Wikipedia talk:Wikipedia Signpost

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The Signpost

The Signpost feedback

Please use this page for general or technical issues, praise, queries, or complaints.

  • For suggestions of a topic to cover, see Suggestions.
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  • For proposals for a feature, see the Newsroom.

Updates to Signpost practices[edit]

Here's a list of possible changes to the Signpost process. Let's first (say, by January 1) make sure we have a complete list; let's discuss the pros and cons of each in a separate section below; and then we can make a determination of which we'll actually move ahead with after that. Please feel free to add items to this list -- I'm sure I will, as I remember things I've forgotten.

  • Change all Signpost page names from Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost... to Wikipedia:Signpost... This has been on the "to-do" list for a very long time; if we're going to redo the bot, that should make it substantially easier. I'd imagine careful use of AWB would make this pretty doable.
  • Establish a separate website that mirrors Signpost content in a highly readable (desktop, mobile...) format. See notes here: Wikipedia talk:Wikipedia Signpost/Mirroring
  • Email addresses for team members at custom domain
  • And/or: At minimum, set up an RSS feed that points to Signpost content in its existing home. Perhaps using mw:Extension:FeaturedFeeds. (Relevant notes also at Wikipedia talk:Wikipedia Signpost/Mirroring.)
  • Make sure our front page, archive pages, and article pages show up reasonably well on both mobile and desktop. This is under discussion in the section above; if it's not possible to make the number of columns adjust dynamically, I (Pete) would suggest we simply go to a one-column format across the board. (Front page, archive pages.) It would look slightly less pretty on desktop, but vastly better on mobile.
  • Do we want to have separate pages for every story? For instance, "News and notes" as it stands might have anywhere from 0-4 stories, plus "Brief notes." A more thorough (and Google-friendly) redesign might include moving each to its own page and URL. (This would be a throwback to the early days, when page titles might look more like: Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2005-12-26/Wiki tools and Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2005-12-26/Semi-protection.)
  • Attribution -- let's make attribution more prominent, as a small incentive to our contributors.
  • Currently, each page gets a "blurb" that shows up in one and only one place: WP:Wikipedia Signpost. It doesn't show up in the article itself, and it doesn't show up on the Archive page. Should we (a) incorporate it into the archive pages? Or should we eliminate it?
  • Are there worthwhile ways to automate or further facilitate social media posting?
  • While I don't think we will be moving off of English Wikipedia any time soon, it would be good to keep the possibility of moving everything to Meta in mind through any recoding/redesigning project.
  • other ideas?

-Pete Forsyth (talk) 02:42, 27 December 2016 (UTC)

  • Plus another idea: consider becoming a User Group. --Rosiestep (talk) 21:56, 27 December 2016 (UTC)

Any thoughts (detailed ones in a section below, please) or additions? The ed17 tony1 Arborrhythms tedder Tbayer (WMF) Gamaliel Jayen466 Rosiestep Evad37 Kaldari Michael Snow Ragesoss Go Phightins!

Re-pinging, as I didn't get it. Tony1 Arborrhythms Tedder HaeB Gamaliel Jayen466 Rosiestep Evad37 Kaldari Michael Snow Ragesoss Go Phightins! Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 20:34, 27 December 2016 (UTC)
Whoops, I wasn't on that list... LOL! Montanabw(talk) 23:28, 28 December 2016 (UTC)


  • While I don't have any particular objections to any of the above (although I am not certain how advantageous some of them are, particularly splitting up pages that are already pretty short (e.g., Brief notes/News and notes), I think the most effective way to improve readership and reach would be to recruit more writers and publish on a reliable and regular basis. I mean...sure, go for it to make things more "Google-friendly", but it would only succeed in bringing readers once if they find a Signpost that's a month old. Risker (talk) 04:04, 27 December 2016 (UTC)
  • Most of the above would be worth doing, but I am not seeing the benefit of Email addresses for team members at custom domain. However, a "group" email-list address like might be helpful. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs) 05:31, 27 December 2016 (UTC)
  • Given the scope of the changes that Pete is suggesting, as well as the critical juncture at which the Signpost now finds itself generally, I think that this is a good point in time at which to stop and ruminate, at some length, on what the Signpost is, was, and will be.
Risker brings up the elephant in the room, above, making a well-founded point (and one that I'd alluded to just before): that the chief issue facing the Signpost at the moment is a structural lack of writers. The editing members of the editorial board (AKA the people that feel they have an obligation to produce something at the end of the day) right now consists of, ask far as I can tell, of Pete and Tony. This situation fluctuates: things were worse two summers ago, when essentially all the content was being written by Ed, and they were a heck of a lot better a year or so ago, when the board had five or six active members.
The Signpost always prided itself on publishing weekly...until it didn't. The situation now is tenuous as always: if either Tony or Pete were to go, the Signpost might simply cease to exist. The descent from the weekly schedule and into publish-time uncertainty is a symptom of this fact, and so extensive changes to the way the Signpost operates, the technical forces for which now seem aligned, need to be evaluated against two key metrics:
  1. Things that will attract more net contributions.
  2. Things that will allow the Signpost to function with less overhead.
I ran a first-ever analysis of the Signpost's actual (as opposed to perceived) traffic pattern almost a year ago now, the results of which you can read here. While it would be interesting to run an update, I am all too sure that my original conclusion still hold, chief among which was a substantiated impression that this focus on "weekliness" (as expressed by e.g. Risker above) is totally misleading.
I have a college, and my college has a newspaper. I was an avid reader of the school broadsheet back in high school, but neither I nor seemingly anyone else really follows college news. The trouble is that the paper publishes too often: there are too many young journalism students who need CV material, and too much money circulating around, for them to stick to the most interesting stories and publish in a monthly format, like my high school paper did.
I admit, "The Signpost is weekly!" is something that I admit I also once loved to brag about. After looking at the numbers, however, I realized that maintaining such a schedule encourages "shortcuts", flavor-of-the-week stories, and other such brief coverage of associated trivia that people don't actually want to read. It burns out editors who get tired of the commitment (as I inevitably did), and I believe that, just as in the case of the school newspaper, it burns out readers who may be interested in tuning into the "best" stories, but don't want to have to muck through weaker stuff to get to them.
I think the Signpost ought to be a sleeker, more magazine-like, monthly publication. Instead of going wide but shallow, we should go narrow but deep. Yes this week's...month's...Signpost took a long time to arrive, but on the whole, the content was excellent. I like this new way of doing things. I think this is the future of the Signpost. We should keep doing things this way, and thinking along these lines.
All this is premised, of course, on having a strong, reliable infrastructure for sending out new issue notifications. This infrastructure is wanting, but, it appears, is a temporary hurdle. Not only is the bot hopefully going to get fixed, but there's also the prospect of the long-awaited Newsletter extension finally arriving and further streamlining the notification strategy. I'm particularly excited about this bit of code because if it's easy to use, and if we do a bit of lobbying to get people aware of its existence, the Signpost could easily double or triple its subscription base through sheer ease-of-use (this is another conversation we need to have).
This is my opinion on what, strategically, needs to be done. I'll have some specific comments on Pete's points and hopefully some of my own ideas in a bit. ResMar 07:11, 27 December 2016 (UTC)
Just to be clear, ResMar, I think it would be advantageous to have a regular publishing cycle, but it doesn't have to be weekly. I think the recruitment of more contributors is the more essential issue. When one reads back on the archives, there are some pretty significant swings in the editorial voice which is moderated more when there are a large number of contributors and less when there are only one or two. In other words, you need more contributors to be a source of information, not just opinion. Risker 16:52, 27 December 2016 (UTC)
Pong ball in flight.svg Risker: The trouble is that the Signpost has been writing From The Board pieces for years and years pleading for more contributors. More editors is obviously a good thing, but how are you going to get them? Outside of the Signpost receiving funding of some kind, I only see the staffing issue getting worse—certainly not going away. The format needs to follow the need. ResMar 17:23, 27 December 2016 (UTC)
How does the Kurier do it? Does it get funding? Does it have a larger editorial staff? (I'm of the impression that it doesn't get funding, at least directly, but that it does have a lot more contributors. I could be wrong.) Has there been any recent communication between the two projects? I'm not entirely sure what you mean by "the format needs to follow the need". Risker (talk) 17:49, 27 December 2016 (UTC)
There has not been much communication, no, primarily due to the language barrier. What I mean by the format following the need is that rather than thinking about the Signpost format as a constant we should make a conscious effort to shift the format to one more accessible to outside contributions. ResMar 17:58, 27 December 2016 (UTC)
If anything, the Kurier is more opinionated. There's no structure, just people chiming in with their opinions on a topic whenever they so desire. (not a critique, just a descriptor) Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 19:06, 27 December 2016 (UTC)
A format like that one could make for an interesting auxiliary to the Signpost. It's something I might sketch out. ResMar 20:08, 27 December 2016 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Thank you all for the in-depth thoughts and reflections. Resident Mario, it's especially valuable to know your thinking in more detail, with the data and experience you bring. As far as I'm concerned, formally moving to monthly publication is something we've considered and discussed, but we don't intend to make a definite decision right away. I'm not opposed to it, but if we move to monthly publication, I want it to result from a clear assessment of what we want to be (rooted in what our audience wants us to be), rather than what we feel capable of. I don't think the fortnightly schedule we've been aiming for (and missing) recently is out of reach; but it's possible that monthly is better anyway. (Of course, if we are successful in recruitment efforts, a monthly cycle could lead to truly enormous editions -- and that's one thing I'd like to keep in mind as we continue to mull this over.) Regardless -- it's nice to see the idea spelled out and endorsed here, outside our current echo chamber.

I see some possible thematic overlap between something Kurier-like and our suggestions page.

As for recruitment, it is our undisputed top priority, but it doesn't surprise me to learn that is rather invisible. We want to be cautious about running the kind of solicitations ResMar refers to above, which -- to the degree they are not effective -- can detract from and clutter our core function. We don't want to make a major push until we have confidence we can help new contributors feel welcome and productive quickly, if we are successful in drawing them in. Until we have some things in place, you will probably not see a broad push -- but we are reaching out to individuals from time to time, and trying to accommodate what does come our way as best we can.

Please keep the ideas and input coming. It's very gratifying to be reminded how much various people in the community care about this stuff -- it's both flattering and, frankly, a bit intimidating, as a reminder of the responsibility that comes with stewarding this publication. -Pete Forsyth (talk) 22:57, 27 December 2016 (UTC)

A specific suggestion -- it's great to learn from your blog, Resident Mario, which tools you created and why. I have been thinking it would be good to do some sort of "tools audit" -- an accounting of what tech tools exist, and have existed, in the Signpost world, who made them, what worked out and what was abandoned, etc. Maybe we can just start a wiki page in our namespace as a sort of directory. I can give it a may be telling just how little I've been able to suss out! -Pete Forsyth (talk) 23:00, 27 December 2016 (UTC)
There's four that I'm aware of: Jarry's non-working bot, and three automatic import scripts that I wrote and hosted on Labs that went down because of unstable hosting. I will try to see if I can't spin them up again later. ResMar 23:18, 27 December 2016 (UTC)
Hi. Is my bot working? No-one's ever given me a bug report for it.
On the particular point of mirroring, which is probably the one I feel most strongly about, I don't really see the value. We used to have a blogspot(?) blog version, but no-one ever read it as far as I could tell. I think the on-wikiness is part of the charm really -- the Signpost is written by insiders, not outsides (with/without axes to grind).
In terms of number of writers, twas ever thus. I think it does work better when you can target individuals rather than the usual From the editor stuff (despite being guilty of that myself).
By the way, I did a traffic analysis in 2011 Res. Yours would therefore be the second-ever :) Not to be petty or anything... - Jarry1250 [Vacation needed] 23:34, 27 December 2016 (UTC)
Jarry1250, I don't know whether or not your bot is working -- I don't know how to run it -- but my guess is that it is not, as Kharkiv07 seemed to believe that changes to MediaWiki had substantially altered what is possible to accomplish with a bot. (But, perhaps your bot uses substantially different hooks than theirs, so...I just don't know.)
Thanks for the link to your traffic analysis!
On mirroring and separate sites -- it's important, but not mission-critical, and it seems unlikely to me that it would impact, or be held back by, any of the stuff under discussion here. So we needn't delve into it too much if it's not grabbing people's interest here. The main thing driving it is a wish to more clearly establish the Signpost's legitimacy and discoverability, which could in turn impact three significant things: it could help get our content listed in places like Google News (good for when we break new stories whose interest extends beyond Wikipedia, and/or stories whose interest might not be readily apparent, e.g. easy access to the Tech Report series might happen to interest open source journalist if they could find it). It could add to the incentive for people to write for the Signpost. And to a smaller degree, it could add to the cachet of being covered in the Signpost. I don't want to expend a great deal of energy on it, especially week-to-week; my belief is that with a little upfront work, a process can be set up that requires very little maintenance, but opens up a few doors for us in the long run.
For WP:Wikipedia Signpost/Signpost tools, I'm thinking it might include a few more things than bots and import scripts. Specifically, templates, and the code (does it live in templates?) that generates things like the MassMessage text and the text for Wikimedia-Announce. I'd also like to note external technologies -- such as Slack, which is where we're doing most of our coordination these days, and Google Docs, which we use pretty heavily too. I've been thinking about using Trello as well, to keep track of the various goings-on. -Pete Forsyth (talk) 00:00, 28 December 2016 (UTC)
I take your point about discoverability – but I wonder if there's a way of achieving the same end on-wiki. Which reminds me: have we thought about whether the move to off-wiki drafting (and off-wiki chat – you mention Slack) has contributed the loss of contributors? - Jarry1250 [Vacation needed] 02:17, 28 December 2016 (UTC)
Sure, and again, I'm interested in learning what's possible with FeaturedFeeds, which as I understand it would mean creating an RSS feed for the on-wiki home of our our content. Jarry1250, help me understand your level of interest -- your offer to rebuild the bot is very generous and valuable, and my first instinct here is to avoid pulling you in directions that would be less interesting to you, and potentially a distraction. But if you are interested in exploring in greater detail, let me know.
As for online- vs. offline composition, yes, we've thought and talked a great deal about related issues. The specific one you raise, I'm not sure how to assess; as Resident Mario said above, there have been periods of low engagement for a long time, and I'm not sure when offline composition became more prevalent, so I don't have enough data to assess. But a few closely related points: (1) MediaWiki software lacks any facility for contextual commenting, which is a major deficiency for an edited publication. We've had good luck in a few cases layering on top of on-wiki drafts for this purpose, so it's not a total dealbreaker. But for the needs of the Signpost, MediaWiki is a platform that simply doesn't meet our needs for many complex or challenging stories. (2) While we do see a little bit of collaboration on those items drafted on-wiki, it's rarely more than two or three people, who are known to have an interest in the piece ahead of time. I don't recall seeing any substantial, serendipitous editing, so I don't see much reason to think its absence is damaging to our collaborative practices. (3) For some stories on sensitive topics, an early draft might reflect a misunderstanding on the part of the writer. Sorting through it can be a delicate process. While we all value iteration and "making mistakes in public" to some degree, in some cases it poses a substantial obstacle to getting the work of writing and editing articles done.
Your question is a good one, though; I'm inclined to think about it in a slightly more general way. How can we make our processes accessible and sensible to new contributors, who for the most part will have experience collaborating on wiki, and some comfort with that mode of engagement? I think we do reasonably well at that, but I see many opportunities for improvement. Describing how we do approach that and how we want to improve it going forward might get us pretty deep in the weeds, so I'll leave it at that for now. -Pete Forsyth (talk) 20:44, 28 December 2016 (UTC)
  • My two cents here is pretty short:
  1. I am ADAMANTLY opposed to publishing staff email addresses. Huge privacy issues and spam magnet to boot. People can use the "email this editor" feature.
  2. We definitely have a shortage of feature writers, that said, we could standardize and formalize a few more regular features so that they are easier to write an a good place for new contributors to get a toehold.
  • And in all of these years, not one regular news writer has been female. We all lose out from that. Tony (talk) 09:54, 29 December 2016 (UTC)
  • This discussion is becoming unreadably long, so allow me to chunk off parts of it. I would like to point out something that Peteforsyth and Jarry1250 should be aware of: the development of the upcoming newsletter extension. This will substantially ease all of these processes, as it will remove all of the user notification processes out of the bot workload and replace them with a simpler, easier system with more convenience and reach. Once it arrives, this will net the Signpost a substantial boost. A publication bot written or touched up today should be aware of these upcoming changes. ResMar 23:42, 31 December 2016 (UTC)
Mockup of what the Newsletter preference pane might look like once complete. UPDATE - it turns out this mockup is outdated, there are NO PLANS to handle user talk page delivery.
  • Resident Mario, thanks, I've now delved into that enough that I think I understand its intended use and its status pretty well. I believe that it will make it easier for (English language) Wikipedians to add or remove themselves as subscribers; and perhaps it will also offer them echo and/or email delivery options in addition to a user talk notification option. It will also be pretty straightforward to migrate our existing subscription base over there.
    It won't be designed to address the publication steps that create all our pages. It won't do anything for our subscribers on Meta Wiki (unless we mirror our front page on Meta Wiki). And, we can't rely on it being completed on any particular schedule, since it's merely an aspiration being built incrementally by volunteers.
    Certainly a valuable initiative to be aware of, and your advice to make sure the bot is designed to transition smoothly to it in the future is well taken. Have I missed or misunderstood anything? -Pete Forsyth (talk) 06:54, 4 January 2017 (UTC)
    Also, for future reference -- I'd recommend the MediaWiki page as the best intro to the extension: 'mw:Extension:Newsletter -Pete Forsyth (talk) 06:57, 4 January 2017 (UTC)
Yes, this would not be of any help for building Signpost output, only for publishing it. I believe that it will simplify the meta (well, out-of-enwiki) process, because it can take advantage of cross-wiki notifications, which are now enabled by default (as I understand it). That means that the Signpost will no longer need to maintain a separate mailing page for off-wiki notifications, which erases an additional step from the publishing process. As for whether or not it's completed: I'm reasonably confident that it will be released by mid-2016. You're right that deadlines do slip, and we can't rely on it, but it's something to keep in mind for the future nevertheless.
Further discussion about tweaking the bot, and everything else that comes with it, is on hold (?) until DJ finishes his CSS upgrades. ResMar 00:00, 5 January 2017 (UTC)
Here's an idea combining possibly the best of both worlds. Publish a weekly (pick a day, say Monday) The Signpost Supplements concerning run-of-the-mill things. Adminship, TechNews, Bots Approved, Featured Content, etc. A lot of this content could be bot-generated, then lightly tweaked and lightly commented. E.g. for Featured Content, get a bot to scrape newly closed nominations, and create the featured article list based on the leads of those articles, similar for lists, good articles, featured pictures/media, etc. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 00:20, 15 February 2017 (UTC)
Then, on the last Monday of the month, you publish The Signpost which highlights a selection of the more interesting stories from the past month, with all substantial pieces of writing people submitted (Special Reports, WikiProject Interviews, etc...).
Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 00:20, 15 February 2017 (UTC)

WikiProject report[edit]

Hi - I've noticed the WikiProject report hasn't been updated in a few months. Will this be a continuing feature of the Signpost? If so, I'm interested in helping out as a contributing writer/interviewer. I tried to comment on the talk page of that desk but was redirected here... Funcrunch (talk) 21:25, 31 December 2016 (UTC)

Also I'm aware of the staffing shortages and other challenges; I've read the above section etc. I'm just looking for where I can help out without over-committing myself. Funcrunch (talk) 21:27, 31 December 2016 (UTC)
Many thanks for the offer, Funcrunch, and sorry for the slow reply! We could indeed use some help on WikiProject Report, and in other areas. (And, as a somewhat circular answer, it will be a continuing feature if and only if there's somebody to write it...but we very much want it to be!) I will be in touch shortly by email. If you have any ideas of which WikiProjects you're most interested in covering, let's discuss. -Pete Forsyth (talk) 18:20, 3 January 2017 (UTC)

Overview: How will the Newsletter Extension impact the Signpost's future?[edit]

So, thanks to the discussion above and (and, especially, guidance from Resident Mario -- thanks!), I went off and read a bunch about the forthcoming Newsletter Extension, tested its current pre-release version a bit, and have asked a bunch of questions. I want to report back on my current thinking on how it will affect the Signpost, and see what others think. The extension is being actively worked on right now, and a release (as a MediaWiki extension) is imminent -- perhaps in a few weeks. (I'm not sure what the plan is for gaining buy-in and deploying it on English Wikipedia, but sooner or later that will happen.)

When it becomes available on English Wikipedia, things will get very messy for us, until such time as a decisive majority of our subscribers are happy with the web and email notification options, and we are willing to abandon talk page notification altogether. (Or more ideally, until something that reproduces the various benefits of talk page notification gets built into a future version of the extension; this is my hope, but I've had difficulty getting anybody to engage with that concept so far.)

The Newsletter Extension presents a fundamentally new framework for newsletter subscription and delivery (and impacts no other aspects of managing a newsletter). Here are the significant differences I see, from the current setup:

  • Subscription list is visible/editable only to admins and publishers. (Users may add/remove themselves.)
  • It provides delivery via Echo notifications, and/or by email. (I'm unsure how the email formatting will work.)
  • It does not permit delivery to user talk pages in any form. There is no plan to include this functionality.
  • No facility (?) for web notification of users of other wikis.
  • Detailed pros & cons enumerated here: mw:Topic:Tit9gtsmop8qd2d8

So, I'd imagine what we have coming is like this:

  1. Current phase
  2. Blended "testing phase" (we register the Signpost for use with the extension, and continue maintaining the wiki-based system) (very messy!)
  3. The end goal (after enough stakeholders are satisfied with the new software that we can abandon the wiki-based system) (very good)

The only thing that's clear to me thus far is that both transitions -- that is, the beginning and the end of the blended testing phase -- will be pretty delicate, and we should be thoughtful about how we approach each of them. It's hard for me to guess at any of the dates:

  • when a testable version of the extension will be available on enwp
  • when we should implement it (but that's almost certainly after smaller and simpler newsletters have given it a pretty thorough workout)
  • when we should stop publishing to user talk pages

...but I think the scale will be months or quarters, not weeks. I therefore don't think this particularly impacts bot efforts; we will need a bot that's capable of publishing to user talk pages for a long time, and I believe any needed hooks into the Newsletter extension will be pretty minimal.

Thoughts? -Pete Forsyth (talk) 06:21, 13 January 2017 (UTC)

Discussion (newsletter extension)[edit]

  • Will the Watchlist and {{Signpost-subscription}} template still work? These are the only ways I follow The Signpost, and I have not missed an issue in years. I do not want email or talkpage traffic because they create persistent clutter unless I actively delete them. ~ Ningauble (talk) 17:22, 17 January 2017 (UTC)
    • Ningauble, I'd hesitate to make strong, specific commitments about the long term; the purpose of this note and poll are to learn more about what our readers want, so we can accommodate as best we can. I erred in not listing the template among the options in the poll; it was an oversight, and there's no plan to stop using it. I can't imagine any reason we'd do so. -Pete Forsyth (talk) 18:22, 17 January 2017 (UTC)
      • Thanks. I assume watchlisting Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/Issue will also continue to work. ~ Ningauble (talk) 19:01, 17 January 2017 (UTC)
        • Yes, Ningauble -- I'm sorry, these points have clear answers, and I should be more candid. I do have a hard time imagining any circumstance that would require us to break the template, or the watchlist subscription. Even if we were to shift 100% to the Newsletter Extension and turn off user talk page notifications, the template and the "issue" page you identify would still work. -Pete Forsyth (talk) 07:27, 18 January 2017 (UTC)

Newsletter extension poll[edit]

We will be running this poll in the next edition of the Signpost. Reproducing the questions here for future reference. (I'll post the results here as well.)

Signpost subscription & notification poll

How should we deliver the Signpost? Signpost subscription poll; please submit answers by January 31, 2017

  1. Your Wikimedia username (optional)
  2. Your home wiki
    • English Wikipedia
    • Other:
  3. Are you currently a Signpost subscriber?
    • Yes
    • No
  4. How do you usually find a new edition of the Signpost?
    • My own user talk page
    • Somebody else's user talk page
    • Watchlist, not a user talk page (e.g., Signpost main page)
    • Social media
    • Other:
  5. How did you first learn about the Signpost?
    • Another Wikipedian's user talk page
    • Elsewhere on Wikipedia
    • Another Wikimedia site
    • Social media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn…)
    • Other:
  6. How important is it to see our story titles as links on your talkpage? (Table of Contents)
    • Very important
    • Somewhat convenient
    • I don't care
    • Unimportant; I just click through to the main page
  7. What's your preferred way to receive the Signpost?
    • User talkpage delivery with story titles laid out (as currently offered)
    • Delivery of the Table of Contents, with links, via email
    • Delivery of a single link to the new edition, via email
    • Single notification via "Echo" (the menu next to your username at the top of the screen)
  8. Our subscriber list has always been publicly visible. Should this continue?
    • Yes, keep it public.
    • I don't care one way or the other.
    • No, it should not be publicly visible.

Content submission for Feb 4 2017[edit]

@Tony1, Milowent, and Pete Forsyth: Sorry for the late submission. I wonder if this can go in the next issue.

The main feature here is a video of three speakers from 15 January, including Katherine. To fill out an article I transcribed some excerpts from the talk. At the panel an entertainer introduced this talk, and to keep the news as light as the event I have some notes about that also.

I am polishing this a bit for the next 30 minutes but right now, if you can accept this, it is mostly done. Blue Rasberry (talk) 21:51, 3 February 2017 (UTC)

At first glance, it looks like an excellent submission, Bluerasberry -- thank you. We're down to the wire, trying to publish tomorrow; but unless something significant comes up on a closer reading, I'd imagine we can get this edited and turned around in time. I'll add it to our list for this edition. Will you be available for clarifying questions or adjustments in the next 24+ hours? -Pete Forsyth (talk) 21:57, 3 February 2017 (UTC)
Peteforsyth Yes. Sorry to ask, but if clarification is needed, could you signal me both on-wiki and by email? Since time is tight I would appreciate both notices. Thanks. Blue Rasberry (talk) 21:59, 3 February 2017 (UTC)
Bluerasberry Will do. -Pete Forsyth (talk) 22:14, 3 February 2017 (UTC)

Milowent and I are looking for replacements[edit]

Is there anyone interested in continuing the Top 25 Report/Traffic Report? Both Milowent and I are coming down with outside commitments and tackling the report every week is becoming a bit burdensome. There's a discussion about a possible replacement over at the Report's talk page. If anyone's interested, please let us know. Thanks! Serendipodous 07:44, 4 February 2017 (UTC)

Serendipodous and Milowent, this is unfortunate news -- your contributions have been consistently engaging, insightful, and entertaining. But thank you for the notice. Once the present edition is out (next 24 hours or so), let's discuss how we can work together to find successor(s) and ensure a smooth handoff. -Pete Forsyth (talk) 03:02, 5 February 2017 (UTC)
Making sure Rosiestep sees this too. -Pete Forsyth (talk) 06:20, 5 February 2017 (UTC)


Why is it that the Signpost articles have a narrow layout a few inches wide, with a foot or two of white space to the right (which sometimes holds an image), although the Brief notes romps across the page? Hawkeye7 (talk) 20:32, 6 February 2017 (UTC)

Good question, Hawkeye7. I've wondered this myself. From a practical standpoint, it's because the CSS for our layout has been around for a while, and nobody on our volunteer "staff" has the expertise or bandwidth to make changes. It's possible we're not entering things in the templates quite precisely as intended, but if so, I'm not sure where we are erring. Perhaps Resident Mario, Jarry1250 or TheDJ can offer further insights? -Pete Forsyth (talk) 21:38, 6 February 2017 (UTC)
Because that's the best that could be done with the CSS that we have/had available at the time. TheDJ is working on squeezing out something better; this would be a good juncture to ask him how progress on that has been? Last I checked, he "only" needed to convert the templates to the new format. ResMar 04:59, 7 February 2017 (UTC)
ping Peteforsyth, Resident Mario. I've converted everything to (what i call) the v2 layout. This is gonna be a bit messy for a while perhaps. I have not made these changes to the 'old' layout, mostly because I did not want to break old versions of articles, and because i want to give you the option to revert to the 'old' version temporarily if there are any problems in the new version. The story pre-loaders have all been updated. Note that the sidebar templates very much depend on the version of the layout, and the usage of signpost-article-block-start/end. You cannot intermix them with the old version, or expect them to work without using the block-start/end templates. If you have any questions, or need help, do poke me, but realize that my response-time can be rather long. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 15:59, 14 February 2017 (UTC)
Wonderful! Pong ball in flight.svg Peteforsyth: You can see what the new layout looks like over at the style guideline. All of the starter templates have been updated, which means that we'll be using this layout automatically from now on. It might take an issue or two to shake out a couple of bugs, maybe, but I think this will be a seamless transition. ResMar 19:09, 14 February 2017 (UTC)

News or special reports[edit]

Pong ball in flight.svg Evad37:: Merging the desks is a good idea, given their low levels of individual activity, however if I were you I would call the first of the two categories of submissions "special reports", not "news". The latter construes that only things that are new-sy are publishable, which is not true: well-written stories about "old" material and community commentary that isn't particularly newsy at all are all good submissions. ResMar 17:13, 14 February 2017 (UTC)

@Resident Mario: I was trying to have a term that would also cover submissions (from irregular/first-time contributors) that would fit within a regular section – basically, everything that isn't opinion. Which is why I didn't go with "special". Maybe something like "article" would work? - Evad37 [talk] 23:50, 14 February 2017 (UTC)
Good point Resident Mario -- I've tweaked it some, and may continue to work on it: Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/Newsroom/Submissions What I'd like the text to do is (a) convey a general sense that we have different expectations of news vs. opinion, and (b) express that if the submitter is unsure, they can just pick one at random! We can always sort that out after submission if needed, it's no biggie. I'd hate to think somebody hesitated to submit a good idea simply because they couldn't decide between the two options. -Pete Forsyth (talk) 23:56, 14 February 2017 (UTC)


If I see a capitalization error, grammatical error, spelling error, etc., can I fix it? RileyBugzYell at me | Edits 21:57, 15 February 2017 (UTC)

Good question RileyBugz. For simple corrections like this, please do! If a change affects the meaning of the piece, please bring it up for discussion, or address the author or an editor directly. On rare occasions (such as the title of our latest Traffic Report, which borrowed a song's title) the capitalization might have more subtle reasons...but if so, we can always sort it out. Simple corrections are very welcome and much appreciated, and disagreements are usually pretty easy to work through if they do arise! -Pete Forsyth (talk) 22:24, 15 February 2017 (UTC)


Check Wikipedia talk:News#POST RSS, please. Appears the signpost RSS is wrong.-- (talk) 14:23, 20 February 2017 (UTC)