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Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/Newsroom/Quick Start

How to contribute to The Signpost

Welcome. We are glad you have considered contributing to The Signpost! There are just a couple of things to take care of, then you can create and submit your contribution.

Creating an articleEdit

Signpost articles are one of the following two: News or Opinion.

  • News submissions should be kept relatively neutral and report on a specific piece of actual news.
  • The criteria for publishing opinion pieces are quality of argument, originality, and relevance to the community, as judged by the Signpost. Similar to newspaper op-eds, opinion pieces should be accompanied by an extended byline (suggestion: one to three sentences), that briefly introduces the author and indicates why his or her opinion about the topic might interest the reader. The purpose of publishing opinion pieces is to provoke thought and discussion in a productive rather than antagonistic fashion, and so submissions should be well-researched and not factually misleading or unnecessarily inflammatory. A related set of submissions that address the same issue but from editors' different perspectives are especially encouraged.

These buttons will create a page for you to write in. Save the name of the page. The formatting templates are complex and should be retained for publication. We suggest that if you are new to this, you simply replace the line that says "YOUR NEWS STORY OR OPINION GOES HERE" with your news story or opinion. The editorial staff will take care of markup and other formatting.

Send the title of the page you created to editorial staff, or you can add it to the roster yourself here using the button of the same name. Just fill in "submission" with the name of the page that you saved.

Check out the pages on formatting and on style for further information on how to write your article.

More ways to contributeEdit

There are, broadly speaking, three ways in which to contribute to the Signpost.

As a contributing writerEdit

As the second point in our statement of purpose outlines, the Signposts actively solicits and encourages the publication of works written by members of the community not regularly attached to the Signpost per se. Broadly speaking such writings fall into two categories. Opinion essays are articles which present a problem or issue or challenge before the community, and then explicitly take a viewpoint or a position on the issue and, giving reasons for the author's view, put it under discussion before the community at large. Special reports are features which, much like op-eds, attempt to outline a specific issue before the community in the expository and in-depth way that a long-form article allows, but do so in a more explicitly neutral way. Though critical commentary and criticism is allowed in special reports it is kept to a minimum, as the primary purpose of a special report is to present an issue, not to opine on it.

Book reviews, and all other pieces not fitting the classifications introduced here, can also be proposed or submitted: novel ideas are always welcome.

If you are interested in contributing a feature to the Signpost: select whichever category is more appropriate for the article you have in mind, and follow the instructions after clicking through to the submissions desk.

As a regular writerEdit

Interested in working a regular or occasional beat at one of the Signpost's regular features? This page provides an overview of the content of the various regular features under publication; once you have selected a section that you believe you are comfortable contributing to, make it known to everyone involved by introducing yourself into the regular responsibilities table at the Signpost newsroom. To ascertain responsibilities, catch up on the current status of a section, or otherwise to discuss or introduce yourself to other editors, introduce yourself on the project talk page—or, for a longer-form discussion, make use of (and direct others to) the dedicated #wikisignpost connect IRC channel. The Signpost is always in need of new writers; indeed, over the years a contributor shortage has seemingly been the one publication constant. Thank you for your interest!

This responsibility entails ensuring the report in question is consistently well-written and submitted before deadline, which in turn involves selecting the stories to be covered, managing the writing of the report (often contributing most of the content themselves, or recruiting other reporters to do so), and communicating with the newsroom to keep editors informed of developments. While all articles are subject to final review by the editor-in-chief (or managing editors), the regular reporter of a feature typically determines its direction and focus.

As a supporting editorEdit

In addition to the core task of writing articles, the Signpost has a large number of supporting editors who help to get the monthly issue out and handle maintenance issues. This includes:

  • Copy-editors: After an article is finished in writing it must be stylistically and grammatically vetted by the Signpost copy-editing team and the editor(s)-in-chief. If you are an experienced writer interested in making sure that the material that the Signpost publishes every month is as high-quality as possible, this is the position for you. For guidelines on Signpost house style, see Style.
  • Publication managers: Signpost publication is a complex and multi-step semi-automated procedure, and maintaining the ready state of the publication go button is the primary responsibility of the publication manager. The publication manager is also able to pull the trigger themselves whenever they feel that the Signpost is ready for its monthly publication. The script currently in use for publication as of May 2017, there is a new userscript to automate the publishing process – see User:Evad37/SPS.
  • Outreach managers: Editors delegated to assist the editor(s)-in-chief with managing the Signpost tip lines, handling the occasional Signpost reader surveys, and maintaining the Signpost social media accounts.
  • Designers: These editors are tasked with maintaining the Signpost's distinctive visual appearance and template code, and helping to make sure that editors that wish to write articles don't get bogged down with procedural matters. The Signpost has gone through several redesigns in its history—the current format arose from a massive overhaul in 2009 by Pretzels, with some updates in 2015 (primarily focused on documentation and ease-of-submission) by Resident Mario. Additional newsroom updates were made in 2018 by Zarasophos and in 2019 by Headbomb.