Editorial Guidelines

The Diff editorial guidelines provide a framework to suggest ideas for blog posts, submit drafts and review them. All submissions to Diff are guided by the Diff Guidelines.

How to get started

  1. Join Diff.
  2. Once you have your Diff account (and not before), create a new article.

Now you can start writing a draft and submit news for publication. Don’t forget to read over the #Scope section to understand what the goals are for Diff. See #Getting your news published for more details on the publication process.

All blog users start with the Contributor user right. This role gives you the following permissions:

  • Create a new draft
  • Submit articles you have authored for review
  • Upload media
  • Edit other articles that have not yet been published
  • View other articles in review by status, category, and calendar views
  • Modify settings for your user profile

If you would like to help manage the editorial process, elevated rights are available. Please contact the editorial review board to discuss access. You can do so by emailing diff@wikimedia.org.

Scope

The scope of the Diff Blog is news about the Wikimedia movement, for the Wikimedia movement. Some examples:

  • News produced by committees and affiliates.
  • Links to interesting Wikimedia stories and discussions published in other channels.
  • News about Wikimedia partners, the ecosystem of free knowledge and other current events that are connected with the Wikimedia movement and are targeted to Wikimedia contributors.
  • Announcements, requests for feedback, reports, newsletters produced by the Wikimedia Foundation for Wikimedia audiences.

News with an unclear impact on the Wikimedia movement and opinion articles are not suitable for Diff.

Note: For technical news focused around more complex technical topics associated with Wikimedia, the Free and Open Source software community, and the wider tech industry, please see the Wikimedia technical blog.

Our goals for Diff:

  • To support and expand the work Wikimedia communities are doing all over the world, by sharing their stories for others to learn from, and facilitating access and discoverability for newcomers.
  • To promote a culture of learning by sharing stories about successes and challenges in Wikimedia programs and events.
  • To inform newcomers and established contributors about movement activities and possibilities for engagement related to their interests and background.
  • To promote the Wikimedia vision that everyone can freely share in the sum of all knowledge.

Authoring

The primary objective of Diff news is to help groups inform the movement about their activities. Most news posts are expected to be authored by people involved in the activity. News about a project, a committee or an affiliate should be submitted by identified members of the project, the committee or the affiliate organization.

Volunteers covering news about projects that don’t have yet their own voice are welcome.

Roles and responsibilities

Diff will have the following roles:

Contributor. This is the default role for new users. This role will be able to write and manage posts, but not publish them. This role will be fulfilled by anyone who wants to contribute a story to Diff.

Editor. People in this role will have the power to edit and publish anyone’s news posts. This role is open to any Wikimedia contributor and will include foundation staff.

Administrator. People in this role will have the power to manage the software settings and add features, among other things. This role will be fulfilled by a Wikimedia Foundation employee.

Content categories and tags

In order to reflect the kind of stories we hope to publish, we can establish blog categories and tags in advance. These categories and tags will improve findability of resources and stories.

Categories

  • Equity & Inclusion – Articles related to gender equity, knowledge equity, racial and social justice, translations, and engaging new people with Wikimedia projects and the movement. 
  • Education & Open Access – Articles related to work within the movement and with partner organizations to expand the access of free knowledge and promote Wikimedia projects as tools for learning. 
  • Technology – Articles related to the people and technology that make free knowledge accessible to the world, including software developments, infrastructure improvements, and useful tools that contribute to the movement.  
  • Partnerships & Events – Articles related to collaborations, initiatives, and activities to accomplish great things, whether that is a larger partnership with an outside organization or a small get-together with like-minded editors. 
  • Advocacy – Articles related to group and individual efforts across the movement to influence and educate on free knowledge policy topics such as privacy, censorship, access to knowledge, and more. 
  • Movement Strategy – Articles related to the long term strategic direction of the Wikimedia movement.

Tags

Tags can be expanded at will by blog authors. For general writing, here are some recommended tags.

  • Shared learning. Stories that share reports, lessons learned, best practices, and reflections on successes and shortcomings.
  • Wikimedia affiliates and governance. Stories about new affiliates, governance, and anything connected to the institutional growth of the movement.
  • Editor experience. Stories from content contributors that share why they contribute in the way they do.
  • Wikimedia projects. Stories from different language version Wikipedias, submitted by correspondents.
  • Wikimedia Foundation Grants. Stories about calls for proposals, projects funded, and proactive grantmaking campaigns.
  • Tech news. Stories involving tech improvements, phabricator tasks, etc.

Editorial board

The editorial board maintains the news, its content, design, processes, and structure. They also review all the news prior to its publication.

This board is created with at least three members of the Community Relations team at the Wikimedia Foundation, the team in charge of providing the means for this news feature to run efficiently and accomplish its goals.

The board welcomes new members based on their contributions to the movement.

Getting your news published

Every news post goes through a few stages before it is published. News posts can be drafted anywhere, but eventually all will need to be created within Diff. Editing is then managed by the editorial team and posts are scheduled on our editorial calendar. These steps help us to ensure our quality standards, which include: 

  • Relevance of the topic
  • Accessibility
  • Neutral point of view
  • Use of references and links when applicable

Anyone who wants to submit a post to be published in Diff will have the contributor role in WordPress. You can create an account via integration with your Wikimedia account. We use six stages to manage each news post. A news post can be in one of the following stages.

  • Pitch – A contributor has logged in and submitted an idea for a blog.
  • Draft – After the pitch is approved, a contributor starts working on an article.
  • Pending Review – A contributor submits the draft for review by the editors.
  • In Progress – An editor is reviewing the draft and leaving editorial comments for the author.
  • Scheduled – The editor and author have agreed that the news post is prepared for publication and a date and time have been scheduled.
  • Published – The news post has been published and is now publicly accessible on Diff.

In this section, we’ll walk you through each of these steps.

Step 1: Create a pitch

Every news post starts out with an idea, and we ask you to come to us at this stage of the process. If you have an idea for a draft, you can login to Diff and submit your draft for publication. If you have a pitch, and idea, or a question before you start writing, contact us at diff@wikimedia.org.

It doesn’t need to be a full idea—we can help you with that part. These are the questions we’d like to answer or come prepared to think through with us, in decreasing order of importance:

  • What is the goal of this news post? (What outcomes are you hoping to achieve?)
  • Who is the audience for this post?
  • A basic outline of what you want to say.
  • Deadline or intended publication date, if the post needs to go out in a certain timeframe. Please get in touch with us at least two weeks before any deadlines.
  • Image ideas, if you have them. We require at least one freely licensed image, with a minimum width of 1024 pixels and usually, but not always, from Wikimedia Commons. This image will be the primary imagery associated with your post. (Please don’t use screenshots, graphs, and logos for the primary image. They are great in the middle of the post!)
    • Media attribution is required. 
  • Ideas for title and summary (title should be descriptive, catchy, and in the present tense)
    • Summary is a short explanation of the topic of the article. Editors will write one if you don’t provide your own.
  • Who needs to approve this post (if applicable)?
  • Will there be any translations for this post? Translations can be made at any time by any community member, but if you need something ready in advance let’s discuss.
  • What category best describes your story? (1 minimum, 2 maximum)
  • What tags best describe your story? (1 minimum, 4 maximum)

If you don’t know the answers to these questions, do not worry! That’s why we’re here—to help ensure that you are reaching your intended audience with the content that will help you reach your goal. A friendly reminder that all submissions must be in scope and follow the Diff code of conduct.

Step 2: Write a blog draft

The editorial team, with foundation staff support, will check for new submissions daily. This process can take a few days, depending on how much is in our backlog.

What does a post look like? Posts are typically between 500–700 words. They have a clear audience and goal, a general connection to the Wikimedia movement’s mission, and a complete outline with a beginning, middle, and end—with a call to action, if possible. They can be a Q&A, a numbered list, a series of short paragraphs, or something else entirely.

Write your post! If necessary, see past posts for inspiration or specific ways to structure your post. See also the advice on outlines for topics and how to write a great blog post from the Wikimedia Foundation News Blog.

Step 3: Submit your blog for review

The editorial team has seen your submission and will be in contact with next steps  through editorial comments in Diff. You will be notified of this status change and may see comments in your draft from the team.

Step 4: Editing your blog

This is the stage where most of the work will happen. We will work with you to edit your news post and give suggestions or advice. We may ask you to send us sourcing material, or other material to ensure that the post is factually accurate. We will work with you to resolve any outstanding issues, and to make sure that your post is readable for a general audience. When these edits are finalized, we will add a comment to your document, move the document into the approval process, and set a date for it to be scheduled.

Step 5: Your blog is scheduled for publication

We maintain an editorial calendar to schedule upcoming posts. This schedule is subject to frequent changes, based on other content in the pipeline and the approval process. Please let us know if you have any deadlines we should know about. At this point, we also need to have the images that will accompany the news post.

Step 6: Your post is published

Once a post is published it is made public for all to see. Authors will be sent an email notification from WordPress. 

Code of conduct

All the users of Diff are subject to the Diff code of conduct. Submissions infringing this code of conduct will be moderated.

See also