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Incorrect license cited for Wikinews
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Author: brian.mcneil

As-highlighted by one of our readers[1], the mobile app - at least on Android - is stating the wrong license under which content from Wikinews is licensed.

At least on English Wikinews, and likely on other languages, current content is under CC-BY-2.5. "Legacy" content is PD.

The project's copyright message displays the correct details, so I'm wondering why the mobile version doesn't use it.


Version: unspecified
Severity: normal



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bzimport raised the priority of this task from to Low.Nov 22 2014, 1:01 AM
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It is OK on the site:

so clearly something from the app itself.

To clarify, this is an issue with the mobile version of Wikinews, NOT a mobile app. We do not maintain a mobile app for Wikinews.

Matanya, the link you provided actually displays the issue, which is incorrect licensing information for Wikinews.

At the moment, MobileFrontend (the software that powers the mobile version of the sites), uses a MediaWiki message to provide the license text displayed in the footer. This means that at the moment, the easiest way to resolve this issue would be to edit the message on the site itself - this would need to be done on each Wikinews (or other) affected site. The message in question is 'mobile-frontend-footer-license', and for English Wikinews, can be edited here:

The alternative would be to make code-level changes that allow us to configure a license to use on a per-site basis. However, handling translations of unique license-related text displayed would be more complicated. I suggest changing the text on a per-site basis (per the previous paragraph) while we consider alternative fixes to make licensing more configurable.

Updated product/component for this bug to the MobileFrontend extension.

Why do you need a message different than MediaWiki:Copyright ?
You could override it with Mobile-frontend-footer-license if it's there, but the default could simply be MediaWiki:Copyright, avoiding this issues.

Moreover, as you're creating a new message, why did you make it html??

brian.mcneil wrote:

I have edited/created (have to ask why people keep posting http:// links, I've been pondering getting them in 'watchlisted page has changed' emails as a "bug" needing resolved).

Per-site is a perfectly reasonable solution Arthur, but someone needs to highlight to the sites that if they use a non-default license of X, they have to set the message up.

I've no way of checking what I put in displays nicely, which is irksome. But, this is a real piece of arcana that most people wouldn't notice.

I wouldn't consider showing the site *by default* under a different license as a 'perfectly reasonable solution'.,. Sigh, at least CC-BY is compatible with CC-BY-SA, it could be worse.

brian.mcneil wrote:

Platonides, we need a different message BECAUSE WE DON'T USE THE ASSUMED LICENSE.

Isn't that what I said in filing the bug?

I apologise for shouting, but this seems so silly. We've not gone through the hassle of a license vote, and it would not apply to old content (some of which is PD). I think, if people will take this as the flippant comment it's meant to be, ...

"Breaking News! The WikiMedia Foundation is more than just Wikipedia".

... Then maybe these sort of blunders wouldn't happen.

Brian, it wasn't directed to wikinewsies, but to mobile frontend.
THEY are showing wikinews by default (unless you change a hidden message) as being under a different license than the one it is.

brian.mcneil wrote:


It's good that there's the flexibility to set the message. But people need to know about it. I've left a message for the user who reported it (and thus has a device to check with) that - as an admin - he can fix it properly.

If anything comes out of the bug, some emails or notices on alert/water cooler pages will probably sort the whole thing out.

I recently declined a request from a well-meaning individual to change enWN over to the CC-BY logo in one of the fifty shades of grey they use; and, part of my reasoning is that we're not on the latest license.

You mention that the HTML I've chucked in there isn't looking too good (at least, I assume that from the remarks). Whilst waiting on Diego taking a look, I'll happily replace it with something that does cite the correct license.

It's not about your HTML (it looks good) but that messages which output html are deprecated in mediawiki, so the mobile frontend shouldn't be creating new ones without a good rationale.

brian.mcneil wrote:

Well, on that basis I think the bug can possibly be closed.

A little research will likely establish if enWN is the only "red-headed" project with a weird license. If not, the others can be notified.

Worst-case, the devs 'spam' all the noticeboards/water coolers with a message about the new MediaWiki message for copyright.

Our "Full Copyright Caution" on Wikinews is a little weird. The text? Have at it, mention where it came from and you're safe - 'gracious', even, if you do it with the old PD stuff. Pics? We're up-front about the "There Be Dragons" aspect of it.

I'd an argument with someone who wanted to be lovey-dovey-wishy-washy over our copying rules. But, they're as I drafted them; a form which dev's who've read enough old-school RFCs will recognise:

Developers who have dealt with software copyright and licensing are part of the very small subset who'll see the disclaimer is written to be humorous.

Other (all?) wikinews are also affected.

Brian, it looks serious, not humorous. Also, it stands a bit that it says "consult a lawyer" and not "consult *your* lawyer", or if you prefer to be humorous "pay a lawyer to be yours" :)

brian.mcneil wrote:

Well, if it impacts all Wikinews language editions, then a 'hit' on appropriate [[n:WN:WC]] pages will see it sorted.

"pay a lawyer to be yours" could be misconstrued as soliciting for employment of Wikinewsies who might be lawyers. We're digressing into arcana there, which largely relates to the 'genius' definitions of 'must', 'should', and their negatives, which were laid down by Jon Postel. If you treat it like a "verbal flowchart" it is incredibly easy to follow.

That's what is important. If you point a lawyer at it, it is unambiguous and clearly defines the areas where doubt and uncertainty may exist. I've had a couple of lawyers who deal with online stuff look at that page; their response was along the lines of "if every site laid stuff out so clearly, we'd be out of work".

wmf.amgine3691 wrote:

"where doubt and uncertainty must exist."

But Platonides is correct, this is a two-fold bug. It should not have defaults which might not be true. It should not introduce raw html. I believe it violates at least one of the tenets of the MW Security guidelines in doing so.

philinje wrote:

I updated the relevant pages manually for all languages except the following, which were locked:


by going to:

and replacing the href with:

<a href="//">CC-BY-2.5</a>

Finally, sq had no such page and I created one.

Hopefully Philippe will finish the remaining pages.