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Wikipedia talk:Wikipedia Signpost/2019-08-30/Traffic report

  • I find it disappointing that lists of articles with high traffic are used as coat racks for assorted ranting on current events and people in the news. This is not a good use of the Signpost and really has little to do with Wikipedia. In the opinion of the article author, Boris Johnson is a clownish figure who "garner[ed] a bad reputation for what he did as both mayor of London and Foreign Secretary." Why do we need this here? There are a million better places for yelling at your TV. Haukur (talk) 00:26, 31 August 2019 (UTC)
    • We can let the main author know @Igordebraga: I might agree with you to a small extent, but this has been something of a tradition now for about 5? years and in my time as EiC I haven't seen a real complaint before yours. The idea, I believe, is to give a feel for the subject matter and some idea why so many people are interested in it. And there are only so many ways you can say "that film/TV show was really about some gross stuff" without getting pretty creative. So what do other readers think about the format and text here? Please let us know. Smallbones(smalltalk) 03:00, 31 August 2019 (UTC)
      • I see the personal commentary as value-added. Readers who find it offensive (very few, apparently, since it's easy to post a note here) are free to simply not read it. And, while I'm at it, I'd like to thank Igordebraga and Story Clouds for their time and effort in producing this page. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 17:01, 31 August 2019 (UTC)
        • I wouldn't mind quirky personal perspectives in general but tendentious political commentary and WP:BLPTALK violations are not a good idea. The Signpost is often seen as having some official status as a sort of Wikipedia organ so the Signpost publishing attacks on Boris Johnson undermines the perception that Wikipedia maintains a neutral point of view on contentious issues. If this was at least relevant or funny or cleverly written that would be one thing but it's just standard "My political opponents are bad!" stuff with only the flimsiest connection to Wikipedia. Haukur (talk) 17:44, 31 August 2019 (UTC)
          • @Haukurth: - While I appreciate your criticism in the constructive intent with which it was written, I can't help but disagree with it. Invoking WP:BLP, a policy that the Report has (largely by my fault) become intimately acquainted with in recent times, and alleging that Igordebraga's commentary violates it does not appear apt to me. If we consider the commentary itself, the clownish figure idea is quoted from John Oliver, the comedian explicitly referenced in the commentary, so the extent to which the Signpost is attacking Johnson, rather than aptly referencing the descriptions provided by others, is debatable in my opinion. Moreover, as a resident of the Republic of Ireland, I wouldn't consider garnering a bad reputation for what he did as both Mayor of London and Foreign Secretary. to be erroneous, as I could with relative ease provide citations that suggest, at least in some quarters, he possesses such a reputation. As for relevancy, I would also argue the commentary covers the two things Johnson is most likely known for in foreign quarters - his previous positions in government and his appearance and demeanour. We could argue ceaselessly about what constitutes humour, but so long as there is no explicit policy violation I personally don't think it matters. Given that Igordebraga is Brazilian, I would also question how directly Boris Johnson is a "political opponent" of his, as you allege, but that is neither here nor there.
            • Thanks for replying so politely but look, obviously these comments on Johnson are tendentious. Saying that the first part is cited to a particular person and the second part could be cited to others doesn't change that at all. Try this out about someone else. Would the Signpost publish this sentence: Hillary Clinton, or Crooked Hillary as Donald Trump so aptly called her, garnered a bad reputation both as Senator and Secretary of State. It's cited! Or could be! So it's okay, right? No, it's not – it would be a foolish thing to write and a foolish thing to publish. And if something like this were published by the Signpost I expect it would be quickly edited or removed. And, again, quirky opinions on Lion King or whatever don't bother me. But the population of Wikipedia editors is skewed towards educated cosmopolitans with liberal views. This is unavoidable and mostly okay. But it's also a type of systemic bias which we should make at least some effort to counteract, not revel in. We should not make people with different political views feel unwelcome – attracting editors with a broad diversity of ideological backgrounds helps us in maintaining a neutral point of view. Haukur (talk) 09:16, 1 September 2019 (UTC)
Now, as for the status of the Signpost as an organ of the encyclopedia (and the implication that this means its entries must adhere to mainspace policy rather closely), there are two caveats here that I would like to point out. Firstly, perception != reality, and the Signpost, as explicitly outlined, is not a mainspace article with a strictly NPOV tone in all affairs, (and for the record, where this to shift, my interest in writing for the publication would wane dramatically), and secondly, both in timing and readership, the cited excerpt, and the entirety of the traffic report, is not written directly for the Signpost, but adapted from the Top 25 Report, which bears a large banner to dissuade any impressions that it is mainspace. If this is a situation you wish to remedy, you could propose that the Signpost instead posts the raw data, or set about penning a purpose-written traffic report for the Signpost. It is a proposal I personally would disagree with, for the reasons Kudpung has alluded to, but that is irrelevant. I appreciate your eloquently expressed views, and am sorry that you didn't enjoy the commentary, as the education and enjoyment of our readers are our ultimate aims in penning the report, but I would reject your assertion that there are policy violations afoot, or that such commentary is redundant in the Signpost. Thanks, Stormy clouds (talk) 22:03, 31 August 2019 (UTC)
As I said the last time someone complained about bias, we sign exactly to show it's a personal opinion. I'm a Journalism major and have been editing Wikipedia for over a decade, so I certainly could go for a fully dry and neutral analysis. But without our added personal thoughts, which includes ranting (which goes even further in yearly reports) and veiled criticisms (the last two Traffic reports had the U.S. president referred to as "You Know Who" and "He Who We Prefer Not To Name"), it certainly wouldn't be as fun to read\write. igordebraga 17:16, 1 September 2019 (UTC)
Thanks for replying and explaining your position. The comment on Brett Kavanaugh which you link to is indeed completely inappropriate and User:Jo-Jo Eumerus was right to note that. I can't see how you have any remit to be running a newspaper with a political agenda and nasty comments on living people. Haukur (talk) 18:52, 1 September 2019 (UTC)
  • I can't seem to fix it from mobile, but the word "serial" is used instead if "cereal" in reference to cornflakes, which is incorrect. A fix by someone else would be appreciated. The Editor's Apprentice (talk) 03:57, 31 August 2019 (UTC)
    • That one got past my copyeditor eyeballs. Thanks, it has been corrected. ☆ Bri (talk) 15:13, 31 August 2019 (UTC)
  • I find the comments perfectly apt and also see them a value-added. It appeals to my perception of The Signpost as a magazine with compelling reading rather than just a dry report of facts-of-the-month which it has largely become; due to some criticism this year, the editorial staff have understandably become hyper-cautious about what they write and permit to be published. Hence the reason why there are now hardly any lighter-hearted features, opinion, comic relief, etc, . I do also understand of course that personal time constraints may not be conducive to providing a fatter publication - especially where through lack of interest most of the editorial work has to be done by what is basically a two-person team. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 21:32, 31 August 2019 (UTC)
  • I too am disgusted that people are expressing political opinions and making jokes without my permission. Poveglia (talk) 08:13, 1 September 2019 (UTC)
"How do I like a comment on Wikipedia?" -Gouleg (TalkContribs) 13:50, 2 September 2019 (UTC)

The results of this reviewEdit

Thanks to everybody who commented. The conclusions that I draw are

  • The commentary is meant to be humorous. So the authors (or the EiC, if necessary) should place a notice at the top something like "The commentary in this article is meant to be humorous. The opinions expressed by the authors are their own."
  • Signpost articles are *not* mainspace articles. Signpost articles need to follow the same rules that apply to any project space text, which are approximately the same as apply to talk pages. Humor and opinion are definitely allowed. Content that purports to be factual should be strictly factual, not shaded one way or another. Opinions that are clearly seen as opinions need not follow WP:NPOV.
  • Humor in The Signpost may not target groups that are defined by religion, race, nationality, sex, gender, or other groups with protected status. WP:BLP and WP:BLPTALK do apply and commentary on public figures who have some connection to Wikipedia (e.g. an article of current interest to Wikipedians) is acceptable. Smallbones(smalltalk) 14:24, 4 September 2019 (UTC)
Return to the project page "Wikipedia Signpost/2019-08-30/Traffic report".