Wikiversity:Colloquium/archives/November 2009

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call for peer review

I made some original research, multidisciplinary and heavily explained so that most people can follow what's going on, even if you haven't any expertise you are welcomed. Abstracts at my user page.

  • The Deweirdifier( 1 physics/biochemistry, 2 abiogenesis/evolution, 3 neural nets/psychology, 4 sociology(sort of))

--Deweirdifier 15:41, 10 November 2009 (UTC)

My most influential learnings here

Two subjects came to me through policy debate here were completely new to me, and now figure into my everyday life:

I felt compelled to share this; thanks all for the lively debate.--JohnBessa66.pngBessatalk 16:00, 12 November 2009 (UTC)

A cry for instruction

I am looking for someone to help update the Czech language section. Any suggestions about how to drum up support for this topic? Where I live, classes for more exotic languages such as this do not exist. Trying to find reliable, coherent Czech instruction online has been equally fruitless. I would love to see this site thrive, and am willing to work on it, but cannot provide the backbone material required for obvious reasons.

Thank you,

Welkin.Shibboleth 07:50, 13 November 2009 (UTC)

Three places you might want to ask for help are:
1) Check language Wikipedia: w:cs:Hlavní_strana.
2) Check language Wiktionary: wikt:cs:Main_Page.
3) The (incomplete) Wikibook on the Check language: b:Czech/Table_of_Contents.
Good luck ! StuRat 11:05, 13 November 2009 (UTC)

Wiktionary_Hover: a JavaScript on double-click

Wikinews proposes a script to display the Wiktionary definition in a small board, when one double-click on a word. It's already been installed in the following Wiktionairies gadgets: in French and in Italian. The interface of the board depends on the user's language preferences.

To add it here, we should vote for an administrator, in:

  1. MediaWiki:Gadget-dictionaryLookupHover.js, copies without the guillemets : "importScriptURI('');"
  2. MediaWiki:Gadgets-definition, adds "* dictionaryLookupHover|dictionaryLookupHover.js"
  3. MediaWiki:Gadget-dictionaryLookupHover, describes the gadget. JackPotte 15:35, 15 November 2009 (UTC)

New RC patrolling concept

Hello, is there any needs to add the site in JackPotte 15:35, 15 November 2009 (UTC)

Expository articles

Hi -- I just found this site and am curious about what sorts of content are acceptable here. I'm interested in writing expository articles about mathematics aimed at high school students, but nothing like a textbook: for example, I'd like to write an article about curvature without defining the Levi-Civita connection and everything else that must be developed to do it formally. I'd probably also prefer to write articles about fairly disjointed subjects rather than developing something resembling a comprehensive course in differential geometry. Think Martin Gardner instead of coursework. Is this the right wiki to do something like this? If not, any suggestion of what might be? Thanks! (The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) .)

Greetings! I am not really into geometry, so I don't know exactly what you are talking about Smiley.svg, but it sounds pretty much as content pages fit for Wikiversity, so I suggest to register and go on! Kpss --Gbaor 08:49, 16 November 2009 (UTC)
Good idea! Please go ahead. I have wikified your message - if you don't mind. Hillgentleman | //\\ |Talk 19:23, 17 November 2009 (UTC)

1 Billion Hungry people

Today begins the Hunger Summit at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Rome. --Gbaor 08:53, 16 November 2009 (UTC)

The way I understand it, there are two main reasons for hunger.
  1. Hungry people are poor, and so someone else has to pay for the food
  2. Hungry people are not centralized in one place, so the food has to be distributed and transport becomes a major expense especially in countries that have governments that refuse transport for various reasons.
The best planned food programs come up against these two problems time and again, there isn't enough money to buy enough food to feed everyone, and even if there was, it is often impossible to get the food to the people who really need it. Recently, Government attempts at distribution have played into the hands of the less interested governments, with the result that in many cases, the food has got to the country, that needs it but not to the actual starving people.
To add insult to injury, countries with more poverty, tend also to have more population, which means that the number of people who are starving is increasing faster than the worlds food supply. In the cases of natural disasters and disease, often the number of starving children outpaces the adults that could deal with food even if it arrived. Consider the signs that have started showing up that ask people not to feed street children in AIDS affected areas of Africa. It indicates that the extended family that formerly supported many children has broken down, and the street kid population is growing despite the best attempts of NGO's. If people in their own country and government are refusing to feed them, the street kids will find other ways to feed themselves which will increase the spread of disease. It is partially because of Survival Sex, sex used to buy food, that AIDS keeps spreading. There are places in Africa where it is still believed that if you have sex with a virgin you can cure AIDS. This is dangerous in a disease that has a high re-infection rate, and which can be carried for 10 years before it becomes symptomatic. Just about the time that the child becomes a productive member of society they begin to die of Aids. So AIDS means that we will have to feed more than one generation of children before the country involved can get back on its feet and begin to support itself. Food might be the cheapest way to limit the spread of AIDS, but then, that assumes that the world wants to limit the spread of AIDS.--Graeme E. Smith 01:32, 17 November 2009 (UTC)
This isn't really the right place for this. It belongs on the Wikiversity:Help_desk, where it should be phrased as a question. This forum is for issues regarding Wikiversity itself, while the Help Desk is for issues outside of Wikiversity, like this one. I will copy your Q there and answer it there. StuRat 14:23, 21 November 2009 (UTC)

More than 1180 files with copyright problem in the only english wikiversity

The title is speaking itself.Crochet.david 21:21, 18 November 2009 (UTC)

Is there a link or category? -- Jtneill - Talk - c 21:42, 18 November 2009 (UTC)
Category:Images with unknown copyright status.Crochet.david 22:07, 18 November 2009 (UTC)
This is a pretty big problem and one which I think, as is probably suggested by its current extent, one which we would struggle to get on top of without being a bit drastic. Realistically, the problems with the majority of these images will not be resolved so most of them will have to be deleted in accordance with the Foundation Licensing policy. I would propose that the most feasible approach is to delete the contents of this folder whilst acknowledging that we might later restore a limited number of these files if their uploader brings it to our attention that they can resolve the problems. The most straightforward way of doing this would probably be via a bot account with the admin rights required to delete the files. I would welcome any feedback on this. Adambro 21:25, 19 November 2009 (UTC)
I wonder if there are any other "smart" ways of drilling into this content to help get an overview of it - e.g., by user or time or whether the images are linked to etc. I need to read the WMF policy, but I am curious - if someone uploads self-created files (such as images), can it not be assumed that they have contributed it to the project (as they do any text edits) in good faith under the WMF licensing policy? -- Jtneill - Talk - c 05:33, 20 November 2009 (UTC)
I guess the problem is - how do we know what is self-created and what is other-created unless the uploader so indicated? -- Jtneill - Talk - c 05:35, 20 November 2009 (UTC)
Indeed, it is very difficult, particularly in many instances where the uploader has long since stopped contributing to Wikiversity. The sooner we can identify problems with images and bring them to the attention of the uploader the more likely that those problems will be resolved. That is one of the reasons why we need to reduce these backlogs, to allow more recent uploads to get the required attention. I would certainly prefer a more intelligent way of dealing with these images. Perhaps somewhere to start would be by deleting those images in this category which aren't actually used? Adambro 10:45, 20 November 2009 (UTC)
People can also upload files as self-made because they assume a screenshot makes a new copyright or for other reasons. I think ideally all unused images/files should be deleted. I think all used files should be gone through and replacements found from Wikimedia Commons or Flickr, if possible. I think how the remaining files are used should determine if they are deleted or not, using the same criteria as required for fair use. -- darklama  14:21, 20 November 2009 (UTC)
Of the files with lacking the required information in this category, I've deleted just under 200 which are completely unused. These are listed at User:Adambro/deletedimages. That's made a good reduction of the backlog but it remains substantial at around 1000 images. Adambro 15:37, 20 November 2009 (UTC)
I took a look at some of the remaining files, and what I sensed might be the case, was that the owners of the files, were mostly members from other projects that only had a temporary presence on the Wikiversity Site, and therefore didn't actually recieve the messages, possibly because their e-mails weren't set to react to changes on their userpages, or because they used a pseudonym under which to dump and run data that was questionable on other sites. An example was a Graduation picture of Grace Hopper, which had an untraceable copyright.
I think that it is going to be very difficult to get in contact with these people if they do not maintain a presence on Wikiversity. However I could see, them having integrated their files into a particular course, and us losing the consistency of the course when we remove them. Many of the files seem to be instructional files of some merit, and the problem is that we don't know whether they are original art-work, or copied from a copyright text. An alternative to removing them, is to have an artistic person redo the illustration as an original artwork, that has the minimum changes required by law to be considered derivative but not a copy, and then destroy the original due to its potential copyright content. Do we have a stable of graphics people who would be willing to do such a thing, or am I just whistling in the wind?--Graeme E. Smith 14:45, 21 November 2009 (UTC)

The World Today

Most people think that the world today is bad. Because of problems they are facing and suffering. Corrupt leaders, smuggling, economic crisis, water shortage, overpopulation, climate change, crimes and wars. It's all about politics, work, personal lives, entertainment, social. Everything and everyone is affected by these problems. Today, most people are now careful in traveling because of crimes that are roaming around. Hold-ups, pickpockets, robbery and many others. The world is buried by these problems made by mankind. Environmentally, there is a proportion; Man destroys Nature and Nature destroys Man. If you want to change the world, think for a minute and do it. --[[Special:Contributions/Christian Louie M. Pajaron 12:56, 18 November 2009 (UTC)

I know this is not the place where I should put this statement; I am about to discuss my " Time Theory" where should I put it? Christian Louie M. Pajaron

To those who commented my objections, I respected your comments and can you tell me where will I put it so that I can show this to everyone? If you're kind enough, just copy my objection above and paste it where it is supposed to be and please let me know. Christian Louie M. Pajaron

Topic:Climate change probably is the right place. There you might find like-minded editors.Daanschr 07:55, 22 November 2009 (UTC)
There doesn't seem to be much activity though, but that is normal on Wikiversity. So, you have to find some people who like to join you.Daanschr 07:57, 22 November 2009 (UTC)

c programming

-- 02:15, 23 November 2009 (UTC)

What about C Programmnig? I think the Computer Science School has a few courses available just do a search on Computer Science--Graeme E. Smith 00:05, 24 November 2009 (UTC)

Russian Wikiversity Agency

We would like to open a special structure in your Wikiversity: "Russian Wikiversity Agency". Our Russian-language Wikiversity started just recently, and we feel the need for a connection with the international community, so that our project developed in close cooperation, with joint teaching and research. If you have such an opportunity, please follow our initiative.

Thank you in advance!

With great respect,

Russian Wikiversity

SergeyJ 00:07, 24 November 2009 (UTC)

I have been introduced to Russian history through my use of Soviet-era camera lenses. We in Western "capitaldom" are only beginning to crack the "Soviet nut." Perhaps a Apparatchik agency would also be appropriate, because we are seeing that bureaucracy, apparently Roman invention, may be a critical component of [[User:John_Bessa/Capital_Structure | Capital].

Shared IP notice

Hi there, apologies for cross-wiki vandalism from (talk | email | contribs | stats) - this is a shared IP address, and used by multiple computers, at both public computers, a special needs institution, and elsewhere. If any checkusers are reading this, they are welcome to discuss this with me off-wiki via email. I hope 2010 will be a better year for us all. As for the people who started this... well, they appear to have not been seen since. I myself am not a vandal, will make positive contributions. I'm just writing to clarify things. Hope I've been of help. --Howickmoor86 15:20, 24 November 2009 (UTC)

Unified watchlist

Is there anything going on to put the Wikiversity watchlist into a unified watchlist with other ones?

I may not get back here soon to see the discussion. I only check my Wikipedia and Commons watchlists regularly. You see the problem? --Timeshifter 05:36, 20 November 2009 (UTC)

That's an interesting proposition, since the logins are integrated, it would be nice to have a single page, with tabs for each Mediawiki project. You would then sign into one project, and using an entry in the top menu, select My Watchlists to get the common watchlist page, with data from each project that you have a watchlist on. Currently I have to have a tab open for each project I want to monitor.
another idea is a common profile page, and a common discussion page that might be worked similarly, allowing you to monitor all the messeages on all the projects you are involved in. One of the problems I have, is that I never get to some of the sites to check my messages because I only go there to respond to specific initiatives.
I am not sure how this can be done, can you order special pages from outside a project?--Graeme E. Smith 14:31, 21 November 2009 (UTC)
I did a test, you can access your own special watchlist across projects with a simple external link. This means that all we need to do to have a multi-page watchlist is build the page image that links to each Watchlist via a separate tab, and propagate that across the mediawiki projects. until then, just create a file listing all your watchlists, in your user page of each project, and you can window back and forth between projects, simply by clicking on the links.--Graeme E. Smith 15:27, 21 November 2009 (UTC)
I am not quite sure what you mean. Maybe it is similar to creating a bookmark folder in Firefox, and putting only watchlists in the bookmark folder. Then one can click "open all in tabs" from the bookmark menu. That would be similar to a "My Watchlists" link maybe.
Looking in too many multiple tabs is not satisfactory for me. It quickly gets old for all the minor wikimedia project watchlists outside the Wikipedia and the Commons watchlists. I open those 2 watchlists more often. I would really like a third watchlist that combines all my other watchlists into one watchlist. Or maybe combine them with Wikipedia. I like having the Commons in a separate watchlist. Others will have other preferences. --Timeshifter 10:13, 22 November 2009 (UTC)
I agree, it would be fantastic to have a unified watchlist. I have no idea how you would go about this, though. I check my Wikiversity watchlist all the time but not Wikibooks, Wikinews, Commons or Wikiquote, which has been problematic in the past. I don't really have the time to log on and check all of these, especially because my browser insists that I log on to each project separately. Trinity507 17:31, 22 November 2009 (UTC)
Yes, each person has different priorities among the various Wikimedia Projects. It looks like you concentrate on Wikiversity. I don't know if you have unified all your logins. I do not have to log on to the other projects. With w:Wikipedia:Unified login that is no longer necessary. Sometimes I have to login, but not usually. I use Firefox. I don't allow cookies except for specific sites. Such as,,, etc.. The cookies remember the unified login. --Timeshifter 12:14, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
Well if you look at my inter-wiki sandbox page, near the bottom of my user page, you will find that I have created a listing that lets me look at my Special Watchpage on any of the Wikimedia projects from within Wikiversity. As well I can check my own talkpage, and connect to my own profile page on each project using the same list. It's so simple I wonder why I didn't think of it before!--Graeme E. Smith 00:02, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
OK. I see what you mean now: User:Graeme E. Smith/Interwiki Sandbox --Timeshifter 11:59, 25 November 2009 (UTC)

(unindent) I left a talk-page comment about how unified watchlists might help concerning the issue discussed here:

Another question about assessment content: extend QTI or new microformat?

I am copying the subsection below back from the archives because I wanted to get some opinions on whether a extension of the IMS Question and Test Interoperability specification (QTI) would be more or less appropriate than a new microformat. Does anyone have any opinions about that? 21:29, 12 November 2009 (UTC)

Please help integrate proposals for assessment content and assessment review into MediaWiki

I am having trouble with (which was started before I even knew the MediaWiki Quiz extention existed) because I realize now that the review system, which is described seperately in needs to be much more tightly coupled or the two parts will be much less useful.

Please see [1] for a set of states in a state transition flow, followed by a list of fields with some really important ones missing. I updated the question about the necessary database structure on w:Talk:Database_normalization#Request_for_normalization but I wanted to ask for help here, as there seems to be a greater quantity of volunteers eager to make something of free interactive educational content here.

Specific questions:

What fields need to be added to each question in order to support accuracy review?

The answer scored as incorrect which is challenged as correct, among other things. 15:12, 11 September 2009 (UTC)

Is there a Village Pump/Technical forum here where these questions would be more appropriate? -- 18:15, 10 September 2009 (UTC)

Please see -- You probably want someone with Tim Starling's level of MediaWiki/SQL expertese for this. The enwiki VP/T may be more appropriate for this question, but let people here try to answer first, I guess. 20:11, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
McCormack is the person who developed Quiz, here. He's not been around lately but you might get him interested in working on this. I'm doing some similar work for generating dynamic content with MediaWiki but I'm mostly doing with the #time parser function so far, but was planning to get to some Test and Quiz topics further down the road. Looks like it would be wothwhile. I'll dig a bit deeper. CQ 16:56, 11 September 2009 (UTC)
Thank you. I'll try to figure out the additional field variables for being able to review a newly submitted question item. 20:01, 12 September 2009 (UTC)

I don't see any more interdependencies in the data structures or dataflow which would suggest any more database complexity than what's already described. However, readers have been making some odd challenges and have asked for diagrams on -- I think it's fair to say that both need a formal source data syntax and semantics, as well as copious diagrams before we try to get a set of interoperable implementations. 17:45, 1 October 2009 (UTC)

Survey top-50 courseware collections

In answering this QTI-vs-microformat question, I propose that we should survey the top university courseware collections although having introductory material represented would be good too. 04:14, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

Questions to help with Wikimedia Strategy.

Hi, good people of Wikiversity.

I've come over from We're interested to know two things about how you work here on Wikiversity.

First, do you have any competitions? On en:wp there are quite a few different competitions that seem to help motivate editors to do good work and more of it.

Here's an example:

More can be found at:

Does Wikiversity run anything like that?

Also on en:wp there are a number of WikiProjects which help editors to bond as smaller communities within the larger one.

Here's an example:

More can be found at:

I see that you have faculties and portals which I assume act as sub-communities. Are there other ways in which you gather as smaller groups within the community as a whole?

Answers to these questions will be valuable to us as we work on Wikimedia Strategy. I will be grateful for any information you can provide. --Bodnotbod 18:28, 25 November 2009 (UTC) --Bodnotbod 18:28, 25 November 2009 (UTC)

Hello Bod! Great questions. As for contests: I'd like to see some sort of collab between WV and the WikiEducator content creation program, where they train teachers in exchange for the teachers making free materials. At the very least, WV could keep a list of topics covered by the WikiEducator project, but it seems like an idea ripe for a good competition, even between sites/communities :-) Sj 05:36, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

(re)designing the en.wikiversity front page ?

Hello all,

I know that this may sound like a stupid "complaining" and it is possible that the right reply would be "do it yourself", but I will "complain" anyway. Peace. :-)

I think there is a need to redesign the front page to raise awareness of the project and to get more users involved it. It could be useful to check the way some other sites with the same objectives have organized their stuff. Here are some links:

I also think that the Finnish Wikiversity design, even though it is very minimalistic, is much better than the (I am involved in the I think it is better, because a new visitor of the site will in two seconds get the idea what is the site about. In the front page of the it states:

"Welcome to the Wikiversity, an open and free online learning community!

What is Wikiversity?

Wikiversity is an online community and learning environment. In Wikiversity you can learn almost anything. Learning opportunities are provided to each other by the community members. If your area of interest to study does not yet exist in Wikiversity course offerings, you can start it by creating out of your theme an online class, reading or study circle, web conference or self-study course."

I believe that if the front page is clear an nice the Wikiversity’s in other languages will follow and the community will grow.

--Teemu 13:57, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

Thanks Teemu. :-) There has been plenty of work and discussion on the main page (see, eg, Main page learning project and Wikiversity:Main page design changes). To be honest, while I think there's definitely lots of room for improvement of our (en:'s) main page, I think it's a good idea to have things like an educational resource of the day, and other visual elements - as opposed to the text-heavy main page on fi:. Were you suggesting that we should take away certain elements, or simply that the text should be rewritten? Do you (or anyone) have any concrete suggestions? I think it's always good to keep in mind how we look to a complete newcomer, and make ourselves easily and quickly understandable - I've always wanted to do so, but not always had much success. ;-) Cormaggio talk 09:25, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
I second Teemu's comment. I really like some of the wikieducator designs that have come and gone. And I agree that the welcome space on the main page is really important. Something funny, encouraging, and directly inviting people to join is always good. My favorite Main Page hook this week: the Grundschulwiki (german wikikids site), below.  :-) Sj 05:40, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
  • Are you an expert in gerbils?
  • Do you know all about airplanes?
  • Do you know why penguins and polar bears never meet?
Then you will fit right in! Join now!

Print versions

In trying to construct a primary school handout about the Abenaki tribe here, I'm really frustrated by the print version formatting. Is there any way to make print versions prettier? Or are we pretty much stuck? Add project boxes and this one is downright ugly. Any ideas? --Trinity507 20:51, 22 November 2009 (UTC)

As Wikiversity (and the Wikimedia software on which it is based) are primarily web linked, the print results are often poor out of the gate. There are a number of projects whose purpose is to make Wikis into books, so those who don't like accessing things on computer can use the resources.

Personally I'm wondering why you need to print it -- is it just for a takeaway to your learners? Perhaps you can tell them you are e-friendly and give them the link to the pages?

If you are really set on printing, I'll say this. It's software, there is no such thing as "stuck". And, better still, it's open source, so anyone has the potential to change it. It might take time/effort/money, or there might already be a tool that does the formatting you want, but it is definitely possible. Historybuff 18:06, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

I don't have any specific learners - but as someone interested in the Abenaki and many other tribes, I'm interested in providing resources for instructors, as well as organizing my own studies in one place. (Following the "the best way to learn is to teach" strategy, I suppose.) So perhaps it is best to simply not worry about the format of the handout currently. I was just curious if there was some glaringly obvious way to improve their appearance. I'm not exactly a programming genius! :-) Anyway, I'll keep plodding away at it and see if there's anything I can do. Trinity507 05:55, 10 December 2009 (UTC)

I think it's best to put your content together first. Once you've got something you want to print, I'd suggest mocking it up and showing it to us. While the Mediawiki developers have lots to do, some or all of your requests might be simple. Also, they might have ideas of who might be interested in doing what you propose if they don't have time. Finally, we have a CS department here, and someone there might be interested. And, that is if there isn't something out there already, and those are just off the cuff thoughts.
Having content that you want to print and a sample/mockup will help a lot -- it'll let people see you've invested time and that you have a solid idea of what you want the output to be. The mockup only has to show one of the pages, but your print-ready content should be a bit more substantial. (I did notice your resource is for primary grades -- near me, they are already getting on to the computer. Takeaways are important, don't get me wrong, but if we have real consumers of the info that might help convince a coder to help too). Historybuff 17:27, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
Honestly, I'm thinking that since I don't have any structured learners, it's not worth working on a more attractive printout as of yet...but if I ever get to the point where I do, I'll definitely try that out. --Trinity507 18:29, 10 December 2009 (UTC)