Wikipedia talk:In the news

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Upcoming ITN/R suggestions (Jul–Sep)

This post attempts to highlight potential nominations that could be considered and where else to continue looking for news items. The recurring items list is a good place to start. Below is a provisional list of upcoming ITN/R events over the next few months. Note that some events may be announced earlier or later than scheduled, like the result of an election or the culmination of a sport season/tournament. Feel free to update these articles in advance and nominate them on the candidates page when they occur.

  • 4 August: 2018 Super Rugby Final
  • 5 August: 2018 BWF World Championships
  • 9 August: Fields Medal
  • 12 August: 2018 PGA Championship
  • 20 August: Hugo Award for Best Novel
  • September
  • 2 September: 2018 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final
  • 3 September: Rwandan parliamentary election, 2018
  • 9 September:
  • 17 September: 70th Primetime Emmy Awards
  • 23 September: Maldivian presidential election, 2018
  • 29 September: 2018 AFL Grand Final
  • 30 September:
  • Other resources

    For those who don't take their daily dose of news from an encyclopedia, breaking news stories can also be found via news aggregators (e.g. Google News, Yahoo! News) or your preferred news outlet. Some news outlets employ paywalls after a few free articles, others are funded by advertisements - which tend not to like ad blockers, and a fair few are still free to access. Below is a small selection:

    Unlike the prose in the article, the reference doesn't necessarily need to be in English. Non-English news sources include, but are not limited to: Le Monde, Der Spiegel and El País. Which ironically are Western European examples (hi systemic bias). Any reliable African, Asian or South American non-English source that confirms an event took place can also be used.

    Happy hunting. Fuebaey (talk) 13:10, 24 June 2018 (UTC)

    (Closed) Staleness of the Recent Deaths process

    Established ITN policies and consensus re-affirmed: we won't post articles in poor condition. WP:ITN has all the details if you need them. --LaserLegs (talk) 19:30, 4 September 2018 (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.

    FYI, add Neil Simon to the list of very high profile folks who never made it to the list of "Recent deaths" on the front page because of the sourcing standards set forth here [1]. Regardless of your views about accuracy and sourcing, there's something broken if folks coming to our front page for the latest news are not seeing Alan Thicke, Merle Haggard or other famous folks in a timely manner. Stephen -- Fuzheado | Talk 17:40, 4 September 2018 (UTC)

    That's a problem with editors that edit those entertainment-related BLP pages (when they are alive) not including all the necessary sourcing from the start. Many of our celebrity BLP pages are in such crappy form because editors assume sources like IMDB are fine and all that. And when one sees 20+ works that need to be sourced, no one wants to pick up that load. (because it is legitimately a pain in the butt to do in a short period of time). The main page requires the quality of sourcing that many of these RDs simply can't get to or no one wants to do the work to try to do. We need to encourage editors to improve well before these BLPs likely will enter the RD queue (sourcing from the star). --Masem (t) 17:45, 4 September 2018 (UTC)
    • ITN is not supposed to give people the latest news. That would be the purpose of a news ticker, or news website, and we're neither of those things. The purpose of ITN is to highlight quality articles about current events. That's all. If the article is not of high quality, fix it, and it will be posted. --Jayron32 17:53, 4 September 2018 (UTC)
    • Yep, that's it really. If I see an RD pop up that's sub-par and I'm familiar with the subject, I'll often fix it - and a lot of other editors do the same. But if there isn't anyone willing to put in the work to do that, it won't get posted. Black Kite (talk)
    • 3 RDs were posted for yesterday's date and 2 more for the day prior. To call the RD process "stale" is a misnomer.--WaltCip (talk) 18:03, 4 September 2018 (UTC)
    • Standards? RD has standards?!! Shame on that process.... Ticking along nicely I'd say. If people couldn't be bothered to get any particular article up to scratch (and meet BLP requirements), I'd say it was those folks' expectations that we'd post possible BLP violations to the main page that were broken, not the RD process. The Rambling Man (talk) 18:30, 4 September 2018 (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.

    Fix the heads of state ITN/R issue

    There is a consensus forming around a possible solution to the "head of state" issue at WT:ITNR. Additional feedback would be helpful. --LaserLegs (talk) 19:18, 7 September 2018 (UTC)

    Dangerously death-centric

    Some context:

    • Despite my account age, I don't really understand the editing side of Wikipedia; I just dive down a discussion hole on a talk page every now and then. Please tell me if I do something wrong.
    • Relatedly, I don't know if this is in the right place. I assume village pump (policy) could also fit, but I figured that going directly to the relevant community was more effective.
    • I love Wikipedia and think it's one of the most important human projects. I read it voraciously.

    I am hoping to start a conversation about the real, practical effect of a strongly negative (bleak, grim, dark) informational diet on the human psyche, and ITN's culpability in that process.

    I see that the article I'm commenting on somewhat addresses this content-axis under the banners of both "appropriateness" and "ethics and morals". I also know how archivists, sorters and enumerators (encyclopedia editors) work, having those tendencies myself. What I read in those two paragraphs is a strong disinterest in grappling with grey areas and the preference to stick to a simple editorial policy ("is it notable?") which absolves the editor of ethical engagement. I understand this reflex, and I especially understand it in the context of a large, community project in which there are massive non-obvious overheads involved in having complex rules, or rules which allow subjectivity. The reality of the matter, of course, is that that's as substantial a defence as "just doing my job". The artefact created has some impact and the responsibility lies with its architects.

    So a lot of people have made the news-doom-spiral argument and I don't want to insult the reader, but here's one form of it. Our species can now communicate more effectively than ever, and bad news is more compelling than good (arguably due to an evolutionary bias towards preferring false positives to false negatives when it comes to danger). The combination of the two means that any given list of notable (highly-consumed) news content is heavily weighted towards horrible stuff. A normal consumer of news, then, gains a model of the state of the world which is fundamentally inaccurate, because it aggregates all the most horrible stuff happening everywhere. The specific effects depend on the consumer, but it makes her world darker and colder and scarier. For the susceptible, and ultimately even the resilient, it leads to psychological damage.

    I think that depression is an existential threat to our species, and that Wikipedia is (specifically in this way, not overall) making things worse. Some of the other infoboxes on the frontpage (the most important frontpage on the Internet, in my view) have similar issues, but "In the news" is the worst offender by far. It's an endless cavalcade of horrible murders, deaths, disjointed death toll counts, and then a "recent deaths" ticker at the bottom just in case you hadn't had your fill yet.

    A very sensible dude called Tristan Harris often points to the status quo bias of humans, and I want to bring it up here. The way things are is just that - a given configuration. It's of course not arbitrary but it's most certainly not a fixture either. A lot of it wasn't designed with the reality of its impact in mind. Wikipedia occupies this unique combination of having massive traffic and not being bound by corporate insanity (Google and Facebook have a strong financial incentive to keep you horrified, upset, angry, etc). There is no community better equipped to make this kind of high-minded ethical decision.

    So. Policy is hard. Responsibility is heavy. But by making the easy choice of continuing to pick the most simplistically notable entries as presented by the death-enthused media engines, the world is presented as darker than it is. (And I really don't mean to criticize the efforts of the tireless and unpaid volunteers who submit and vote on candidates. I don't think anyone is ill-intentioned here.)

    So what would I suggest? There are many ways to improve things and I'm not claiming to be an expert. One thought I had was to add a "death and disaster" tab (or something better named) to the top of the info-box and move all recent deaths and cataclysms into it. Don't have it selected by default. At least let the reader have to choose to look into the abyss. Or remove them all and keep the death ticker, expanding it to include disasters.

    But I would really like to hear views from the community on this one. I hope someone sees the logic in what I'm asserting, and I wish I could whip out the kinds of lovely references I know hold sway here, but just because this is something academia hasn't gotten excited about doesn't make it any less important for our species' continued wellbeing.


    corp 11:38, 17 September 2018 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Corpsious (talkcontribs)

    • I'm fairly sure this has been proposed in the past. The main problem is that there isn't room on the Main Page for another box. Additionally, we have no control over the events of the world that occur that may merit posting to ITN. They sometimes come in waves. It's just the way it is. We can't fix the psychological problems of the world on this one webpage. If you would like to see different things posted to ITN, you are welcome to participate at WP:ITNC, making nominations of things you want to see, or opposing nominations that you don't want to see. 331dot (talk) 11:44, 17 September 2018 (UTC)
    Thanks very much for replying and sharing your view!
    I really don't mean to come off as confrontational, and I recognize that this probably registers as not much more than an annoyance in your information-dense day, and that I can be wordy, but I feel like you didn't read what I wrote substantially. It wouldn't necessarily take up any more layout space (neither of the suggestions I made would, anyway). I directly addressed "It's just the way it is. We can't fix the psychological problems of the world on this one webpage." with the status quo bias paragraph and the one following it. Your second sentence there is particularly insidious in its defeatism - activism is and has always been about small actions adding up to larger impact. And I mentioned Wikipedia's unique position - as small actions go, Wikipedia's front page is a large one.
    I recognize the fundamental truth you're pointing at. That's why I'm in such a tricky position. I'm suggesting an editorial policy change (which could take the form of a presentation-only change) which acts to counterbalance, to some very small degree, the feedback loop of existential psychological darkness. To me the ethics of this are utterly foregone. But I understand if not rocking the boat is a higher priority for you (not sarcasm or hostility, I promise) or indeed if I come across as a raving nutter.
    I appreciate your advice about participating in ITNC and I will do my best to try out some participation. Unfortunately time is not a luxury I possess in great quantity. I was hoping to have a greater impact by starting a discussion among existing editors. I went searching and found this. It's pretty deflating that the attitude seemed to be a wall of "that's what news is, deal with it". On the other hand, it made me reflect on the reality that all a community project is is the actions of its members, so maybe I should consider proselytizing to those who are active on ITNC directly. Corpsious (talk) 13:20, 17 September 2018 (UTC)
    I examined your post carefully. I was not trying to suggest there was no merit in your views, but you seem to be speaking to larger societal and psychological problems than need to be addressed more broadly than changing a box on the Wikipedia Main Page. Our focus needs to be on improving this encyclopedia(specifically in this case the ITN box) and not fixing societal ills, of which over time I've seen at least a few others attempt here. As I stated, that doesn't mean you can't make nominations or support/oppose existing nominations based on your views- and I encourage you to- but it isn't a reason to change the Main Page. 331dot (talk) 13:28, 17 September 2018 (UTC)
    I strongly disagree, but I hope I've at least made you consider the possibility that social change comes down to small actions taken by individuals, and that negativity feeds negativity. Thank you very much for remaining civil and recognizing my points :) Corpsious (talk) 13:40, 17 September 2018 (UTC)
    A comment to add to what to 331dot has said: bad, death-centric news gets worldwide coverage and generally easily passes the bar for ITN. "Good" news is much harder to come by that has a significant effort and has sufficient global impact to get the coverage for ITN. This is an unfortunately part of how the news media work, and there's little we can do to change that, particularly when several death-related events happen in close proximity. --Masem (t) 13:47, 17 September 2018 (UTC)
    Thanks for replying! "What is notable in the news media" is quite far removed from "what ITN presents", unless equivalence here is a major ITN goal. There are many potential interventions beyond a unilateral dismantling of the news machine, such as a change in how what does make it to ITN is presented to counteract its impact. Corpsious (talk) 12:48, 18 September 2018 (UTC)
    • Comment I've often thought about tabs, or an infinite scroller, or similar, but the thing is, we're locked in to the en-wiki/MediaWiki CSS/JS package. A decade (more?) of attempts to redesign the main page have gone no where, so for now we're locked into the real estate we have. --LaserLegs (talk) 14:37, 17 September 2018 (UTC)
    • Comment WP:ITN#Purpose is fairly inclusive, but over the long years "consensus" has piled on numerous undocumented !rules about what we do/don't post which seems to limit the box to European sports and death. Some defenses you'll see: "That's what's in the news", "if you don't like it, nominate an article", "that's what consensus determined, and it's fine". There is also the often shrieked, (presumably while frothing at the mouth) claims of "systemic bias". That said, 331dot is right, participation at ITN/C helps, and you don't have to do more than read the target article and evaluate it against the criteria at WP:ITN. I hope you'll stick around. Cheers. --LaserLegs (talk) 14:37, 17 September 2018 (UTC)
    Thanks for replying! Your perspective as a (jaded?) insider is really interesting to me. I understand that ITN/C is the river's head and de-dooming the content at source would of course have an impact, but it seems to me that the process has stultified into what you describe. (I am of course not absolving myself of the responsibility to participate in ITN/C.) The presentation layer stuff strikes me as a more practical way to have a substantial impact on the tide of gloom. It didn't occur to me that frontpage changes were a technical challenge, though. I am curious about the particular shape of the constraints and I will do more research. Corpsious (talk) 12:48, 18 September 2018 (UTC)
    Our brief. Martinevans123 (talk) 12:56, 18 September 2018 (UTC)
     • All attempts to sanitize, 'manage' or censor the news (or arts, or public discourse) are doomed to failure – witness, for example, samizdat. This is particularly so in the digital age. Sca (talk) 14:39, 18 September 2018 (UTC)

    Brexit negotiations, 20 September 2018

    OP was asking about Portal:Current events and has been assisted. WT:ITN is not the place to bicker about the significance of the ongoing trainwreck that is "BrExit" --LaserLegs (talk) 20:33, 22 September 2018 (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.

    Shouldn't the "International relations" section (September 20, 2018) feature the negative reception by other EU leaders to Teresa May's Chequers plan, rather than the tame prospective "additional gathering in mid-November"?

    • What the papers say – September 21 ITV News
    • Donald Tusk: Theresa May's Brexit trade plan won't work BBC News
    • Embarrassing rebuff for PM in Salzburg BBC News
    • Is it farewell and auf wiedersehen for Theresa May after Salzburg summit? Sky News
    --The Vintage Feminist (talk) 13:17, 21 September 2018 (UTC)
    Update: UK and EU 'at an impasse' in Brexit negotiations, says Theresa May ITV News, statement by Theresa May from No. 10 Downing Street. --The Vintage Feminist (talk) 13:31, 21 September 2018 (UTC)
    Isn't that a portal issue rather than an ITN issue? The Rambling Man (talk) 13:46, 21 September 2018 (UTC)
    The Rambling Man I don't really do a lot of current events so I'm not that clear on how you alter it after the fact (or even if you can). I tried to get May's response onto today's current events Wikipedia:In the news/Candidates#(Closed) International relations but that was as popular as a fart in a spacesuit. It's on every front page, the top story on broadcast news bulletins, and could bring down the government... but apparently none of that is big enough for Wikipedia's current events. --The Vintage Feminist (talk) 15:51, 21 September 2018 (UTC)
    Well if you want something to feature on the main page, it needs to be nominated at WP:ITNC. The stuff that goes into the portal seems like a bit of a free-for-all, but I'm not close to that so unsure of the process. ITN, for all its shortcomings, at least uses a consensus for inclusion. I think the Current events portal talkpage is really where you need to be discussing this, but who really visits that? Do our readers even know of the existence of such "portals"?? The Rambling Man (talk) 15:55, 21 September 2018 (UTC)
    Keep in mind that Wikipedia is not a newspaper. Just because there is media reaction to something doesn't necessarily make it appropriate for inclusion in WP or even to highlight in ITN or Current Events. To wit: Trump does a lot of stuff that gets headlined across the board in the US, but most of those are not necessary to document as they are at-the-moment stories. If it were the case here that May formally announced that UK will negotiate no further with the EU on Brexit, that might be something, but just having negotiations stall is not. --Masem (t) 15:59, 21 September 2018 (UTC)
    You may be confusing Wikipedia:In the news with Portal:Current events. Feel free to edit Portal:Current events/2018 September 20 if you would like to change how that particular topic appears. Fuebaey (talk) 17:59, 21 September 2018 (UTC)
    The process - at least from my point of view - was:
    1. I clicked on "current events" to see how the main page was covering what happened in Salzburg, which is more than just the "negotiations having stalled", sterling has hit a 12 month low - Sterling plunges as May signals possibility of hard Brexit
    2. All I could see was a mention of the possibility of a November summit.
    3. I clicked on the talk page at the top of it I was directed WP:ITN/Candidates (I don't see how I am confusing the two, it's where I was directed.)
    4. Everything looks to be "in advance" - WP:In the news/Candidates#Voicing an opinion on an item, I wasn't trying to voice an opinion on a candidate item. I was trying to voice an opinion on an already approved item. I didn't realize you can change them when they are already up, but given the poor reception that WP:In the news/Candidates#(Closed) International relations got (WP:SNOW) any change I make will just get reverted.
    The Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney says no-deal (which just became more likely) could cause UK house prices to fall by up to a third but that = "not notable". There might be a November summit = "notable". That doesn't make any sense at all. --The Vintage Feminist (talk) 01:16, 22 September 2018 (UTC)
    @The Vintage Feminist: - no one is denying the notability of Brexit and its negotiations. The fact that an article exists indicates that there is notability. The issue for ITN is that the negotiations are ongoing, and have been for years at this stage. However, your rationale of this importance of this development shows the issue - might, and could tell us that the impact of the collapse in negotiations is not crystal clear. Moreover, the stalling of negotiations that have (from my Irish perspective) been stalled for months on end, is not a development that needs to be listed at ITN. Brexit is notable and worthy of an ITN listing - not every twist of the long and winding road needs to be listed on the main page. Portal:Current events can be edited directly given a news source. ITN/C requires editors' consensus, and is a separate system. Hope this helps, Stormy clouds (talk) 07:08, 22 September 2018 (UTC)
    @Stormy clouds: I wasn't expecting "every twist of the long and winding road" to be documented, the thing - which noone's explained to me so far - is why was the next-to-nothing-story of the chance of an additional meeting again November seen as worthy of being included on the main page, when the far, far more serious issue of the talks possibly being dead isn't. The reporting in the UK over the past two years has always been "there's a way to go" and "we're still talking" - this was different, Donald Tusk, President of the European Council was unequivocal "The suggested framework for economic cooperation will not work." --The Vintage Feminist (talk) 13:05, 22 September 2018 (UTC)
    Things being a "possibility" do not work well for WP due to we're not a crystal ball. News jumps on speculation, but we are writing on what actually happens. If the next meeting is actually cancelled, that might be worthwhile, but only being a chance it might be is not sufficient for us. --Masem (t) 13:10, 22 September 2018 (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.
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