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Wikipedia:How the Current events page works

The Current events portal and associated pages contains news listed on a daily basis with a link to background articles. Of primary importance are events. In addition, trends and developments are also listworthy.

Contents

Summary of edit instructionsEdit

This section contains the brief summary of edit instructions that is automatically seen when editing the Current events portal, and is found at Portal:Current events/Edit instructions:

Instructions for initialising page if the bot has failed to

The daily current events "blank" boxes are now generated daily by an efficient bot, so the instructions below this only apply if the bot has been disabled.

If you reached this page via the current date box's "edit" link, check whether the portal box has already been initiated, and already contains the following (parsed) wiki code (use copy/paste from the code below, if necessary, to correct any syntax errors):

{{Current events|year={{subst:CURRENTYEAR}}|month={{subst:CURRENTMONTH}}|day={{subst:CURRENTDAY}}|content=
<!-- All news items below this line -->
*
<!-- All news items above this line -->}}

Then save the page, before adding any news items. This will help insure the new day displays according to the current events portal design.

Note that the above items: CURRENTYEAR, CURRENTMONTH, and CURRENTDAY, all will display as positive integers once the page is saved.
For example, the code to generate March 27, 2009 (Friday) in the box should appear as
{{Current events|year=2009|month=3|day=27|content=...

Before posting, please make sure you are familiar with posting policies and guidelines:

  • Please log news events as complete sentences, in the present tense, with links to reliable sources (stories without links will be removed).
  • Each news item should be posted under an appropriate heading, such as: Armed conflicts and attacks, Arts and culture, Business and economy, Disasters and accidents, Health and environment, International relations, Law and crime, Politics and elections, Science and technology, Sports.
  • If a news item is part of a larger event, list it under a subheader consisting of a link to the larger event. Don't create subheaders linking to general topics or lists.
  • Stories added to the main portal page should be of international interest. Stories of only regional or topical interest belong in their appropriate sub-pages, if any.
  • Do not list the ordinary deaths of prominent persons here. That's what recent deaths is for. Exceptions to this rule are made for prominent persons who died in office (such as Pope John Paul II and Omar Bongo) or other instances where the death in itself has a major impact.
  • Wikipedia policies concerning biographies of living persons (BLP) should be followed, including WP:BLPNAME and WP:BLPCRIME.
  • Stories should be added under the date in which they occurred in local time. Most sources indicate the day of the week in which an event occurred.
  • English language news stories are preferred, though foreign language sources can be used if English-language coverage is unavailable.
  • For each item, please update the most relevant linked article if it is appropriate.
  • Please avoid links to subscription-only sites such as AOL or WSJ (except in the unlikely event that a story is covered substantially better there than anywhere else).

Example news item:

;Politics and elections
*[[Georgian presidential election, 2018]]
**[[Georgia (country)|Georgia]]n citizens vote in the last presidential election to be decided by [[direct election]]. [https://www.rferl.org/a/last-direct-presidential-election-in-georgia-may-set-a-caucasus-first-/29567315.html (RFE/RL)]

Further information:

Talk page for edit instructions summary

How the current events portal helps WikipediaEdit

This portal attracts visitors seeking information about topics that are big at the moment, resulting in an increased readership and improvement of Wikipedia articles related to such topics.

Scope and relation to WikinewsEdit

Unless otherwise specified, this content deals with Current events day by day. For more information about the concise template which is visible on the Main page of Wikipedia, see Wikipedia:In the news.

The Portal:Current events page also contains Boxes in right sidebar.

Wikipedia is not a news serviceEdit

In contrast to Wikinews, the purpose of Wikipedia does not include writing about breaking news stories. Rather, Wikipedia has its own notability criteria (Wikipedia:Notability). One very significant danger is that news articles must be kept current in order to remain accurate. Wikipedians might begin a news article and then simply lose interest in the topic, whereupon the article becomes inaccurate. In short, we aren't set up to be an amateur news organization, and we shouldn't try to compete with professional news organizations.

Moreover, Wikipedia is not a collection of primary source material. Direct first-hand reporting of current events is primary source material. Wikinews accepts primary source material, however, and is a repository of such primary source material that is there for Wikipedia to cite.

Wikinews can also be cited in its capacity as an amalgam of primary sources. Citing a news summary article on Wikinews, which in its turn cites the multitude of news sources that it is summarizing, can save Wikipedia the trouble of citing the long list of news sources directly itself.

Short entriesEdit

Entries on Current events are brief summaries of the topic at hand, preferably no more than 30 - 40 words. For more information, links are given to one or more Wikipedia articles, as well as one or more external news articles.

Wikipedia is a news backgrounderEdit

Many news topics are notable enough to fulfill the notability criteria for becoming Wikipedia articles, while some only have specific articles in for example Wikinews. In any case, Wikipedia contains articles on the background of related topics. For example, Wikipedia does not only include an article on the Fall of Mazar-i-Sharif, but also to the War in Afghanistan (2001–present) and Mazar-i-Sharif.

Wikipedia and Wikinews complement each other in this respect. Just as Wikinews can provide or collate primary source material on current events for Wikipedia, saving Wikipedia trouble, Wikipedia can provide in-depth background articles to Wikinews about people, places, and things in the news, saving Wikinews the trouble of writing, and maintaining, backgrounders. In contrast, professional news organizations have no encyclopaedia as a sibling project to call upon.

NotabilityEdit

Significance of a subject follows the same rules as for "In the news" on the main page of Wikipedia (although Portal:Current events is slightly more inclusionist). See: Wikipedia:In the news#Significance.

On the other hand, the existence of a Wikipedia article specifically about the topic is not necessary for making a Portal:Current events entry, but there should be a link to a more or less related Wikipedia article. Even if an event does not merit a separate Wikipedia article, it can often be included in broadly scoped articles such as List of terrorist incidents in August 2019 or 2019 Atlantic hurricane season.

Inclusion of an event does not mean that every similar type of event is notable. For example, after a major earthquake, even an aftershock thereof needs its own consideration of its impact before inclusion.

Page creationEdit

The bot account Cyberbot I creates a 'blank' current events page for the following day at 03:30 UTC, so wiki users will never have to create the page themselves. The 'blank' page is created with the following code:

{{Current events|year=2018|month=06|day=10|content=

<!-- All news items below this line -->
*
<!-- All news items above this line -->}}

Which looks like this:

Instructions for initialising page if the bot has failed to

The instructions below this only apply if the bot has been disabled.

If you reached this page via the current date box's "edit" link, check whether the portal box has already been initiated, and already contains the following (parsed) wiki code (use copy/paste from the code below, if necessary, to correct any syntax errors):

{{Current events|year={{subst:CURRENTYEAR}}|month={{subst:CURRENTMONTH}}|day={{subst:CURRENTDAY}}|content=
<!-- All news items below this line -->
*
<!-- All news items above this line -->}}

Then save the page, before adding any news items. This will help insure the new day displays according to the current events portal design.

Note that the above items: CURRENTYEAR, CURRENTMONTH, and CURRENTDAY, all will display as positive integers once the page is saved.
For example, the code to generate March 27, 2009 (Friday) in the box should appear as
{{Current events|year=2009|month=3|day=27|content=...

CategoriesEdit

News items should always be added with categories. The categories are as follows:

  • Arts and culture
  • Armed conflicts and attacks
  • Business and economy
  • Disasters and accidents
  • Health and environment
  • International relations
  • Law and crime
  • Politics and elections
  • Science and technology
  • Sports

News items which do not fit into any of the above categories shouldn't be added.

Setting the contextEdit

It is customary, if possible, to indicate the context for a story at the start of the line. A good (hypothetical) example would be:

The context string, SCO v. IBM Linux lawsuit, links to a story on the relevant topic. This is ideal but not always possible.

Here is another good example:

The context is not the geographical locationEdit

For example, this is incorrect:

  • Saskatchewan
    • The NDP government of Lorne Calvert is returned to power with a majority government in the general election. (2)

However, this is correct:

as is this:

This is incorrect:

The solar system is the location, not the context. This is better:

  • The sun surprises astronomers by launching another solar flare, this time the largest ever recorded. (4)

The context is not the subjectEdit

This is incorrect context:

  • Jessica Lynch
    • A new book claiming to reveal details of her capture and captivity. She was supposedly treated brutally, as the author claims was evinced by her physical condition, and, according to medical records, he says, was anally raped. The book says some Iraqi doctors said Lynch was virtually dead. However, Lynch has since stated that she does not recall any sexual assault and was "adamantly opposed to including the rape claim in the book", but that Bragg wore her down and told her that "people need to know that this was what can happen to women soldiers." (5)

Why? Because Jessica Lynch is the entry's subject, not its context. It would be better to rewrite it with a context like this:

  • A new book claims to reveal details of Jessica Lynch's capture and captivity. She was supposedly treated brutally, as the author claims was evinced by her physical condition, and, according to medical records, he says, was anally raped. The book says some Iraqi doctors said Lynch was virtually dead. [1] However, Lynch has since stated that she does not recall any sexual assault and was "adamantly opposed to including the rape claim in the book", but that Bragg wore her down and told her that "people need to know that this was what can happen to women soldiers." (5)

Yet another problematic emphasis of subject over context:

  • Space
    • After 26 years, and at a distance from Earth of over 8 billion miles, Voyager 1 exits the solar system. It is expected to keep on transmitting into the 2020s. (6)

To restore emphasis to the context, try something like this:

TimezonesEdit

  • List, if possible and appropriate, local time and UTC for events. For example, if an earthquake takes place, it is useful to have both a common reference (i.e. UTC) and the local time, so as to be able to place it in context (rush hour, lunchtime, etc.). Otherwise prefer local time, but both may be used. Events are always put under the date in the local time zone.

For example, if an earthquake hits New Zealand February 22 at 12:51 local time (February 21 23:51 by UTC), the item should be added to February 22:

Other guidelinesEdit

  • Avoid editorials and opinion pieces laden with point-of-view.
  • Avoid sensationalism wherever it makes the entry less accurate, clear or concise (such as addition of "...for the first time in history"). Every listed event can practically be described as a first for a specific location and/or situation.
  • Similarly, generally avoid comparison to any previous event, such as "Largest in in the region since [year]". Previous events is generally out of scope of the page, and confers a publication bias favoring regions with a low frequency of similar events.
  • Log news events as complete sentences, in the present tense. Generally use the indefinite article an or a for events rather than the (which is used by sensationalist news to imply that readers should already know about the event).
  • Each entry must have at least one working link to a reliable source.
  • If a news item is part of a larger event, list it under a subheader consisting of a link to the larger event. Don't create subheaders linking to general topics or lists.
  • Stories added to the main portal page should be of international interest. Stories of only regional or topical interest belong in their appropriate sub-pages, if any.
  • Do not list ordinary deaths of prominent persons here. That's what recent deaths is for. Exceptions to this rule are made for prominent persons who died in office (such as Pope John Paul II and Omar Bongo) or other instances where the death in itself has a major impact.
  • Wikipedia policies concerning biographies of living persons (BLP) should be followed, including WP:BLPNAME and WP:BLPCRIME.
  • English language news stories are preferred, though foreign language sources can be used if English-language coverage is unavailable.
  • For each item, please update the most relevant linked Wikipedia article if appropriate.
  • Please avoid links to subscription-only sites such as AOL or WSJ (except in the unlikely event that a story is covered substantially better there than anywhere else).

See alsoEdit