Forums: Index > Village Dump > UnNews statement of principles
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Following is a non-comprehensive list of principles that your humble editor is living by in his pursuit of UnNews excellence. If you have any problem with any one of them, you are welcome to either discuss the matter here, vote me off the island, run away crying, or bite me. Your choice.

  • UnNews as a news organization has no bias except satire. Individual UnNews articles, however, are encouraged to find satire with or without a bias, as the article's author sees fit. This editor's desk does not adhere to the notion that our articles are funnier as a rule when they "look like real news" or "don't alienate a percentage of the audience". Rule number one is be funny. Obviously. But close after that rule is go ahead and alienate as many people as you must to achieve your heights of funny. I quote TKF here: "Comedy shouldn't be mainstream. We should alienate. We should confuse and piss off. As long as we entertain."
  • I will never reject an article because of its bias. If my mom does something to satirize - do it! But do it well.
  • I will correct spelling and grammar, and I will often improve the language if I can. This strengthens the comedy in the piece. But I will never change your joke to something that I think is funnier. I expect the same courtesy of anyone else editing someone else's article. Funny does not belong to you or me alone. If I notice someone changing someone else's joke, I will undo it. If there's a real, well-established humor issue, such as stupid randomness or anything else that violates HTBFANJS, then a full user-space move is called for along with an offer to help fix the humor. But simply changing someone's joke to something you think is funnier - save that for your own articles.
  • Mine is a fairly wide acceptance window for landing on the recent template. Unlike some, I realize that there will be things people find funny that I don't. This may result in the reader feeling that some unfunny articles are being added to the recent template. I have added articles I didn't find funny. I am a prick, but I am not a self-absorbed prick. As long as the quality is up to standard, an article will be added to the recent template whether I, your mother, your sycophantic friends or Lord Sauron find it funny or not.
  • I don't mind making standards corrections at all, but just as a little reminder, here are a few of them you might want to spare me from always having to correct by making sure you comply with them. Spike - you're the best. I never have to fix standards on your stuff.
    • We use dumb double quotation marks for quotes. No italics, no smart quotation marks (the angled in/out kind), no single quotation marks, no offset italicized blocks. Always only dumb double quotation marks.
    • Quotation ending punctuation follows the British standard - if the mark belongs to the quote, it goes inside the end quote. If it does not, but serves only the sentence itself, it goes outside the end quote. I do not agree that if the story is American it should be one standard, and if it's British, the other. That's a load of crap. We need to have a consistent standard, and the British one is the one we are going with.
      • Jim said, "That penis is gigantic!"
      • Incredibly, it was Jim who said "Please pass me the condom jar"!
    • Quoted stuff in headlines use single quotation marks.
    • No periods in headlines - if you need to break it into two distinct phrases, use the semi-colon: "Things are getting awful; world doesn't seem to care". In certain cases colons work in headlines, such as "New approach to growing necrophilia problem: worldwide immortality".
    • Quotes are never introduced with colons. WRONG - John Twofingers said: "I only have three fingers." RIGHT - John Twofingers said, "I only have three fingers."
    • No red links.
    • And if anyone can think of any other standards I have not listed, please add them here.

Thanks ladies and dicks. Now let's be careful out there. --Globaltourniquet GlobalTourniquetUnAstrologer, UnJournalist, shameless narcissistic America-hating liberal atheist award-winning featured writer 15:14, September 21, 2012 (UTC)

I dunno. I feel like you're being to specific with grammar. We really don't need a standard. It isn't that big of a deal, in my opinion.Obama-change Barack WeinribZ ObamaObama-change 14:03, October 3, 2012 (UTC)
Actually, I'm being too specific with grammar. I think you'd find a vote going in favor of tight standards. Loose standards distract from the humor. --Globaltourniquet GlobalTourniquetUnAstrologer, UnJournalist, shameless narcissistic America-hating liberal atheist award-winning featured writer 15:48, October 3, 2012 (UTC)
Balls, I'm normally pretty good with grammar. Whoops. It's true that bad grammar makes an article not funny, but seriously? Quotation guidelines? That seems to be a bit too much. Obama-change Barack WeinribZ ObamaObama-change 17:14, October 3, 2012 (UTC)
If it isn't too much for USA Today, why it isn't too much for me. But really it's nothing for you to worry about. I don't mind taking care of it, as I said. Just in case anyone was playing the "fewest standards edits" game and wants to win. --Globaltourniquet GlobalTourniquetUnAstrologer, UnJournalist, shameless narcissistic America-hating liberal atheist award-winning featured writer 18:38, October 3, 2012 (UTC)
Okay.Obama-change Barack WeinribZ ObamaObama-change 19:20, October 3, 2012 (UTC)
Something else I believe significant enough to be added to the list would be the usage of the passive voice/active voice - newspaper articles traditionally adopt the passive voice, so I guess it would be good to follow this standard. I guess. Unless it is funny not to do so. ZhelielCow.jpg » Zheliel Talk Contribs Cow » 04:23 October 4
That's a great point, and it goes to how much the piece should "sound" news-y. If your humor is in a so-called "unreliable narrator", or hilariously biased author-character, then you can use the active voice, first person, snarky and/or outlandish statements, etc. But if your piece would be funnier delivered straight and dry, which is often (some say always) the case, then yes - passive voice, attribute all charged language to someone or something somewhere, and keep the snarkiness in non-author quotes. Thanks, Z. --Globaltourniquet GlobalTourniquetUnAstrologer, UnJournalist, shameless narcissistic America-hating liberal atheist award-winning featured writer 04:34, October 4, 2012 (UTC)
In writing news the tone is usually more active than passive. That is why the first few paragraphs are so crucial to bring out the nub of the story. The rest including background/quotes and references to other stories would be removed if there was a no space to expand the article. --LaurelsRomArtus*Imperator ® (Orate) 08:45, October 4, 2012 (UTC)
Clarification about passive - where there is potential for bias or presumptuousness, the passive approach is a very common - though not strict - news standard for achieving or maximizing a neutral point of view, especially when the party responsible for the action is undetermined. For example, "Two vagrants were beaten to death inside the Oval Office yesterday" is a more neutral approach than "Someone beat two vagrants to death inside the Oval Office yesterday". Even when the perpetrators are known, the passive voice can mitigate perception of bias: "A disabled veteran's nude Yoda sculptures were smashed into pieces this morning by Laotian tourists" vs. "Laotian tourists smashed a disabled veteran's nude Yoda sculptures into pieces this morning". Of course this doesn't always apply. Sometimes the passive is just stupid and awkward, bias notwithstanding: "A pair of cats vomited in Joe Biden's golf cart today" vs. "Joe Biden's golf cart was vomited in today by a pair of cats" - obviously we would opt for the active there, just for the sake of word flow. If you want your piece to look like real news, I would say definitely consider a passive construction and ask yourself if it presents a more neutral voice - it often does. --Globaltourniquet GlobalTourniquetUnAstrologer, UnJournalist, shameless narcissistic America-hating liberal atheist award-winning featured writer 14:41, October 4, 2012 (UTC)
That's presuming there is a requirement to appear neutral. In style I prefer to approach a story like a deranged tabloid in the style of the London Daily Mail. Perhaps I am just more exposed to that form of journalism. --LaurelsRomArtus*Imperator ® (Orate) 19:05, October 4, 2012 (UTC)
As I keep saying, and as I said in point one above, there is no requirement to appear neutral. Favoring the passive voice is advice for those who wish to. --Globaltourniquet GlobalTourniquetUnAstrologer, UnJournalist, shameless narcissistic America-hating liberal atheist award-winning featured writer 22:01, October 4, 2012 (UTC)