a little squished (distorted), imho. mono 16:31, 22 June 2010 (UTC)

File:Signpost logo ideas 3.png Some more ideas... monosock 17:56, 22 June 2010 (UTC)

Hmmm...I'm not so sure about these. #7 isn't so bad. Rock drum (talk·contribs·guestbook) 15:39, 23 June 2010 (UTC)
I had raised this in the IRC. Shouldnt the logo use open source fonts?--Forty twoYou talkin' to me? 16:31, 23 June 2010 (UTC)
Sorry, but I can't think of an open source font that actually looks good. mono 16:55, 23 June 2010 (UTC)


News and notes for 28 June[edit]

I've done a major copy-edit, and I am fairly confident there are no substantive changes to meaning (I think I left one or two inline queries). I think there were too many itty-bitty direct quotations, and I've rationalised parts where there appeared to be repetition. And the page is huge: HaeB's suggestion to split off the Board resolution on controversial material, I believe, is the right one. The five-year plan itself is pretty meaty for the News and notes section. Tony (talk) 08:47, 29 June 2010 (UTC)

I'm thinking that perhaps we could leave some stuff for the next issue and maybe we can re-establish our rhythm of publishing on-time? From what I see, we always have a mad rush towards/after the deadline that we're exhausted by the end of it - we finally start again, but then it's always ending up late because we're trying to look for news too late? If we keep some headlines for the next week, then that might reduce the burden...but if this is a bad idea, that's OK too. I just thought I'd throw it out there. :) Ncmvocalist (talk) 15:56, 29 June 2010 (UTC)
Perhaps this is a good reason to make publication fortnightly, the only drawback being less topicality at times when events move fast. Fortnightly deadlines would mean HaeB's deadline for copy could be before the weekend—say, Friday—with exceptions only by (1) prior arrangement with him, or (2) when there are good opportunities to update unfolding events in the news sections. Less rush would be welcome; as a copy-editor, I feel there's this sudden torrent right at the end, and it's hard to manage, let alone for the other editors to reflect on and assist each others' hard work. Tony (talk) 16:02, 29 June 2010 (UTC)
Speaking as somebody who has worked in newspapers my whole life, no decent publication has ever existed without a mad rush right before deadline. Thinking otherwise is wishful thinking! - DavidWBrooks (talk) 16:04, 29 June 2010 (UTC)
True, a mad rush is inevitable, no matter how often it is published, and that's not the direct cause of delay. As HaeB has correctly pointed out, it's not so much finding material that is delaying this particular publication, but roping it into shape. That said, the type of deadlines Tony suggest could also mean that we miss out on relevant news for the period because we're looking/editing too early. An alternative could be changing the date (aim) of publication, but leaving the stories dated for the Monday? There's also the alternative that we leave things as they are - that's me emphasising that I'm not complaining! :) I only thought of making the suggestion because I thought if there was a way to re-establish the rhythm of making publishing closer to the publishing deadline, perhaps that method might work.... Cheers, Ncmvocalist (talk) 16:26, 29 June 2010 (UTC)

Initial response to Mabeenot's question/answer format request above[edit]

Sorry, I haven't yet looked at Mabeenot's subpage examples of Q/A pages, but I will, soon. However, Mr know-it-all has already decided on an opening response, at the risk of offending people ... oh well.

Yes, Mabeenot is right that the straight transcript of Qs and As is "dry". Moving away from this is really dead easy, and I think enjoyable to write. The basic message is to do more fine-grained manipulation of the boundary between Signpost narrative and direct quotation.

The ground must be prepared in the first contact with interviewees. Ask whether it's OK for you to use their email responses both in the Signpost narrative—by paraphrase and even using their actual words—and as direct quotes. You explain that they would be free to vet any resulting text when you email them that the draft is ready (this interaction can lead to further improvements on their side, and is ideally suited to the wiki process). Interviewees will seldom object to this arrangement, since they are in a very real sense co-authors (and will be sure to like the result, I think). In any case, their responses usually need to be copy-edited and trimmed for our readers.

The Signpost does a lot more of the stating—creates the "substrate", as it were, from their responses, and when you do quote them directly, wound into the text, readers will really sit up and notice. In the real world of journalism, interviews are rarely conducted by email—rather face-to-face or on the phone. This presents an entirely different genre where the unspoken expectation is that only short strands of the person's oral text will be quoted verbatim. When conducting interviews by email, as we usually need to do, a slightly different process is required to produce the same product. But it's very doable.

I would like to provide an example for feedback, if people think this is on the right track. Tony (talk) 04:41, 21 June 2010 (UTC)

See the upcoming WPreport for a new style for the report. I'd like some feedback. monosock 00:40, 23 June 2010 (UTC)

User-written essays.[edit]

Do user-written essays on Wikipedia ever get published in the Wikipedia Signpost? Wilhelmina Will (talk) 21:55, 21 June 2010 (UTC)

Not really. We do have an opinion section... mono 22:05, 21 June 2010 (UTC)
Ah, understood. Wilhelmina Will (talk) 09:00, 22 June 2010 (UTC)

A little too bold an idea?[edit]

Could we possibly use themed logos depending on the subject of the articles? I have prepared ten examples.
Example for signpost doodles.png
--Forty twoYou talkin' to me? 06:04, 24 June 2010 (UTC)

Wow. Err...I'm not so sure. Perhaps we could have a special edition where a competition is held to design a logo that would be used in one edition. (Not at alll unlike Doodle4Google, yes mono, I'm talking to you). Rock drum (talk·contribs·guestbook) 16:20, 24 June 2010 (UTC)
Terrible idea, but absolutely wonderful examples! Not a loser in the bunch; I hope you make some sort of living out of graphic design.
It's a terrble idea, IMHO, because it would suck up so much energy and effort and lead to yet more squabbles (that's not appropriate for this article!) when the energy needs to go towards generating the articles. - DavidWBrooks (talk) 17:12, 24 June 2010 (UTC)
Maybe it could also be used for important days in history. Like for a "Today in the Past" section, we could tie the title to that (I was reminded from Pac-Man, and his birthday being very recent).  A p3rson  02:42, 25 June 2010 (UTC)
Yes, it would be fun to have unique logos to celebrate special occasions like Google does every now and then. However, we need a stable, formal logo for our regular weekly issues. -Mabeenot (talk) 03:27, 25 June 2010 (UTC)
I agree that too much effort might get spent on deciding which theme is appropriate. But if we could get past that, themed logos could become very effective in moving away from the newsletter image to a more dynamic publication.
It certainly is not doable on a weekly basis, but may be we could come up with special issues in the near future.--Forty twoYou talkin' to me? 13:14, 25 June 2010 (UTC)

If we come up with a less conservative logo for regular use, then the special logos will not seem so outlandish. I think we should do something similar to what Google does. And definitely there should be a playable Galaga logo for the anniversary of Galaga's release. Tisane talk/stalk 21:39, 6 July 2010 (UTC)

Back to basics[edit]

Since these designs previously received some support, here are some newly revised versions plugged into the header template. The numbers refer to the original listing from this topic.

Number 2:

The Wikipedia Signpost

in this issue:



Number 5:

The Wikipedia Signpost

in this issue:



Comments? -Mabeenot (talk) 02:37, 25 June 2010 (UTC)

Yes, I believe most would agree that these two fonts are the best amongst all the suggestions. I am partial to #5 though.--Forty twoYou talkin' to me? 12:57, 25 June 2010 (UTC)
I would not mind either. They both have their good points. - Jarry1250 [Humorous? Discuss.] 14:30, 25 June 2010 (UTC)
Per Jarry, but with a preference for No. 2. Tony (talk) 14:48, 25 June 2010 (UTC)
I like No. 5 better but both are good - DavidWBrooks (talk) 15:10, 25 June 2010 (UTC)
  • would anyone mind if we put the logo discussions on a subpage, both so that all the designs could be compared more easily to one another (and so that this page doesn't get overwhelming)? maybe Wikipedia_talk:Wikipedia Signpost/masthead ? -- phoebe / (talk to me) 01:27, 26 June 2010 (UTC)
Go ahead. Mabeenot, what's the font for #2? mono 01:28, 26 June 2010 (UTC)
Number 2 uses the font Tribune. -Mabeenot (talk) 04:06, 26 June 2010 (UTC)

Disguising external links in Signpost articles[edit]

i find external links in Signpost articles annoying. Chzz showed me this neat little trick while discussing something else. Can I use it when providing external links within Signpost articles. For example, this is an external link but does not look like one. The syntax (not sure if that is the right word for it) is:

<span class="plainlinks">[http://ENTER EXTERNAL URL HERE <span style="color: #0645AD">ENTER TEXT TO DISPLAY</span>]</span>

--Forty twoYou talkin' to me? 13:23, 27 June 2010 (UTC)

Um, I like them? I like knowing when what I'm about to click on goes somewhere else. - Jarry1250 [Humorous? Discuss.] 13:33, 27 June 2010 (UTC)
It's a very bad idea to hide external links in WP - one of its bedrock policies is that links are internal by default. External links should absolutely always have visual indication that you're leaving WP - DavidWBrooks (talk) 16:26, 27 June 2010 (UTC)
Pity the sign is so big and ugly: it disrupts the line of the prose. I thought exactly the thing as Chzz last week, but anticipated opposition so didn't raise it. Tony (talk) 17:15, 27 June 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I share the exact same concern. I think it gets in the way of the prose. I wouldn't go far as to say it is ugly, but it is irksome to find some blue thing pointing away from the text.
We should not do it if there is no consensus. (Btw just to avoid any confusion, it wasn't Chzz's idea. He showed me how to do it while we were discussing something totally different.)--Forty twoYou talkin' to me? 18:21, 27 June 2010 (UTC)

Tewiki Vartha (Telugu wikipedians e-zine) launched[edit]

I am glad to report that we have launched Tewiki Vartha on July, 1, 2010. The inaugural issue carries articles on Wikipedia Vector skin and an e-interview with prominent Telugu wikipedian Vyzasathya. The plan is to bring out the e-zine as a blog newsletter without regular periodicity. I have adopted the templates of Wikipedia Signpost and have been able to cut down the time to setup newsletter. Thanks to Wikipedia signpost team --Arjunaraoc (talk) 04:54, 6 July 2010 (UTC)

Your very welcome. Best of luck with your newsletter, sir! extransit (talk) 05:02, 6 July 2010 (UTC)

Nice work, everyone[edit]

Congrats to the editors who worked so hard for the publication this week, especially to HaeB. Methinks many readers are quite unaware of the effort that goes into creating a smooth reading experience, which, unfortunately, is just as it should be.

May I stick my neck out and be bold on a few matters? Over the next few weeks, we will need to make a few decisions.

  • Running the show. I have no idea whether HaeB, or Phoebe, or anyone else is willing to take responsibility for getting The Signpost to the public every week as Managing Editor on a long-term basis. Or whether some of the regulars would prefer to share the task, rotating it from time to time. Or whether it's time to establish a Committee of active, regular contributors who are willing to keep the ship afloat and manage its evolution. And if such a Committee were established, how formal its membership and constitution would need to be. In my view, it would be a relief to avoid electoral drama, and to make membership dependent on a willingness to perform a particular role. At first glance, the following roles may be desirable, in addition to those appearing in the table of regular and back-up authors for the various sections:
    • Managing editor (whether fixed or rotating among the willing)
    • Reviews and special features coordinator (may be the above person)
    • Copy-editors (we really need a team of editors who will agree to be available to polish it up at the last minute, perhaps by planned rotation to give flexibility)
    • Interwiki liaison officer(s) to forge links with the equivalent projects in foreign-language WPs
    • More? Please add here ...
  • Staying weekly or moving to fortnightly. I don't want to push this barrow if it's unpopular—I know there are voices on either side. The current edition is due to last only five days if the next one is on time. Twenty-six editions a year seems like a good service to the community. Do we need a formal gauging of supports, neutrals and opposes?
  • Hard ongoing decision-making. If we are to encourage wider contributions to The Signpost, the flip-side of the coin is that we need some line of command and process to advise whether a one-off page might be too long or too short, and might be more appropriate for our readers if subsumed into, say, the "News and notes" section. There were mild question marks this time about the "Citations" article and the "T-shirts" article. I thought both could have been shorter and snappier, and possibly the T-shirts article transformed into a longish entry in News and notes. We need to grapple with the imperative to be interesting to our readers, all the time. It's a challenge.

Your responses would be appreciated. Tony (talk) 16:00, 9 June 2010 (UTC)

I support an editorial board. mono 17:43, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
I guess I do too, for the sake of stability and reliability. I am willing to serve as a last-minute copy-editor; and if people think it's a good idea, I can ask around at FAC and the like for another few editors who might be willing to be on call. It's not a job I want to shoulder by myself week-in week-out. And I am willing to take tentative steps towards building up a team of foreign-language reps to increase our feed of news and our potential for collaboration with other WPs; but only if there's consensus here for this. Is everyone asleep? Tony (talk) 11:03, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
I think a revolving editorial board would be beneficial. Every project should decide upon an editorial board (whether by election or otherwise) to represent itself throgh the Signpost. This way a board from a different project works towards the issue every fortnight (or week).--Nilotpal42 13:04, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
  • No offense, Tony, but you've been commenting an awful lot the last few months about how the Signpost should be better run and generally improved. But I haven't seen you helping much with the weekly work [not that I have been either -- like a lot of long term Signpostians, I've been really busy lately]. Care to write a few articles? I know you left a post on my talk page about writing about some research articles, and that would be great if you would like to. I think Sage did the last ones. Anyway, there's a lot to be done for each and every issue, as you note. How about this: you write something and I'll let you know if I think it's too long or short. ;) -- phoebe / (talk to me) 05:07, 12 June 2010 (UTC)
    • Offence is taken. Who spent hours copy-editing the last edition? One article needed particularly intensive work. Who wrote a substantial book review last month, the only one for about six months. Where have I criticised the running of The Signpost, as you claim? So this is the deal, I guess: you shut up unless you've given yourself a regular slot in that newsroom table. I don't walk in on other people's patches like that, just so that I might contribute ideas here. I'm out of here. Do it yourselves. Tony (talk) 07:38, 12 June 2010 (UTC)
      • I definitely really appreciated your copy-editing lately, Tony, as well as the book review. When phoebe says ";)" and "no offense", she really means it; I think she's just trying to do whatever she can to first and foremost make sure the Signpost has a steady flow of content, which has always been a bigger source of complaint from readers than poor editing (which people will tend to fix themselves if it bothers them, but more often than not it just doesn't bother them).--ragesoss (talk) 13:52, 12 June 2010 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Sageross (talkcontribs)
    • I missed your book review, I'm sorry. Sage is right: I really didn't mean any offense; I also really appreciate your copyediting. What I *did* mean is that it's really hard to get people to contribute articles on a regular basis, which is what the Signpost now and has always really needed the most help with. I want you to *have* something to copyedit! And I *want* you to add yourself to the newsroom table! I think you've got my intention all wrong: I'd love to see you as a regular contributor. I'd love to see everyone focused on writing articles (that goes for everyone who has been talking about Signpost reform lately, btw, including me), and after we've managed to put out a few issues successfully sit down and talk about how best to do so in the future (rather than the other way around). This has seemed to be the most productive method of attacking the problem to date. -- phoebe / (talk to me) 18:03, 12 June 2010 (UTC)

Thanks for your posts, here and at my talk page. Yes, in addition to the book review, there was the article "Wikipedia remembers the Wall" to mark the 20th anniversary last November, and three reports on the ArbCom election in December, the last of which was substantial. And contributions to many of the "Dispatch" articles over the past few years, for which I mostly withdrew my name as a co-author. I am comfortable working behind the scenes: I don't go for personal exposure. But I do expect that people will be receptive to my critical calls for change. One should not have to be an Arbitrator to criticise ArbCom, should one?

Concerning your suggestion that I write something and you'll tell me whether it's too long or too short—intended rhetorically, I take it—I thrive on criticism, and am very happy to receive such feedback. In fact, I slashed the draft of my book review last month from 1900 to 1300 words after advice from a senior WPian who writes professionally. "You're not capturing your readers" was the comment, which was good advice (that is, it ended up being a hard read, even dull, and I still think it was too long after the slashing).

I have great admiration for those who come back week after week to write regular columns; my god, it's hard work. But there's a serious lack of internal feedback—that is, from fellow writers and others who might be brought in as "friends of The Signpost" to give their views. It's as though people rush in at the last minute on Monday/Tuesday and there's no time to reflect, and bang, it's published late and we need a rest from the rush. Then the cycle is repeated the following next week. Only a limited amount of criticism will come from the community (seresin asked last week, and received only a few remarks). We should be more open, have post-mortems, talk more about how to improve each page of the publication. Let me say, as painful as it might be, that no fewer than three WPians have told me over the past week that The Signpost can be a bit "dull"; all used that word. (One, a former contributor, said she doesn't bother reading it any more—I was disappointed.)

To me, the primary goal is to be interesting, and the cardinal sin is to lose a reader after the first paragraph. I am not criticising any particular writer: you are all talented; and there are many patches of really interesting stuff in The Signpost. But it's challenging to get the length, the tone, and the content right when we operate as little islands unto ourselves, hostage to the weekly grind. The German Signpost tries to escape its self-perceived stiffness, dullness, by being outrageous and out of line from time to time, as HaeB has pointed out; this is a very bad idea. Newsworthiness, engagement, colour and even drama are a world away from antics. We already have a decent publication, but I believe it has the potential to ride on the best traditions of anglophone journalism to provide the lead for all WPs. If it were me, I'd not rest until just about every active WPian looks forward to each publication.

You can throw cream buns at me for being narky, or you can pull together to foster a more interactive, dynamic culture of teamwork and change. Tony (talk) 13:37, 14 June 2010 (UTC)

Alright. To start our process of introspection, let's open discussion on this week's WikiProject Report. What do you all (the frequent writers, copyeditors, and publishers) like and dislike about this particular section? What do you think people want to see? How long is too long and how short is too short? How many voices are enough to represent the project without making the article crowded? Do people like my punny "teasers" at the end of each article? Do people read the items in our news sidebar? How many pictures/graphs/other stuff should we include in the right margin?
I'll admit that the interview process is a tad dry since we usually just list some questions on a sandbox page and invite the project's founder(s), coordinator(s), and the most active/interested members to come answer the questions. It is much easier to let them do it on their own time than to hunt people down for "live" interviews. You'd be surprised how many projects could really use the publicity but nobody from the project is willing to take the time to answer a few questions sitting on a sandbox. Occasionally, we'll add extra questions if some unique information crops up in an interview, as we did in this week's article when Jimbo showed interest. I know people are reading the section since we get a weekly spike of around 200 page views spread over the two days immediately following the Signpost's publication. I also know that people look through the archive with small spikes occurring with each Signpost issue's publication. (I'd still like to see more readers, though.)
To see how the section has evolved, compare this week's Report with our roots in 2007, an article from before the section died in November 2009, an unconventional report in January, a task force article with an early news sidebar in March, an interview with one interviewee, an interview with eight interviewees, and last week's report. And as always, feel free to pull other examples out of the archive. ;) -Mabeenot (talk) 18:59, 14 June 2010 (UTC)

#wikisignpost on IRC[edit]

As an experiment, I have just started the IRC channel #wikisignpost connect on Freenode. Everyone interested in Signpost matters is invited to join (see Wikipedia:IRC if you are unfamiliar with IRC and chatrooms). I will try to be available there as often as I can.

We will see how it goes, but considering the fact that several Signpost contributors are using IRC, and have used it to communicate about Signpost matters in the past, I expect that a separate channel can be useful at times for collaboration on upcoming issues: To see which Signpost regulars are online and might be available to answer a quick question or to provide a timely second opinion, to coordinate work on particular stories, to resolve issues during the publication process (especially when publication time is nearing), etc. There might also be some readers who feel more comfortable to provide feedback or tips in this way. Of course the channel can't and won't be a replacement for public discussions and forming consensus like on this page.

Regards, HaeB (talk) 22:40, 20 June 2010 (UTC)

Sounds good! mono 23:53, 20 June 2010 (UTC)
I can't see it: I get The webpage cannot be displayed. Is anyone else getting this? Rock drum (talk·contribs·guestbook) 16:17, 23 June 2010 (UTC)
Do you have an IRC client? If not, go to this page. mono 16:21, 23 June 2010 (UTC)
No. You could try using an IRC client. Pidgin is free.--Forty twoYou talkin' to me? 16:23, 23 June 2010 (UTC)
Thanks, mono. Rock drum (talk·contribs·guestbook) 16:28, 23 June 2010 (UTC)
I've downloaded Pidgin, but still can't get onto it normally. Rock drum (talk·contribs·guestbook) 15:21, 25 June 2010 (UTC)

Press releases[edit]

I wonder if we might create a WP:Signpost/Press releases page, so that wiki-organizations, individuals, etc. can post info that they invite the Signpost to publish, or to follow up on. We could divide it up by month, e.g. WP:Signpost/Press releases/2010/July. Some press releases might not get published, but interested users can still read those that have been submitted if they wish to get an even broader perspective on what is going on at Wikipedia. E.g., users might post notices of barnstars they award to other users for exceptional contributions, or WikiProjects might announce major initiatives, or a developer may announce a new gadget he has created. The possibilities are endless. The idea is that users who have direct involvement in a newsmaking event can't really write the Signpost story, since they have a conflict of interest, but on the other hand, who is more familiar with the facts than the person who is involved? Press releases make the Signpost aware of the info, and perhaps reduce the amount of work to turn a tip into a properly formatted story. Tisane talk/stalk 21:37, 6 July 2010 (UTC)

That is pretty much what the suggestions page is for.
Regards, HaeB (talk) 22:50, 7 July 2010 (UTC)
It's just not the same!! Tisane talk/stalk 17:55, 19 July 2010 (UTC)

Section suggestions[edit]

How about a letters to the editor section or an editor's foreword, such as can be found in normal off-wiki newspapers? Rock drum Ba-dumCrash 15:14, 7 July 2010 (UTC)

Sounds like a good idea, but there would need to be a team to look through the letters, and maybe write the foreword, along with the fact that usu. letters to the editor are not posted every day. Otherwise, good idea!  A p3rson  19:45, 7 July 2010 (UTC)
An editorial would be good, or an "opinion" section where two editors "face off" even... monohow's my driving? 19:50, 7 July 2010 (UTC)
We do often feature an editor's foreword ("From the editor") when the occasion demands it, i.e. to provide important news about the Signpost itself.
As for "letters to the editor" in the sense of readers replying to articles, I think the talk page is best for that purpose, and we already have each story page transcluding the correspoinding talk page, i.e. featuring the "letters to the editor" prominently. (However,as discussed recently, we should link them in the single-page view, too - it's on my todo list.)
We already have an opinion section - follow the link in the sidebar above to the opinion desk which was introduced last year, but hasn't produced too many articles. (The "published" list there is incomplete, though - for example, the article Introducing the Public Policy Initiative in the last issue belongs into that genre too, as one can see from the extended byline. I am open to running more opinion pieces, but as discussed when that desk was introduced, they need to be selected really carefully. Each day Wikipedia's talk pages see thousands of thoughtful and interesting comments, but most of them are not interesting or relevant for Signpost readers.
Regards, HaeB (talk) 22:40, 7 July 2010 (UTC)
I agree. Consequently, (or not) all of the opinion pieces I've seen take a position on the "issue" which is why having opposing viewpoints from different editors would be better. Speaking of stuff, has anyone tried to work on the front page? We've changed our logo, btw... monohow's my driving? 23:50, 7 July 2010 (UTC)
Looks good. My only gripe is now that there are less words in the header it feels very...empty. Perhaps the image could be made bigger or more words could be added below. Your suggestions are welcome. Rock drum Ba-dumCrash 19:08, 8 July 2010 (UTC)
My thoughts, too; could it be just a teensy-weensy larger? Like 5–10%? Unsure till we see it. That might solve my other niggle—the slightly too large space above the lettering (between it and the boundary). I suggest no more words below if possible; the cleaner and simpler the header is, the more effective, I think. Tony (talk) 08:38, 9 July 2010 (UTC)

Coat of arms[edit]

How about a coat of arms? It could go between the 'the' and 'signpost'. Rock drum Ba-dumCrash 16:31, 9 July 2010 (UTC)

You mean like the mastheads for The Times and The Daily Mail (on Sunday)? -Mabeenot (talk) 20:40, 9 July 2010 (UTC)
Possibly. Rock drum Ba-dumCrash 17:59, 10 July 2010 (UTC)
How's this? Rock drum Ba-dumCrash (Review me) 17:33, 15 July 2010 (UTC) File:Sign post coat of arms.png

New front page[edit]

I made a potential mockup of a new front page here. What do you think? mono(how's my driving?) 19:21, 10 July 2010 (UTC)

That might work best as a replacement for the "single page" version of the Signpost. Could the links on the right sidebar just open the corresponding article in the left window? -Mabeenot (talk) 06:00, 11 July 2010 (UTC)
I'm not really keen on it. I doesn't look...right. Rock drum Ba-dumCrash 12:47, 11 July 2010 (UTC)
I think it's really bad, to be honest. As above, it's not a front page, it's a single-page view, which means we can't transclude comments properly, and it's harder for people to link to certain articles. It's also criminal to use an iframe/overflow div in this context. — Pretzels Hii! 13:27, 11 July 2010 (UTC)
The iframe is really just a technical limitation. My goal was to have a rotating article where the iframe is, but I couldn't do that without a lot of specific template changes. mono(how's my driving?) 19:57, 11 July 2010 (UTC)
To what end? It could be a good idea to use a sidebar for the contents on our single-page view, but it would likely interfere with the sidebars at the start of each article - or at least knock them out of place. I don't think we need to innovate here. — Pretzels Hii! 20:13, 11 July 2010 (UTC)

←I can't say it grabs me: kind of complicated. Tony (talk) 07:05, 12 July 2010 (UTC)

Wikimania coffee mini-meetup[edit]

Signpost Wikimainia Coffee.png

Anyone who's interested in The Signpost and attending Wikimania, please come to hang out with me and HaeB and Phoebe and others during the second coffee break. We'll meet near the Open Space board.--ragesoss (talk) 07:37, 11 July 2010 (UTC)

The Signpost "Best current event award" of the year?[edit]

Wikipedia's coverage of unfolding events seems to be on the increase. Some people see this as a highly significant extension of the project's endeavour to provide the world with neutral information. It's just an idea for consideration: that The Signpost create an award for the best example each year (based on the use of an appropriate template in article namespace), and choose an uninvolved panel to select the winner. The objectives would be:

  • to foster excellence in neutral, up-to-date, topical reportage on the English Wikipedia; and
  • to provide subject matter for a Signpost article on the winner, the runners-up, and the phenomenon itself, probably in late January.

If SIgnpost editors think this is a good idea, draft criteria would need to be drawn up and agreed on, and an announcement made. Feedback appreciated. Tony (talk) 09:02, 16 July 2010 (UTC)

Post publishing corrections ?[edit]

Hello to the Signpost team! Love what you do!

(The following situation has probably already occurred in the past, so please excuse me for my lack of knowledge on this.)

I am largely unfamiliar with the Signpost redaction process, but it is my understanding that the articles published do not fall in the realm of "edit at will" (since they are signed by the reporters and all).

Though, the Technology report of the current edition, about the cooperation project between Wikimédia France and the French National Library, is largely inaccurate (I am not blaming anyone here ; in fact, we're the ones to blame for our obvious lack of communication). I have published a comment to explain what happened in this project.

My question would be: is this it? Should one correct the original text ? Should it be written over for the next edition (in which case we could help with that) ? I am just asking here, in case we could be of any help ; if your answer is something along the lines of "Sorry but it's not how we do things here", that's perfectly fine for me :-)

Cheers, Jean-Fred (talk) 23:52, 18 July 2010 (UTC)

Hi Jean-Fred, this is a bit of a grey area, since - contrary to usual wiki pages - each Signpost issue has a certain "publication time", after which no significant changes should be made. Of course, getting things right is the most important concern and in practice, smaller fixes (like typos) and corrections are accepted in the days following publication, but since in this case almost a week has passed already, and - judging from your remarks on the talk page - the story would need to be changed significantly, I just put a notice into the story instead, pointing to these corrections.
Thanks for the note, and (like I said in Poland to several of your colleagues), stories about other interesting news from WM France are very welcome in the Signpost!
Regards, HaeB (talk) 00:48, 19 July 2010 (UTC)
Thanks HaeB for the reply and the notice you put. I was in Poland too, but I don't think I had the pleasure to talk to you... :-( Though, I heard about this from my colleagues. From now on, we definitely will be more active in communicating news we may have to relevant places such as the Signpost!
Jean-Fred (talk) 10:27, 19 July 2010 (UTC)
Mea culpa. Sorry. - Jarry1250 [Humorous? Discuss.] 16:05, 19 July 2010 (UTC)

Image placement within lists[edit]

User:Graham87 has provided helpful advice on image placement within lists, in relation to his edit here, in the F and A page of the current SP:

this should always be done when imbedding pictures in lists, like you did at the Signpost article. The reason is that, when parsing HTML lists, MediaWiki interprets any line that doesn't contain a "*" for unordered lists as the end of a list. Screen readers, which try to determine the number of items in each list, read out the information incorrectly. This is best illustrated by the example from my edit to Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2010-07-19/Features and admins: before my edit, a screen reader would say: "Wikipedia has 15 new featured articles: list of 11 items ... list end, image, list of 4 items ... list end". As you can probably gather, this sounds rather strange. After my edit, it now says "Wikipedia has 15 new featured articles: list of 15 items ... list end", which makes far more sense.

Tony (talk) 01:10, 22 July 2010 (UTC)

Idea for article[edit]

I've got an idea for an article. It's on how corrupt the Sysops at Wikiversity are, how unfairly they run it. Should I go ahead and start it? Thanks, Rock drum Ba-dumCrash (Review me) 16:20, 22 July 2010 (UTC)

No. monosock 00:15, 23 July 2010 (UTC)
Another idea I've got is to do something about this. Would that be any better? Rock drum Ba-dumCrash (Review me) 15:26, 23 July 2010 (UTC)

Arbitration report July 19 2010 concern[edit]

Note: Subsequent to the thread below, the author and I have talked quite amicably and in a relaxed manner on this. It's a matter of seeking editorial eyeballs rather than needing formal correction.

Background[edit]

I was moved to copyedit the arbcom report for 19 July. Whatever the rights and wrongs of doing so, the problem is that Signpost is looked on as a journalistic publication and the Arbitration section had failings in that job and in that issue. This post is to seek wider eyeballs due to concerns not being resolved by talk page dialog.

The July 19 report stated of a matter that

  1. Arbcom "tried to justify". There is no evidence whatsoever to support this tone or its negative implications.
  2. It also presented a decision as something unilaterally innovated and new rather than explaining it was merely a return to the previous pre-election system (which is highly salient),
  3. Presented (implied) a decision about "administrators only" as if something new, unilateral or unusually restrictive rather than identical to every Arbcom CU appointment there has ever been,
  4. Presented the idea that election candidates could reapply as if somehow unusual ("Additionally..."), rather than the routine norm on every election process from rollback to stewardship,
  5. Stated in the headline that Arbcom had "dumped" the results suggesting the results were ignored (or reinterpreted); in fact they followed the results and election rules precisely despite the problems,
  6. It was also poorly constructed - it starts by presuming knowledge of the CU/OS elections and the first statement is that Arbcom will "continue" to do something that in fact wasn't the norm so far this year and which is completely omitted. Part is in the middle of the 2nd paragraph but most is omitted.

The author was informed of the concerns. Ncm said he will "certainly take your feedback", but the rest of the response stated "I don't agree that there is an issue here" and also stated "Signpost is not another vehicle for merely singing the exact tunes that are sung at the Committee noticeboard because that's what the Committee, or users who support the Committee's position (on a particular issue), want others to hear". This was pretty awful bad faith; a quick review of the above edit shows that the copyedit was remedying defects, not pushing a stance. Ditto "it will not hold some unreal and stringent alliance to statements that were in themselves flawed" - the same quick check will show that the "flaw" was in the writeup not the original statement and the copyedit was for fidelity and usefulness not slanting of a view.

A follow-up explanation seemed to be trying to explain but implied that because some responses are trying to slant the publication, genuine concerns are likely to be marginalized. It also seemed to show a complete missing or dismissal of the point ("And no, Signpost will not turn into a report that covers excruciatingly boring material in an excruciatingly boring way... I nevertheless thank you for providing your feedback").

Without any effect on my trust in Ncmvocalist, whose collaborative skills and quality of insight I have full respect for and confidence in (I am sure he is aiming to protect Signpost's independence which is quite right too), my concern is that any writing issue, concern or misconception that took place could recur on other occasions.

My concern is that Signpost should report faithfully as well as impartially, and not tabloid-style.

My feelings of what went wrong here are:

  1. reports (as opposed to opinion pieces) should not be written in a tone that suggests taking sides, or using wording that implies states of mind or motives that don't seem to actually exist ("tried to justify" being a prime example),
  2. reports should fairly report on events and not inadvertently dramatize or sensationalize them, and
  3. reports should be sufficient to give a clear and balanced (albeit brief) background for a reader unfamiliar with the situation,
  4. users who express a concern that Signpost may have implied or presented an inaccurate impression should feel their concerns have a fair review.

I am bringing the matter here for extra eyeballs so that both of us may be sure it's had good quality consideration and anything either of us needs to take away from it is fair and thought out, and so that Signpost remains the best it can be in future. FT2 (Talk | email) 11:39, 25 July 2010 (UTC)

Response by journalist[edit]

A few issues are missed in FT2's "background":

  1. FT2 incidentally is an ex-arbitrator who previously held a role in appointing Checkusers/Oversighters, and supported that system of filling CU/OS positions. Even following the announcement, FT2 expressed a strong position on the substantive issues in question and responded several times to assert his position at the discussion, especially that he felt ArbCom were fully justified in doing what they did.
  2. FT2's move to copyedit came half a week after the publication was read by hundreds of users, and with the exception of xeno, other readers appeared to have understood the meaning of what was conveyed without assigning false accusations to the journalist (me).
  3. Some of the initial responses at the noticeboard suggested that there were concerns with what ArbCom was doing and the reasons for them doing so [4] - notably, as with the first concern expressed in that diff, the announcement was made on the date of Signpost publication. While I appreciate FT2 holds a position that ArbCom was justified, others think it wasn't justified and that ArbCom's justification wasn't anything of the sort. The middle was "tried to justify" so that users think twice about what is being said and come to their own opinions; I think there were better ways of making readers think about it, but it's really unfair + unwarranted to suggest that this was an attempt to editorialise - I think each reader is critical enouh to come to their own conclusions as to whether they believe something is justified or not justified or somewhere in the middle.
  4. The original announcement, which is juxtaposed in the collapse box, made no specific reference about returning to any system. It simply said that it will "once again" (or "continue to") appoint candidates. This recent source was faithfully adhered to, and any omissions by ArbCom are their own responsibility - the expectation that I synthesise content from years ago appears to be conflicting with that I should be faithfully adhering to the original recent source. There was no comment in the source about whether this method was fully compliant with or indifferent to that used in 2008.
  5. The election and results came about for the purpose of filling 6 OS and 4 CU positions; this was stated on more than one occasion, and was reported in Signpost as such in the past few months. The reality was that the results were only used to fill 1 position; also reported. Within 2 months of these elections, ArbCom were calling for candidates to appoint themselves because the results were "unsatisfactory" - the results were disposed of in favour of such appointments because the election/results did not serve the purpose that they were meant to any longer. This is consistent with the meaning of "ArbCom to appoint candidates after dumping election results"; a headline which some users appreciated and was within journalist discretion (in so far as not pushing any particular position except one that could be reasonably understood from the situation). There is nothing routine about what happened here, and I still think the manner in which the concern was expressed by xeno and FT2 was exaggerated.
  6. I'm not saying this is a yellow press; but I am saying that this is a news publication. I agree that reports (as opposed to opinion pieces) should not be written in a tone that suggests taking sides, or using wording that implies states of mind or motives that don't seem to actually exist and I agree that reports should be reported on fairly (and be clear and balanced). However, I don't think that readers are merely wanting Signpost to become a duplicate of the Committee noticeboard either; Signpost is independent and to suggest every single word will match what bureaucracy wants is really not reasonable at all; it will make Signpost excruciatingly boring, and we would need to consider whether this report is worthy of inclusion on Signpost if it's purely for voicing + representing Committee noticeboard postings (and in the same regard, the position of users who support these postings).
  7. The construction was really not that far off from what came in the original announcement and aftermath. I am not purporting to be perfect; there will always be room for improvement, but it's a matter of what the concern is, how serious it is, and what can be done about it when the effect of the publication has pretty much ended. If it was a serious inaccuracy, I would have left a note for readers to check it out for themselves. Nevertheless, I wasn't dismissing FT2's concerns, contrary to what he might have inadvertantly alleged above, and it was after a lot of discussion behind the scenes, a note has been left in this week's Signpost (under my endorsement) to give FT2's concerns sufficient eyes. Ncmvocalist (talk) 08:24, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
Appreciated greatly, that is honorable. As I said, this is mainly to see if there are any lessons from it. A formal note in the 26 July report wouldn't be needed to achieve that. If you feel it would help that's fine though, just affirming a public note isn't something I was specifically after, and removing that footnote is fine as is keeping it, if it was added mostly to try and "do the right thing". I wasn't looking for a correction or statement. Just looking for any concerns to be reviewed by uninvolved signpost staff (or passers by) on Signposts editorial feedback pages, as it didn't feel resolved when we spoke, to see if they might have helpful input.FT2 (Talk | email) 09:46, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
To be clear, if it's felt the 26 July footer is best removed, do so - I'm comfortable with the thread here for editorial discussion. FT2 (Talk | email) 10:15, 26 July 2010 (UTC)

Discussion[edit]

Just passing by - I don't know the ins and outs of the situation, but my feelings are: (a) yes, the copyedited version is an improvement, for the reasons stated, but (b) the Signpost should ideally also be reporting on criticisms (and praise) made of the actions of ArbCom, not just the actions themselves (I don't know if there was any such reaction in this case).--Kotniski (talk) 14:09, 25 July 2010 (UTC)

Agree, and I personally would prefer some digest or sounding of the wider discussions that take place related to these as well. Would need to be a balanced and informative characterization of these debates and sentiments (for me), but that doesn't mean a "boring" read either. I like Signpost as much as the next reader too :) FT2 (Talk | email) 09:51, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Hasn't the "Lengthy Litigation" report traditionally been a neutral digest of current arbitration matters, to provide an overview for readers who aren't watching all the many sub-pages? It has always been broader in scope than just the ArbCom noticeboard by providing updates on the progress of individual proceedings. Is there any reason to dispense with this model?  Roger Davies talk 08:58, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
It always seems very sanitized, projecting the myth that ArbCom conducts dignified and well-run proceedings. Of course, the Signpost is written by volunteers, to whom we are grateful for all they do, but it would be nice to hear more of the actual "evidence" and other discussions going on in these cases, as you would in real-life court reporting.--Kotniski (talk) 09:11, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
Real-life court reporting tends to divide into three different types of article: (i) summary digests of proceedings opened and closed, appointments and so forth; (ii) recordings/analysis of notable decisions (normally by experienced lawyers); and (iii) current affairs reporting of evidence as it unfolds, often in sensational or celebrity cases (the OJ Simpson Trial, for instance, or more recently, Conrad Black's appeal). It seems to me that type (i) is covered by "Lengthy Litigation" and types (ii) and (iii) could be (and have been) adequately covered in other sections of SP, in an appropriate length to their merits. I'm not sure how a concise neutral digest amounts to promoting a myth, any more than the publication of, say, raw football league results would. Roger Davies talk 09:32, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
The problem arises if there are pure expectations for ArbCom to be treated like a court; they are not synonymous - it all comes back to separation of powers, complying with obligations, knowing what to expect, rah rah rah. Ncmvocalist (talk) 10:16, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
(ec) I don't want to go too far off-topic, but if the football matches consisted of the players running around kicking and punching each other while the ref and linesmen stood around on the touchline doing nothing, then after a few hours the officials suddenly announced that the match was over and the score was 3-2, then publication of a list of such "results" would indeed be promoting a myth of sorts. (I'm not saying that ArbCom proceedings are quite that bad, although the one I was once involved in was actually worse - and I don't remember reading any of the criticism made of ArbCom's handling of such matters ever being reported in Signpost, though I may be wrong.)--Kotniski (talk) 10:19, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
I think several users who have been involved in arbitration share your opinion (though I also think there are few flip side opinions too). Ncmvocalist (talk) 10:32, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
I don't think we're disagreeing on the essentials. To take your football match analogy a bit further, real-life reporting would probably have the 3-2 score in a digest; with a news story (and possibly an editorial as well) elsewhere in the journal covering the brawls on the pitch.
And, yes, arbitration is sometimes a messy business, reflecting (if I may dare say so) the sometimes imperfect way in which Wikipedia itself operates. And, of course, while you may not remember seeing criticism of ArbCom in Signpost, I cannot recall seeing (though I might be wrong too) ArbCom's praises sung.  Roger Davies talk 10:54, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
(e/c) "Tell me about X" can lead to write-ups that are dull or engaging, contain anecdotes, observations, a blow by blow recount conveying the emotions shown by participants, analysis of wider issues and views, soundbites, journalistic quips and "humanizing" of the matter - the whole works. But at heart it should still have a recognizable stance, either that it presents the information fairly, balanced, and without unsupported implications/claims, or that it does take one side to a greater or lesser degree but everyone knows it, etc. My feeling is that Signpost should, whatever its written style, leave the user with an even, informed, accurate, and balanced impression. That would (in my view) apply to all areas - Arbcom, RFAs, media dramas, etc.
I think the specifics related to last week's report are probably taken on board or at least understood, the principle and any confirmation of balance and of "fair tone" expectations going forward (and maybe a little increased awareness/vigilance) is what's important. FT2 (Talk | email) 11:01, 26 July 2010 (UTC)

I've read both versions, and also followed ArbCom on and off for quite a while. I think Ncmvocalist's version was not neutral and did clearly convey some flavour of the doubt around the ArbCom pronouncements on the elections. I think FT2's version, by contrast, was slanted towards the view that anything ArbCom declares as indisputable truth and should be accepted as gospel. To be honest, it reminded me of the old Signpost reports on ArbCom that were so sterilised and sanitised as to convey a distorted view of ArbCom proceedings and and an unquestioning acceptance of official statements. Perhaps there was too much comment in Ncmocalist's piece, but it was worth reading - and I would take the time to consider the perspectives in future reports, even if I disagreed with them.

I know that ArbCom is a quasi-judicial body and certainly its members occupy positions of trust. In situations where confidential evidence is involved, it follows that Committee statements are generally accepted. In cases not involving confidential materials, everything is available for anyone to inspect. However, ArbCom undertakes activities that are not strictly judicial, and particularly in those circumstances it is appropriate that more scrutiny occurs. In the present discussion we are talking of an election where ArbCom has taken some highly unusual steps. These include:

  • Declaring that the elections results were unsatisfactory and dictating that an unscheduled additional set of appointments would be made
  • Declaring that not only will those appointments, but also all future appointments will be made without elections until an unrealistic standard is met. Declaring that an irregular appointment would be made as a one-off, but that a return to elections would happen for the next round would have been much more respecting of empowering the community in making appointments
  • Encouraging that candidates rejected by this election re-apply for immediate appointment - this is incredibly disrepectful of the community views as expressed in the elections. Now, to forestall the inevitable objection here, there is nothing wrong with those candidates standing in the next regular appointment round, but standing in the irregular round designed to appoint candidates because they failed to receieve sufficient community support is outrageous. That ArbCom would consider saying "sorry you didn't get elected, but we'll appoint you anyway" shows an astounding lack of respect for the community and for electoral processes, in my opinion

Short version... I hope Ncmvocalist continues to make ArbCom reports / discussions something worth reading, and whilst there may be issues with individual reports on occasions, I think this part of Signpost is definitely moving in a positive direction. EdChem (talk) 13:37, 26 July 2010 (UTC)


But notice:
  • The actual comment on the election results was "The election process has yielded only one successful CheckUser candidate, and no successful Oversight candidates. This outcome is not satisfactory in that crucial roles within the project cannot be filled". Not that the results were disagreed with, "dumped", overridden, or thrown out. The committee didn't do as you're implying and go "oh well, let's just do it our own way". The results showed one person met the 70% hurdle, and that is exactly what was appointed, no more and no less.
  • The election process states "In the event appointments are very urgently needed and there are insufficient immediately available candidates, the community will be consulted as to its wishes". That is exactly what happened.
  • The community consultation showed considerable support for several options but no consensus. A considerable number of people did seemed to prefer one of the two options of "appoint people under 70%" or "Arbcom choose who they trust", and in every election candidates can re-stand. Allowing candidates or appointments from one election as well as others (whether succeeded or failed) to stand in the next one is normal. For one thing, the positions need to be filled and the committee's job is to fill them with candidates it trusts somehow. The community did not agree with you (or me, or anyone there) on any clear "one best way" to do it. Everyone differed on what should happen (and I abstained). In that circumstance the committee reverted back precisely to its previous system, which also had significant support in the RFC too.
So I disagree with your characterization of the matter. If Arbcom messes up or there is a backlash on a matter, Signpost should report it accurately and independently. But in this case to report (or strongly imply) they effectively disregarded the election results when it's clear from both the on-wiki posts and actions that they followed it as far as the process had rules set out and with consultation, is misleading.
It's a valid view (although not the only valid view) that it was "disrespectful", or the proposed standard "unrealistic" or that allowing candidates to re-stand so soon was wrong, or any other opinion. That's one of many subjective views some users may hold. (I haven't disclosed or suggested my view on it, for example; assuming it's known would be pure guesswork.) What I'm concerned about is the representing of the events that are documented on-wiki. I'd like to be more sure that Signpost reports will accurately and fairly represent what took place on the wiki when they say they are, so that I know what I'm reading is a fair balanced characterization of the week's happenings, however much personal style, extra information and (identifiable) personal opinion and views of the journalist might also be included. That's all. FT2 (Talk | email) 14:06, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
  • With respect FT2, I think this is coming back to my concern that you're position on this does not necessarily reflect how this appears to some outsiders in the true sense of the word - there's always going to be a mixture of agreement and disagreement, but at the end of the day, not everyone is going to merely nod their heads because that's what the words of the announcement say or what anyone or anything says for that matter.
  • If the election+results served their original purpose (to fill those critical roles), would ArbCom have: declared that it was unsatisfactory, called for applicants, and encouraged unsuccessful candidates to apply, all within the period of two months? No. "ArbCom called for applicants after dumping election results" (or after disposing of the results) because they no longer served the purpose that they were designed for, and ArbCom adopted a different system. It was quite reasonable to come to this conclusion as an outsider. Unless it has expired, or there is a need for space, or it was an accident, people don't "dump" or "dispose" of something as waste after not using it at all; they use it and only dump it when they think it should be dumped. It's really quite a novel concept.
  • Especially at the time of publication, nothing in the statement explicitly confirmed or denied whether this system was going to be completely 100% consistent with the 2008 practice, back when you were an arbitrator; this lack of clarity ultimately remains ArbCom's responsibility.
  • Especially at the time of publication, nothing in the statement explicitly considered or recapped which options the community had considerable support for (let alone why); this gap in content ultimately remains ArbCom's responsibility also.
  • No attempt was made by the Committee to take those proposals and re-ask the community to choose between them (like 1st choice, 2nd choice, 3rd choice, in the interests of moving forward). Instead, it, according to your conclusions, can be seen to have chosen one of the options because it happens to have used this approach in the past - is that the best way forward? This is what readers should have thought about, whether ArbCom like this or doesn't, and whether or not this is the best basis upon which a decision should be made. In less visible venues, some people have also raised a lot of questions that can be asked over the manner in which this decision was conveyed - was there enough reasoning? What was said that we didn't see in the announcement? Etc. etc.
  • I certainly made no attempt to say or imply that the results were completely disregarded as it would be inconsistent with the previous reports I've written, and I clarified the doubt that was raised by xeno on this point in the discussion section of the same report where you first discussed the copyedit. Again, just above, I explained what people think of by the meaning of "dumped" or "disposed". Contrary to the suggestion, and as I reiterated in my earlier response, I didn't unfairly represent (let alone outright misrepresent) what took place on-wiki; all the material was reviewable by the reader (none of it involved offwiki comments or evidence). Signpost has never purported to be a replacement. However, Signpost's coverage is pretty fair and balanced, its accuracy is quite good, it informs users, it raises awareness of issues, it lets readers look at the original sources and it makes readers think about those issues (so whether they agree or disagree, they've come to their own conclusions/views).
  • Whether I wrote in the "sanitised" method preferred by some (which can also seem quite on the boring side), or whether I wrote in the "raw/blunt" method preferred by others (which would in all likelihood be the other extreme), or whether I kept writing for the purpose for fulfilling some of those basic principles relating to Signpost as a publication, there is always going to be someone who has an issue. But at the end of the day, my writing has served the purpose of making people aware of the issue and think about the issue, all within the realms of what is acceptable, and given that I've justified my position (and where I cannot, I'd either retract in extreme cases or where it's inaccuracy, would make readers aware of it), I've done the right thing and have fulfilled my responsibilities - in saying this, I'm not talking about being perfect. Ncmvocalist (talk) 05:33, 27 July 2010 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Quick comments,

  1. An election has a success mark of 70%. It returns just one person of many above 70% and just that one person is appointed. The election holders state the election result isn't satisfactory because several more positions needed filling that it didn't fill. They have an obligation to ensure services from those positions and they consult what to do to fill the others. That's just not best summed up as "dumping the results". The election process was eventually dumped (but even that wasn't until the community was asked and a month later hadn't come up with any agreed answer), but not the election results.
  2. A careful read of their post made clear it's the same as 2008 and if in any lingering doubt an email (I'm writing this up for Signpost, is this the same as in 2008?) would have clarified it: - anyone may submit a candidacy, shortlist formed internal to AC, communal publication of shortlist, input requested, Arbcom decision after considering any input. Identical to the previous process, or close enough to say "sounds almost identical to the previous version" if it was necessary to hedge a bit.
  3. Contrary, the RFC did in fact ask the community "how should we move forward". It asked both short term (should any failed or 50%+ candidates be appointed or the election rerun or some other suggestion) and longer term (what about the appointment process).
  4. Anyone can view the RFC and confirm the RFC close did not show a clear answer and there was no clear "options the community had considerable support for". If the RFC results needed summing up in detail, or there was a "gap" in not doing so, anyone (you, me, or any user) could have filled that gap by reviewing the RFC themselves.
  5. Again, adding assertions without any evidence something like "tried to justify" did add to the impression of a poor summary.

Like we have discussed, it's not the end of the world (and probably getting close to "dead horse" territory) but it's enough to say "could have been written better and more faithfully to the sources" and for future. That's all. FT2 (Talk | email) 06:34, 27 July 2010 (UTC)

Re: 2, you are missing the point...the obligations of Signpost does not extend to such an unrealistic level. ArbCom are responsible for their omissions - if they omit a key term from an announcement about the fact this was the exact same method used in 2008, and we carry that omission inadvertantly or otherwise, that is ArbCom's problem. If ArbCom didn't omit it but Signpost inadvertantly or otherwise omitted it, that would be our problem. I always make an effort to avoid problems on any front within the realms of what is acceptable, and what is practicible (eg; you will note that I asked SirFozzie about what was the intent between changing the block of OR earlier this week; you should also note the timing of that announcement and that we weren't getting ready to publish close to that point). However, I plainly refuse to be blamed for something I'm not responsible for when this complaint should have been directed to those responsible in the first instance (ArbCom). I was reporting on what can reasonably be understood on the basis of the announcement without being inconsistent with recent reports. I satisfied both of these requirements within the realms of what is acceptable, whether or not ArbCom, yourself, or members of bureaucracy prefer a more sanitised version. Had the announcement been made sometime earlier than on the day of (or day before) publication (as this sort of thing would have come to my attention by then), I would have definitely exercised my discretion as a journalist (like with the rest of the report) and write something to this sort of effect: "This method appears similar to the method that Signpost reported in 2008 [link]."
Re: 1, whether or not the positions are filled, the community has spoken - at the time of the election, for whatever reason, the community stated in no uncertain terms with regards to which and how many candidates achieved sufficient support (trust + confidence) for the positions. To invite the same unsuccessful candidates within 2 months may be understandable to some, but may also be of concern some, and I conveyed that much in the report for users to come to their own conclusions (EdChem seems to have effectively outlined the concern side while you seem to have for the understandable side - note how the concerns, even after your input at WT:AC/N, were not offset in the way that you might have thought they were). If the threshold was too high to judge what the community was telling ArbCom, then this issue goes back to the people who set the election as it was, and who changed the method of the election as it was (and whatever other concerns have been raised either during or before the community review about what ArbCom did). See also the next point.
Re: 3 + 4, er no, ArbCom did not explicitly re-ask. Note again, I said re-ask, not just ask. By this I mean you don't limit input to the one RfC where there's an overwhelming amount of content; you take the points that have sufficient support and put that in a separate "fresh" discussion so as to re-ask the question in a particular effective way without the many distractions. This isn't totally foreign to wiki; in fact, many sanction discussions sometimes have to work in that fashion in order to move forwards in the true sense rather than leaving the closing admin in an awkward sort of position, though even some closing admins have had enough clue to re-ask the question. Even arbitrator proposals have to work in this fashion of "first choice" "second choice" sometimes, be it in a decision or in motions - the difference is the smaller amount of input (only what...15ish arbs?) means there are a smaller amount of distractions. The extent of a deadlock, if any, could have been tested - I'm not saying it will always produce results that are desired but it certainly was an option that was not exercised by ArbCom who asked for the first review. As someone already suggested, it was totally unrealistic to expect something concrete to emerge from the first review (which was in some respects, flawed anyway), and the vague and unhelpful "until community consensus emerges" only served to confirm the people's suspicions; ArbCom could have pushed for the second more restricted review ('these are the options...community can discuss and vote on these ones') to increase the real chances of that happening sooner and with more clarity. Instead, it took another way out - see EdChem's concerns, which would not have been resolved even if there was no omission mentioned in the point Re: 2.
Re: 5, I've already responded to this in the previous subsection.
I know it's not the end of the world either way, but it's important that my position in relation to the complaints are clearly marked for the future. Your position is that what I wrote was poor (which is close to, if not exactly the equivalent of unacceptable); my position was that what I wrote was reasonably and otherwise acceptable, but not perfect. Ncmvocalist (talk) 08:58, 27 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Just a quick note to add here. If there is concern in future over something like this, I would suggest trying to contact the committee or individual arbitrators to ask for comments before publication (something I believe is standard journalism practice when doing anything other than reporting on the bare facts). I can't promise that anyone will be around to answer any questions, and some questions may be something that individual arbitrators can't really answer, but if I am around I will do my best to help as far as I can in answering any queries. Carcharoth (talk) 21:58, 28 July 2010 (UTC)

FT2, the basic problem with your argument is that some of your "facts" aren't facts, they are interpretations, assertions, inferences, etc. EdChem (talk) 15:02, 29 July 2010 (UTC)