Proposal:Browser based tools to simplify aggregation

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Strategic Priorities

Every proposal should be tied to one of the strategic priorities below.

Edit this page to help identify the priorities related to this proposal!


  1. Achieve continued growth in readership
  2. Focus on quality content
  3. Increase Participation
  4. Stabilize and improve the infrastructure
  5. Encourage Innovation



Summary

Create tools, such as plug-ins, for popular web browsers to make news aggregation easier, to encourage more people to become Wikinews readers, editors, reporters.

Proposal

Create an add-on for existing versions of Firefox to allow the current page's link to be sent to Wikinews automatically. So when you are randomly browsing and you find an interesting story, you can send it to Wikinews with a click.

Work with Mozilla Lab's Ubiquity team to add a simple command to the "Awesome Bar" of the next release of Firefox, to perform the same function. Something like "send link to wikinews"/"send wn". This would then be available to every Firefox user, without needing to download an add-on.

Software at the Wikinews server would automatically compile and group similar links. These would appear in a new Wikinews section: "On The Wires". Editors on Wikinews would be able to create full articles from these seeds.

Ideally, the same add-on would provide tools to allow editors to:

  • manually drag'n'drop multiple posts on one topic into a single article-seed, as references, without editing a line of wiki-code.
  • split-screen to view the original page of any reference alongside the Wikinews article being edited

and provide a general framework to more easily create new in-browser Wikinews tools in the future.

Motivation

The majority of content on Wikinews is drawn from other news sources. While it is lovely to hope for more original reporting, that can only happen if there are enough reporters, which needs a sufficiently large editorship, which will happen only with a sufficiently large and loyal readership. That requires Wikinews be the best source of global news around. Which requires original reporting, which requires... You see the problem. Catch 22.

By increasing the quantity of non-original news, we make Wikinews more useful to readers. The more readers, the more editors; the more editors, the more reporters...

Right now, anyone on Wikinews can create or suggest a new article, of course. But that means when you find a story, you have to stop what you are doing, navigate to Wikinews, create an article, wade through raw wiki-code, just to seed post a one-line stub article. By integrating it into the browser, it will encourage vastly more "seeds", and hopefully, more articles.

(Think about Wikipedia, it is a lot easier (physically and psychologically) to clean up an existing article than it is to create a new one. I believe that with more story-seeds, more casual readers will edit, creating more fully-developed articles.)

Key Questions

Many traditional news-media organisations are trying to lock their content away from news aggregators. Will this hurt Wikinews more than it helps? Specifically, does this increase the risk of attracting the attention of increasingly litigious media corporations?

Quantity != Quality. Do we risk overloading the editors we do have?

Potential Costs

Volunteers with coding experience to create the add-ons, and add the necessary changes to create the "On The Wires" section.

Possible server overload if you get a "Michael Jackson" moment.

Cruft.

References

Community Discussion

Do you have a thought about this proposal? A suggestion? Discuss this proposal by going to Proposal talk:Browser based tools to simplify aggregation.

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