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m (Reverted edit of 61.55.129.30, changed back to last version by Bob Burton)
(Can I add Wikipedia articles to Disinfopedia?: - add GFDL compliance)
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Sure, and vice versa -- but please bear in mind that the purposes and editorial policies of SourceWatch and Wikipedia are somewhat different, so an article that is appropriate for one may not be appropriate for the other. See [[SourceWatch:Differences between SourceWatch and Wikipedia|Differences between SourceWatch and Wikipedia]].
 
Sure, and vice versa -- but please bear in mind that the purposes and editorial policies of SourceWatch and Wikipedia are somewhat different, so an article that is appropriate for one may not be appropriate for the other. See [[SourceWatch:Differences between SourceWatch and Wikipedia|Differences between SourceWatch and Wikipedia]].
 +
 +
In addition, an article imported from one site to the other should usually be accompanied by a hyperlink back to the original.  The reason is that neither SourceWatch nor Wikipedia places its contents in the public domain.  Instead, articles on both sites are licensed under the [[w:GNU Free Documentation License|GNU Free Documentation License]].  The constraints of that license are minimal, but they do exist.  One constraint is that principal authors must be credited.  If you link back to the source, a reader can see the authors by checking the page history.  Therefore:
 +
* A copied article should generally include an attribution line of this type:
 +
::''This article incorporates material from the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page Wikipedia] article [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McCarthyism "McCarthyism"].  The list of authors can be found [http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=McCarthyism&action=history here].''
 +
* If you're copying only material that you yourself wrote, you don't need to include such a link.  You might find it useful to note that you're the author, however, in your edit summary and/or on the article's talk page, because otherwise a later editor might think that the terms of the GFDL had been violated.
  
 
== How can I contribute?==
 
== How can I contribute?==

Revision as of 07:28, 11 January 2005

< About SourceWatch
Related: SourceWatch's Purpose

This site is built by ordinary wise people, like you. You don't need any special credentials to participate -- we shun credentialism along with other propaganda techniques. It's the fact that it is open to everyone that makes these articles ever-improving, as we review and build on each other's work. Although no one is free of bias, we can cancel each other's out to a large degree, and deal with any systemic bias remaining by policy measures.

So, you can just dive right in and work on any article you like! You can edit any article directly, or if you want to add your thoughts, questions or comments about an article, you can go to the article's talk page (click on the 'Discuss the page' link in the sidebar or at the bottom of the article). You don't even need to be logged in to edit articles, although it is still a good idea to log in as this gives you access to more of the site's features and makes it easier to communicate with other users.

To work together effectively in building the encyclopedia, the SourceWatch community has some established policies and guidelines. An "encyclopedia of propaganda," by its very nature, is bound to attract controversy and debate. It is important, therefore, to write articles that focus on documented facts. Please include thorough references to documentation supporting the facts in your article, and avoid rhetorical or inflammatory language. If you are using or defining a rhetorical or inflammatory term then explain it in an article where it can be put in context and balance introduced - redirect all references to competing terms to one place. This is critical: We want the SourceWatch to be a useful information resource for journalists, activists and the general public, so please do not treat it as a debate forum. Any discussion about topics should be mainly directed at improving articles to the point where they are useful to journalists, the main consumer of our work.

New contributors are always welcome to SourceWatch, and you are encouraged to be bold in editing pages. You don't have to worry too much about making mistakes, as all contributions are monitored by other contributors at the Recent changes page.

We would suggest you familiarise yourself with News style writing, which is, simply: put the important material first, and then the rest in descending order of importance. And watch your point of view! If you are taking a position on an issue, take it early and overtly so others can see your declared bias. In time we expect multiple points of view to fully develop and compete in a lively non-violent fashion.

We hope you have fun!

What is "wiki"?

A WikiWiki is a collection of interlinked web pages, any of which can be visited and edited by anyone at any time (collaborative software). The concept and software was invented by Ward Cunningham. You can even edit the page you are reading right now; just click "Edit this page" (to the left or below) on this page! However, if you don't have anything to add or correct here, and you just want to see the Wiki in action, edit the SourceWatch:Sandbox page instead of this one. See also SourceWatch:Editing FAQ and What is a wiki for?

What if someone tries to vandalize or insert disinformation into the SourceWatch itself?

The Center for Media and Democracy, which sponsors the SourceWatch, has other channels through which we can expose and embarrass people who attempt to manipulate its content, such as the Spin of the Day and Weekly Spin features of the PR Watch web site. The SourceWatch software includes a number of features that make it possible to detect and manage vandalism. In keeping with our philosophy of creating a community-based "information commons," these features enable the entire community of Internet users to collaborate in overseeing its content, in effect serving as a sort of online "neighborhood watch committee":

  1. Visitors to the site are invited to create individual user IDs. This makes it easy to track the editing activities of each logged-in user. Anonymous contributions by users who do not log in receive closer scrutiny than known and trusted users.
  2. Logged-in users can log out if they feel they need to say something that they are less than usually certain of, or which they feel will be subjected to ad hominem argument, or if they wish to disagree with their published positions.
  3. Logged-in users can create their own individual "watch lists" that let them keep an eye on articles that they feel deserve particular monitoring. They can also call up a list of all recent changes to the entire site.
  4. The software keeps an archive of all past versions of each article, making it easy to undo malicious or misguided changes by reverting to a previous version.
  5. Trusted users can be given "sysop" status, which lets them ban users who engage in vandalism. If a particular page becomes a target for repeat vandalism attempts, sysops can also mark that page as "protected," so that only other sysops can change it. (To request sysop status, send an email, specifying your user ID name, to bob AT SourceWatch.org.)
  6. There will be some means of public accountability of the sysops and others with special priveleges, for now by notifying editor AT prwatch.org of activities you consider to be endangering the public policy purpose of the service as it is mandated above.

Since anyone can contribute information, why should anyone trust the SourceWatch as authoritative?

As the authors of a book titled Trust Us, We’re Experts, SourceWatch creators Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber have given quite a bit of thought to the question of what makes information credible. The SourceWatch intentionally avoids invoking "trusted authority figures." Instead, its credibility will depend on the degree to which articles are well-written and backed with supporting documentation, terms of art from "less social" sciences where these are applicable, and the degree to which credibility specialists themselves feel they can stake their credibility on trusting it.

How will the SourceWatch address questions of bias, particularly with regard to controversial topics?

Rather than using the terminology of "objectivity" or a "neutral point of view," we prefer the concepts of "fairness and accuracy." It is "fair and accurate," for example, to say that most climate scientists believe human activities are contributing to global warming, so there is no need to take a "neutral point of view" with regard to this question. Of course, bias is an issue in any information system, but SourceWatch’s users will constitute a community of peers whose combined influence helps compensate for the bias of single individuals. Systemic bias, e.g. due to contributor psychographics or demographics, will be overcome by a variety of measures to promote equity of viewpoints.

As an “encyclopedia of propaganda,” the SourceWatch is bound to deal with controversial topics. However, the Wikipedia system upon which it is based has shown considerable ability to produce articles that examine controversial topics in a fair and accurate way. Indeed, some of the most controversial topics yield the best articles, e.g. capitalism.

Can I add Wikipedia articles to SourceWatch?

Sure, and vice versa -- but please bear in mind that the purposes and editorial policies of SourceWatch and Wikipedia are somewhat different, so an article that is appropriate for one may not be appropriate for the other. See Differences between SourceWatch and Wikipedia.

In addition, an article imported from one site to the other should usually be accompanied by a hyperlink back to the original. The reason is that neither SourceWatch nor Wikipedia places its contents in the public domain. Instead, articles on both sites are licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. The constraints of that license are minimal, but they do exist. One constraint is that principal authors must be credited. If you link back to the source, a reader can see the authors by checking the page history. Therefore:

  • A copied article should generally include an attribution line of this type:
This article incorporates material from the Wikipedia article "McCarthyism". The list of authors can be found here.
  • If you're copying only material that you yourself wrote, you don't need to include such a link. You might find it useful to note that you're the author, however, in your edit summary and/or on the article's talk page, because otherwise a later editor might think that the terms of the GFDL had been violated.

How can I contribute?

By editing pages, creating new pages, publicizing SourceWatch, and many other ways.

Do I have to register to edit pages?

No. Anyone can edit without any kind of registration.

What's the point of registering?

Visit the Userlogin page to register your own user ID. Practical reasons for doing this:

  • It allows you to set and save SourceWatch preferences.
  • It credits you in the article history, as well as on the Recent Changes page, with changes you make.
  • You get a personal SourceWatch page in the User: namespace. You can use this as a spot to tell people about yourself, list the articles you've worked on, or your personal sandbox for SourceWatch work.
Finally, it is much easier for your fellow SourceWatch to interact with you if you have a name. Changes made by IP numbers must be checked for vandalism -- having recognizable names on the Recent Changes list means we all save time.
Once you have an ID, you are invited to add yourself to the list of SourceWatchns.

Do I have to use my real name?

Real names are not required; many SourceWatchns use pseudonyms.

How do I change my username?

The only way is to create a new user account.

What's the difference between a page and an article?

The term "page" encompasses all the material on SourceWatch, including encyclopedia topics, talk pages, documentation, and special pages such as Recent Changes. "Article" is a narrower term refering to a page containing an encyclopedia entry. Thus, all articles are pages, but not all pages are articles.

What is an orphan?

An orphan is an article that no other article links to. These can still be found by searching the SourceWatch, but it is preferable to find another article where a link can be added. You can find a list of orphan articles here.

What is a stub?

A stub on SourceWatch is a very short article, generally of one paragraph or less. Most people hate stubs, even though they are a probably a necessary evil. Many excellent articles started out as short stubs. Existing stubs should be expanded into proper articles: there is a hand-made list at SourceWatch:Find or fix a stub, and a generated list at Shortpages.

What is disambiguation?

See SourceWatch:Disambiguation.

What is a minor edit? When should I use it?

When editing a page, one has the option of flagging the edit as a "minor edit". When to use this is somewhat a matter of personal preference. The rule of thumb is that an edit of a page that is spelling corrections, formatting, and simple rearranging of text should be flagged as a "minor edit". A major edit is basically something that makes the entry worth relooking at--either through substantial additions or reorganisation--or fixes a major error.

This feature is important, because users can choose to hide minor edits in their view of the Recent Changes page, to keep the volume of edits down to a manageable level.

What is "Recent Changes", and what do the abbreviations used there mean?

The notations on "Recent Changes" are "N" for new page (new pages often attract a bunch of copyedits); the "M" stands for "Minor edit" or "minor change", which you can set by checking the check box labelled "This is a minor edit" when you edit a page. If you check your "Preferences", you can suppress minor changes in the Recent Changes List. Checking this box is a courtesy to people who suppress seeing minor changes -- check the box if the change is a simple spelling or grammar change.

Are there any standard formats, for things like dates for example?

See the SourceWatch:Manual of Style

What do I do if I find two articles on the same subject?

Well, you could merge them yourself if you are feeling bold. Pick the most suitable page name (which may not necessarily be one of the existing ones!). If you're not sure which name to use, or whether the two articles should really be merged, mention it on the talk page of one of them (and put a quick note with a link on the talk page of the other), and see what other people think. You can also make a mention of the problem on the list of SourceWatch:Duplicate articles.

What is the ideal/maximum length of an article? When should an article be split into smaller pieces?

Separate stub sub-articles for each area of a topic can be very inconvenient for the reader to be chasing stubs that don't say very much. Articles seem to have clearly diminished technical performance when they exceed 32K in length. A rule of thumb: >30K must be divided; 20K-30K probably should be divided; 10K-20K consider dividing if the subject conveniently warrants; <10K don't bother. Size is only one factor; a 30K article with no likelihood for increased size is probably fine the way it is.

Can we debate or talk about the subjects here?

This is an encyclopedia that strives to present subjects fairly and accurately. Discussion intended to improve articles is welcome here, however; it takes place in the Talk: pages attached to every article.

I've found vandalism, or I've damaged a page by mistake! How can I restore it?

Click on the "Older versions" link. Find the last good version of the page (it helps to use a browser with multiple tabs). Edit this old version (you'll get a warning that you're editing an old version at the top of the edit box). Save this text -- it will become the new current version.

Which languages can I use?

On the English SourceWatch, English! If you would like to set up a SourceWatch in another language, be our guest.

American English, I presume, not British English?

Why presume that? People are writing in all sorts of English. This isn't necessarily a bad situation, either. Of course, the Americans aren't going to adjust their usage for the British, and God knows the British won't adjust theirs for the Americans. :-)
However, it is good form to keep usage consistent within a given article.
Use of one English variation in article titles can cause a Search in another variant to fail. In this case, it is recommended that you create a new article using the alternative spelling which is a redirect to the main article. Then, in order to prevent this redirect being an orphan, create a link to the redirect from the top of the Talk page of the main article.

How do I spell-check a page?

A spell checker has been requested for SourceWatch, but has not been implemented yet. When editing a larger article, it is in any event much more convenient to paste the text into your favorite text editor or word processor first, edit and spell check there, and then paste back into your browser to preview.
There is a list of common misspellings, which you can use to check if a listed misspelling is on any page in the database. Unlike a spell checker, an unrecognized word is considered correct.

Why are some links red? What are the ? links?

They both indicate that a page with that name has not yet been started. Which one you see depends on your Special:Preferences. If you have "Highlight links to empty topics" checked, you'll see red links. Otherwise, you get the little blue question marks.
Either way, you can click on that link and start a page with that name. But be careful -- there may already be articles on similar topics, or an article on the same topic under a different name. It's pretty important to hunt around for similar topics first. See SourceWatch:Naming conventions for information on naming pages.

Ok, what about the green links?

Those are external links; i.e. those that link to pages outside Wikipedia.

What happens when two users edit a page at the same time?

This is called an "edit conflict". You'll get a conflict screen that displays both versions in separate windows, along with a summary highlighting the differences, and instructions on how you should proceed. It's virtually impossible to lose any data.

How do I learn about changes to certain topics without having to go there from time to time?

If you are a logged-in user, on every page you will see a link that says "Watch this article". If you click on it, the article will be added to your personal watchlist. You watchlist will show you the latest changes on your watched articles.

What file formats should I use for pictures/sounds/videos?

For images, use JPEG for photographs, and PNG for drawings, logos and the like. GIF can be used instead of PNG, but it is discouraged because of patent reasons. Ogg Vorbis is prefered for sound; MP3 is tolerated but also discouraged for the same reason as GIF. As for video, good question; it hasn't come up yet. See SourceWatch:Image use policy for more.

One of the contributors is being unreasonable. Help!

See SourceWatch:Staying cool when the editing gets hot.

Can I change the default number of contributions displayed in the "My contributions" list?

Currently not. You can, however, change the setting on the page and bookmark the resulting page.

Links: External and International

Is translating pages from other SourceWatch that have more information than ours a good way to add to the project in general?

Yes, it's a good idea to cross-pollinate.

Is it OK to link to other sites, as long as the material is not copied onto SourceWatch?

External links are just fine. Arguably, they increase the usability of SourceWatch. Keep in mind, however, that SourceWatch is not a web directory; external links should support the content of the article, not replace it. The current convention is to place external links in a separate section at the bottom of the article. However, sometimes they are placed within the article as a footnote. See SourceWatch:How does one edit a page for different ways to create external links.

Copyrights

I have, or can get, special permission to copy an image or article to SourceWatch. Is it OK to do that?

The text and images of SourceWatch are covered by the GNU Free Documentation License. Unless an item is covered by the same or a similar license, or is in the public domain, it cannot be used on SourceWatch. So you have to ask the copyright holder of the material to license it under GFDL.

I have an out-of-copyright image (or text) that is reproduced in an in-copyright book. Can I scan / type it into SourceWatch?

Providing they haven't altered the image then they can't claim a copyright on it. If it was in the public domain before they used it, it's still in the public domain afterward.

Does using a GIF image in SourceWatch violate the GFDL because of its patent?

The LZW compression algorithm used with the GIF format is patented. It is nevertheless legally permissable to produce gif's and release them under GFDL, just like it is legal to produce a CD-ROM with GFDL material even though the CD-ROM format is patented. People who write or use gif creation programs are bound by the patent. That is why free software generally does not support the format anymore. That being said, we encourage Wikipedians to use the technically superior and patent-free PNG format instead of GIF.

Under the copyright law in Japan, copyright holders cannot make their works public domain, therefore there is no public domain in materials covered by Japanese copyright law. What can I do?

Technically, there is still expiration in Japan too. So if the works exceeded expiration term, they are considered public domain. Otherwise, they cannot be public domain.

Miscellaneous

SourceWatch is great but I no longer have a life. I feel the urge to spread this affliction to my fellow human beings. How do I spread the word?

See SourceWatch:Building SourceWatch membership for some ideas.

How do I edit a page?

It's quite simple. Simply click "Edit this page" on the bottom or the side of the page, and type away. See SourceWatch:How to edit a page to learn about making links, using bold and italics, linking to images, and many other things...

How do I make links?

A link is just the name of the page surrounded by double square brackets. It's also possible to make the link display text that is different to the link:
[[page name]]
[[page name]]s -- suffix text will display as part of the link
[[page name|display name]] -- hide the page name and display something else (but use this sparingly, and never "click here"!)
[[page name (disambiguation)|]] -- the "pipe trick": the part in parentheses will not be displayed.

How do I delete a page?

Consideration for others demands that you exercise extreme caution in doing so. Think about what you are trying to accomplish. SourceWatchns generally discourage deleting information from the encyclopedia unless there is a good reason for it. Please review SourceWatch:Policy on permanent deletion of pages before taking action.
It is trivial to delete the text from a page. You can click the edit link, erase all of the text, and click save. However, this is rarely helpful, as the page's history is still available, and anyone can restore the text again.
Usually (but not always), rather than deleting a page, the page should be redirected somewhere useful. If someone writes a nice article on 'JFK' it should be moved to 'John F Kennedy' (or similar) and a redirect put in place. See SourceWatch:How does one edit a page to learn about redirects.
To request that a page be permanently deleted, put the page title on SourceWatch:Votes for deletion, with the reason why you think it should be deleted. At some point an administrator will come by the page and decide to remove it for you. Unless someone else comes by and decides not to agree with you, of course.

How do I rename a page?

Registered users can move a page; this moves the page content and edit history to a new title, and creates a redirecting page at the old title. This method is better than just copying the content by hand, as it preserves the article's history. Use the "Move this page" link. If you want to move a page, please click the "What links here" and fix the links to the page in question. See SourceWatch:How to rename (move) a page.

How do I edit a redirect page?

The easiest way to edit the redirected page is to click on the link you see at the top of the page after being redirected: "redirected from ...". For example, if you try to go to the Tobacco Industry Research Council page, you are redirected to the Council for Tobacco Research page. At the very top of that page, you will see a message: "(redirected from Tobacco Industry Research Council)", Click on the Tobacco Industry Research Council link, and you will edit the redirect page page.

What is "Recent Changes", and what do the abbreviations used there mean?

The notations on "Recent Changes" are "N" for new page (new pages often attract a bunch of copyedits); the "M" stands for "Minor edit" or "minor change", which you can set by checking the check box labelled "This is a minor edit" when you edit a page. If you check your "Preferences", you can suppress minor changes in the Recent Changes List. Checking this box is a courtesy to people who suppress seeing minor changes -- check the box if the change is a simple spelling or grammar change.

What is the ideal/maximum length of an article? When should an article be split into smaller pieces?

Separate stub sub-articles for each area of a topic can be very inconvenient for the reader to be chasing stubs that don't say very much. Articles seem to have clearly diminished technical performance when they exceed 32K in length. A rule of thumb: >30K must be divided; 20K-30K probably should be divided; 10K-20K consider dividing if the subject conveniently warrants; <10K don't bother. Size is only one factor; a 30K article with no likelihood for increased size is probably fine the way it is.


See also: SourceWatch:Administrators

What is an administrator? What is a sysop?

Two words for the same thing. An administrator is simply a SourceWatch user who can access the few restricted SourceWatch software functions: deleting articles and uploaded files, protecting and unprotecting pages, blocking and unblocking IP addresses, and running certain direct database queries.

How can I become an administrator?

It's easy. First, you need a user account. Then, make useful edits over a period of time. In this way, you prove to the community that you are here in good faith. Then, send a message to editor@prwatch.org and request sysop status. Voila! Be sure to read SourceWatch:Administrators and SourceWatch:Policy on permanent deletion of pages, and use your new "powers" with caution.

Administrative Tasks

How can I unban an IP?

Select "Blocked IP addresses" from the drop-down box at the top of each page (Special:Ipblocklist), and click on "unblock" as required. Developers can unblock multiple IPs at once.