Experience from English Wikinews II

(published in Czech as Zkušenosti z anglických Wikizpráv II, on January 29, 2013)

The day before Yesterday I wrote a blog here about my news story on English Wikinews. After two days I have to add: It did not go well. The story probably won't be published ever as a regular news story.Adding to the original Czech blog: I have later started the difficult procedure described later, so maybe the story will be published someday in the end...

I was confronted with the complicated system of English Wikinews that I had already described. In practice, the system is even more complicated and more malfunctional as it looked like in theory and from the first sight.

Waiting for the official review did not took several hours, like I thought, it took three days (and everyone probably knows what three days mean in news reporting). After three days I have received comments from the reviewer, that included request for new sources, for adding a part about Czech president powers - and especially for update, because so much time has passed since the story had been written. I admit at least part of the requests would help the story. I also admit the reviewer did a lot of work with it.

I will return to the first request later. I understand the second request, although it is very difficult to fulfill it with the limited knowledge of English sources. The third one is a deterrent one. It says: Start a new work, that can lead to more requests to upgrade - and it can lead to the situation, when the author has to wait for a new revision after he is finished just to find that he has to update again. And more, I do not know how to update the news story on English Wikinews, the Czech Wikinews does not update its stories, it writes new ones as the original one gets outdated.

English Wikinews sources

Adhering to sources has to be commented as well. I am a strong supporter of proper sourcing myself. Nevertheless I do not think it is good to ask for sources ad absurdum. I consider the information that Václav Klaus was a parliament speaker, the year when Miloš Zeman stopped being prime minister or the information that the first round of presidential vote took place two weeks ago obvious and easily verifiable in various sources including Wikipedia. I think the request to source it is inappropriate to Wikinews. Especially when the first two pieces of information are not news-kind, they are historical and I would understand its sourcing on Wikipedia, but it is excessive on Wikinews. What more, the English Wikinews prefer English-language sources, they lean to refuse the small-language ones. If you want to publish a story on English Wikinews, it is preferable to be an expert in English media. What is easy to verify in Czech media, is much more difficult to find in the English ones. Then you have two chances: Try it without sources (or with the Czech ones) and hope the reviewer will be tolerant (in fact, I would describe it more as a reviewer with a sense of adequacy), or that the story you are going to enter in English Wikinews, will have to be reduced to what the English media write.

Only "good" news

All that means the English Wikinews accepted the philosophy that can be described like Wikipedia refusing any article not being at least good. (By the way, I shall mention that I was accused of introducing this philosophy to Czech Wikinews, while I have always been far away from the demands that exist on English Wikinews. And more, my own demands on stories on Czech Wikinews never led to hide or delete the substandard news, they always had a chance to exist, albeit criticized). Even for Wikipedia, this philosophy would be difficult. For English Wikinews, with around 100 main namespace edits per day, it is self-destructive.


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