The Signpost


Death knell sounding for the Signpost?

Contribute  —  
Share this
By Kudpung


Despite the brave efforts of many past and present editorial staff, The Signpost, our English Wikipedia 'newspaper' which began when the project was started by Michael Snow, who continues to contribute to Wikipedia, is beginning to show signs of tiredness. This may be due to a perceived downward trend in many meta aspects of the encyclopedia. The first issue was released on 10 January 2005. Originally begun as a weekly publication, in July 2016 the official schedule was changed to every two weeks, but by November the issues were already running late with the next issue appearing on 26 November and the following Signpost not being published until 22 December three weeks later.

Signpost appeared on 17 January 2017 with a lead article from (then) editor-in-chief, Peter Forsyth, entitled Next steps for the Signpost. Forsyth's article, which explained some of the concerns surrounding the newspaper, received a significant number of comments from readers including one from Blue Rasberry who suggested that a grant may be worth considering:

If there were a rotating internship program at The Signpost for journalism students then from one perspective it seems controversial to pay for content, but from another perspective for years the international wiki community has major projects with major investment which are almost unknown for lack of journalism. … This is wiki's own newspaper of record and if it has problems then I wish we could explore options to support volunteers in maintaining it.

Aschmidt suggested that Signpost could be made a blog, or even a journal, with James Heilman, known for his work on the Medicine project, responding with 'Sort of like the Wiki Journal of Medicine? It is a fair bit of work. But could be good.' Stating that other related projects are '...experiencing parallel attenuation (...) Better to have fewer issues with excellent content than to fake along for the sake of hitting a weekly deadline' , Carrite makes a poignant reflection.

From August 2017 that weekly deadline became monthly; now in its thirteenth year, the previous issue was published on 20 February with a note that the next one would be due out on 27 February (a week later?). At the time of writing, this next Signpost is 20 days overdue. For many years, the newspaper has been a pivotal point of information for regular contributors, both to article content and maintenance areas and while a new trend has developed towards issuing newsletters, these are sent to selected groups on dedicated messaging lists which don't necessarily reach everyone and which do not have the wealth of the Signpost's mailing list.

The newspaper is a vital line in Wikipedia's train of communication. A final abandonment of the fine Signpost pointing to important issues – and even occasional humour – would be a great loss to the community; indeed, some Requests for Comment have received complaints from users that they were not adequately informed. It is naturally understandable that not all users possess the editing skills to compile and publish the periodical, but out there are certainly some with a flair for prose and reporting. There are ways of creating more awareness of the newspaper, such as watchlist notices or even incorporating it in welcome templates, but there are also many possible other suggestions for solutions. They just need to be made.

Kudpung has been a Wikipedia contributor since 2006 and an administrator since 2011. His focus is on policy changes concerning deletions/notability, RfA, and the improvement of the new page patrolling and AfC processes. The views expressed in this article are his alone and do not reflect any official opinions of this publication.

In this issue
+ Add a comment

Discuss this story

These comments are automatically transcluded from this article's talk page. To follow comments, add the page to your watchlist. If your comment has not appeared here, you can try purging the cache.

Signing off of the The Signpost would be a shame. I have always enjoyed the materials in the Signpost. Once a month is about right. But if this cannot be applied, If need be, make it once every two months, but please don't cancel this highly informative and interesting feature. werldwayd (talk) 18:59, 29 March 2018 (UTC)[reply]

But, GamerPro64, it isn't just The Signpost, is it? You haven't been editing much at all for the last six months (though I hasten to add that no one is criticising you for it). Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 22:28, 1 April 2018 (UTC)[reply]

. I'm interested in contributing. How do I get involved? —AnAwesomeArticleEditor (talk
) 19:17, 29 March 2018 (UTC)[reply]

Quick link is "How to contribute". Further suggestions by current contributor Bri: Visit Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/Newsroom, watch the ongoing conversation and chip in. You could visit the archives since we just cleared the page after this month's issue. Copyediting new content might be a good way to get your feet wet. Op-eds and special content are welcome at Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/Newsroom/Submissions (suggest a prior topic discussion first, but it is not mandatory). Also on the Newsroom page, near the bottom, there are a lot of blanks in the primary/backup publication and editing roles. – ☆ Bri (talk) 19:28, 29 March 2018 (UTC)[reply]
  • Nosebagbear Various forms of reaching out have been considered, such as a notice when an editor hits 500 (or another milestone of edits), and I completely agree with you that The Signpost is hard to find, but it seems no one with the ability/will to make that happen has come around. Eddie891's creature 22:04, 29 March 2018 (UTC)[reply]
  • Eddie891's creature - presumably some catch22 situation: the ability/will to manage such a push actually decreases as it is most needed, and vice-versa. Some pushing of it around the tea room etc could also be helpful. Having some interesting bits and updates about the site written in a much more communicable and friendly format than, say, the policies and guidelines, is a nice change. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Nosebagbear (talkcontribs) 23:07, 29 March 2018 (UTC)[reply]
  • Now that new Signposts are much less frequent, I doubt there would be objections to a notification at the top of watchlists when one comes out. This should be tried. As I said in the original discussion, part of the problem is the lack of readers, as well as writers. And without new readers, new writers are unlikely to appear. Johnbod (talk) 14:15, 31 March 2018 (UTC)[reply]

Risker brings up the elephant in the room, above, making a well-founded point (and one that I'd alluded to just before): that the chief issue facing the Signpost at the moment is a structural lack of writers. The editing members of the editorial board (AKA the people that feel they have an obligation to produce something at the end of the day) right now consists of, ask far as I can tell, of Pete and Tony. This situation fluctuates: things were worse two summers ago, when essentially all the content was being written by Ed, and they were a heck of a lot better a year or so ago, when the board had five or six active members.

The Signpost always prided itself on publishing weekly...until it didn't. The situation now is tenuous as always: if either Tony or Pete were to go, the Signpost might simply cease to exist. The descent from the weekly schedule and into publish-time uncertainty is a symptom of this fact, and so extensive changes to the way the Signpost operates, the technical forces for which now seem aligned, need to be evaluated against two key metrics: Things that will attract more net contributions. Things that will allow the Signpost to function with less overhead. I ran a first-ever analysis of the Signpost's actual (as opposed to perceived) traffic pattern almost a year ago now, the results of which you can read here. While it would be interesting to run an update, I am all too sure that my original conclusion still hold, chief among which was a substantiated impression that this focus on "weekliness" (as expressed by e.g. Risker above) is totally misleading. I have a college, and my college has a newspaper. I was an avid reader of the school broadsheet back in high school, but neither I nor seemingly anyone else really follows college news. The trouble is that the paper publishes too often: there are too many young journalism students who need CV material, and too much money circulating around, for them to stick to the most interesting stories and publish in a monthly format, like my high school paper did. I admit, "The Signpost is weekly!" is something that I admit I also once loved to brag about. After looking at the numbers, however, I realized that maintaining such a schedule encourages "shortcuts", flavor-of-the-week stories, and other such brief coverage of associated trivia that people don't actually want to read. It burns out editors who get tired of the commitment (as I inevitably did), and I believe that, just as in the case of the school newspaper, it burns out readers who may be interested in tuning into the "best" stories, but don't want to have to muck through weaker stuff to get to them. I think the Signpost ought to be a sleeker, more magazine-like, monthly publication. Instead of going wide but shallow, we should go narrow but deep. Yes this week's...month's...Signpost took a long time to arrive, but on the whole, the content was excellent. I like this new way of doing things. I think this is the future of the Signpost. We should keep doing things this way, and thinking along these lines.

All this is premised, of course, on having a strong, reliable infrastructure for sending out new issue notifications. This infrastructure is wanting, but, it appears, is a temporary hurdle. Not only is the bot hopefully going to get fixed, but there's also the prospect of the long-awaited Newsletter extension finally arriving and further streamlining the notification strategy. I'm particularly excited about this bit of code because if it's easy to use, and if we do a bit of lobbying to get people aware of its existence, the Signpost could easily double or triple its subscription base through sheer ease-of-use (this is another conversation we need to have).

Eddie891's creature 23:25, 29 March 2018 (UTC)[reply]

How about a bi-monthly schedule? – Athaenara 01:06, 30 March 2018 (UTC)[reply]

I mentioned Bluerasberry's grant suggestion in my op-ed but I had not researched all the background here. Lane's suggestion is not without merit - he's one of our users who often comes up with ideas, I know him well personally and have nothing but admiration for his energy. However, there were some valid concerns expressed about the suggestion of WMF funding. While it would be an incentive to keep someone in the printing machine control room, IMHO I believe it would be important for the newspaper to remain independent of the Foundation. Having discussed late last night with Bri about trying to get this latest issue out, I'm not so sure that the tasks of 'publisher', while requiring perhaps somewhat more technical knowledge than mine for example, are so onerous that they merit a remunerated position. We're all volunteers and each one devotes as much time as they can to Wikipedia - what is needed just as urgently is also an enthusiastic and responsive editorial team. AFAICS, the current E-in-C is not the only Signpost 'staff' who has not edited in a long while. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 01:46, 30 March 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Ha! I don't believe I discovered Signpost until I was mentioned in it. A long time ago... Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 03:04, 30 March 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Oh, I've been the subject of a few Arbitration report stories, over the years ;) GoodDay (talk) 04:13, 30 March 2018 (UTC)[reply]
IMO every issue is the end and a new beginning. It's up to us to reinvent something that remains relevant. Call it Signpost 2.0 if you like. ☆ Bri (talk) 02:34, 30 March 2018 (UTC)[reply]

I've been editing at Wikipedia for many years, and I also write for several news services on a regular basis. Bringing my experience from Wikipedia and news writing to bear, I have to say that the material about contributing is daunting and confusing, much like most of what goes on behind the scenes at Wikipedia. I'm sure that these problems have been discussed at length regarding the encyclopedia overall (I long ago gave up trying to follow any sort of project talk pages because it's extremely time-intensive), but my sense is that barriers to editing the "encyclopedia anyone can edit" are amplified by the deadlines and standards in place for this newsletter. In short, everything takes a considerable investment in time to learn to do, and as someone with experience in both worlds I don't think I could find that time. Even with that experience, I'd be spending twice as much time on an article here than I do out in the world, and I'm getting paid for those. I hope a solution is found, but Wikipedia is the sort of environment where things get more complex and cumbersome with time, rather than simpler. Best of luck; I'll revisit this when I'm retired and see if I have enough remaining mental acuity to dig in.--~TPW 13:51, 30 March 2018 (UTC)[reply]

Additionally, I can't help but wonder if, given the important independent voice represented here, this might not be a suitable project to actually spend some of the foundation's vast resources, rather than putting it entirely on the shoulders of volunteers. Might be something worth considering during the next board election cycle. I'd vote for someone who had that as a plank in the platform.--~TPW 13:55, 30 March 2018 (UTC)[reply]

The WMF should not fund Wiki content creation and editorial control - everyone agrees on this. I do think that the WMF should fund the tedious tasks which no volunteer finds enjoyable, but which when completed, amplify volunteer engagement. For various reasons, including 1990s software, the need for secretarial documentation and maintenance of a calendar, and demand for adherence to community values which are excessively time intensive for the niche purpose of running a newspaper, being the publisher of The Signpost is a lot of work. We can get a volunteer chief editor, and writers, and all the roles which are "journalism", but managing the very strange back end of publishing in Mediawiki software is tedious beyond anyone's willingness to volunteer. The least expensive way to manage administration is with payment to someone who will stay out of editorial decisions but facilitate what editors and writers submit.
The reason why we should maintain The Signpost is because it has been uniquely responsible for being the communication channel for resolving community discussions which have allocated millions of US$dollars of WMF funds in ways that would not have happened without community engagement in the community newspaper. Here are some options in front of us:
  1. Let The Signpost falter. If we do this, the WMF will invest US$millions in marketing research and strategic planning to come to conclusions which would have arisen spontaneously from volunteer engagement in The Signpost. The Signpost has already proven itself to be an amazing forum for reaching broad consensus in the English and international Wikimedia communities. It has some value and merits some amount of investment for this reason. It has already earned its funding by resolving problems which otherwise are unfathomably complicated, stressful, and high risk to resolve in any other way.
  2. Pay US$300,000 to a software developer to make The Signpost easier to publish. These software changes would still be a pain and go obsolete in 3 years because that is how Mediawiki development goes. Editing a newspaper is unlike publishing The Signpost. There is a bottleneck of ability to publish The Signpost and also the administrative support necessary to communicate in the normal way that any contemporary newspaper would operate is not available, because Mediawiki is not set up for this. Lots of people say "just fix the software, do not pay someone to be publisher", but it is crazy hard and crazy expensive to improve software as opposed to just paying someone outright to do the boring parts.
  3. Pay ~US$100 per issue to an individual for administering The Signpost. This solves the problem, is cheap, and the money can go to a Wikimedia chapter which needs to be developed. India and Bangladesh would be my first choices because those countries, for whatever reason, have a history of attracting journalists as Wikimedia editors. Also in those economies the money would go further, and the WMF already has plans to spend $1000s to recruit volunteers who will contribute labor that could be purchased outright for $100s. I know that the Wiki community places a taboo on buying labor, but for some tasks, paying someone outreach is a lot cheaper than funding the recruitment campaign that will identify and groom the volunteer who would do the task. Administering The Signpost is esoteric and provides no job training or relevance to actually doing journalism, and the fault is in Mediawiki and the Wiki community's overriding need to publish in Mediawiki.
I advocate for paying an individual to publish as the most practical, cheapest, and most likely path to success for getting The Signpost out. We have content submissions, excellent editorial oversight, and readership. It is annoying that the bottleneck is in administration of adapting weird obsolete software to journalism.
Anyone with ideas might also try to form a The Signpost user group - meta:Wikimedia user groups. This would establish a board to oversee The Signpost, appoint a chief editor, and protect the values of the publication. Blue Rasberry (talk) 21:14, 27 March 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Why on earth should we pay someone to administer the Signpost? Why not just have a freer forum where editors write what news they want and there is basically no administration? Wnt (talk) 00:07, 31 March 2018 (UTC)[reply]
  • Bri drafted almost the same proposal at meta:Grants:Project/Rapid/Bri/Signpost publication manager. I have heard this idea from others who have not written a draft. I support Bri's proposal as nearly identical to the one I posted, and plan to collaborate with that user. Also, I do not claim credit for the idea, which has been perennial for years. The WMF spends at least US$300,000/year of the sort which wiki magic in The Signpost accomplishes almost for free. There has never been great wiki community loyalty to the corporate WMF social media accounts and newsletters, nor the editorial freedom and excitement of participation, which The Signpost is able to generate. Money from the same pool will go toward communication one way or the other, and I see great value in making the case that some portion of the available funds should go toward relieving the onerous burden of adminsitration and managing odd software to make community volunteer journalism, research, and editorial engagement the focus of the newspaper. Blue Rasberry (talk) 15:45, 30 March 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Perhaps updating it on a monthly basis, will be possible. A weekly basis? doubt it. Those who kept it updated weekly, just aren't interested anymore. GoodDay (talk) 18:24, 30 March 2018 (UTC)[reply]
The staff does important work – consider yourselves implored to continue - the problem is that at the moment apart from the regular article contributors, there is no editorial 'staff'; some whose names are still listed in the masthead/imprint have actually retired from Wikipedia and are unresponsive to messages and emails, while the current E-in-C, for whatever legitimate reason, is not currently available. I always looked forward to every issue of The Signpost and found it hugely informative even if not every section appealed to my sphere of interest. Trying to find out what was wrong, I stumbled through its offices and felt as if I were wandering nostalgically through a disused factory, hearing in my mind's eye the bustle of activity and the noise of machinery of yesteryear. It was never my intention to get involved in The Signpost, but if the contributors of the regular columns can get their copy submitted on time, and if at least a couple of articles can be submitted, and if Bri can ink up, I'd probably lend a hand with some copy editing. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 21:49, 30 March 2018 (UTC)[reply]
I think The Signpost's structure is too confusing and difficult for random editors to jump into. I also think that if a few people do dominate The Signpost, and say they are failing to keep it going, and their proposed fix is to have WMF pay them to get back to publishing it, WMF would be foolhardy to do so. Whereas if they do fail, someone else can expand into the niche, perhaps even under the old name, and see if they can streamline whatever needs to be easier to do. Wnt (talk) 00:05, 31 March 2018 (UTC)[reply]
@Esquivalience and Wnt: If we lowered the barrier to the technical publishing then we would have more people do journalism. The Signpost lacks for volunteer labor unrelated to journalism. The Signpost has no shortage of volunteers in journalism.
There are lots of volunteers who want to do the fun part of a newspaper - story writing, being editor, doing interviews, and making decisions in journalism. What The Signpost lacks is volunteer labor to do the boring parts, like managing a 1990s software interface which never was intended for publishing newspapers and coordinating an archaic messaging and scheduling system which is both unlike routine Wikipedia conversation and unlike any other reasonable communication channel. When you say "no editors to write the Signpost", please recognize that we have people who are willing to do journalism but not people who are willing to do weird idiosyncratic software manipulation beyond the norm of Wikipedia which is already really weird. It is not normal to expect a newspaper editor to run the printing press, be the secretary managing the calendar and incoming messages for an archaic and inhuman messaging system, and provide therapy to writers who get scared of a ghastly software submission process. A newspaper editor makes editorial decisions, and there are volunteers willing to do that. Blue Rasberry (talk) 14:37, 31 March 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Why do you need the bizarre software interface? I think you could just make a page WP:Wikipedia Signpost/2018-04-01, put a template at the top containing the text "this isn't published yet, check back later" followed by a noinclude tag, and have people edit various sections like in any other Wikipedia article. Readers could transclude WP:Current signpost in a section at the bottom of their talk page, and then one editor points it at the latest Signpost whenever it's finished, and finishing involves taking off the noinclude tag (though perhaps some minor sections would keep noinclude tags for brevity) Whatever on Earth is this hidden, obscure, apparently difficult to work with interface that you describe actually for? Wnt (talk) 20:19, 31 March 2018 (UTC)[reply]
For me this is the Signpost's main problem. The plan above sounds like a great idea. — pythoncoder  (talk | contribs) 17:29, 21 April 2018 (UTC)[reply]
This is a sign that the Signpost interface needs major restructuring to make it simpler. There is no need for complex templates because the Signpost is not a formal newspaper. It is a side project for editors to share opinions and to keep updated on recent developments. Esquivalience (talk) 02:53, 1 April 2018 (UTC)[reply]
@Wnt and Esquivalience: I will not obligate either of you into anything, because I have just made the claim that publishing the newspaper is a lot more complicated than many people expect and that there is a history of reform proposals which have seemed worse than the present method. However, you both are imagining an easier interface for The Signpost, and I can support that. Neither I nor anyone else has any loyalty to the current interface, and if it were possible to get a similar publication in a quicker and easier way, then that would solve a lot of problems. Could either or both of you volunteer to publish the next few issues, or otherwise recruit someone who would? You establish the easier process that the other publishers failed to identify, then following that everyone can do things the easy way. To the limit of my understanding the current publishing process has ease of use and speed as a priority in its design, except that the speed and ease are only for the users who invest the time to understand the weird publishing interface. Maybe you have an idea which is quicker and easier for everyone and requires only the wiki editing skillset. Blue Rasberry (talk) 19:42, 1 April 2018 (UTC)[reply]
  • I'm glad that the op-ed has created this discussion. Overhauling and re-invention is great. I've written down some of my own ideas at the submissions desk.
I've thought about Wnt's suggestion. It's not something to dismiss. But it would change the nature of The Signpost quite a bit and we'd have to understand that. First, it may seem goofy, but the look-and-feel elements are important to establish an identity. But, substantively, there's another thing. The Signpost fills a unique niche as a periodical with editorial control and aspirations to periodical-hood. It's unclear to me with a free-wheeling "just contribute and stand back" approach how editorial control is possible. Which is fine; I'm all for self-organization. It's just that it wouldn't be a periodical anymore in the usual sense of the word. It would be more like a public-access television channel, or Reddit, or like Jimbo's talkpage, so one must ask why duplicate those outlets. As a matter of fact I've drawn some ideas from those in my own writeup.
Since working with Kudpung for issue 4 (the March issue), I've created a streamlined interface and instructions for contributors here. This is retaining the current publishing model but making modest improvements to ease-of-use for newcomers. If somebody wants to give it a whirl, I'd like to hear what you think. ☆ Bri (talk) 03:55, 1 April 2018 (UTC)[reply]
This does indeed smell like an "editorial control" issue, but who does the editorial control, and why can't they do it in public by reviewing an ordinary Wikipedia page anyone can edit before a final draft is agreed upon and people change a template so it "goes live" and gets transcluded onto user talk pages? In any case, I'm even less enthusiastic about the notion of WMF paying somebody to do editorial control than paying them to use baroque software. The "fun part of writing a newspaper" may be work that allegedly a lot of people are willing to do, but I can't believe there is any shortage of aspirants to power. I know our whole society is structured around proles shovelling money into the snouts of an ever-decreasing number of Brahmins as some kind of a religious devotion, but I don't like it anyway. Wnt (talk) 18:00, 1 April 2018 (UTC)[reply]
As for the submissions script ... it still generates submissions. Why? It would seem more practical to have a simple noticeboard format like the Science Refdesk or ITN submissions, where people propose ideas and get comments in a public Wikipedia forum. The other structure seems more useful for burying news than writing about it. Wnt (talk) 18:04, 1 April 2018 (UTC)[reply]
"WMF paying somebody to do editorial control" is not a proposal, nor would I support it. Neither of the two Signpost-related grant proposals I am aware of is for funding an editorial role. There would still be a separate editor-in-chief and volunteer editorial staff. If this isn't clear enough in the trial rapid grant proposal written my me, it needs to be clarified further. ☆ Bri (talk) 18:08, 1 April 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Wnt, The proposed grant has nothing whatsoever to do with editorial control. Publishing the newspaper is a purely button mashing exercise - complex perhaps, but nothing more and nothing less than inking up; I don't recall anyone on the factory floor of a newspaper printing press, or even the type setters having much of a say in what gets printed.
The submissions script does not generate any content at all. Submissions are generated by their authors. The actual submission system is so complicate it even confused me enough for me to make a mess of it. The system almost certainly puts some people off wanting to submit an article. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 22:20, 1 April 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Alright, I have to admit those proposals are at a much more definitive stage and far more non-editorial than I'd imagined. But if this is just button pushing, I still don't understand why you need any special buttons or button pressers. Wnt (talk) 00:00, 2 April 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Here's what would be lost if we jettisoned the current publishing apparatus documented here. Single-page edition; RSS feed (probably); at-a-glance readiness report for copyediting, article titles and "blurbs"; and the window dressing like links to previous/next issues. I think to some extent you're pushing 2-3 hours (maybe less if scripts work as expected) of work onto the publication manager to streamline the rest of the team, who do have the Newsroom status board, conventional section titles, etc. to work with. That status board IMO drives the team to completion and is where the team collaborates on tasks remaining for the issue, who's taking them, and when they are completed. Whatever the alternative is to be, don't we need a red light/green light status board for the E in C to decide "now's the time to declare victory and publish"? I'm not saying something else isn't workable, but am saying that we only have vague hand-waving as to what the alternative is at this time. ☆ Bri (talk) 03:46, 2 April 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Wnt, done manually , like Bri did, there is in fact a lot of button pushing, but it provides an insight into what the automated script actually does. I'd love to go through it and do it and help keep The Signpost up and running, but it has a steep learning curve and I'm more comfortable in other areas of Wikipedia that I've already taken years to get used to. Perhaps next time, Bri might take a chance at giving the script a whirl - if we can twist his arm to be the publisher again. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 16:00, 3 April 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Every four weeks should be perfectly realisable considering we once used to have a news-packed periodical every 7 days. The problem with any magazine with news content is that if the space between issues is too long, while features may always be of interest, new news gets stale very quickly. And that's where The Signpost is important - it fills the gap between dedicated newsletters in our local dissemination of information. The features - the 'interest' stuff - make it readable, the news element tells us the 'need to know' now. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 15:02, 3 April 2018 (UTC)[reply]
It's writers that are required. GoodDay (talk) 16:22, 4 April 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Of course, but if nobody knows about the Signpost, this also means that potential writers do not know about it. I came here to make the same point as

Bryanrutherford0; I am also a long-time editor who had never heard of the Signpost. Perhaps this new exposure will help things. KarlFrei (talk) 09:15, 9 April 2018 (UTC)[reply]

Other things could be added to build readership. For instance, there could also be some sort of brief Community Report, some of its content cribbed from the Administrators' Newsletter, with the rest compiled by checking recent major RfCs, popular VP threads, and the like. A regular "Wikipedian of the month" feature might be a good idea. (It would be easy to compile—no real writing required, just Q&A interview format.) How about a Foundation report, submitted by someone from the WMF and covering any number of Foundation-related matters, from Wikimania and smaller gatherings to noteworthy board votes, office actions, new or planned wikis, various meta issues, and so on? And how about a very short column, "Wikipedia by the numbers", with statistics on number of new accounts, new articles, and the like. On a less serious note, there could be something lighthearted such as excerpts from particularly absurd or witty threads. Op-eds are already encouraged, but how about asking readers a question every month and then publishing the best responses? None of these added elements would be particularly time-consuming to put together, and they might well draw new readers who in turn might become valued contributors.
By all means, make it monthly, and set a publication week, rather than day, so that it's less likely to be late. Greater frequency has proven impossible to sustain, but twelve issues a year should promote contributor retention by demanding less frequent deadlines. If editor burnout is a problem, make the position last a standard interval of six months—renewable if everyone agrees but with no expectation of renewal. I don't like the idea of payment, but surely other enticements might be made available, from the sublime (all-expenses-paid trip to Wikimania) to the ridiculous (lousy t-shirt). Just a few ideas, anyway. Sorry for the long post. RivertorchFIREWATER 17:17, 4 April 2018 (UTC)[reply]
@Rivertorch: Editor burnout is not the problem. Being editor is a lot of fun. The problem is publisher burnout. Publishing is unrelated to journalism and is the totally dumb technical process of getting the content into an issue. Wikipedia is not made for article publishing so this is complicated with any system devised. When editors here burnout, it is because the editor here has also been burdened with the unrelated duty of publishing. If there were a reliable publisher then the publication would reliably attract and retain editors, journalists, etc. All of your content ideas are great and people would do these things, except for the fact that at the end one person has to navigate the awful publishing system to get the issue out and we cannot retain one person to do this terrible, boring function with regularity. Blue Rasberry (talk) 20:44, 9 April 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Interesting. To be fair, editors of various publications often have various technical and administrative duties that have nothing to do with editing per se, so the situation here isn't unique. If there's drudgery involved in getting the Signpost out, perhaps those tasks could be shared among several users who have been acquainted with the process. A roster could be compiled, a call for assistance put out, and whoever on the roster has the time and patience could do the dirty work for a given issue. That way, no one, including the editor, would be stuck with it each time. RivertorchFIREWATER 19:38, 10 April 2018 (UTC)[reply]

Once a month or it's over

If we can't get any editors willing to update the Signpost (at least) once a month? then it's doomed. GoodDay (talk) 16:57, 6 April 2018 (UTC)[reply]

My problem with signing up to contribute on a regular basis is that real life tends to get in the way unexpectedly. With the kind of editing I do, nobody misses me if I duck out for a few days or even weeks, but that wouldn't be the case if people were depending on me to contribute content by a certain date each month. I suspect that many active editors have similar concerns about becoming involved. Would sporadic, undependable contributions be better than no contributions at all? I have my doubts. RivertorchFIREWATER 16:37, 7 April 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Hi Pelirojopajaro, with only 312 edits in 11 years it's understandable you may have missed it. This was the first time we put it on the watchlist. You may wish to subscribe to it and get your copy delivered regularly to your talk page. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 08:58, 7 April 2018 (UTC)[reply]
@Kudpung: I have almost 20,000 edits since late 2005. But I've been editing regularly since April 2006. I have never read The Signpost. Now what does that tell you? Mr. C.C.Hey yo!I didn't do it!
I don't know what it tells you Fishhead2100. Either you didn't know it existed, or you didn't want to read it. Either way, your feedback would be most welcome. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 09:29, 9 April 2018 (UTC)[reply]
@Kudpung: Don't assume I didn't know about it. On my watchlist page is exactly why I clicked on it. I never bothered to go out of my way to read. Is putting a link to the latest edition on watchlist pages really going to increase readership? I don't know. I have my doubts. There is so much other stuff to do on Wikipedia that a lot of editors don't go out of their way to read it. Hell, I don't always read the Wikiproject newsletters I may get. I guess it's worth a shot. But is linking it on watchlist pages a last ditch effort? There might be someone somewhere who wants to see it continue on. But if you need writers, you need to make it attractive to them to want to write. Has the recruitment process been ongoing? Lots of questions that need answers. Mr. C.C.Hey yo!I didn't do it! 10:53, 9 April 2018 (UTC)[reply]


@Gwen Gale: You can be the publisher if you want. Yes, ideally, there would be regularly publication (weekly) with some issues being huge and some being smaller. The bottleneck is not in journalism - writing and editing - but in the publishing and administration. Administration is tedious. The journalism is fun. Journalism only gets to be disappointing when content creators cannot rely on regular publication. The Signpost has always had regular contributors, and has always struggled to keep any one person who will do the very boring work, totally outside the field of journalism, of publishing. Blue Rasberry (talk) 20:41, 9 April 2018 (UTC)[reply]
@Bluerasberry: You talk about needing someone to do the publishing. Less talking and more doing. Don't just talk about it. Do it. Mr. C.C.Hey yo!I didn't do it! 00:12, 10 April 2018 (UTC)[reply]


The Signpost · written by many · served by Sinepost V0.9 · 🄯 CC-BY-SA 4.0