As anyone paying attention to The Signpost this year has noticed, the publication has been struggling. So has the team. One of the struggles that has recently cropped up is in how to deal with reporting that involves specific members of the Wikipedian community and wider Wikimedia movement. For example, what type of Wikimedian-specific content, if any, should we cover? Are critical pieces of specific Foundation members acceptable? What about controversies surrounding members of the community, such as chapter board members or notable Wikimedians? Is the line drawn at trawling AN/I for juicy threads, or is that acceptable, too? At what point does investigative journalism become sensationalism, or community news become gossip?
Prior issues have contained content which criticized specific people, and which reported on conflicts and controversies between particular users; reader responses have been mixed, with some condemning it, others criticizing it, and still others commending the commentary. While the support is encouraging, the criticisms, some of which are borderline personal attacks and harrassment in a venue that is considered by some to be a safe haven from our Wikipedia policies, and complaints tell us where we may be falling short of the hopes and expectations of our readers.
At The Signpost, as in Wikipedia generally, the readers come first. We write for you, so your input is paramount in deciding the content of what we write; and if you write, we publish. Like the rest of Wikipedia, we also value consensus in determining what to publish—and not just the local consensus that may be achieved in the newsroom. That is why we are bringing this to you, the readers:
Please, tell us what you think in the reader comments below! We want to understand where the line is—and what you want to be reading—when it comes to reporting on controversies, conflicts, scandals, and other news involving specific members of the community. The better we do, the better we can provide the content you will want to read - or in the worst case scenario, if you wish to continue reading The Signpost at all, and whether or not the editorial team is fighting an uphill battle to keep it in print.
Finally, the editors and contributors to The Signpost would like to wish our readership and the Wikipedia community a very happy holiday season. Enjoy a well deserved break, and we'll see you after the new year.