Wikipedia talk:Wikipedia Signpost/Archive 4

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Hasn't turned up yet on my talk page

Has this week's edition been published? It's Thursday in just over an hour. Tony (talk) 11:35, 5 October 2011 (UTC)

I also have not received it on my talk page. It looks like it should have already been published. -Mabeenot (talk) 15:22, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
I have already read the parts that interest me because Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/Issue is on my watchlist.
Wavelength (talk) 16:15, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
Looking at the history of User:EdwardsBot/Status no one has triggered a bot run for this week. JORGENEV 17:30, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
When do I get my talk-page notification? It's Thursday. Tony (talk) 03:16, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
Only thing I can see is no mention of the 1.18 deployment at Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2011-10-03/Technology report, but that might be because it's meant for next week. Should one of us just trigger the bot? Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 04:08, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
Make it so. -Mabeenot (talk) 04:13, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
It will need to be someone on User:EdwardsBot/Access list. JORGENEV 04:17, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
I'm on the access list. ;-) Sending it out now. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 04:31, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
SMasters had the delivery loaded but I think he forgot to start the bot. I've done that and it is going out now. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 04:34, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
Thanks, Ed. Phew, let's not be this late again. Tony (talk) 09:21, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
Sorry for the late reply. Unfortunately, I had to rush off to catch a flight to attend my grandmother's funeral at that time. I thought I had checked everything but I obviously missed that step. Thanks to all who stepped in to help. It should not happen again. --SMasters (talk) 05:01, 8 October 2011 (UTC)
I'm sorry to hear that, SMasters. You'll be in my prayers. We all mess up from time to time; don't let this worry you. In the end, it all worked out fine. Ed [talk] [majestic titan]

Change the publishing deadline

There is no good reason that I can see for a Monday midnight deadline as opposed to Tuesday midnight or even Wednesday midnight. This is a weekly publication; readers aren't depending on the publication for breaking news. (If we want to issue an occasional interim newsflash, fine.) We're just forcing ourselves to try to get a lot done in a short amount of time, since we're trying to report everything that happened through Sunday midnight.

If we had lots of staff and the staff had lots of time, then sure, keep Monday midnight as the deadline. But that's not the case, and we rarely if ever meet the deadline, now. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 08:03, 6 October 2011 (UTC)

Is your point that the weekend is bad timing for Signpost editors? Otherwise, I can see the actual publication times creeping forward later than whatever deadline is "official". No one has ever bought the idea of a hard deadline when I've raised it. That is, publication happens no matter what, unless the managing editor decides to postpone for a stated time and a stated reason, and tells everyone. Tony (talk) 09:20, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
I think we would have trouble meeting whatever deadline was set, the problem is people don't start till they feel the pinch. And, I think that if we set the deadline as 'whenever' than nothing would ever get done. JORGENEV 09:44, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
I think publication should happen without pages that aren't finished satisfactorily by deadline. Tony (talk) 10:13, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
The answer is to decide on the "span of coverage" and "publication day" (i.e. Saturday to Friday, publish Monday). That way, you are not pressured to include very recent items in that week's issue. Mjroots (talk) 06:19, 7 October 2011 (UTC)
Yeah, but NIN and ITN gain advantage in our reputation if they're more up-to-date. Most stories, however, don't break at the last minute and can be prepared well before the deadline. Tony (talk) 06:28, 7 October 2011 (UTC)
I'd like to echo Tony's thoughts here. I don't think there's a need for a formal system: the editor(s)-in-chief should be able to decide if publishing on time or publishing complete is the more important depending on the magnitude of the story that's just broken. By and large, historically, The Signpost has chosen to publish punctually, but there's no reason it always has to. - Jarry1250 [Weasel? Discuss.] 09:31, 7 October 2011 (UTC)
I'm going to echo a thought of Tony's – if we had a rigid "span of coverage" this week, we would have reported the Italian Wikipedia's possible blackout three days after it actually occurred. :-) Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 16:17, 7 October 2011 (UTC)

What I would like to see is:

  1. Formal notice of whether Sko or SMasters is in charge each week
  2. A hard-and-fast deadline that the managing editor can shift if he sees it as appropriate (but please, a notice here?)
  3. The NAN and ITN stories listed and prepared by the deadline, with late-breaking news explicitly listed here if it happens, before the deadline. Tony (talk) 11:07, 7 October 2011 (UTC)
I'd think 1) and 2) would be possible, but isn't 3) up to the writers? EiC's can only do so much unless they write the story themselves. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 16:17, 7 October 2011 (UTC)
  • This week, when I got to the newsroom to prepare for publication (note that I need to get up at 5am to do this), I was extremely shocked as N&N and ITN were in a draft state. I really did not know what to do. I had no time to write it all myself and when I went on to IRC, there was no one there that could help. The problem lies in the sections not being ready and not because an EIC is not around. With the exception of this week, both Skomorokh and myself were present for each publication date previously. I had no choice but to give up and wait to see if the sections would be completed in a 24-hour period. In the meantime, I had to leave to attend a funeral. I got to my destination and with very limited internet connection, published it the following day (although it appears that one step was somehow missed, but nevertheless, publication had taken place). Our problem lies in the fact that we are short-staffed, and that our very valuable writers are busy and can't complete the sections in time for publication. Unless we are able to fix the timely completion of the sections, any other solution will not work. As discussed above, moving the publication date will still produce the same results if submissions continue to be late. As many of you know, I have been based at the WikiProjects desk for a while now. Personally, I push the panic button by Saturday night if the following week's article is not ready. Then I have all-day Sunday to fix it. When I took on the responsibility of this new position, I expected the other articles to have the same deadlines. I'm a copy editors by trade, so I can always do any necessary cleaning up if necessary. But to be faced with a story that has nothing else besides a few bullet points, I really did not know what to do (except write it all myself, which is simply not possible). What do we do? Everyone here is a volunteer, so we can't demand anything from anyone. However, it would be wonderful to see articles being filed by Sunday, with minimal late news items added just before publication time. Skomorokh and myself made the decision not to take turns but to do this jointly. This way, if either one of us can't be around, then the other can be the back-up. This is actually not at all ideal for me, as there is an 8-hour time difference between us, and as mentioned, I need to get up at 5am to be able to do this (trust me, I am not at all a morning person). However, this is not an ideal long-term solution. We welcome any suggestions that will help us improve the publication time. I certainly do not wish to experience the pressure, stress and helplessness that I felt this week. On a more positive note, I wish to thank all those who did help complete the ITN and N&N sections this week. I really appreciate it! --SMasters (talk) 05:52, 8 October 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for the hard work in getting this issue out! Regards, HaeB (talk) 00:32, 10 October 2011 (UTC)
Signpost publishing times for the issues dated February 8, 2009 (bottom) to 3 October 2011 (top)
I have made a quick-and-dirty chart of Signpost publishing times (or rather updated one I made earlier), beginning February 2009, the time since when, to my knowledge, Monday has been designed as the weekly publication date.
It shows that since the middle of last year, the majority of issues actually have been published on time (defined as during the nominal publication date shown in the URL, i.e. before Monday midnight UTC).
In my experience, deadlines are essential to the Signpost's production process. And as Ed and SMasters point out, the reason for this issue's delay seems to have been a shortage of writers for ITN and N&N, the latter having been without dedicated writers for ages. Both sections are essential for the Signpost, and dropping one or both of them in order to meet the deadline (the only choice that the two editors had at that point) is not be a decision that should be taken lightly. We can't punish writers for not meeting the deadlines, we can only punish readers in the hope that it will make some of them into writers ;)
Regards, HaeB (talk) 00:32, 10 October 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for that, HaeB. I didn't get my subs note until Thursday for the last edition, but it's listed in the graph as being only one day late. Tony (talk) 02:30, 10 October 2011 (UTC)
The issue was published only a day late, but the delivery bot was neglected until Thursday. JORGENEV 03:16, 10 October 2011 (UTC)
Who's on board to do the publication AND the bot this week. Is it true that both SMasters and Sko are time-stressed at the moment? Tony (talk) 12:13, 10 October 2011 (UTC)
Ideally the bot handles the publication process with minimal human input, although we are still working out the glitches from week to week; manual publishing is laborious, time consuming and error prone. I hope to be free and near an internet connection in three/four hours time but cannot be sure; that's the status quo on my end until further notice unfortunately. Skomorokh 17:18, 10 October 2011 (UTC)

Is the bot running yet?

To me, publication doesn't really happen until the bot is distributing the edition. Tony (talk) 12:19, 11 October 2011 (UTC)

I received the delivery. JORGENEV 12:37, 11 October 2011 (UTC)

Wow, this made writing articles a little easier

This might not be as exciting as the latest software updates to the Wikimedia software, but those who write articles might appreciate knowing that JSTOR just provided access to a large slice of their information. Now everyone, anywhere has free access to articles published prior to 1923 in the United States, and published prior to 1870 outside the US. This means nearly 500,000 articles from more than 200 journals are now free -- as in both speech & beer. Announcement here. -- llywrch (talk) 21:11, 27 October 2011 (UTC)

A good ITN item, but do try to put these in the Suggestions box =). ResMar 03:02, 30 October 2011 (UTC)

Archived ahead of schedule

I archived everything from before October to cut down on page loading times. Nothing I archived was active. If I accidentally moved a thread that wasn't from before October, I wholeheartedly apologize... Sven Manguard Wha? 11:26, 30 October 2011 (UTC)

I disagree with wiping off the conversation everyone just had here off the table. Also, I was wondering why Featured content was unwritten. You both deserve to be slapped with a wet fish right about now. ResMar 02:53, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
Huh? 'Anything before October' was a month ago, which is a long time in wiki-terms. We all also have real life commitments. Let's be civil, Res. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 03:13, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
No, he also archived the long-winded discussion that ended with Tony on strike and Sven archiving the discussion. Being the cynic I am I couldn't help but slap them both with fishes. With Tony on strike we have a whole bunch of articles sitting on "Needs copyediting" now...ResMar 03:39, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
I was trying to be humorous with my above statement on "accidentally" archiving it, but if you want brutal honesty, here it is. That whole thing is, at this point, just a steaming, stinking, pile of bad energy. Everything in my experience shows that the sooner that those types of conversations are disposed of, the sooner things go back to normal. I tried collapsing it with a conciliatory message, but somehow that made the situation worse, so I threw my hands in the air and moved the whole thing to the archive so that we could just get it over with and move the f**k on with our lives. I wasn't doing this to hide it, everyone knows where to find it, I was doing it to clear the air. So can we all please just... oh I donno... clear the air? Sven Manguard Wha? 04:06, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
I got to use a fish, I'm satisfied ;) ResMar 04:09, 31 October 2011 (UTC)


Hi there. I'm not willing to just barge in, but I would like to note that I am interested in writing for the Signpost semi-regularly in any slot. Is there anything currently understaffed or needing extra men? — Joseph Fox 14:34, 28 October 2011 (UTC)

To clarify: Yes, I have read that thing in the Signpost, but it's full of fluff and it would be far easier to just be told what's the best option for me. — Joseph Fox 14:38, 28 October 2011 (UTC)
Hmm, I may just offer my copyediting services. Sorry to talk to myself here ;) — Joseph Fox 14:51, 28 October 2011 (UTC)
You can sign up at Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/Newsroom#Regular responsibilities to let others know that you might be available to write for a particular slot, or for other work. "News and notes" and "In the news" are usually in need of contributors. Check Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/Newsroom/Resources#Regular_sections for suggestions on what to write about.
Copyeditors are welcome too - in the run-up for publication around Monday, check Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/Newsroom#Article status for sections being prepared, in particularly those already marked as "needs copyedit".
Regards, HaeB (talk) 20:11, 28 October 2011 (UTC)
I did some copyediting on this one since you guys were in a pinch, but I've been cutting way back on copyediting even at Milhist, and I won't have time for more. Sorry. - Dank (push to talk) 20:18, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Hey Fox! The two articles that really need help are the News & Notes and In The News articles. Alternatively, if you are not interested in either of those, I write the arbitration report and if that interests you I offer a team up. It would be kind of nice to have a partner. I could be the cases correspondent and you could cover the amendments and clarifications. Otherwise, if you are interested in copy editing, that is needed every Monday. JORGENEVSKI 21:28, 28 October 2011 (UTC)
ITN in particular needs it, I think I can make space for N&N for the near future. ResMar 03:00, 30 October 2011 (UTC)

Busy week

Tony you still on strike? =| ResMar 02:16, 5 November 2011 (UTC)

I think we should have a style guideline. Nothing too serious, just a pointer on how Signpost articles are arranged, on certain tricks that can be used, etcetera. Thoughts? ResMar 02:24, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
Draft. ResMar 04:26, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
Yes, a style guide is definitely a priority (see above); on the agenda for the month. Skomorokh 14:19, 5 November 2011 (UTC)


I'm pretty desperate at the moment: RL work pressure has hit the frenzied stage, day and night, seven days a week. I'm burnt out. If I go to WP, it's for 10 minutes of easy clerical work as a break or to answer urgent posts. Not usual for November, but there are three deadlines for my clients in the next six weeks. It will be a little easier after Wednesday week. I'm leaving this note out of courtesy to the people I respect at the SP. I'll ask Dabomb87 now whether he can do FC for two weeks. Tony (talk) 11:33, 6 November 2011 (UTC)

I can cover in a pinch but I kind of want to get to my other projects already... :|. ResMar 01:42, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
I should be able to step in. Dabomb87 (talk) 05:09, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for letting us know Tony. Good luck with your work projects. --SMasters (talk) 07:37, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

Arbcom Elections 2011

I'm not sure if there is a better place for this: The Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Arbitration Committee Elections December 2011 close includes advertising the entire process, starting from nominations in the Signpost. I notice there is already going to be extensive coverage of the RFC this week, but I think a prominent announcement regarding the opening of nominations on the 12th (before the next issue) would also be desirable. Monty845 16:52, 6 November 2011 (UTC)

See Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2011-11-07/Discussion report, for the future please check before asking =|. ResMar 01:44, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
Right, which I mention in my comment. My question is should there also be a short notice somewhere else, for instance in the news and notes, focused on the fact that the nomination period opens the 12th. Monty845 01:47, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
No I think one dedicated article is enough...ResMar 01:54, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
It's going to have "ArbCom Elections" in its name, and the schedule is as prominent as is possible, being in the sidebox like that. I tried to make it as clear as possible. And before you ask, no, I won't bold it. I don't use bold when I write for the Signpost. Sven Manguard Wha? 07:48, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

Discussion Report

As was mentioned in the first post-hiatus report last week, the discussion report is going to be bi-weekly. I'm utterly drained right now, so I instead of doing three weeks in a row, I'm pushing the next one to the 21st. Sven Manguard Wha? 10:50, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

It's fine I think. ResMar 02:37, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

Tenative style guide

I've transferred it over to its own subpage. Should prove useful: imo, "Notes for contributors" should generally only be for after-publishing editor comments (this page is better for discussions etc.) Thoughts, guys? ResMar 01:59, 12 November 2011 (UTC)

Very good! Needs time and input. I can do some after Wednesday, passing important things by journalists here for the OK, I guess. Just one thing: would it not be better to include guidelines that are not strictly style in the MoS linguistic sense, and "style", in the one document? For example, there's useful advice about writing book reviews somewhere in the SP's pages, I seem to remember. A kind of one-stop shop? Tony (talk) 05:59, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
That is what I intended, I just don't know what to call it. Perhaps "Tips"? ResMar 14:34, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
Guidelines for journalists? Guidelines for writers/contributors? Tony (talk) 14:56, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
Why not merge it with Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/Newsroom/Resources? — Pretzels Hii! 16:44, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
We could I suppose, but Resources is already quite long. @Tony I think a single-word title would be better. ResMar 18:54, 12 November 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia languages

The Signpost can publicize the research mentioned here.
Wavelength (talk) 05:08, 12 November 2011 (UTC)

Already skelaton'd for ITN, Suggestions should go on the Suggestions page =) ResMar 05:25, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
Thank you for that link. What does “skelaton’d” mean?
Wavelength (talk) 16:40, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
It's linked to with all the proper sources, but no one's written anything yet. ResMar 18:51, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
Thank you for that explanation. Maybe you meant to spell skeletoned.
Wavelength (talk) 19:29, 12 November 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── This covers only English Wikipedia as is stated on the map when you click on: 1 It would be more interesting to see a map of all Wikipedia languages. Naturally people are more likely to contribute in their own native language. SpeakFree (talk)(contribs) 19:46, 12 November 2011 (UTC)

The article (The world of Wikipedia's languages mapped | News | has maps for English, French, Arabic, Egyptian Arabic, Persian, and Swahili.
Wavelength (talk) 21:51, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
The Arabic one is amazing because if you look at the southern United States, you can actually see the state boundries. Georgia is all yellow, but surrounding it Florida, Alabama, and South Carolina, are all almost completely black. The border between the US and Mexico, the US and Canada, and Spain and Portugal also just pop with contrast. 很有意思. Sven Manguard Wha? 15:23, 13 November 2011 (UTC)

Removing other people from Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/Tools/Spamlist

I've noticed that occasionally, people will remove blocked users from this list. Just because someone is blocked, does not mean they might not want to have the Signpost posted on their talk page. I imagine there are many people who choose not to edit at all, but choose to get the Signpost spam; I think we should treat blocked editors, indef'd or not, the same way. Getting the Signpost at their talk page is not an act of editing, it is an act of reading, from which they have not been blocked. Removing it does not protect the encyclopedia. I'd like to ask if there is a consensus that we don't remove blocked editors from the spamlist unless they ask. --Floquenbeam (talk) 23:43, 14 November 2011 (UTC)

Editors edit Wikipedia because, well, editing it interests them. If they're blocked indefinitely (unable to edit), then their interest in Wikipedia goes away, and, most likely, they won't be back. If they don't come back, they won't read the Signpost messages on their talk pages. Exceptions should be made regarding temporarily blocked editors, but, in my opinion, after being indefinitely blocked, editors won't be interested in any aspects of Wikipedia, including the Signpost. There really is no harm in leaving their names there, however (the only thing I can think of is their talk pages becoming backlogged, and that's not too much of a problem), so I think the judgment call should be made by the editor who thinks about removing the names of blocked editors. The UtahraptorTalk/Contribs 01:22, 15 November 2011 (UTC)

Community voices

Alright Signpost team (and anyone else watching this page), I need gather some ideas.

A few weeks ago I proposed to Skomorokh, over IRC, the idea of "Community Voices". Essentially, instead of running one 1,000 word opinion, we run several opinions that are in the 150-450 word range, all on the same topic. The Signpost would pose a question, and then (hopefully) a half dozen or more responses will come in. From those, the executive editors and I will choose the best responses available and run them, and the question, all at once.

This will (again, hopefully) a) allow for one week to contain multiple conflicting views (great for discussion), and b) get people that otherwise might not write opinion pieces to... well... write opinion pieces.

Here's the snag. I need questions, and for the first few rounds, I need really, really good questions. They need to be a) something that not everyone agrees on, b) something that's relatively easy to write about, and c) something that has the potential to generate responses that will be interesting to read.

Any ideas? Sven Manguard Wha? 09:22, 19 November 2011 (UTC)

This sounds like mixing RfC and the WikiProject Report. This could be interesting. Should the questions be specific to Wikipedia or more philosophical in nature? Will there be one question a week or more of an interview/dialogue about a specific topic? -Mabeenot (talk) 19:39, 19 November 2011 (UTC)
How will bloat be avoided? What if these turn into RfCs? What if 15 editors turn up to offer their bit. This seems likely to spin out of journalistic control. The Signpost needs to be reader-oriented, and this looks as though it will be speaker-oriented. After a certain length and complexity, readers will just turn off. The advantage of the single author is that it's by proposal and acceptance, and is controlled as a piece by that single author (who knows they won't look good if it's bloaty or rambling). Do you think the idea could be modified? Why not ask two editors to write counter-views? This is occasionally done in the real-world press. I can't help thinking that The Signpost needs to keep control of the process, for the sake of reader interest. We have to be attractive to the readers—a competitive motivation greater than in other parts of WP, I think. Tony (talk) 11:22, 20 November 2011 (UTC)
I think that having two writers write opposing viewpoints is an excellent idea. My only concern with that, however, is that we'd have to get two editors to agree to do it, on the same subject, at the same time (if you know of any, please send them my way). The problem that the opinion desk has been facing is that while lots of people have opinions, apparently not many people want to compose those opinions for the Signpost.
As to how we'd make sure that the original idea stayed within our control, firstly I'd be shocked to receive more than a half dozen responses, and second, I never intended to run more than three or four responses per question, no matter how many came in, and I was going to make that very clear when this was announced. I can see the potential for this to become a problem, but at the same time, several editors responded to my own, single author piece, with postings that were longer than what I'd be asking for in the Community discussion, and I wouldn't say that discussion got out of control. Sven Manguard Wha? 14:14, 20 November 2011 (UTC)

Volume of submissions has not been a problem thus far, to say the least; we will deal with that if and when it comes, by editing mercilessly - with the interests of the reader chiefly in mind - for brevity, the choicest pieces, or for repacking into a series. Our main concern is soliciting quality submissions; we need to be more aggressive and creative on this front lest this section lapse back into hiatus. I have some topical ideas I'll expand upon when I get the chance. Skomorokh 17:25, 20 November 2011 (UTC)

To fight bloat, why don't we just put a limit on the length of submissions? Twitter only gives people 140 characters to express themselves. Why don't we say the limit is about 400 to 600 characters? Or X number of words? -Mabeenot (talk) 19:25, 20 November 2011 (UTC)
What themes/questions are you thinking of if two (possibly three) invited editors have their say for each (please, with a word limit)? I think it would be worth a try. Best journalism would come from diametrically opposed opinions, of course. :-)
We're so used to reading chaotic RfCs, it would be refreshing to see pretty structured arguments. And I guess the deal would be that they'd see each other's argument and be able to edit their own in the light of the other(s) before publication? Tony (talk) 13:45, 21 November 2011 (UTC)
Amen to all that. "Is the core community strangling its own growth?"/"Are we sending the wrong messages to new contributors?"/"Is the focus on quality killing Wikipedia?" are some which spring to mind in light of this week's developments. Skomorokh 13:51, 21 November 2011 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Yes, I was thinking that the word limit that I mentioned above (150-450 words) was going to be enforced (I wouldn't ask for a cut with 453 words, but 465 would be pushing it). I could see three opinions at 450 max or two opinions at 650 max working out well. As for being able to see each other's submissions or not, I suppose that works when there are two opposing opinions, they would each submit their drafts on a Thursday, see each others work, and have until Saturday night to tweak their own pieces, or something like that prevents things from dragging on. I'd be less inclined to let people see each others' work when we're picking three submissions out of a pool of six or eight, because that would create a mess, methinks. Sven Manguard Wha? 13:55, 21 November 2011 (UTC)
And more controversial, something about the sexual content issue (could invite Commons editors)? And there's always the possibility of inviting contributions from non-en.WP editors. Not sure it's ideal to ask for lots of comments and reject some (bruised egos, might demotivate in subsequent editions). I had in mind narrow invitation, with anyone free to comment on the discussion page after publication, of course. But Sven, it's your idea: where do you want to take this?" Tony (talk) 14:00, 21 November 2011 (UTC)
Re the bruised ego problem, another solution is to have an "extended edition" that just lists everyone's unedited opinions. This might also be of interest to the subset of readers who are particularly interested in the issue. Dcoetzee 17:42, 23 November 2011 (UTC)
We'll start with the invites, and if enough people say yes, we'll stay with the invites. If not enough people say yes, we'll double back and work out all the kinks in the original proposal and try that.
For the invites, I'm thinking two vertical columns side by side, yes/pro/positive on the left, no/con/negative on the left, each with a level three header subtitle and (table of contents suppressed), 500-650 words each (maybe something else, we can iron out the numbers). I'd start it off by looking for people that have posted comments on the talk pages of previous opinion pieces, they might be more likely to say yes, and of course invites would be tailored towards the questions.
We'll select questions after we iron out all the function details. I was thinking of a few questions myself, but I'm an file worker, so they're about files. We shouldn't start with those. Sven Manguard Wha? 14:15, 21 November 2011 (UTC)
When I helped instigate the Opinion Desk I was very much for running opposing viewpoints together (or at least trying the format and then abandoning it if it doesn't work in practice); it is solely a function of the number of submissions that that was never achieved. I also considered including a poll in each issue, the results of which would be presented in the next issue, but never got round to it. - Jarry1250 [Weasel? Discuss.] 21:09, 21 November 2011 (UTC)
Brilliant idea. ResMar 18:40, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
I love this idea. Getting a series of viewpoints on a Wikipedia-relevant issue, each thoughtfully composed and edited together by the Signpost team, would be a great way of informing the community in the traditional spirit of public debate. I'd volunteer to contribute short opinions myself on a variety of issues. As for finding topics, a natural place to start is the various Village Pump pages, especially Wikipedia:Village pump (policy) and Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals) and their archives, looking in particular for recurring ideas. You could also check out historical and current RfCs, and particularly long deletion debates, which tend to raise subtle issues about deletion. Dcoetzee 22:04, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
Oh, and could I suggest that it be clarified to contributors at the start that their text might be copy-edited, with the expectation that they'll be back to look over it and either accept or reject further modify the c-e? This is the explicit arrangement I make with people I interview at FC, and it seems to work very well; interviewees seem only too happy to have tweaks to their "directly" quoted text, and yes, they often come in and make minor modifications. 650 words is quite a lot; I'd go for 500 each, which is a thousand-word read for our audience; but it's up to Sven. Tony (talk) 12:10, 23 November 2011 (UTC)

Gardner interview

I've had a whole lot of suggestions for questions to ask Sue Gardner about the editor retention issue, so I've edited them and stuck them here if anyone cares to comment in the next couple of hours. Skomorokh 21:55, 2 December 2011 (UTC)

Hold publication this week for ArbCom results?

The stewards took only a few days last year. If it gets to Tuesday morning UTC, it might still be worth waiting. What do people think? Tony (talk) 02:32, 11 December 2011 (UTC)

I'll be in contact with the scrutineers in my capacity as election admin. Should such a scenario look likely I'm amenable to a holdover. Skomorokh 02:40, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
OK, I could prepare the bare bones of a separate page, with stats graphs to compare with previous years set up for completion. Or it could go at the top of NAN, where there will be less room for graphs. Tony (talk) 03:01, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
This close to publication our other story needs to be the priority. It shouldn't be difficult to throw something together on short notice on the basis of previous years' coverage if needs be. Skomorokh —Preceding undated comment added 16:22, 11 December 2011 (UTC).


Is it appropriate to have Jorgenev working on this project? He's currently block, and judging from this and this, Jorgenev wanted to be blocked. Jorgenev was also blocked for the same exact thing he did in November: removing deletion notices from his own articles. Should someone who disrupts Wikipedia in order to prove a point be a contributor to the Signpost? Should he really be leaving these sorts of messages and then believe that there's going to be open arms welcoming him when he comes back? A professional newspaper company would've probably fired him. The people running this newsletter shouldn't allow him to believe that he had gotten away with it cleanly. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 13:17, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

I personally fail to see the connection between problems with writing quality pieces for the Signpost and problems with conduct. If you could show how those two are related, more than 'he's bad', or show any evidence at all that his writing for the signpost fails any policies, then there might be something to discuss. As for this post itself, I fail to see why you couldn't wait two weeks to make it, giving Jorgenev the right to defend himself. Sven Manguard Wha? 13:44, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
I'm just saying that Jorgenev is willing to sacrifice time he could've spent working with him in order to play games with JamesBWatson. As Benjamin Franklin said, Time is money. The more Jorgenev attempts to prove his point, the less effort he can place here. Can Jorgenev be depended upon to get the job done, or will he place his games with JamesBWatson above the tasks you and the Signpost entrust him to do? Jorgenev still has access to his talk page. I've left him a message. Please check User_talk:Jorgenev#Signpost every once in a while. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 14:04, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
The last time this happened, Jorgenev attempted to use his work with the Signpost as leverage to become unblocked. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 14:10, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
Agree with Sven Manguard. Tony (talk) 14:57, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

Single-page edition out of date

Maybe it's a stale cache or something but the single-page edition is still showing last week's signpost. I can't make sense of all of the templates and code to even begin to troubleshoot this and fix it myself. ElKevbo (talk) 17:50, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

Looks fine from here, have you tried purging your cache and refreshing? Skomorokh 17:52, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
Looks fine now. Crisis (mysteriously) averted. :) ElKevbo (talk) 17:59, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

End-of-year discussion?

Colleagues, after we go flop with exhaustion on Tuesday/Wednesday, perhaps then would be a good time to ask you all for feedback on a proposal for a few changes for 2012. I have in mind a revamp of the page titles and of the format of the subs notices. I'll raise this next week, then? Tony (talk) 15:36, 17 December 2011 (UTC)

I like pretty much all of what we have now stylistically, Pretzels and co did a good job of making the post look sleek; this should wait until after the end-of-year bash, yeah. ResMar 19:35, 18 December 2011 (UTC)
Not the visual style, but the wording of the titles. Tony (talk) 03:09, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
Next week should be able to put together that super-duper-popper-scooper special we've been drafting for a while now, then we have to put together the end of year special, then we can start changing things for the new year =). ResMar 00:05, 20 December 2011 (UTC)

Next edition

Is it really going to come out on 26 December? Could bill this one as the Bumper issue, cancel next week's, and hit the tarmac with a new-year special, including a 2011 retrospective? Tony (talk) 03:09, 20 December 2011 (UTC)

I'm in favor of canceling the January 2 issue and pushing the December 26 back to December 31, with the understanding that it's coming out on the 31st, so everything better be bloody ready by the 31st. 26th or 31st, I'll be doing a end of the year DR, despite a severe lack of tips. Sven Manguard Wha? 05:22, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
Hmm, not a bad idea. I could help with the end of year report. ResMar 22:47, 20 December 2011 (UTC)

The Gardner interview

I've never been treated with such appalling disregard. Unanswered emails, unaswered queries in the newsroom. I don't put that much work into a piece to have it trashed.

Therefore, I'm publishing the interview on my talk page and advertising it widely. I will email Sue Gardner to let her know.

Skomorokh, do you want to be listed as co-author or not? Tony (talk) 04:34, 21 December 2011 (UTC)

Tony, there's a reason they are the editors. They're in that position to make these sorts of decisions. I do the same thing at the Bugle all the time. Skomorokh answered your queries fairly and with a good reason. It would not be fair to Sue to publish it on your talk page, of all places, rather than the community's newspaper. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 04:39, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
The Signpost is written by volunteer labour: UNPAID. I'm not going to waste my time writing something (in a hurry, by arrangement) that is then trashed. On the contrary, it would not be fair to the subject of the interview to bury it for some unknown time. And it's also not a service to Sue Gardner; it's a service to our readers. Tony (talk) 05:03, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
Yes, but the editors are there to delve up what goes where. It hasn't been trashed—he's planning on running it in seven days. And no, it's discourteous to your subject when you ask them to do a Signpost interview, only to publish it on your talk page. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 05:25, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
It is embarrassing, but I'm not going to be undermined by extraordinary failure to communicate. I was asked to write it, couldn't do so for last week's edition because of RL work-stress, and the arrangement was then that it be written for the current edition. I put myself out to do it—quite a massive job. I've received not so much as the basic courtesy of a response to my emails and my queries at the newsroom. Fine. Tony (talk) 05:29, 21 December 2011 (UTC)

The way I see it, the interview that you put so much work into could have been either:

1. Overshadowed by the SOPA story, which this issue of the Singpost was partially built around, which is what is on everyone's minds right now, and which really is the biggest story of the week irregardless of everything and anything else
2. Be the biggest story of the end of the year edition, which the end of the year edition would be partially built around, and which would make it the story of the week.

In terms of doing your work justice, he made the right call by bumping it to next week. I won't comment on the communication though, I've been largely absent from the Signpost's pages for a few days, so I can't make an informed comment there. Sven Manguard Wha? 05:35, 21 December 2011 (UTC)

(edit conflict) Have you looked again? There's a response there right now. Occasionally things have to change, Tony, and I don't see a reason why a seven-day difference (less, assuming it is published on-time next week) is such a problem. Also, tangent: please note that I have nothing against you personally by saying all this, I'm just trying to mediate the situation as best I can. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 05:36, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
On boxing day? Tony (talk) 05:39, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Missed that cultural reference entirely. Sven Manguard Wha? 05:46, 21 December 2011 (UTC) it might be read a day later, or they can postpone publication for one day? I feel like I'm missing something important here. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 05:44, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
First of all, you don't leave a story like that in the newsroom if it's going to be pulled. It remained there for four days, after I put it there in desperation wondering whether Skomorokh had left altogether. Tony (talk) 06:02, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
That's a good point, but given his reply now, I still don't think you should publish it on your talk page in protest. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 06:19, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Rather too late. I've advertised it on the VP and informed her. I suppose it should go in next week's edition, but will be a little stale by that time. Tony (talk) 06:29, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
  • For what it's worth, the Signpost isn't trying to sell copies, so you shouldn't worry about trying to spread-out important stories among several editions. If you have a lot of good stuff one week, so be it. Run it all. An interview should be run as quickly as possible after it is completed, because changing events can render parts of it out of context. Cla68 (talk) 07:08, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Why don't we just run a single "bumper issue" over the Christmas/New Year break, with the Gardener interview and commentary, instead of having a thin issue one next week? That way, readers have more time to read it at their leisure. --Ohconfucius ¡digame! 08:17, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
    • Alright, I'll take it off my talk page. I also didn't like to see that Skomorokh is ill at the moment. Tony (talk) 08:48, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
The issue is published, and if I recall, Tony, you took a liberal chop at my work in the in the past. As I learned at the time, it's better to take things as they come, and not trample around bitterly. Also, how did I miss this discussion...ResMar 00:04, 22 December 2011 (UTC)
I haven't a clue what you're talking about. How do the phrases in your post link together? Tony (talk) 04:34, 22 December 2011 (UTC)
The issue is published... too late to change anything.
liberal chop... "I've never been treated with such appalling disregard" - in my case the post was hacked up and published before I even had to opportunity to input on it, and I was quite appalled no one had bothered to ask me.
how did I miss this discussion not checking this page frequently enough... ResMar 04:45, 22 December 2011 (UTC)
I have good reason to feel dissatisfied at the way this has been handled, and you are continuing the bad faith. Tony (talk) 07:45, 22 December 2011 (UTC)

Images from the last redesign - keep or FfD?

There are a ton of images at Wikipedia talk:Wikipedia Signpost/Archive 1 that represent proposals from the last redesign. Is there any reason to keep them? I don't see any further use for them, and one was recently put up at FfD by someone else (prompting this discussion). Thoughts? Sven Manguard Wha? 08:43, 23 December 2011 (UTC)

Also a few images at Wikipedia talk:Wikipedia Signpost/Images and logos. Sven Manguard Wha? 08:45, 23 December 2011 (UTC)
It's not like they take up enough bandwidth to seriously hamper Wikipedia's performance, do they? ResMar 04:09, 24 December 2011 (UTC)

2011 round-up article?

Anyone volunteering to write one for the 2 January edition? Another possibility is a "three most important things that will be on the agenda in 2012", where one could email people like Jimmy, Sue Gardner, another few at the Foundation, and a few en.WP people, for their opinions. Tony (talk) 05:26, 24 December 2011 (UTC)

Consider me massively in favour of a traditional format roundup, in the style of 2010 and 2009. (I'm more than happy to contribute a round-up of the year's technological developments.) Above and beyond that, fine by me, but I want to make sure we - Jarry1250 [Weasel? Discuss.] 11:57, 24 December 2011 (UTC)
I like your idea Tony, but I also think we should direct this more towards Wikipedia editors. ResMar 22:47, 25 December 2011 (UTC)
Yes, well given the debacle about failing to publish the Gardner interview for the SECOND week in a row, and giving top billing this week to the op-ed that it was allegedly held off to complement, I believe the interview should be the main and first billing next week. Other features should now wait. I'm getting very sick of this game-playing. Tony (talk) 12:45, 28 December 2011 (UTC)
  • I did a write-up on featured content. Crisco 1492 (talk) 02:44, 1 January 2012 (UTC)

Broken header

On Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/Single, the header just before the first article shows:

The Signpost ← BACK TO CONTENTSVIEW LATEST ISSUEWikipedia Signpost/Archives/ </noinclude>

However, at, say, Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2011-12-26/Opinion essay, the header displays correctly. What is broken? Chris857 (talk) 04:19, 28 December 2011 (UTC)

Not sure as none of the headers are any different as far as I can tell. ResMar 14:18, 29 December 2011 (UTC)
There was a missing <noinclude> in the first article, fixed now — Pretzels Hii! 19:04, 29 December 2011 (UTC)
The very top is fixed, but there is still a broken header just above the arbitration section in the single page edition. Chris857 (talk) 19:13, 29 December 2011 (UTC)
Got it - well spotted. — Pretzels Hii! 19:20, 29 December 2011 (UTC)

Publicizing unreviewed research is bad form

In the current issue of the Signpost, you discuss a study of Wikipedians in the section labeled "Wikipedians are "smart but fun", and have expertise in topics they edit." As described in the Signpost, this study has not been peer reviewed, published, or presented; in other words, it has not been formally vetted by researchers other than the publishers. I strenuously object to this practice of publicizing research that has not been vetted. It's irresponsible. ElKevbo (talk) 09:40, 28 December 2011 (UTC)

I've brought this to the first author's attention. Tony (talk) 12:35, 28 December 2011 (UTC)
We discussed this before publication and made a conscious decision to include it.
As indicated by the titles ("recent research"/Wikimedia Research Newsletter), the main purpose of this research report is to update the Wikipedia and Wikipedia research communities about what is currently going on in this field. It's not mainly for vetting and publishing original research, in which case I would understand your objection better. I would agree that one might want to avoid citing this preprint in a research paper, i.e. building new research on its results; but I see no harm - in fact, even possible benefits - in facilitating discussing about these results and spread the news about their novel methodology while they are undergoing review, instead of waiting for publication in a journal, which may take many months. I guess that the first author had similar motivations for publishing this preprint on the World Wide Web (have you contacted him as well with your concerns?).
And I don't know how long you have been following this research reports, but in the eight issues so far we have been covering self-published and unreviewed research regularly, without objections. In this very issue, the section right above the one you are objecting to covers a blog post (i.e. self-published research), and another one a student's thesis which has only just been submitted and in any case not been published in a peer-reviewed journal yet. As long as the reader is not misled about the status of a covered publication, and we have otherwise good reason to include it, I don't see a problem with that.
Regards, Tbayer (WMF) (talk) 15:48, 28 December 2011 (UTC)
Er... if this was medical research I might consider the word "irresponsible" well used. For this type of thing, which is widely pre-printed and circulated before publishing, and which has little implication if it's later amended in publication, I see little point in being overly circumspect. Keep the news fresh I say! Rich Farmbrough, 15:55, 28 December 2011 (UTC).

NARA on-wiki ExtravaSCANza participation

Hey guys, could you mention something about the National Archives ExtravaSCANza in your next issue, and possibly something about User:The ed17/NARA, where I am trying to organize an on-wiki group of people who will help categorize the images, add them to articles, restore them -- anything that can help make the project a success in NARA's eyes so these sorts of collaborations will continue to yield high-quality media for the encyclopedia? Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 10:07, 31 December 2011 (UTC)

" other news, Wikimedian ed17 visited the ExtravaSCANza page, saw battleships, pooped pants." yak yak yak ResMar 14:18, 31 December 2011 (UTC)


I've begun a discussion on a potential use of WP Signpost. Plase see Wikipedia:Village pump (idea lab)#New user integration. ClaretAsh 04:12, 2 January 2012 (UTC)

Discussion involving us

See Wikipedia_talk:Featured_article_candidates#Add_nominations_to_the_Signpost. ResMar 03:55, 7 January 2012 (UTC)

Dropping off primary list for DR and OPDESK

I believe that I mentioned this earlier, I forget, but I no longer have time to prepare the Discussion report. A few days ago I removed myself from the responsibility list for both the DR and the Opinion desk, as I don't feel it fair for me to retain that position without doing anything else at the SP. This has nothing to do with anything anyone has said/done or not said/done, it's a time issue, and with the DR taking a dozen hours minimum, time is very much an issue.

I'll still be on Wikipedia, as most tasks I do now can be done in 30 minute clumps, which are easier to find in my schedule than 4 hour clumps are, so I can and will be willing to jump in and help if the primaries for any of the other sections need help (I'd prefer not to touch ITN though). Just drop me a talk page message if I'm needed.

I'm not sure how I forgot to make this announcement a few days ago, sorry if it's timing causes issues. Keep up the good work, Sven Manguard Wha? 18:24, 11 January 2012 (UTC)

Guess the section is going to fade away again...ResMar 02:26, 12 January 2012 (UTC)


I'd like to suggest that the Signpost show a barnstar each week with its description, in the Featured Content section, in order to encourage editors to hand out barnstars frequently. My understanding is that receiving recognition has a positive effect on editor retention. Pinetalk 05:49, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

A laudable thought, but the reward culture, especially surrounding featured content, is controversial enough that I would be reticent to pursue this without properly weighing the advantages first. Skomorokh 01:43, 28 February 2012 (UTC)

Double padlock icon

Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost has two semiprotection padlock icons in the upper-right corner. One comes from the {{pp-semi-indef}} tag in the first line of this page. The other ultimately comes from {{pp-semi-indef}} in Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2012-01-16, which is hauled into the main page by {{Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/{{Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/Issue|1}}|2}}}}. I suspect that the Signpost/2012-01-16's tag should be protected by <noinclude>, just like the main-page's tag is, because I assume the protection is not cascading into whatever transcludes the actual-issue page. I don't know all the details of the transclusion spaghettis involved, so I figured I'd ask here before making a mess of a highly visible page. DMacks (talk) 06:08, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

Thanks, PrimeHunter! DMacks (talk) 19:45, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/Single broken header

Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/Single has a second (broken) header, which includes a "noinclude" tag showing in the text. Rd232 talk 10:29, 26 January 2012 (UTC)

  • Fixed - error on the article page --— Pretzels Hii! 11:58, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
Thanks! --SMasters (talk) 17:12, 26 January 2012 (UTC)


He's anxious to return to en.WP, but my guess is he'll be taking it slowly while his health recovers. SMasters, are you right to scrutinise and publish this week too? Tony (talk) 08:16, 29 January 2012 (UTC)

His wits are certainly about him now, methinks. ResMar 02:58, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

Good articles

I think it would be great if the featured content report could also list articles that were promoted to Good article in the past week. It would be great to get an overview on that on a regular basis. Jon Harald Søby (talk) 03:28, 31 January 2012 (UTC)

This has come up a few times over the past few years. The writers of FC do have quite a lot on their hands just with featured content, and the title of the page does point to its scope. I personally favour keeping it thus, but you may wish to take it up with Sko and SMasters, the managing editors, not to mention the regular writer Crisco, plus Mathew Townsend, who may be available to contribute to the page. Tony (talk) 14:15, 1 February 2012 (UTC)
Hello Jon Harald, and thanks for your interesting suggestion. A few thoughts spring to mind:
  • First and foremost, Signpost content is resource-dependent; unless there is someone willing to cover a given beat, it's not going to happen.
  • As Tony says, the task of assembling the FC report is taxing as things stand.
  • Given the volume of writing that would be involved, a roundup of Good articles could overwhelm the FC report, risking reader fatigue. It's already quite long, and GA moves greater numbers of articles than many of the other processes combined. I would personally be very interested in reading such a roundup, though I wonder if it would be better suited to publication elsewhere for this reason.
If there are writers willing to do the heavy lifting I'm certainly open to discussing the idea further though. Skomorokh 18:15, 1 February 2012 (UTC)
Maybe, instead of a complete round-up of all GA promotions, have one "GA of the Week" to highlight this important review process. It could be a way to cover it without overwhelming the already broad article. Lord Roem (talk) 18:25, 1 February 2012 (UTC)
FC isn't that taxing; I found that the one or two times I did it, it was certainly more intelligible then n&n. Nonetheless, something like 20 good articles are promoted each week, and that's far too large a volume for us to cover. This is a common problem, you are at least the fourth person in as many months to suggest additions and expansions to the Signpost. The fact of the matter is that we are already understaffed, and there simply isn't anyone willing to write out a committed section every week for the shitty pay around here. Actions are louder then words! If you want GAs in the reports, contribute them! ResMar 04:43, 2 February 2012 (UTC)
Could I suggest that a better way to go for GA would be the occasional special feature, on a stand-alone page, rounding up the past X months of new GA, giving stats, perhaps some quotables from a few reviewers and nominators, some highlights of what the journalist thinks are the best? Tony (talk) 12:58, 2 February 2012 (UTC) PS Your Lordship, I think the "best of the week" should feature on the main page in a DYK slot. Ahem ... Tony (talk) 12:59, 2 February 2012 (UTC)
I agree. :-) Lord Roem (talk) 13:32, 2 February 2012 (UTC)
  • If GA is willing to provide a summary of the number of promoted and demoted GAs on a weekly basis, it could go in as a note. I wouldn't give a serious write up to every new GA though (as noted, dozens of GAs can be promoted in a week), and highlighting a single GA is liable to be overly subjective... and a possible COI, as I have several articles (with another coming) waiting for review myself. As for a quarterly report, that would be manageable but would probably need to be a special feature. Crisco 1492 (talk) 00:55, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

Content page Headlines style

When I browsed signpost today where one of the headline is "The foundation visits Tunisia, analyses donors", I was confused for a moment thinking why Foundation is analysing donors from Tunisia. While going through the article, I realised that these two are separate. I already see the technical section using semicolon; to separate the ,major news. I suggest the same for all captions of sign post and using sentence case for each news item on the headline.--Arjunaraoc 23:48, 7 February 2012 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Arjunaraoc (talkcontribs)

Seems decently clear to me, although in retrospect the two parts of the title should have been reversed, to avoid ambiguity. ResMar 02:57, 8 February 2012 (UTC)


Are there any left in here? [1] SandyGeorgia (Talk) 23:41, 7 February 2012 (UTC)

I'll let the reporter responsible reply at the article, but what exactly do you find unscrupulous about the line in question? Having read the discussions in question, the notion that neither yourself nor the other named editor vocally suspected any arbitrators of impropriety seems a ... curious ... interpretation. Skomorokh 23:49, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
Or in other words, no. Ceoil (talk) 22:38, 12 February 2012 (UTC)
That's precisely the sort of vapid negativity we can well do without, thanks all the same. Skomorokh 01:43, 28 February 2012 (UTC)


Hurrah! Top marks for Wikipedia! --Ohconfucius ¡digame! 03:59, 15 February 2012 (UTC)

Hurrah indeed! Coming to a news report near you, any week now. Skomorokh 01:43, 28 February 2012 (UTC)

Featured article promoted four months ago but never mentioned in Signpost

If Day, a fascinating article about a simulated Nazi invasion of Winnipeg, is on the "On this day" section of the Main Page today. I checked its talk page out of curiosity, and discovered that it had become a featured article in October 2011. I thought that I would remember reading about such an unusual subject if it was featured in the Signpost, and as it turns out, it wasn't mentioned in the relevant week's article or indeed any Signpost article at all. Should anything be done about this now, like mentioning it in this weeks featured content section? Graham87 02:23, 19 February 2012 (UTC)

My fault. Tony (talk) 02:42, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
I suppose we can do an erratum; generally when this happens the editor contacts the writer and asks where their article is. ResMar 02:32, 23 February 2012 (UTC)

Such an omission is unfortunate, but the Featured content report is in my mind first and foremost a summary of the previous week's proceedings, and secondarily a back catalogue of promoted articles/lists/pictures. Skomorokh 01:43, 28 February 2012 (UTC)

Date correction

For the current edition of Signpost: Wikimania scholarships were due February 16, not January 16. --Another Believer (Talk) 22:45, 20 February 2012 (UTC)

Thank you for the note; it has been corrected. Best, Skomorokh 01:43, 28 February 2012 (UTC)

Publishing issue - ITN or special story?

I've held off publishing the Signpost until tomorrow (my time) to have people here examine the merits of moving the former ITN story to a special story (link). The argument is that it's a piece of investigative, in-depth journalism that isn't suited for the traditional ITN slot, but Tony thinks otherwise (cf. User talk:The ed17#Move). I don't have any sort of editor privileges, and I'm hesitant to put my name on an issue that I think isn't right, so I've brought it here. Thoughts? Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 03:45, 24 April 2012 (UTC)

Then it's proper that you revert your handiwork in the meantime, rather than seek to influence onlookers in allowing the demotion of the page to stand. Tony (talk) 04:17, 24 April 2012 (UTC)
What do you think about "Investigative report", Tony? - Jarry1250 [Deliberation needed] 08:49, 24 April 2012 (UTC)
I guess I should probably give some reasoning too. Three points (1) Stylistic. Said report looks nothing like the ITNs we've published in the time I've been writing for the Signpost (two years), as far as I can recall. (2) Reputational. Tony has implied elsewhere that he thinks ITN has a good reputation. This has never been my take on things. N&N and ITN have have a solid, boring reputation. Investigative journalism is just too much for them. Tony may have said in jest that non-controversial was one of the rules for ITN; in many senses reputationally it is. (3) Appearance. In the News gets second billing; given that we have so rarely had investigative journalism, I think it's right that gets the first billing afforded by the "Special story" tag. On this basis I would argue (and have counselled) that an insightful, non-demeaning special story name is chosen. I suggest "Investigative report" for that role. - Jarry1250 [Deliberation needed] 09:11, 24 April 2012 (UTC)
(e.c.) So little bits of this IRC dealing in the middle of the night (my night) are dribbling out. Apparently, Jarry, you consider it your domain to make on-the-spot pronouncements about what NAN and ITN should be. Apparently there's some deal you've done with Ed that has invested in him an authority to leap in and unilaterally change the status of an ITN piece, after it has been worked on for several days and finalised. It's disgusting that the authors weren't even consulted: I woke up, went to the computer, and before my eyes saw the piece demoted to op ed, and the title mushed into something bland. Over my dead body will that report go out under a different status. You should be ashamed of yourselves. The implications are extraordinary: ITN and NAN may no longer include analysis, or quote other people's opinions. They must be bland. That is a disservice to our readers. Stop making up policy on the go. Where is the consensus for the extraordinary decisions made. As for HaeB's role in this, he should keep his fingers out: he works full-time for the foundation and has signed a highly restrictive contract in terms of what he can say; that is a big part of why he resigned as Signpost managing editor. All I've got from him is an email calling me "childish". It may be difficult for him to come to terms with the fact that he is no longer managing editor; and nor are you, Jarry. And least of all is Ed, who didn't show up until very very late in the day, after journalists had slaved to get the edition ready in good time. The newsroom has been green for 18 hours waiting. It should have been published then, as was. I am walking out if people are allowed to indulge in kneejerk reactions to a few loud voices at the ITN talk page. They must be delighted at this turn of events. Tony (talk) 09:21, 24 April 2012 (UTC)
Tony, please try to understand. Firstly, Jan implied you had (or were going to be consulted) on a move. Secondly, your view that moving to a special story counts as "demotion" is not something I would share. N&N and ITN are the donkey work of the Signpost; all our best pieces have been special stories; consequently, they get higher billing than ITN, not lower. It's not a disservice to our readers, it's a different title on the same good report. Of course it's an irritation to have one's work changed, and I realised you ec'ed above, but there are reasons here. (And no, it's nothing to do with talk page complainers, who, I should point out, HaeB got angry with on your behalf.)
To repeat there key point: *moving the page is not a demotion*; at least, that's not how I or several other people who happened to be around at the time saw it. I think that's where the disagreement lies, of course, so I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on the topic. - Jarry1250 [Deliberation needed] 09:32, 24 April 2012 (UTC)
No I don't agree that it's not a demotion, and if you thought it should be an op ed, why didn't you say so at a time when I was able to respond, rather than behind my back when you knew I'd be asleep. Why wasn't I (not to mention the co-author Smallbones) consulted: an email or note on user talk page would have been the minimum courtesy, rather than launching in and performing these major changes unilaterally. HaeB has just called me "immature", to add to his list of insults. Tony (talk) 09:44, 24 April 2012 (UTC) Do what you want with it. The whole thing makes me sick. I'm taking a headache pill. Tony (talk) 09:49, 24 April 2012 (UTC)
Fair enough you don't agree it's a promotion, but I can assure you that's what I thought at the time, hence the lack of communication from my end (also a result of the fact that Jan make sounds to the effect he was handling that - probably me misinterpreting because it was late and I was tired). No, I did not "know" you were asleep, nor did I deliberately try to do anything behind your back, nor did I actually do anything but advise. I was merely giving my thoughts at the time I came to actually read ITN (I don't generally read the reports until very late on); I then relayed those thoughts to whoever was around at the time.
Evidently, you feel strongly about this, so I guess I'd support "just publishing" now, keeping it at ITN, in order to resolve the deadlock. Mine was only ever a moderate preference. - Jarry1250 [Deliberation needed] 09:59, 24 April 2012 (UTC)
It's very important that the edition be published. Can you get rid of that appalling title "PR report" and make it "Investigative report", then. I'm very unhappy at the goings on at the last minute. It's embarrassing, unjust, and administratively breaches fundamental notions of collaboration and efficiency. The Signpost can proceed without a managing editor for the time being, but not with that kind of last-minute disregard of authors (authors who DO do the donkey work for the edition, ahem). This has ruined my whole day. Tony (talk) 10:06, 24 April 2012 (UTC)
Tony, I have repeatedly said I don't have a strong opinion on the section title, and I didn't claim any authority in this process; the statement that I was trying to do so is baseless (see also here) and it doesn't make any sense to drag my job into this (of course after resigning as editor I still reserve the right to voice my opinion as longtime Signpost volunteer, which includes calling this childish, although I did so in private). Last week I had promised - above - to help Ed in the run-up to publication, and that's what I did, staying on IRC after Jan and Jarry went to bed until Ed came online. Personally, I think this whole sorry mess directly after Skomorokh left is a strong indicator that the Signpost continues to need designating someone each week who makes the final decision about publication. Regards, HaeB (talk) 10:16, 24 April 2012 (UTC)
You keep repeating the "childish" accusation: twice by email, and now on-wiki. Right. You know how to heal frayed relationships. Tony (talk) 10:21, 24 April 2012 (UTC)
You brought it on-wiki, not me - I would have preferred for it to stay private, I don't enjoy seeing the reputation of people tarnished whose dedication to the Signpost I respect a lot. Regards, HaeB (talk) 10:32, 24 April 2012 (UTC)
So you tarnish me in private and in public. Tony (talk) 10:36, 24 April 2012 (UTC)


Just to note that in line with Tony and Jan's comments, I've gone ahead and published this issue, using the title "Investigative report". On my head be it, I just wanted to get things out in reasonable time. - Jarry1250 [Deliberation needed] 10:26, 24 April 2012 (UTC)

Many thanks for your willingness to compromise in the section title matter and for jumping in to act as the editor for this issue; you have done the Signpost a great service. Regards, HaeB (talk) 10:32, 24 April 2012 (UTC)

Arbitration Statistics

Hey! I was wondering whether there would be interest in me doing an update on Arbitration statistics, following the format of this previous Signpost article I wrote? I would be glad to work on an article for the next issue :-)

Cheers, Lord Roem (talk) 02:32, 28 December 2011 (UTC)

What tool did you use to gather those stats? I'm having a bit of trouble doing it manually. Steven Zhang Join the DR army! 02:33, 28 December 2011 (UTC)
Steven, I just took an hour to go through the ArbCom records to manually count the cases and their duration. I believe they have (or had) a table with this...let me see if I can find what I used. Lord Roem (talk) 02:35, 28 December 2011 (UTC)
Nah, I meant like in my report (The pie chart). Steven Zhang Join the DR army! 02:38, 28 December 2011 (UTC)
I'm sorry, I'm not entirely sure what you're asking. Can you clarify please? Lord Roem (talk) 02:40, 28 December 2011 (UTC)
I figured you had found a tool or something to gather the stats for your graphs, instead of doing it manually. Steven Zhang Join the DR army! 02:41, 28 December 2011 (UTC)
I'm afraid not :-/ Lord Roem (talk) 02:43, 28 December 2011 (UTC)

Special report

I feel as though we should consider merging the different special sections into a single one: basically Dispatched and the stuff here into a one-pager. ResMar 02:23, 9 February 2012 (UTC)

Are you referring to the title under which we publish certain content, or the place it gets tracked/worked on? The article series are collections of different types of article on a related topic (i.e. the Books series included "News and notes", "Wikiproject report" and other columns. I'm not clear on what's being proposed here. Skomorokh 02:36, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
I mean that we lack a comprehensive setting for these articles. Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/Newsroom/Series lists some of our special reports and page strings, but I think we should have a page that explains what a special report is, how it is judged for publication, and lists all of the previous special reports. It would be nice if we could internalize FCDW as well. I'll draft something. ResMar 15:51, 11 February 2012 (UTC)
The way I see it "Special report" has hitherto just been a term of art used to slap on something too long and focused to fit in a standard report and not pointed enough to be called an opinion piece. Adding Dispatches would muddy the waters substantially though, as it bears little resemblance to the fundraising/IEP/patroller reports [which had timeliness, novelty and controversy in common]. We could establish a set of guidelines for "Special reports" to develop into a defined feature, based on these last few, if Signpostians felt that would be helpful though. What say ye? Skomorokh 01:43, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
Anything that fixes the current jumbled mess. ResMar 03:04, 2 March 2012 (UTC)

Proposal for article

Hi all, I am basically wikipedian from Czech Wikipedia. We held there really successful WikiProject about Protected areas (national parks, nature reserves and so) and we would like to write article to the Signpost to let know about us in other communities. However, I am not sure, if Singpost is accepting articles about non-en-wiki topics. My question is, is it? :) If yes, we will be glad prepare some info about our project. Thanks for answer. Regards --Chmee2 (talk) 19:10, 3 January 2012 (UTC)

We do from time to time feature other projects under a section called "Sister Projects". The focus is usually on an entire project and not so much on a smaller WikiProject. However, do tell us more about what you mean by "We held ... really successful". What was held? Why was is successful? If this is something that could help or be of interest to other WikiProjects, we may consider running your story. --SMasters (talk) 00:41, 4 January 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for answer. First of all, I have to say that I made a mistake in English. We are still holding, not held :) Sorry for this. However, of course there will be different standards between English/German Wikipedia and smaller projects as Czech Wikipedia for to say "really successful" project. But I think that we can be huge inspiration for smaller Wikies where community is not so wide and numerous. Also, we can offer to everybody insight how to run wiki-project and generate a lot of results. Firstly, let me introduce some of our greatest success.
  1. We have prepared, submitted and succeeded with the grant application to local chapter. This grant provides financial cover of expenses for photographers which are traveling trough the Czech republic and photographing protected areas for Wikimedia Commons and all wiki-projects. Actually we got more than 1,200+ images and 70 localities.
  2. We started cooperation with Institute for Environmental Studies at the Charles University in Prague, Czech Rep. During the class students are writing articles about protected areas and photographing these localities. This cooperation is generating really high-standart quality articles Zábělá, or Křížová cesta from the Czech Republic and even from Finland! We are able share our experience from this cooperation and say to the wiki-community that this is one of the way, how small projects can improve the content and reach new editors.
  3. We realized that what we really need are new editors to our community. However it is hard to reach them. For this reason, we are running fan page on Facebook (267 fans) which we are feeding with news and interests from protected areas and giving them information about our project. For many people is surprise but this activity work and it is generating new editors. If the fans on Facebook see, that we are working on it, they often help us, give us new images or just give as advice what to do better. This is really good and important lesson which is helpful for all projects. Outside public relation is the most important and social network are giving us opportunity to speak with our readers and join them to our community.
  4. We prepared other outreach activity as talk on conferences, published article in Czech nature magazine, we are preparing now promotional flyer and we made a small game for children with story about our project. Czech version of this game was printed in A3 format and now is distributed in the Czech Republic for everybody free of charge. We believe that this is also good way how to reach new possibly editors. English version is freely download-able for everybody from Commons...
Of course, we also wrote a number of articles and made huge number of images, but these above are the most highlights from our activity. You can see, that there is many parts, which might be interesting share with others, especially with smaller wikies which need new editors. We are showing the way, how is possible to reach them :) If you will be interest, we will be glad prepare article about all these activities with some advice what to do and how. Best regards --Chmee2 (talk) 20:12, 4 January 2012 (UTC)
OK, it sounds like there is a potential story here. The last Sister Projects article we did was on Wiki Loves Monuments. It was done as an interview, but the article does not need to be in this style. If you would like to do a draft somewhere, I can help you develop the story. Cheers and thanks for your suggestion. --SMasters (talk) 23:42, 4 January 2012 (UTC)
Great! We will prepare some draft of the article soon and then submit for your reviews and corrections. Regards --Chmee2 (talk) 09:07, 5 January 2012 (UTC)

Hi. Finally, we completed our draft, it is available on Czech Wikipedia page, see link. Feel free correct, comment or modify. We would be happy if somebody will be able "polish" our Czech-English and make the story more readable for native speakers. Also, your opinion about the text is welcome. If you will like it, we will be glad to publish in Singpost. If not, please let us know, what is wrong and we (or you) will try to make better. Thanks for your time and looking forward to your reply. Best regards --Chmee2 (talk) 10:24, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

You should start a new thread; things this high up tend to get buried. I've bumped Sko, our managing editor. ResMar 02:36, 23 February 2012 (UTC)
Thanks! I will keep this information for the next time :) ! --Chmee2 (talk) 07:12, 23 February 2012 (UTC)

Hello Chmee2, sorry that this proposal got lost a little. I'll notify the editor of our Wikiproject Desk, and we can see what to make of this feature and whether it is a good fit for the Signpost. Regards, Skomorokh 01:43, 28 February 2012 (UTC)

This is an exciting WikiProject and one that definitely deserves a place in the Signpost's WikiProject Report. Most of the English projects I've interviewed are cruising along on autopilot, just accumulating members and articles with an occasional discussion on the talk page. In contrast, your project has incorporated social media, started classroom projects, created and distributed a game, reached out to environmental groups, and a movie is in the works. I feel the English Wikipedia's projects could learn a lot from their Czech counterparts. If possible, I'd like to add some follow-up interview questions with you and anyone else you'd like to invite from the project. I fit the article into the WikiProject Report's schedule for March 19. Is there a newspaper like the Signpost on the Czech Wikipedia that could also carry this article? -Mabeenot (talk) 17:42, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
Hi. I am happy to see, that you like our topic! Feel free to add questions to Czech page or modify the page there. I (or other authors as well, I will try attract some of them to join us) will answer soon. If you don't mind, will be more better for us prepare the article on Czech wiki-pages, because our Czech participants will see changes and maybe join us in the interview.
We do not have something similar as Singpost in Czech Wikipedia (we are too small), but Czech version of the text was already published on Wikimedia Czech Republic blog. However, we can try address this story for some Czech real newspapers. They might be interested :) --Chmee2 (talk) 10:47, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
I posted some interview questions at the bottom of cs:Wikipedie:WikiProjekt Chráněná území/Signpost. Please add your response below each question and feel free to skip any questions that you don't feel comfortable answering. If you would like other members of your project to answer the questions too, please invite them and feel free to translate the questions into Czech if needed. Thanks! -Mabeenot (talk) 22:03, 3 March 2012 (UTC)

Broken RSS feed links

I reported this informally off-wiki (IRC, personal communication) on a few occasions, the Signpost RSS feed links are broken since October. Here's what they look like:

Can you please fix them? Thanks! --DarTar (talk) 05:07, 10 January 2012 (UTC)

Tisk, I know not how. ResMar 16:00, 14 January 2012 (UTC)
Note that this week's edition is completely broken (empty) [2]. Regards, HaeB (talk) 17:53, 1 April 2012 (UTC)
Looks like they are fixed now. Thanks to whoever did that! Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 18:26, 19 April 2012 (UTC)


Moved from the newsroom discussion of a proposed interview by HaeB of foundation trustees on movement roles. Skomorokh 02:04, 28 February 2012 (UTC)

Point of order: (1) Will HaeB be conducting the interview(s) if he is actually a WMF employee? (2) I fundamentally disagree with the public framing of questions and the emailed interview technique. I'll discuss this at the talk page if anyone wants to talk about it. Tony (talk) 05:51, 17 February 2012 (UTC)

Just to clarify, the interview was proposed by board members Sj and Bishakha who approached me about it. While I was Signpost editor, I tried several times to get someone to cover the movement roles debates more thoroughly (because it seemed to me that the topic's long-term importance was not matched by the attention it got from the non-chapter/non-WMF editing community). As representative of the movement roles working group, Sj was very supportive of the idea - the questions he posted here in April 2011 were mostly based on questions I had sent him, and spent quite some time preparing such coverage (his June 2011 blog posts, noted here, were written in that context). So I see this as natural continuation of the work I started back then. As Skomorokh mentioned, I would prefer not to conduct the interview all by myself, but to integrate questions from other community members, although nobody has contributed any since his remark - perhaps we will get more in case the interview is postponed to the Feb 27 issue. Tony brings up a legimitate point (although I am a contractor, not employee); however I will be doing this as a volunteer, and of course any conflicts of interests should be clearly noted as usual. (I'd like to remark that much of the "furore" story in the current issue was written by someone with close ties to one chapter, at least two of whose former or present representatives were quoted in the story.) As for the process, Sj has suggested to develop the draft on-wiki and I tend to agree. I'm not sure if I understand the objection (2) - would you prefer a non-public process? Regards, HaeB (talk) 23:58, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
HaeB and everyone, the only reason the Gardner interview wasn't a boring same-old endless question–answer alternation was that I spent a lot of time unmessing it and crafting it into a more engaging, journalistic register (Sko was not well at the time). I know it's been the norm on The Signpost to conduct extended interviews by email, but it doesn't work well for anything more than the selection of short quotations from various people in a larger piece, such as I did last week for the fundraising story. The essence of the interview in print is the ability of the reader to feel they're witnessing a real conversation between two people. This was traditionally done in person, where the journalist scribbled notes furiously while maintaining eye contact with the subject; but over the past few decades, phone interviews have become the accepted way to write to deadline interview-based stories that involve a physically distant subject. The emergence of VoIP (e.g. Skype) has made audio contact free or almost free: it is a quintessentially Internet facility, and we are a quintessentially Internet newspaper.

Presenting a subject with a heap of prefabricated written questions has two fundamental flaws. First, it robs the interview of any kind of personal spontaneity, which shows through in the written product even when you labour to make it seem like a real conversation; follow-up questions are difficult and there's no real interaction of personalities ... yet these are the fundamentals of good, interesting interviews that WPians will really enjoy reading, and that will deliver the kind of news we owe them. Second, to do justice to balanced coverage our interviews should not descend into press-release mode, where the respondent carefully prepares answers in essay-like fashion. And it's particularly difficult to interview more than one person via the disembodied question–answer email model. The notion of developing questions in public on-wiki forums further damages any hope of the professional-standard interview. The resulting disorganised bloat gives the journalists responsible a hell of a task in chopping, cutting, rewording, rationalising, and not least in trying to achieve a smooth, logical thematic flow.

Please consider (i) single-subject interviews, or if two subjects, not asking them the same stock questions; (ii) binning the questioning-by-crowd method; and (iii) if at all possible, arranging a one-to-one Skype interview. Phone interviews are not easy for the journalist, and oh boy they require good research and preparation. But I put it to you all that we need to make more use of them if The Signpost is to evolve with the times. Tony (talk) 12:51, 20 February 2012 (UTC)

given the sound arguments presented: can't we get it done at the berlin conference? that would take care of the methodological points made & would be lovely timing. the movement working group is scheduled to meet on march 29 in berlin anyway and we could push it out in the first april issue, regards --Jan eissfeldt (talk) 21:29, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
I concur that spontaneity has advantages, but it also has disadvantages. An element of surprise may help in a personal interview where one tries to get the interviewee to reveal interesting aspects about themselves, but this particular interview is rather about having knowledgeable individuals explain a complicated general topic. About the second point, I disagree: One is interviewing proponents of particular positions in these debates, and while they promised to make efforts to incorporate their opponents' views into their answers as well (as we are used to do as Wikipedians familiar with NPOV), this is much easier for them if they have a bit of time to look this up or maybe even quickly check with their fellow board members if needed. Again, spontaneity may be good to reveal unfiltered person opinion (and stimulate debate), but the mailing lists are full of these, and I was rather aiming at something helping normal editors understand the whole movement roles issue and its importance.
E-mail interviews, for example, are an established journalist technique by now. The weekly WikiProject report (based on wiki interviews) has been a successful Signpost section for years, even though it sometimes requires editing work. And by the way, for myself as WMF contractor (as for anyone intensively involved with chapters of course), it is easier to avoid COI issues if the whole process from posing the questions over editing to publication is transparent.
Since the above discussion, the movement roles debate has progressed, of course (and indeed one challenge for a well-prepared interview was keeping up with the changes on Meta). I hear yesterday resolutions were passed on the topic which makes this a good point in time for this interview topic - I was expecting them to be published by now, but it seems one will need to wait for a few more hours for that.
Regards, HaeB (talk) 06:26, 1 April 2012 (UTC)
I don't find the counterarguments convincing. I hope the audio interviews I've lined up aren't going to cross over with this. Tony (talk) 07:45, 1 April 2012 (UTC)
I understand your work is mainly focusing on Friday's resolutions, i.e. fundraising, and on the conference itself, while this is mainly about movement roles, i.e. the general background to yesterday's resolutions (which it seems are being published right now - at least Phoebe said she is about to put them out and the list of resolutions has come online since I wrote the above, if not yet their full text). But I'm happy to coordinate, I'm available on IRC most of the time (or do you prefer email? ). As I indicated above, I find that a collaborative approach has many advantages, in particular if it is a controversial topic where it is important to keep one's own possible biases in check. And if you know of any convincing counter-counterarguments, I am prepared to listen to them as well :)
Regards, HaeB (talk) 10:55, 1 April 2012 (UTC)
Emailed. Tony (talk) 11:48, 1 April 2012 (UTC)
For others who may have been reading along here: The topics are sorted out now, and anyone who would still like to add questions for the movement roles is very welcome to do so at Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/Newsroom/Interviews desk/MR until further notice. Regards, HaeB (talk) 18:19, 1 April 2012 (UTC)

Spelling Patricio Lorente's name

Hi, just noticed that Patricio Lorente is misspelled "Lorenta" in the board seats section (in the caption). Should I go ahead and make a change? Didn't want to be presumptuous and just do it on my own. Thanks! Matthew (WMF) 22:15, 5 March 2012 (UTC)

It's perfectly fine to make uncontroversial changes to fix misprints, typographical errors and the like. We've fixed this particular one in the published version I believe, so thanks Matthew. Skomorokh 06:38, 23 March 2012 (UTC)


Special desk

We've been talking about how we need one, so let's formalize it here. ResMar 00:27, 11 March 2012 (UTC)

Newsroom conversation

I really don't like storing special reports in progress on this page; we should create a special report desk and work out a submissions process, like with the opdesk. I said I'll work on it before; perhaps soon. ResMar 17:24, 10 March 2012 (UTC)

I've set up something here. ResMar 17:53, 10 March 2012 (UTC)
Ack, appreciate the initiative but I was going to suggest more consolidation rather than dispersal to low-traffic pages! One way or another though a complete restructuring of Signpost internal architecture and an overhaul of our guidance/submission system is definitely needed. Matter for the talkpage once this issue is in the can. Skomorokh 17:44, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
The problem with consolidation is that this current system of denoting everything here is very...cluttered. I don't see how we shouldn't have a separate desk for all the non-standard sections, as we do so with op eds, interviews, and book reviews. At the very worst the page could serve as a guideline. ResMar 01:40, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
The problem is that I can't ever find anything. Pages are so scattered, I only come across them accidently. Could there be a TOC or something to help those as disabled as I am? MathewTownsend (talk) 00:28, 16 March 2012 (UTC)

I concur with Mathew that navigation is an issue; we have built up an edifice over the years without rhyme or reason that taken as a whole is neither intuitive or efficient. I propose overhauling the Signpost's page architecture so that it is much easier to find and navigate between guidelines, resources, collaboration areas and templates. This would incorporate splitting or consolidating existing pages as required; the newsroom, the various desks, and the guides for writers are in particular need of attention. I'd invite suggestions as to what criteria we ought to be keeping in mind for when a function requires its own page vs. when it is best incorporated into one of broader scope. Skomorokh 06:36, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

Current editor in chief?

After Haeb stepped down and Jarry1250 filled in for a few weeks last summer, the Signpost installed Skomorokh and SMasters as joint editors. However, SMasters's real-life commitments have prevented him from publishing an issue since January and he hasn't edited Wikipedia for over a month. Since Skomorokh has been so engaged in discussions and has pushed out a new issue of the Signpost each week, would it make sense to elevate him to the editor-in-chief position? -Mabeenot (talk) 04:01, 21 March 2012 (UTC)

  • I honestly thought he was Chief already. Face-wink.svg Sko's been fantastic in my brief time working with him. If we need this to be official, I'd Support. Lord Roem (talk) 04:42, 21 March 2012 (UTC)
    • I agree, but thinking selfishly, it would be great to have SMasters as the back-up when Sko's real-life workload becomes unbearable. Tony (talk) 05:13, 21 March 2012 (UTC)
      • I completely concur. Lord Roem (talk) 05:20, 21 March 2012 (UTC)

I am genuinely honoured at this proposal, and greatly appreciate each the faith you've all shown. I think we should have this conversation in the broader context of what the Signpost needs right now and where we should be going; the current editorial arrangements, while they've enabled us to muddle through for the past few months, are unsustainable in the long run. I'll give extended thoughts on this later (and a proper response to the proposal), but there isn't an immediate rush, as I don't think any decisions should be made before we've heard from all our volunteers and had a proper discussion. Regards, Skomorokh 06:46, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

Ceci n'est pas une pipe

Is this a renowned 1871 oil-on-canvas painting by American-born painter James McNeill Whistler, or a featured image on Wikipedia and Commons chosen for its high resolution, quality and encyclopaedic value? Signpost readers want to know

I move the following conversation here from my talkpage, so that we can collectively discuss and determine the outcome. Skomorokh 05:53, 23 March 2012 (UTC)


Being new to the Signpost, I'm asking for some direction regarding "Featured content". Should the "Featured picture" blurb contain content unrelated to the image itself, but taken from articles that have not gone through any kind of vetting process, such as GA, FA, FL such as general information about a film's more recent box office in a blurb about an image of 1930s film poster? (Sometimes I've found, this additional information is inaccurate, so now I do more checking.) My thoughts were that the "Featured picture" blurbs should be about the image quality, what had to be done to make it "featured", technical aspects of the photo, etc. In other words, to educate the reader about the aspects of an image that an average reader may not be aware of. What do you think? MathewTownsend (talk) 15:36, 21 March 2012 (UTC)

Hi Mathew, these are great questions, thanks for asking. I'm extremely busy today but should get a chance to look at this in the evening (UTC). Skomorokh 07:03, 22 March 2012 (UTC)
I've also posted another concern in response to a topic at "Featured pictures" talk.[3] I worry that it poses a problem for Featured pictures that the successful nominations are dominated by one person. It's out of whack with the other featured process. MathewTownsend (talk) 00:25, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
  • Since I'm involved in both, I might as well weigh in. As I explained on Mathews' talk page, I feel strongly that there should be some context to allow readers to understand the image; we shouldn't just say "the image was promoted for its high resolution (5,000 x 3,000 pixels), sharp edges, and good framing". That is insanely subjective and technical, which will bore most readers. A little context doesn't hurt, and may interest readers into editing and fixing articles which need it.
As for the nominations, the need (or lack of it) to limit numbers of nominations should be handled by the projects. If, for example, the same name comes up 5 times, the Signpost can't just say "you've met your quota". That would be terrible journalism and go against the spirit of the newspaper. I've seen an editor successfully nominate five of his own works in a week; instead of complaining about too many nominations, I interviewed him, to try and draw more interest in the project. Crisco 1492 (talk) 03:38, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
  • This is exactly my point:

    Amplexus (common toad) (nom; related article; related article) Creator:Bernie Kohl, nominator: Crisco 1492 on the basis of high resolution and quality, interesting topic (frogs mating). Photograph of the common toad mating.

That is easily one of the most uninformative write-ups I've ever seen, and I can't begin to understand why Mathew linked both articles the image is used in. It's been common for Signpost to link to only the article with the highest EV, otherwise images like the Mona Lisa would have 50 "related articles". Crisco 1492 (talk) 03:47, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
  • Also Skomorokh, has it ever been Signpost policy to only include content if it is cited in the article? Look at, for example, this edit. I think it detracts greatly from the write-up, especially since little is known about the portrait itself. Crisco 1492 (talk) 03:49, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
This edit indicates why we should not try to read minds. That was nowhere near why I nominated the image. Mathews edits have become misrepresentational. Crisco 1492 (talk) 03:51, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
  • Mathew Crisco asked me to come here to respond. The first thing I want to say is that Crisco and Mathew have been doing a sterling job on FC. If I were to suggest anything, it would be to aim for slightly shorter blurbs.

    The issues raised above: I'm sure there's no Signpost policy about including only info from articles related to featured pics. It was my idea to include a "related article" piped link in the blurbs, which saved the need to cover the FP blurbs with blue links, since they're usually in the related article. Occasionally I wondered whether two related articles would be better, when cited at the nomination page, but always went for one for the sake of neatness and brevity (presumably they mutually wikilink). Here are some random comments about my experiences of reported FPCs: (i) only occasionally did I search further than the related articles to include extra information, but that this was no big deal (unless a contentious topic, I guess); (ii) it's not normal in the journalistic register to include refs, but occasionally I gave an external website, piped down to size; (iii) I found it problematic setting out multiple promotions by the same person in the same week, but I had no problem with the fact of the multiple nominations; (iv) one bias I did practice was not to report negatives much; (v) I was once roasted by Papa Whiskey Lima for not giving him adequate mention in the editing of an image, which I thought was very unfair; (v) my tendency was to treat the blurbs differently sometimes, so that one or two might have a quote from a reviewer, one or two might mention or sum up the reviewers' opinions, but most didn't, given unremarkable nom processes ... sometimes I mentioned technical reasons for promotion—mostly not. My eye was firmly on what makes a good read (provided it's accurate), under the assumption that it's hard to get readers to get to the end of a page (we have data only on hits, not how WPians read Signpost pages). Variety was a factor, attuned to the array of info readily available (given time constraints).

    The "subjective" comment above ... as a reader, I don't mind being told occasionally when reviewers praised technical aspects (but it would be tiresome if done as a formula), and I suppose the review process is always prone to subjectivity ... it is at FAC and FLC too, yes? "and nominated by Crisco 1492 because of the fame of its creator."—I'd tend to work a directly quoted fragment into the text, if Crisco had commented thus at the nom page. Same for "because it is a valuable and informative well-done photo (The nominator also added a possible crop)" ... needs to be quoted, I think, and it might be a bit vague to be useful in this context. PS I did get into trouble once for repeating a "fact" given by a nominator that turned out to be wrong; but I'd say in defence that FC reports what it sees on nom pages and takes information there in good faith. Perhaps that could be subject to stricter rules if journalists think it's necessary.

    Please, both of you, keep up the good work. I love reading the page each week. Tony (talk) 05:21, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

Firstly, let me echo Tony in his praise and appreciation for the diligent work being done by both of you at the Featured content report in recent times; it genuinely is a pleasure to review. There are a lot of issues raised here, and all three of you will have had more experience in dealing with them than I, but let me unpack a few of them and see if I can offer direction as asked.

  • Signifier vs signified: Should write-ups focus on the subject matter of the featured content, or the characteristics of the content itself? I think that the longstanding practice here has been to focus primarily on the subject matter of the featured content in question, but for a report on content judged to have met certain demanding thresholds, it would seem unusual not to touch on the quality or distinguishing features of that content. That said, blurbs along the lines of "image promoted for its high resolution, quality and encyclopaedic value" would make for extremely tedious reading before long (per Tony), as there is not a great deal of diversity in featured content nominations of media (i.e. sounds and pictures). So, I would tentatively propose that we adopt a practice of mentioning noteworthy (read: distinctive) qualities of the content, or debates thereon, that are raised in the nomination process; something along the lines of one sentence focusing on the nomination at the end of a blurb focusing on the subject matter itself. Does this sound workable?
  • Quality control: Is it acceptable to take 1) non-peer reviewed (i.e. GA/FA/A-class/PR) and 2) otherwise unverified (i.e. no credible references) information from 3) articles other than that directly associated with the promotion, in describing featured content? Ideally, we would be in a position to fulfill the remit of the report with recourse only to verified information, but given the constraints of relying on Wikipedia, I think that requiring independent verification of every single factual claim is untenable. I would urge that potentially controversial claims, particularly those related to living persons, POV battlegrounds, negative information and so on, be investigated, but that otherwise there is a lot more reader value in adapting any relevant article content that passes the sniff test for the blurbs than adopting a strict verificationist approach whereby we either spend enourmous amounts of time to eke out a report or go to print with only the most cursory of information. Including a disclaimer to this effect is long overdue, I think.
  • Linking best practices: This is another question that should be addressed by a Signpost editorial policy (more on that later), but for now, let me just say that I concur with Tony's thoughts on the matter – both that restricting links only to the directly relevant articles offers the best reader value, and that there may occasionally be more than one such appropriate article to link.
  • Serial producers: My read on this is simply that while multiple nominations by a single editor in a short period of time may be an issue for the featured content processes (FAC restricts editors to one solo nomination at a time, IIRC), the brief of the Featured content reports impels us to give a comprehensive report on all content promoted to featured status in the previous week. Of course, if those nominators happen to be Signpost editors, as in the case of our mercurial Crisco, it would be best to get a second editor's input on the write-up.

Initial thoughts, Skomorokh 06:29, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

  • Mercurial, eh? Hope I'm not poisonous. Thanks for the feedback, both. If I don't misread you terribly, it is fine to give contextual information about the subject of piece of featured content, such as the director of a film, controversy over a painting, etc. That's more or less how I've done it.
For information included, I agree that it best to have information cited, but rarely do we have featured images for featured articles. Articles written explicitly for another main-page purpose, like a write-up on a painting done for DYK, will generally have better referencing than a long-standing article which happens to have a nice picture. If Wikipedia were to require editors to cite every bit of information in an article before nominating the image, FP would go the way of FT and Fportal... maybe 2 promotions a month, methinks.
For linking (and I don't recall this coming up), I agree that linking anything that isn't inherently pertinent to the blurb (like a previous failed nomination if discussed) is unnecessary.
Thank you both for your well-reasoned and even handed feedback. Crisco 1492 (talk) 07:21, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
The sniff test: oh, I like that! When Sko says: "So, I would tentatively propose that we adopt a practice of mentioning noteworthy (read: distinctive) qualities of the content, or debates thereon, that are raised in the nomination process; something along the lines of one sentence focusing on the nomination at the end of a blurb focusing on the subject matter itself.", I presume he means "mentioning only noteworthy" qualities. I still think it's an individual judgement call depending on the context, not to mention how many other such blurbs mention such qualities in the same edition. I'd ration them. Also, something I forgot to mention, which you guys have picked up, I think, is that preparing FC also relates to one's memory of recent editions, particularly in relation to which images are chosen. I sometimes deliberately ditched the idea of displaying a superb pic at the top because, well, we'd had too many bird pics that month. Tony (talk) 07:49, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
  • Well, the part that set this off was that the film Queen Christina may have featured the first lesbian kiss. Mathew objected, so I switched that it currently has a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. He objected, I said that it was well received. I figure, if a film did well then the poster may be recognizable.
For the images, I think we have a fair balance for the lede. Last week, film poster. Week before, coin. Week before, a cathedral. We haven't really had an issue with images yet. Crisco 1492 (talk) 08:10, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
Sure. The week-by-week thing was just an aside. I think you guys do that well too. I do hope this duo team can continue. Tony (talk) 09:34, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
I'm the one that removed "lesbian kisses", not Crisco.[5] Too much conflict of interest here and I don't like policing it. Too much dyk style of doing things. Most of the Featured pictures are Crisco's. The Featured nomination process is controlled by only a few editors and the nominations are superficial. Mostly, no thoughtful reasons are given for the nomination. Just "EV" if that, and little more. The way things are going now, there will be a preponderance of Featured pictures by Crisco in the foreseeable future as there is an inexhaustible supply of paintings by famous artists, posters and such. Rather than get caught up in being criticized for trying to balance what is obviously unbalanced, let Crisco handle it. I was hoping to have a reasoned discussion with Skomorokh. I guess not. I just now found this thread. It's already too long and intricate to answer my questions.So I bow out and let all of you handle it. MathewTownsend (talk) 16:39, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
However, I do wish my original question had been answered. I'm not willing to wade through all the subsequent unrelated comments. MathewTownsend (talk) 18:26, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I agree with Tony's suggestion of shorter blurbs. Blurbs filled with tedious detail aren't considering the reader. I'm going to strive for shorter, more general blurbs that give the overall picture, sparing the minutia. MathewTownsend (talk) 14:32, 28 March 2012 (UTC)

Featured pictures

I asked this question before but never got an answer. As it happens, one of the editors of Featured content is responsible for most of the Featured pictures each week. So inevitably often three and sometimes four of his featured pictures appear in the Featured content. I'm wondering how this should be handled, as FP is dominated by a handful of editors? It isn't a rigorous process on par with FA and FL. MathewTownsend (talk) 22:11, 24 March 2012 (UTC)

When you have a regular task like this, you expose yourself to scrutiny when it involves your own work and a potential CoI. So I'm sure Crisco's aware he'd be criticised if he didn't treat his own promotions fairly in relation to the others. If you feel there are instances where this has not happened, perhaps you could follow it up with Skomorokh. Tony (talk) 01:19, 25 March 2012 (UTC)
well, this week he and I have argued (quite heatedly at times), as we are each quick on the trigger, but we seem to have resolved it. Hopefully the FP people can be persuaded that the caption matters, and such discussion should happen there and not in the middle of editing the Featured content. MathewTownsend (talk) 01:48, 25 March 2012 (UTC)
Mathew, I'm so pleased. The Signpost can't afford to lose either of you. I guess as a postscript I might say that because it's in a quite different register (something approaching the journalistic) from the rest of WP, the relationship between writers and readers is different, and that includes the way facts are handled. In a WP article, for example, a supporting reference at one step (in a wikilinked page) wouldn't be acceptable—indeed, WP articles are by policy not treated as RSs. But at FC, that's more normal, for a few good reasons.

Come to think of it, you guys, as writers, engineer a relationship between your text and images, the readers at large, the nominators, the reviewers, and those who run each forum. It could be complex, but usually pans out automatically without hassle in its own form of balance and neutrality. One of my stated agendas was to highlight the good work done by our featured-content creators. That would never do elsewhere; FC's one of the few chances we have to do this. Tony (talk) 02:24, 25 March 2012 (UTC)

  • This week seems to be okay so far. I'd just like to comment that I much prefer the current format over the old potpourri mix. Crisco 1492 (talk) 07:46, 28 March 2012 (UTC)

Discussion report

New article pushed out for this week incorporating all ideas as best as possible. See Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2012-04-16/Discussion report. Whenaxis (contribs) DR goes to Wikimania! 22:59, 14 April 2012 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Skomorokh, we need to talk about what the Discussion Report should look like after this. By the way, thanks for your help in pulling together the discussion report this week, looks fantastic! :) Regards, Whenaxis talk · contribs | DR goes to Wikimania! 20:59, 20 March 2012 (UTC)

Absolutely, that's something we should definitely do. I'm glad you appreciated my input last week; I was concerned you might have been discouraged by the perhaps heavy-handed nature of it in places. To get things rolling, would you like to give a response to my comment you link, and perhaps indicate your vision for what the Discussion report should look like, with regard to focus, temperament, editorial voice and so on? Skomorokh 06:50, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
I think it should be more open and have the author's opinion throughout while providing the facts of discussions. I also would like to examine the process of discussion in addition to just a recap of discussions on Wikipedia. This would be more in line with the rest of the regular features that the Signpost has. I think this will be more engaging and interesting for the reader. Regards, Whenaxis (contribs) 20:29, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
I'm not so sure we should be allowing an author's opinions (as opposed to 'In the News' using others') in the SP's article space. That's what you guys created the Opinion desk for. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 07:57, 28 March 2012 (UTC)
All reporting is coloured by (at the very least) journalistic decision making. I have no objection to opinionated reporting; perhaps it's all the better that it's openly opinionated. It adds flavour and interest to the report. Josh Parris 09:14, 28 March 2012 (UTC)
...upon which you'd lose readers, possibly to (a) rival paper(s) espousing to give a different point-of-view. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 15:47, 28 March 2012 (UTC)
Journalism should have some artistic freedom, I would hope, where the writer can embellish the story to make it more engaging. That's why when we bring news sources into articles on Wikipedia, we sometimes have to tone down the writing. This is where I'd like to see the Discussion report. Regards, Whenaxis (contribs) DR goes to Wikimania! 00:47, 29 March 2012 (UTC)
And that's where we differ, because to me that looks like an attack on the ARS by the Signpost. Also some of the language used later (ex. 'oh what a pity') is a bit ... odd. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 00:52, 29 March 2012 (UTC)
Then, this is what we ended up with. Which is a fair compromise between the strongly opinionated article before and a completely non-opinionated, facts only article. The entire second section is opinion. Seems acceptable. Regards, Whenaxis (contribs) DR goes to Wikimania! 01:04, 29 March 2012 (UTC)
We seem to have adequate controls at the moment to reign in wildly opinionated pieces, yet respecting our readers enough to offer some analysis atop bare facts. Josh Parris 03:31, 29 March 2012 (UTC)
  • I find it hard to frame the "Discussion report", although I have a sense that it's not right yet. I know that Sko is keen that it be shaped so it performs a valuable/useful role in the publication. DR labours against the fact that (i) discussion is pretty bloated and everywhere for just about every active editor on WP (so who wants more?); (ii) the discussions that individual editors don't participate in are presumably distant from their core of interest, and thus may be hard to make interesting to the general readership; (iii) it's tricky, but by no means impossible, to present a neutral report that is still interesting—as a journalist, one is tempted to quote the juicy bits, but this could fan flames in a way that contradicts site policy. A few comments: the 19 March edition could have backgrounded the ARS in a little more detail ... what it is, who long it's been going, what it does (beyond the obviousness of its title). "At the time of writing, there were nine editors in support of the proposition that the ARS has engaged in canvassing". A few examples of accusations of canvassing might have been interesting—I found I was already losing interest by this time. Possibly a few quote-fragments worked in? Dank55 did a few DRs a while ago and used to include quotes, I recall. What does the "Discussions of interest" add that "Centralized discussions" lacks? (I ask not to be critical, but in analytical terms.) Tony (talk) 07:54, 29 March 2012 (UTC)
  • I think we should have a trial run so we can get the Discussion report back and rolling for next week's issue (April 9). I'll work to get the Discussion report to include important facts, quotes and a little bit of fluff (opinion) to make it interesting for next week's issue. Are there any other problems that need to be addressed? Regards, Whenaxis (contribs) DR goes to Wikimania! 20:27, 29 March 2012 (UTC)

i'm not so sure whether i fully grasp the conceptional move proposed here and the one in regard to "letters to the editor" in the newsroom. the signpost isn't like "any good newspaper" (in offline-land) in the vital sense that the signpost isn't the primary i (or even best) instrument you have (as the reader or signpost-editor) to make your views on whatever publicly known. quiet the reserve, the signpost is (opinion pieces and the inevitable editorial judgement aside) level 3-focused (reporting what others say elsewhere (level 2) of something (level 1)) for good reasons. its hard to see how changing that by opening level 3 up to level 2 in an environment where level 1 & 2 are - unlike in offline-land - open to everybody and can to be conducted at (nearly) all places (call it wiki) would be beneficial for the signpost. especially since wrapping it all up neutrally is a key benefit to readers (i assume hardly anyone reads _all_ the debates covered). all said unless i missed something or the provided analogy wasn't supposed to work this way, regards -Jan eissfeldt (talk) 16:26, 1 April 2012 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Wikipedia:Small News

I recommend that Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost have a link to Wikipedia:Small News.
Wavelength (talk) 16:35, 1 April 2012 (UTC)

Very sorry to see Wikipedia:Small News disappear! A wonderful idea but ... no I guess. MathewTownsend (talk) 03:19, 19 April 2012 (UTC)

Signing off

It was suggested above that the Signpost needs an editor-in-chief, and that I might be an appropriate candidate. As thoroughly as I agree with the former proposition, I cannot endorse the latter. Simply put, in recent weeks, professional and personal developments have left me with far too little time to function effectively as editor. Some of the practical consequences have included dormant desks languishing without attention, unanswered emails demoralising would-be contributors, and a lack of direction and co-ordination on multi-author reports compromising quality and coherence of coverage. Such a situation needs to end if the institution is to thrive.

The Signpost editor should be among the most actively engaged and best informed of Wikipedians. Alas, I simply do not have the time to keep up with the project, let alone effectively curate its essential developments. I greatly value the nine months I've spent contributing to the newspaper, but the circumstances in which I began that period – an avid reader and observer of Wikipedia and its travails lacking only a vector to express their interest – no longer hold. So, with regret, I am stepping down from all involvement for the foreseeable future. It's genuinely been a pleasure to work with such dedicated, disciplined and generous colleagues, and I wish you the greatest of success with what I remain convinced is a rewarding and crucially important endeavour. Respect, Skomorokh 03:02, 19 April 2012 (UTC)

Best of luck to you, Sko. You've done some great work here, and I hope you are proud of it. Seeing as SMasters hasn't edited since February, the SP probably needs a new editor... anyone willing to step up? In the meantime, I can publish it this coming week if necessary (I have done it for the Bugle before and am on Edwardbot's list). I may also throw an op-ed together this weekend on the need for more participation at the SP. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 03:08, 19 April 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for the offer to handle publishing of the next issue - feel free to ping me (e.g. in #wikisignpost on IRC) for technical advice about the process in the run-up to publication, and hopefully Jarry1250 will be able to assist with LivingBot (which can be used to carry out most publishing steps, including starting the EdwardsBot run). Regards, HaeB (talk) 03:53, 19 April 2012 (UTC)
Will do. It's much more complicated than the Bugle, but it shouldn't be anything too terrible if the automated process works as advertised. I will need the password, though. I'll email or ping you should if it comes to that. :-) Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 04:00, 19 April 2012 (UTC)
There are only a few minor glitches with the script at present, but that side of being E-in-C (actually publishing) is still only a five minute job, you will be relieved to know.
The main E-in-C responsibility, then, is ensuring that all articles are of sufficient quality. I've always thought of that as an "embarrassment" criterion: the E-in-C should ensure that (s)he is never embarrassed by the content (s)he is essentially putting his/her name to. As long as your happy with that Ed, then I guess you'd be exactly right for next week, at least. - Jarry1250 [Deliberation needed] 09:34, 19 April 2012 (UTC)
Oh, that's much less then I was envisioning. Well, I'll be happy to go through the articles to make sure, but I'm also not exactly a Signpost regular (I mostly haunt this talk page). So if anything I do steps on someone's toes, let me know and I'll back off. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 18:16, 19 April 2012 (UTC)
You've done an amazing job these past few months. I wish all the best, Lord Roem (talk) 03:09, 19 April 2012 (UTC)
Skomorokh, thanks for your work and your dedication to the Signpost. I would have wished for you to find a way to limit the time commitment to a level that you found acceptable and sustainable yourself, but this decision deserves respect as well. All the best for you.
Regards, HaeB (talk) 03:53, 19 April 2012 (UTC)
Yes, if you could put up with me, Sko, then you can do anything! I wish this weren't happening. You will be greatly missed. MathewTownsend (talk) 04:05, 19 April 2012 (UTC)
It was great to work with you. I hope to see you again soon. Steven Zhang DR goes to Wikimania! 04:14, 19 April 2012 (UTC)
A fine editorship in difficult circumstances. (And I would reiterate what all the others said, I agree with each of them :) ) All the best, - Jarry1250 [Deliberation needed] 09:34, 19 April 2012 (UTC)
Thanks Skomorokh, for all you've poured into the Signpost.--Ragesoss (talk) 12:09, 19 April 2012 (UTC)
Don't leave, Skomorokh.... but if you have to... hope you can drop by soon and get back to the awesome job that you've been doing. =) Whenaxis (contribs) DR goes to Wikimania! 20:32, 19 April 2012 (UTC)
thanks for all your work, please (& hopefully) have a lot of fun with whatever changed in real life and come back as soon as you can (o:, all best --Jan eissfeldt (talk) 15:34, 20 April 2012 (UTC)

Paying the Signpost editor in chief as a WMF independent contractor?

The above conversation, plus numerous conversations about paid editing elsewhere around Wikipedia such as here and the discussions about proper roles for WMF contractors, lead me to ask this question. The role of Signpost editor in chief is very important but also seems to be very time consuming and demanding. Should it be a part time WMF contractor paid position? The position could be enough of an independent contractor to keep the role from being a WMF public relations job. It could be selected by the community, and have something like a one year term limit with the option for election to additional terms. How do other editors feel about this idea? Pine(talk) 06:44, 19 April 2012 (UTC)

That would be a fatal conflict of interest, I'm afraid. Tony (talk) 06:45, 19 April 2012 (UTC)
How so? Numerous governments such as the US and Great Britain have publicly funded journalism through organizations like National Public Radio and the BBC. Pine(talk) 06:48, 19 April 2012 (UTC)
One of the roles of the Signpost, as I see it, is as a check on the WMF. I say this as one of the people in the (minority?) camp that supports most of what the WMF is trying to do right now. Giving them a monopoly on the only on-wiki information sources about them will have the perceived effect of compromising that coverage. Even if that isn't a real effect, perception is really the only thing that would matter here. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 07:03, 19 April 2012 (UTC)
Also, this might go without saying, but paying the editor-in-chief of the Signpost is a slippery slope – should we also pay the FAC delegates? Members of Arbcom? WikiProject coordinators? Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 07:05, 19 April 2012 (UTC)
I agree with both you and Ed: we should consider finding ways to reimburse our Editors-in-Chief, but without even the illusion of compromising the neutrality of the Signpost. One thing that crossed my mind was finding some common settlement with one or more chapters; even if it involved apparent "favouritism", we could retain our disinterested relationship with the Foundation (particularly if the chapter(s) in question were self-fundraising chapters). - Jarry1250 [Deliberation needed] 08:36, 19 April 2012 (UTC)
The foundation has grown like topsy in the past year, and certainly does need journalistic coverage for the benefit of all; in particular the political situation between foundation and chapters is very delicate at the moment. The whole thing needs independent coverage without fear or favour. It's very frustrating to find ourselves without a manager at such a crucial point in the history of the movement, but the only solution is for volunteers to do this, unless someone has a better idea that doesn't involve funding or other support from one the parties we need to report on. Tony (talk) 10:47, 19 April 2012 (UTC)
As recounted recently, last year I stepped down as Signpost editor when I started working for the Foundation, to avoid such a situation - and the Foundation was perfectly supportive of that and respects the Signpost's independence. Of course it has still been providing the server space and paying the traffic costs all along ;) and it's conceivable that there are other forms of support, such as Ragesoss' suggestion, which are not very problematic. Regards, HaeB (talk) 04:43, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
I think this has pretty much been the situation each time an editor-in-chief has stepped back from the Signpost, and each time another highly capable editor has stepped up. As Ed notes, there are a number of important volunteer roles in the projects. On the other hand, other sorts of support might be appropriate... a modest Signpost budget for funding travel costs for reporters to attend and report on Wikimedia events, for example. Being able to travel more to report on the projects without paying out of pocket might be very appealing to the sort of person who would make a good editor-in-chief. WMF has covered costs for reporters at individual events that they wanted to make sure were well-covered. Shifting that would a Signpost-managed travel budget would actually reduce the COI potential. And such a budget is something I would guess that WMF would be willing to consider.--Ragesoss (talk) 12:22, 19 April 2012 (UTC)
A precedent: This conference report was written by a Signpost regular whose (not very far) travel had been funded by the organizers; WMF had approached me (as the volunteer editor at the time) about it and I did the work of finding someone who would do the job.
There may be other ideas as well, and as Ragesoss says, the Foundation would certainly willing to consider some kind of support (I briefly mentioned it to Asaf, who handles the grants program), although of course the details would need quite some work.
Regards, HaeB (talk) 04:43, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
I wonder about the value added by in-person journalism. It's very expensive to send journalists to cover events, especially where the results are promptly on-wiki and key people can be organised beforehand for Skype-audio interviews, as I did with Sam Klein during the recent Berlin conference. Interviewing and drawing on internet information seems so much more efficient to me than hiking to an event and making sense of the hubbub in person. Tony (talk) 05:13, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
Speaking as a lifelong (well, adult-lifelong) newspaper reporter who is butting into the conversation, you're correct about half the time - being there is no advantage. The other half of the time, however, being there in person is what lets you stumble across information that no remote technology would have encountered. That's also why scientific conferences are held in person; it's the serendipitous (sp?) chat in the hallway which makes all the difference. This doesn't answer the vexing money question for Signpost, of course; it's just a general comment about reporting technique. - DavidWBrooks (talk) 16:51, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I don't think anyone's suggesting that it's more efficient: only that (a) travel grants rewards Signpost regulars, encouraging the continued existence of the Signpost, (b) that being there in person can give a different (maybe more accurate, maybe simply more complete/less biased) picture of events; and I would add (c) "official" Signpost attendance raises the profile of the newspaper, to the benefit of all. Whether those are sufficient "pro"s to warrant further attention is of course another matter entirely. - Jarry1250 [Deliberation needed] 09:00, 20 April 2012 (UTC)

well, to address the basic question: i simply wouldn't write for a signpost run by someone who is wikimedia-paid, wmf and chapters alike. both groups have strong special interests within the area(s) we cover, regards --Jan eissfeldt (talk) 15:34, 20 April 2012 (UTC)

I think it's fairly easy to keep an objective distance between a paid editor in chief and the WMF if the editor in chief is selected by the community and not the WMF, and if only the community is allowed to fire them. Also see my comments above about National Public Radio and the BBC. And speaking of conflicts of interest about pay, it's also worth pointing out another real world example. Judges are paid by the same legislatures whose laws they are asked to review, and few people accuse U.S. judges of being hesitant to overturn legislative decisions on the grounds that the judges feel threatened by legislatures. So I think that it's entirely possible to separate the issue of pay from the issues of selection and termination. Pine(talk) 20:04, 20 April 2012 (UTC)

Response: conferences and the emperor's new clothes

David Brookes, don't get me going on the waste represented by scientific and other academic holidays conferences. I know these well: I've had many years of dealing with hundreds of clients across many disciplines who attend these events at huge financial, time, and carbon cost. I'm not sure it would be all that different even if conferences were more tightly run, with higher levels of content and presentation; but sadly, this is not normally case, since much presentation is in the service of supporting individual careers rather than pushing out the boundaries of knowledge in any meaningful way. The underwhelming performance at the lecturn of so many people—supposedly professional lecturers—has often concerned me.

Conference junkets are an indulgence that needs to be addressed by the research industry (not to mention the biggest junket of all—doctor conferences). These events seem to be stalled in pre-internet, pre-Skype, pre-video-conference days, with denizens having become used to tax-deductible holidays conferences as some kind of recompense for the trials of the university career. This is hurling mostly public dollars at the wrong section of the pipeline: when I observe a preponderance of papers in refereed conference proceedings—or worse, mere oral presentations unsupported by written publication—I tell a client they'd be better off staying at home and writing a few more journal articles and tending to their PhD students. Some fields, among them IT, have made a low journal–conference ratio systemic; thus researchers are compelled to give unseemly weight to junkets in their output, entrenching extraordinarily high costs for any value added.

The addiction to conferences is now in the shadow of the fact that highly specialised audiences can gather online for pre-arranged, formal (even ISSNable) international "conference" papers and Q&As; and if you're going to endure jet-lag by physically travelling to another continent, is a late night or early morning on the vid in your own timezone such a big deal by comparison? The academic journal industry is in the process of going online (at least at the upper end); let the holiday conference industry catch up.

As for Wikimedia gatherings, sure, at this early and dynamic stage in the movement's history we can understand the practical, logistic, social, and political reasons for carbon meet-ups—it's very much a matter of forging in-person ties (i.e. personal trust) with those in disparate countries and language areas. However, I can imagine that as the movement matures internationally there will be greater use of online conferences by the movement. Now that the technical issues are being dealt with, it's becoming a cultural issue.

Since I'm banging on about this, it seems a good time to suggest that the foundation build on its "experiment" with online video streaming at Gdansk et al. Understandably, when you're on the spot it's easy to forget about the potential audience of Wikimedians around the world; perhaps this is why the logistics of netcasting to the much larger potential international audience has been neglected. How often did I log on to Gdansk to see empty rooms? To do it properly means providing more information to viewers and making that information more accessible; critical is the provision of information about timing, and in situ adherence to strictly to advertised times. If there are cost issues, I'd be inclined to restrict streaming to what organisers regard as featured addresses—but please do them well. It's perfectly feasible to allow remote questions to be asked on Twitter through the moderator, for example. Tony (talk) 04:15, 21 April 2012 (UTC)

Simulcast to the large conference for technical and free culture people in NYC? — Dispenser 05:42, 21 April 2012 (UTC)

Grammatical error in headline

There was a grammatical error in the headline at this week's arbitration report. I've fixed it there, as well as at Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2012-04-23. Does anything else need to be done? BTW the Wikipedia Signpost blog post about this issue is empty at the moment, so the problem hasn't spread there. Graham87 15:16, 24 April 2012 (UTC)

Bleh, my update to fill out the blog post didn't go through, apparently, should be done now. I think the intention was probably "Evidence submission ends", but your fix seems fine; there's nowhere else you can change it now. - Jarry1250 [Deliberation needed] 15:43, 24 April 2012 (UTC)

Is there a collection-of-polls page?

I like the polls and wonder if there's a page where they're all collected together, or what is the easiest way to find past polls?

Also a note and another question:

  • I just clicked through to read the poll that's currently up and it seems to have recorded a response from me, without me actually making a selection. (I got the success message.) Maybe it's something on my end, or maybe the poll is currently malfunctioning. Just pointing this out in case anybody wants to check.
  • If staff of the Wikimedia Foundation wanted to suggest polls, i) would that be okay? and if so, ii) where could we send suggestions? I'd love the opportunity to suggest a question once in a while if the Signpost staff aren't opposed to the idea. On the expectation that questions from me or other staff would be suggestions only -- it would be totally okay for the Signpost to reject them.

Thanks Sue Gardner (talk) 18:43, 24 April 2012 (UTC)

That would be a question for User:Jarry1250, who is the beat writer for that page (and hosts it under his Toolserver acount!). I'll leave him a {{talkback}} to here. I didn't have a problem with it, so maybe it was temporary? And last, I don't see a problem with suggesting questions as long as it isn't every week. Again, Jarry would be the one to ask because he comes up with them. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 23:56, 24 April 2012 (UTC)
Hey Sue. commons:Category:Wikipedia_Signpost is probably the best way to see them all (for now, at least)
The "success" issue is because - I'm guessing here - you were attempting to view the page from WMF Headquarters? It's basically a sign that someone has already offered an opinion from your IP address. Not sure the best way to go forward if you thought that was a problem.
The polling seems to be working well, I have to say, but then again, with a sample size not yet exceeding 35 (and with the whole question of staff opinions), I wouldn't want you to think they were serious exercises in statistical research, just 'teasers'. That said, you're more than welcome to suggest questions. At the moment, we're running the poll in Tech, but of course it's not difficult to move one to another report, if push came to shove. - Jarry1250 [Deliberation needed] 09:04, 25 April 2012 (UTC)
Oh, I get it Jarry, thank you. Yes, I was at the office. I thought the poll had accidentally recorded a response from me that I didn't intend, but if it had recorded a response from somebody else also in the office, that makes perfect sense. It's not broken.
Thanks: I will probably suggest a question or two to you, once in a while. I hear you on it not being a serious research tool and it would certainly be vulnerable to gaming, but still -- I might want to suggest a question occasionally, about something I'm curious about :-) Thanks for your reply. Sue Gardner (talk) 02:53, 1 May 2012 (UTC)

tracking comments using related changes

Over at Wikipedia_talk:Signpost/Template:Cover-item#Add_discuss_link, I have proposed a change to allow tracking comments using special:relatedchanges. John Vandenberg (chat) 02:39, 8 May 2012 (UTC)