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Reasons for decline and deletion on Wikinews
Open, Needs TriagePublic


How might I get help with

  • understanding the data available on Wikinews and
  • improving data collection there along the lines suggested by [[User:Gryllida]] at [[n:User:Gryllida/Tasks#Task 33: track decline and deletion reasons]]?

Gryllida is one of eleven [[n:Wikinews:Administrators]] who are not bureaucrats.

I plan to attend [ WikiConference North America, October 18-21] in Columbus, Ohio, USA. I've submitted a [ proposal for a workshop suggesting that the Wikimedia Foundation is ideally placed to counter the Balkanization of the body politic] exacerbated by the rise of social media.

Whether as part of that workshop or in hackathons at that conference (or before), I hope to work with others to understand better the available data and develop improvements.

The data on en.wikinews suggests that it gets roughly 60 submissions for every article they publish. This observation has been vigorously attacked and denied by [[User:Pi zero]] and Gryllida.

[[User:Pi zero]] is one of nine bureaucrats with en.wikinews and is also the most active. This was obvious in a review I did of the history pages behind all ten articles displayed on the en.wikinews landing page on 2017-10-19: Pi zero's name was over half of the occurrences; an “occurrence” was an edit s/he made or a mention of her/his name in the comments for an edit. Over half of the occurrence that were not Pi zero were Gryllida. Those two together were responsible for over half the edits for the featured articles on that date.

I have not replicated that study, but the vast majority of the responses to comments I made on these issues in [[Wikinews:Wikinews:Water cooler/proposals]] came from either Pi zero or Gryllida. Please see in particular sections [[Wikinews:Wikinews:Water cooler/proposals#Retaining contributors with compatible projects]] and [[Wikinews:Wikinews:Water cooler/proposals#Wikinews stats]]. My comments there are based on ideas summarized in the proposed workshop for WikiConference North America Oct. 18-21. They follow a more extended discussion in [[Wikiversity:Everyone's favorite news site]], which is summarized in the [ lightning talk I gave at Wikimania 2018 in Cape Town].

My summary of Pi zero's comments on this is as follows:

  1. Your data are wrong (and are worthless even if correct, at least for Wikinews).
  2. The entire Wikimedia system reached a peak in the number of volunteers at around the time the Wimedia Foundation was founded. This is most visible on Wikinews, because it is “news,” and “news” stops being “news” a week later. Meanwhile, an encyclopedia or dictionary entry does not stop being what it is a week later.

If this misrepresents Pi zero's perspective, I hope s/he will find these comments and correct my misunderstanding.

I'm perhaps most confused about one point: Your data suggest that the English language Wikinews gets roughly 60 submissions for every article they publish. Pi zero and Gryllida indicate they get a lot of garbage, spam, press releases, troll comments, etc. I don't know if the garbage they've described represent perhaps 50 out of the 60 submissions you've reported for every article published by en.wikinews or if it only represents between, say, 60 and 90 percent of the much smaller number of submissions they count. I think that's worth knowing, though I think Pi zero disagrees.

In sum:

  1. I'd like help in trying to create a system similar to [[n:User:Gryllida/Tasks#Task 33: track decline and deletion reasons]].
  2. I'd like to start this work as soon as feasible. In particular, I hope to work on it during a hackathon at WikiConference North America 2018 if not before.
  3. If you think this is worth discussing in an official workshop during that conference, it would help if you add your name and suggestions for revision on [ the page for that workshop proposal.]

Thanks, ~~~~ [[User:DavidMCEddy]]
p.s. My attempts to enter "Wikinews" in "Tags" were rejected. My attempts to enter my Wikimedia name or an email address into "Subscribers" were also rejected. I'm sure you know this, but I would have felt more comfortable if I could have added "Tags" and some reference to "Subscribers" like that.

Event Timeline

Thanks for this request DavidMCEddy

However in my opinion this issue tracker is for tasks which relate to software developed by the WMF. This is a content task and as the WMF has not a very good understanding of the article status changes atWikinews --which I or another contributor at Wikinews does-- we can do it ourselves.

Help could come in the form of specific questions such as

  • what api to use to retrieve deleted article list
  • what api to use to retrieve deleted article histories
  • for a given article history how to programmatically identify the times a paricular category (we are interested in 'Develop', 'Review', 'Disputed', 'Abandoned', I think) was added (and who did the addition or removal)
  • how to programmatically identify the author
  • how to programmatically output a report about the above

And I suspect I already know the answers to all of these questions, so I am not sure what would other people seeing this ticket actually do.

I don't think Phabricator can be used to request that someone implements the code for this task; that's what the technical form on-wiki is normally used for and as far as I know no volunteers or employees from this issue tracker participate in volunteering to program for small wikis.

If someone proves me wrong in regards to the above, it would be a nice find.

Phabricator is indeed not the best venue to ask for assistance with research methodology. Here are some suggestions instead:

  1. Create a research project page on Meta-wiki as described on , listing the concrete research questions you would like to answer
  2. Send an email to the the Wikiresearch mailing list with a link to the project page and the concrete research methodology problems you need help solving. That list has an active community of knowledgeable researchers who may or may not be able to give you useful pointers.
  3. You might also want to search for related research, e.g. in the archives of the Wikimedia Research Newsletter , which would lead to e.g. this or this summary regarding Wikinews, or to research about deletions reasons on Wikipedia.

Knowledge of a particular wiki's structure is of course relevant for such a project, but I don't know how many professional researchers would agree with the assertion that research on online communities must only be done by active members of those communities themselves.

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