User:JWSchmidt/Blog/11 May 2007
One of the first things that happened at Wikiversity was that the Main Page was redirected to Wikiversity:Main Page. The idea was that a main page such as exists at Wikipedia is really a page about the project, so it should be in the "Wikiversity:" namespace. Recently, User:CQ suggested that new visitors to Wikiversity should go to Main Page, a page in the main namespace. The main namespace is for learning resources.
According to Wikiversity:Namespaces, the "Help:" namespace is for, "instructions about how to edit Wikiversity webpages and participate within the Wikiversity community". When I wrote that, I was in the middle of a major effort to create portals for main namespace content and I was not thinking much about the "Help:" namespace. The earlier wording had been copied from Wikipedia and mentioned the fact that help pages for Wikimedia projects had originated in the "Wikipedia:" namespace and at the Meta wiki. I like the idea of having some core help pages at Meta for MediaWiki features that are common to all the sister projects. There should be a way to transclude such pages from Meta to Wikiversity.
Help vs Project
Wikipedia still has "help pages" (linked to from w:Help:Contents) that originated in the "Wikipedia:" namespace before the "Help:" namespace was invented. It is fun to look back at the origin of Wikipedia:Contributing to Wikipedia and compare it to the current page and Wikiversity:Contributing to Wikiversity.
The Help:Editing page at Wikipedia goes back to June 2004 when it originated as a redirect to Wikipedia:How to edit a page. There are still pages at Meta, in the Wikipedia "Help:" namespace and in the "Wikipedia:" namespace that provide help for wiki webpage editing.
Which namespace for help at Wikiversity?
Wikiversity started with the advantage of having a "Help:" namespace from the start, so we have less duplication of help page content between the "Help:" namespace and the "Wikiversity:" namespace. Another form of help that has started to become more common are tutorials, wiki pages that have some obvious effort put into them in an attempt to create a user-friendly learning resource for wiki participants. In the case of Wikiversity, a wiki page that is designed as a learning resource can go into the main namespace, providing us with an option not available at Wikipedia.
I've started putting some "help pages" for learning about Wikiversity into the main namespace (Introduction to Wikiversity, Intermediate Wikiversity, Wikiversity (the rest of the story), 8:00 class). My intention is that these be learning projects where Wikiversity participants feel free to edit and explore just as they would at any other main namespace page. I started down this road very early by making pages such as Wiki. Rather than have an article about wiki in the "Wikiversity:" or "Help:" namespace I created a learning project about wiki.
I originally thought of Wiki 101 as the first learning project that most visitors to Wikiversity would participate in (note: the page was created at the Meta wiki before the Wikiversity website was launched). I keep returning to the idea that new visitors to Wikiversity should be channeled into a learning project where they learn what a wiki is and then they are forced to edit. My belief is that most visitors to Wikiversity never think about hitting the edit button. If we forced them to edit, would more visitors realize that they are invited to edit and that Wikiversity exists as a website where they can learn by editing?