() in English and German was officially launched in December 2004, followed by the Dutch version in January 2005. For the first time for a new Wikimedia project, it has gone through brainstorming, multilingual community-wide voting, and the approval of the Board of Trustees. Erik Moeller (aka Eloquence) spearheaded the drafting of a proposal to organize the vote, in addition to laying out the basic site structure and workflow. Even though it started as a demo version, bloggers, slashdot.org and mainstream media outlets have taken notice.
The biggest question probably was whether the success of Wikipedia could be replicated for news production. Many of the experienced Wikimedians worried that biased news, incompatible with our policy of neutral point of view, might be released in the much shorter cycle of work that is news production. Conclusive answers to these questions have not yet been discovered, although we have seen significant progress on the project.
Wikinews has now entered the "beta" phase. It is still in its formation phase but its existence as a Wikimedia project is now generally accepted. Erik wrote an essay reflecting on the project's past and future, and pointed out that the formal review process is being reconsidered and redesigned leading to a simpler, free-flowing mechanism. There is tension between making the site more newcomer-friendly by simplifying rules and procedures, sticking to the wiki principle of "anyone can make any edit", and imposing quality assurance measures - a formal review process with a specific set of rules to follow. Publication of unreviewed and incomplete stories on the main page has likewise been discussed. Some active users, including IlyaHaykinson, TalkHard, and Lyellin, have written at length on the topic.
Considering that around half of the new contributions are written in the area of politics and conflicts, it is quite normal to worry about bias and accuracy. Some think that we should emphasize in-depth coverage like that of weekly news publication rather than breaking news, and spend more time on quality control. Calrosar, one of the many active participants on Wikinews and a participant in many discussions of article neutrality, observes that Wikinews is getting better and producing positive results. Nevertheless, the project faces great challenges. Many have said that creating a truly free, open and neutral news source would be more difficult than even the creation of a free encyclopedia. We welcome all editors on other Wikimedia projects to come by, participate in discussions, write articles, and help build the communities that we have already started.
Wikinews insiders' views
- Erik's essay: 
- IlyaHaykinson: 
- TalkHard: 
- Lyellin: 
- Carlosar:  and other sections on the page.
Media and slashdot
- Wired News Wikipedia Creators Move Into News by Joanna Glasner, November 29, 2004. 
- TechNewsWorld Open-Source News? Wiki Builds a New Kind of Journalism by John P. Mello Jr., November 30, 2004. 
- Slashdot: 
Translation of the week
Approximately 2,000 pages and 150-200 articles. 150 categories. 800+ registered users, 8000- edits.
Started by Danny at the end of October as little less than a challenge, after the success encountered with the translation of Gangnihessou into various languages, the Translation of the week, a project designed to translate an article across the different language wikipedias has picked up very well, and counts 10 translations to this day. The idea behind the translation of the week is to choose an article in one of the wikipedias and present it as candidate for a cross-wiki translation. Articles that reach a majority of supporters are then put up as Translation of the week and set to be translated in as many languages as possible. After 10 weeks, the project counts 64 declared participants, and surely that many more across the different wikipedias. Although the record established by Gangnihessou, translated into 40 languages, has yet to be matched, no article has been translated into less than 16 languages.
Proof our efforts are being recognised as legitimate, the Beck Foundation approached Wikimedia a while ago, asking whether we could develop educational materials for a younger audience. After a proposal was submitted, they agreed to grant us US$10 000 to create an online and print project for 8-11 year olds.
The project was initially greeted with a bit of distaste on the Foundation mailing list, and was called dubbed as being another Wikispecies, a project created by the Board with little outside input. But once development started on Meta, the project has become more structured in its focus, and gained unanimous support and encouragement from every Wikimedia contributor that has discovered it.
Once completed, our books will be available worldwide, either for free, or at a cost affordable to local children, rather than just their parents. Glossy and full colour, these magazine-style booklets will be colourful and richly illustrated, to help encourage literacy and curiousity.
The project is currently being developed as part of Wikibooks. Once we've created our first booklet, the information will be transferred to a non-editable site for our readers. All of the content will be reviewed and verified by qualified educators.
One of our greatest challenges so far is adapting our writing styles and content for kids. Contributors walk a fine line between too fluffy and too nerdy. Eventually, as we venture into other topics, we'll also have to decide between censorship and tastefulness. The first topics are safe from any such issues; Big Cats, the Solar System, and South America are the first books the community decided to put into development. There's also been some interesting experiments in how to layout multiple levels of content at once.
The South American issue seems to be developing the quickest, thanks to the help of Wikimedians from the continent.
We've already had translation offers for Danish, French, Portuguese, Spanish, and Swedish. Our eventual goal is for these projects to develop content independently of the English project. Additional grants will be needed to create print editions of all other languages.
I encourage everyone to come and see what Wikijunior's shaping up to be. Contribute some info, list yourself as an eligible translator, debate over the project's name. Wikijunior will hopefully lend more creditablity to the Wikimedia name, as one of our first projects to have truly noticable results in the real world.
Right now, the Spanish Wikiversity is growing quite faster than "Wikilibros" (Spanish Wikibooks). It seems that the foundations of this project are getting stronger as we already have Schools with active members in Chemistry, Physics, Computing Science, Philosophy and Linguistics. Especially active at the moment are the School of Computing Science (Escuela de Ingeniería Informática), with 7 members, 8 departments and 1 university course outlined; the Physics Department and the Chemistry Department have also very active members and the Department of Linguistics have a recently created Area of Synology. In the "Claustro" we discuss how the organization of the Wikiversity should be.
One of the topics being discussed is if we should propose to Wikimedia community that the Wikiversity should be an independent project from Wikibooks, with or without another domain name (for example .wikiversity.org). Actually, eventhough Wikiversity may/should use Wikibooks to create didactic material, different departments may be involved in other Wikimedia projects. For example, the "Area de Sinología" is going to begin the Chinese-Spanish and Spanish-Chinese section of the Wiktionary and also the article "Literatura de China" from the Wikipedia. So, the vision of the Wikiversity is quite wider than Wikibooks. It involves and tends to get profit and participate in all the projects from Wikimedia. I encourage you to have a look and to participate :P. What? don't you have a Wikiversity in your language, and what are you waiting for creating it ;-)?
Ar: A lot of effort is put into improving the existing articles, with some new additions everyday. No special projects are currently going on.
En : In light of the size of Wikipedia, it's increasingly difficult for people to keep track of significant happenings in the community. Michael Snow has made a new effort to collect this information by actually writing about it and has started a newspaper called The Wikipedia Signpost. The paper is planned to be published on the weekly basis. Read it at:
Es: A very successful project called País de la Semana (Country of the Week) encourages contributors to enhance the article of the country chosen for that week. Countries with little to no information are prioritized.
Ja: Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transportation (MLIT) clarified that their aerial photos are available under GFDL. This is a big good news for us, because fair-use images are not accepted for legal reasons on Japanese Wikipedia. Our big thanks go to the effort of User:っ and the magnanimity of MLIT. e-Goat. (PDF source)
In Japan, Wikipedia.org traffic has grown 635% over the past year, the biggest spike on the japanese web by a wide margin. Wikipedia is currently 7% as popular there as the country's most popular site, yahoo.co.jp.
Zh: The long-requested feature - Traditional/Simplified Chinese automated conversion - are coming with MediaWiki 1.4, which will attract more traditional Chinese users to Mediawiki projects and reshape the community. We owe Zhengzhu a lot for this wonderful work.
It : One Christmas tradition is sending Christmas and New Year cards, and the text on an Italian card would be “Buon Natale e felice Anno Nuovo”, on an English card “Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!”.
Buon Natale e felice Anno Nuovo! is the leading page for this effort. What we want is the translation for as many languages as possible but certainly one for all each language that has a Wikimedia project AND a sound file with the pronunciation on Commons.
One way in which you can extend this project is by writing about the way Christmas is celebrated in your area, tradition or country. Many Christians do celebrate Christmas in January for instance and not in December. Not everyone knows about a “Christmas pudding” for instance and snow should go with Christmas but not in Australia. Buon Natale is a page where you can find many resources about Christmas"""