Blog

Welcome to the Newslines Blog. Check in here for news and commentary. Written by Mark Devlin, Newslines founder and CEO. For updates about the site please check Newslines Updates

2 May, 2017

WikiTribune Will Sink

  A few days ago, it seemed that every newspaper in the world ran the story that Jimmy Wales, co-founder of Wikipedia, is starting a new ‘evidence-based journalism’ site, called WikiTribune, which will incorporate some elements of wiki-based collaborative fact checking. As Wales says: The community of contributors will vet the facts, help make sure […]

17 Nov, 2016

LinkedIn restores Newslines pages

After a few weeks offline, our LinkedIn newslines pages are back! Since April 2016 we had built up around 20,000 followers by providing curated news on well-known entrepreneurs. Our objective was to build the first such network on LinkedIn, and we thought the company would be happy for us to do so. But, just as the pages […]

15 Nov, 2016

Let’s Talk About Fake News

From George Orwell’s 1984: In the end the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it. It was inevitable that they should make that claim sooner or later: the logic of their position demanded it. Not merely the validity of experience, but the very existence of external […]

30 Oct, 2016

LinkedIn newslines moving to Facebook, Twitter

Update: LinkedIn Restores Newsline Pages Short version: Due to censorship and excessively harsh treatment, we are moving our newslines off of LinkedIn. Please re-subscribe to our newslines on Twitter and Facebook. Elon Musk Donald Trump Mark Zuckerberg Jeff Bezos Richard Branson Mark Cuban It has now been almost 48 hours since I asked Jeff Weiner, LinkedIn’s […]

28 Oct, 2016

LinkedIn deletes Donald Trump news page

Update: LinkedIn Restores Newsline Pages Over the past six months, as a way to promote Newslines’ news aggregation skills, I’ve been building news pages about famous entrepreneurs using LinkedIn’s “Showcase” pages. As Newslines curates news about people, products, and companies, a Showcase page is ideal to “showcase” what we do. For at least an hour […]

15 Dec, 2015

The New Gatekeeper

I had originally intended to publish this on July 19, 2016, but I was promoting Newslines and didn’t want bad juju. After seeing this article I decided to publish. —- A few days ago I saw on Twitter that Jason Calacanis had launched Inside.com 3.0. I followed the link, which led me to Product Hunt, a […]

21 Oct, 2015

The Article is Dead! Long Live the Feed!

There have been a couple of articles (here, here) in the past few days about “The Death of the Article”. While it’s gratifying to see thought leaders catch up to what we have actually been doing here at Newslines for well over a year, it’s frustrating to be so far ahead that no-one has understood […]

8 Oct, 2015

A Momentary Lapse of Reason

There has been an enormous amount of discussion about Twitter’s new Moments feature. Moments, previously known as Project Lightning, is Twitter’s attempt to curate tweets. As usual it has been met with gushing praise by the press. In the real world I suspect it is getting a much poorer reception, and I think it is […]

26 Aug, 2015

I Am Not Vester Flanagan’s Accomplice

Today I was accused of being an accomplice in the Vester Flanagan shooting. This morning around 6:45, Flanagan killed Alison Parker and Adam West while they were conducting a live TV report in Moneta, Virginia. The news that I was an accomplice came as quite a shock because I was not in Moneta at the time. […]

7 Jul, 2015

Reddit and Wikipedia Share the Same Disease

Over the past week there’s been a revolt by moderators at Reddit. Moderators complained when one of their number was fired. An apology by the sites’ CEO, Ellen Pao, promised more tools to help moderation. There’s an interesting parallel between Wikipedia and Reddit. Both sites’ content is created and moderated by volunteer users. Both have a […]

20 Jun, 2015

The Fake Sincerity of Remembering the Victims

I’ve been around a lot of news sites these past few days, gathering information for our newsline of Dylann Roof. All over Facebook I see large numbers of people posting pictures of the victims with the message “Don’t give him publicity, remember the victims!” These people don’t care about the victims. They objectify them by […]

23 Apr, 2015

The Sexists at the Top of Wikipedia

On April 5, 60 Minutes ran a special on Wikipedia, called Wikimania. It was soft stuff. The presenter, Morley Safer, glossed over many of the the site’s problems, presenting the site and its contributors as a slightly weird and harmless cult. But one thing stood out – the incredible sexism of Sue Gardner, the Executive […]

4 Mar, 2015

Google and Wikipedia: Best Friends Forever

A few days ago, in an article in The New Scientist, Google researchers said that Google will soon rank webpages based on the quality of facts on a page. The idea is that Google will use the billions of facts they have collected from Wikipedia, and other people’s sites without their permission, (facts aren’t copyrightable) and match those […]

13 Feb, 2015

Lessons from Tsu

There are many things to consider when building a revenue-share system, from the payout percentages, to the amount each contributor should earn for different actions. As part of my research into different systems, I came across Tsu (http://tsu.co), which is a clone of Facebook, where you get paid for posting and sharing. I had actually thought […]

24 Dec, 2014

New features

Over the past few months we have done a lot of work to Newslines. Some of it is unseen: we upgraded the core of Newslines to make it faster and more stable. But today we are proud to release several new front-end features. These features make it easier for our readers to search, sort and filter our […]

16 Dec, 2014

Google’s popular searches highlight its failure

Google just released its list of the most popular searches of 2014. Robin Williams World Cup Ebola Malaysia Airlines Flappy Bird ALS Ice Bucket Challenge ISIS Ferguson Frozen Ukraine Notice anything interesting about the list? Apart from Flappy Bird (and possibly Frozen), all of the items are news related. In effect people are using Google […]

4 Dec, 2014

Stop giving Wikipedia money

On a routine visit to Wikipedia today I was greeted with a huge fundraising banner that covered half of the page. Really, click the link to see how huge that thing was. DEAR WIKIPEDIA READERS: This week we ask our readers to help us. To protect our independence, we’ll never run ads. We survive on donations […]

22 Nov, 2014

Google’s Black Hole

In December 2012 Google added extra information in a sidebar on its main search results pages. This information, known as “Knowledge Graph” is compiled from different web sources such as Wikipedia, CIA World Factbook and other databases. In August 2014 Google said it had expanded the concept, creating a database of 1.6 billion facts into […]

14 Nov, 2014

Wikipedia’s 13 Deadly Sins

The “encyclopedia anyone can edit” gets a bad rap for reliability, vandalism, and a toxic editor environment, but have you ever thought why these problems happen? Most Wikipedia criticism revolves around well-publicized vandalism or hoaxes, while many journalists (who should know better) gush about how Wikipedia is the new model for politics/ society/ technology/ raising llamas […]

14 Nov, 2014

An apology to giraffes and Hacker News

Dear Hacker News admins, I have just noticed that my posts are not appearing on Hacker News. After a short investigation, I have surmised that this is to do with recent heavy downvoting on a recent post about giraffes. I am sad to say that in response to a post about society’s understanding of giraffes I […]

21 Jun, 2014

Wikipedia’s broken links

In this article I discuss how the way Wikipedia’s links to sources breaks usability and results in many unnecessary clicks. I also offer a simple solution and discuss how the design metaphor hobbles the site’s presentation and functionality. There are three types of link on a Wikipedia page: internal, external, and sources. Internal links link to […]

31 May, 2014

Why Quora joined Y Combinator

Many people thought it strange that Quora, the Q&A site that is sometimes touted as “the next Wikipedia” (it’s not) would join the internet startup accelerator Y Combinator, especially after receiving an $80 million financing led by Tiger Global in April 2014. That investment was “meant to spur its growth and protect its independence,” whatever that […]

5 May, 2014

Wikipedia is not a newspaper

Today I wanted to find out more about Amal Alamuddin, who is, depending on how you view things, either George Clooney’s fiancee, or a succesful human rights lawyer who is engaged to an actor. As we all do, I put her name into Google and looked in the first few links. No Wikipedia page. So I […]

25 Apr, 2014

Wikipedia vs. the Truth

As soon as Winston had dealt with each of the messages, he clipped his speakwritten corrections to the appropriate copy of ‘The Times’ and pushed them into the pneumatic tube. Then, with a movement which was as nearly as possible unconscious, he crumpled up the original message and any notes that he himself had made […]

13 Apr, 2014

Why Vox is not “the next Wikipedia”

There’s been a lot of discussion this week about “the next Wikipedia”, with articles about Quora and Vox. Ezra Klein’s Vox Seeks Google’s Juice With a Newsier Wikipedia Q&A site Quora raises $80M to build the next Wikipedia To be fair it appears that the journalists are making the comparison more than the site owners themselves. […]

18 Mar, 2014

How I improved this website with one weird trick

Comic courtesy of xkcd I’m getting more than a little bit sick of Clickbait headlines. Along with flying surveys and popunders that tell me how I’m going to make SO much money in my pajamas these “Click me Click me!” headlines have infected our browsers like a bad case of textual diarrhea. We’ve been here […]

27 Feb, 2014

New design

Welcome to the new Newslines design. Our new, fresh look automatically resizes to let you access the site via mobile and tablets. We have also added a help section, and will be working on the various help topics over the next few weeks.  Please let us know what you think in the comments.

31 Jan, 2014

The Twins

Today I spent some time creating a newsline about Cameron & Tyler Winklevoss. One of the things I enjoy about making a newsline is it takes you in unexpected directions. I know very little about the brothers, but have an interest in Bitcoin, which they have invested in and are promoting heavily. The brothers are most […]

28 Jan, 2014

Prolog

Newslines originally started as WeCheck, a collaborative fact checking system that used the same software as Wikipedia. The idea was that WeCheck would provide a level playing field for people of all political stripes to come together to debate the truthfulness of statements by politicians and pundits. I still believe there is a need for […]