Forum:Add to our remit?

From RationalWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Moved from the Saloon Bar ħumanUser talk:Human 23:17, 12 September 2010 (UTC)

There are a few sections above alluding to various media (especially news) doing a lousy job - the Koran burning fiasco, the high level of promotion of guests' books or products, etc. - I wonder if we could do a better job of covering this sort of thing? Perhaps even add a fourth mission line for the fourth estate? ħumanUser talk:Human 01:44, 12 September 2010 (UTC)

Hypothetical fourth mission statement:

4. Analyzing the poor journalistic quality of major corporate media outlets.

--Onion Hi! :) 01:49, 12 September 2010 (UTC)

It's been a long time since I had a "wikithrill"... making something useful and having someone else run with it. I'm speaking of template:media for those who didn't catch it. Onion started adding it to articles before I even saved it, I'd swear! ħumanUser talk:Human 02:13, 12 September 2010 (UTC)
PS, I don't think the "4." above needs the word "corporate"? ħumanUser talk:Human 02:14, 12 September 2010 (UTC)
PPS, or "journalistic" even, perhaps. ħumanUser talk:Human 02:15, 12 September 2010 (UTC)
OOoh, big change adding a new mission brief! But, I'd be very much for it. Scarlet A.pngsshole 02:17, 12 September 2010 (UTC)
With Human's suggestions it comes out as 4. Analyzing the poor quality of major media outlets. Here's another idea I had: 4. Analyzing the poor quality of journalism in major media outlets, and how this distorts the public's perception of reality. --Onion Hi! :) 02:22, 12 September 2010 (UTC)
Probably needs to be more concise, but that's the right lines. Very Ben Goldacre. Scarlet A.pngsshole 02:24, 12 September 2010 (UTC)

Hm, "Monitoring the quality of the media and reporting, particularly on science, religion and politics". tmtoulouse 18:29, 12 September 2010 (UTC)

I like that. ħumanUser talk:Human 21:44, 12 September 2010 (UTC)
It's a bit long. "Analysing [or critiquing?] bad or biased journalism." Although if we don't mention science, religion or politics, will someone then come along and do articles on bad celebrity gossip? Totnesmartin (talk) 09:37, 13 September 2010 (UTC)
One could argue that all celebrity gossip is bad journalism by definition. But I do rather feel that however short and punchy we make it this would need to be linked to another paragraph (or series of articles) of definitions. I can't help but feel that this is a lot more subjective then other mission stuff that we have. We know pretty well what pseudoscience is as we have an article which defines it. What is "bad journalism"? By what standard do we judge the "quality" of reporting?
Obviously these things can be defined to an extent but it would be better to do it earlier rather then later. Perhaps a few articles on "media distortion" or something of that nature first so that we have an idea of what it is we are reporting on? (Or do we already have these?)--BobSpring is sprung! 10:30, 13 September 2010 (UTC)
Now I think about this a bit more, and considering how our existing statements are worded:
  • 1. Analyzing and refuting pseudoscience and the anti-science movement.
  • 2. Documenting the full range of crank ideas.
  • 3. Explorations of authoritarianism and fundamentalism.
  • 4. Consideration, analysis and criticism of how these subjects are handled in the media.--BobSpring is sprung! 10:41, 13 September 2010 (UTC)
Personally I think we should concentrate on meeting the first three criteria before adding to the list. MarcusCicero (talk) 12:02, 13 September 2010 (UTC)
Whilst I understand you're ongoing frustrations at our inability to be the site you would want us to be the addition reflects what we are currently striving to be when we're not having fun or mucking about. Bob's version gets my vote. Jack Hughes (talk) 13:33, 13 September 2010 (UTC)
Yeah, once again Bob's your uncle. A very good solution.  Lily Inspirate me. 15:26, 13 September 2010 (UTC)
I think the first three are broad enough to include the proposed #4 already, but I wouldn't be against it. Blue (pester) 16:50, 13 September 2010 (UTC)
I'm all for Bob's wording, it's nice. And I really need to echo JH on this, MC, really, this is a positive direction for the site's growth. This is intentionally expanding into a new area in relation to the Mission Statement that will hopefully enable people to happily analyse existing subjects in new ways by reviewing and critiquing popular perceptions of what we look at. Scarlet A.pngsshole 17:05, 13 September 2010 (UTC)
I like Bob's too, but I think we can drop "consideration"? ħumanUser talk:Human 18:35, 13 September 2010 (UTC)
By the way, there are already a lot of articles in category:media, maybe there is a good anchor/entry point there already. ħumanUser talk:Human 18:36, 13 September 2010 (UTC)
I'm cool with any reword. "Consideration, analysis and criticism" were simply the first three words which occurred to me. There may well be better ones. Groups of three words work well stylistically though - unless there simply are no three appropriate words.--BobSpring is sprung! 18:44, 13 September 2010 (UTC)
How about something like "Topical commentary and analysis on these subjects within the news and media". Trying to convey that we look at the news stories themselves, as well as the reporting of them, & other on-mission areas of the media (e.g. advertising as well as journalism). WěǎšěǐǒǐďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 18:16, 15 September 2010 (UTC)
That seems a bit clunky to me. Here is my slight alteration of Bob's suggestion:
  • 1. Analyzing and refuting pseudoscience and the anti-science movement.
  • 2. Documenting the full range of crank ideas.
  • 3. Explorations of authoritarianism and fundamentalism.
  • 4. Analysis and criticism of how these subjects are handled in the media.
ħumanUser talk:Human 20:07, 15 September 2010 (UTC)


I think it is easier to define good journalism than bad. It's a bit like our gold article standard - a few very good images, well written, very clear overview in lead, good references, fairly complete coverage of the topic, etc. Maybe if we have/had an article on journalism we could have a section covering what good j is, then contrast with examples of how to do it wrong? ħumanUser talk:Human 18:39, 13 September 2010 (UTC)

OK. but Shouldn't we be more interested in critiquing journalism as it applies to our existing mission objectives than to critiquing journalism in general? Or have I misunderstood the thrust of your post?--BobSpring is sprung! 18:48, 13 September 2010 (UTC)
Sure, such a definition and examples should be skewed to the rest of the mission, indeed. No point in using examples of poor (or good) sports reporting, say. ħumanUser talk:Human 19:19, 13 September 2010 (UTC)


I wonder about how to execute this new "directive" - as it were. Do we start having articles that side-by-side specific bad news stories (not that I want to put Ben Goldacre out of a job)? Do we write more openly about journalistic tactics? Certainly an aspect of it should be to expand and encourage the reviews that people have started. It's a good idea to add it to the mission statement as it is, actually, a huge area to consider, but how to physically go about it I'm less sure of. Scarlet A.pngsshole 22:01, 13 September 2010 (UTC)

I think we start to write articles about major media outlets, about techniques of good reporting, pit falls of bad reporting, common errors, lifestyle sections of newspapers (yuck!), specific refutations of bad articles though side-by-side may be more difficult with copyright enforcement from major media outlets. Also a WIGO the fourth estate? tmtoulouse 18:36, 15 September 2010 (UTC)
I don't think we have to "suddenly" do something, we can let it happen organically. Mainly, if someone is thinking "I could write about this on RW" they might realize they can write an article rather than an SB post, because it's now on-mission. And the WIGO idea might be interesting. ħumanUser talk:Human 20:05, 15 September 2010 (UTC)
Of course, I'd say to let it just happen. I was just wondering if many people had ideas about what sort of things to do. Trent is right, although still vague. I suppose we just need to wait and see what people want to come up with and let it flow naturally. Scarlet A.pngsshole 20:27, 15 September 2010 (UTC)
Our content and style has evolved over the years, it hasn't been directed. I expect that this will follow the same course. Of course, not every thing turns out the way we might hope.  Lily Inspirate me. 21:18, 15 September 2010 (UTC)

So shall we add this to the mission statement in the several places it occurs? Or should go back to the SB and have a massively multi-player orgy thing first? ħumanUser talk:Human 23:59, 17 September 2010 (UTC)

I say to do it. Otherwise the talking will go on until November and nothing will actually happen. Scarlet A.pngsshole 15:23, 18 September 2010 (UTC)
OK, done. I found two places - the template feeding the main page and the noob guide. Are there any others? ħumanUser talk:Human 20:59, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
Well, Template:Mission, but Onion already took care of it. Blue (pester) 21:04, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
Can't find it anywhere else, so job's done. We now have a fourth mission statement. --Onion Hi! :) 21:09, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
The times they are a-changin.' Blue (pester) 21:14, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
Thanks Onion! I forgot that one... ħumanUser talk:Human 21:23, 19 September 2010 (UTC)