User talk:Opensourcejunkie

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Welcome[edit]

Hello Opensourcejunkie, and welcome to Wikiversity! If you need help, feel free to visit my talk page, or contact us and ask questions. After you leave a comment on a talk page, remember to sign and date; it helps everyone follow the threads of the discussion. The signature icon Button sig.png in the edit window makes it simple. To get started, you may


And don't forget to explore Wikiversity with the links to your left. Be bold, and see you around Wikiversity! ----Erkan Yilmaz Wikiversity:Chat 16:56, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

Study of Genesis[edit]

Hey. Yeah, it was me who wrote the 'Notable Verses' section ^^. I thought it would automatically have logged me in from my wikipedia account, but afterwards I saw I had to create a new wikiversity account. I'm studying in Sutton, South London at the moment. Only A-levels so far but I definitely intend to go on to do it at uni. I do a lot of my own research cos often I find the A-level material isn't enough, heheh.

I'm looking forward to working on the section with you. I found it two days ago, and made plans to edit it the following day. When I came back, it was suddenly filled in already! Actually hermeneutics is something that interests me quite a lot, as a Christian as well as a student. --Saz909 15:48, 20 March 2008 (UTC)

Hey, yeah it's good to find something so open for editing! My computer broke last night, and so I'm unable to use it. After talking to my dad (he's a computers guy), apparently either it's the memory or the motherboard. He's given me some memory to try, but if it's the motherboard, I'm gonna have to get a whole new computer =S. So yeah, I'm gonna try and fix it on Monday when I get back to my place. I'm staying at my dad's for now (hence the computer). Tbh I don't have the money for a new one, so pray for me =P.

And yeah, good idea about getting a couple of my friends involved! We all ahve some really big exams coming up now, in May and April, so we're all a bit busy, including me. But afterwards we'll all be free and then I'm sure I can get some others on ^_^.

So yeah, I'm sorry if the updating seems a little slow from now until after the exams, but there's a good reason.

--Saz909 22:28, 22 March 2008 (UTC)

After a lot of effort... The computer works! Without the new RAM, it didn't fit. I'm now running Vista on 512 mb of RAM... no too good but hey. Getting some new RAM soon, and things'll be better ^^. More updates tomorrow. --Saz909 23:53, 24 March 2008 (UTC)

re: Bible, English, King James, According to the documentary hypothesis[edit]

Hey, Pathoschild.

I'm an editor (opensourcejunkie) over at Wikiversity who just recently viewed a discussion concerning an old wikisource article entitled "Bible, English, King James, According to the documentary hypothesis". It had been suggested that it be moved from wikisource to wikiversity (since on ws it wasn't actually a source ;) From the digging I've done, it seems that the move never happened, and as the content may be a help to my current project, I'd like the chance to move it myself. I was planning to talk to the user who asked you to restore it last time, but only his IP address was recorded, so I couldn't contact him. If you know which user has the source code, or you're able to make it available to me, I would be much oblidged. Thanks a lot!

--71.185.207.58 01:01, 12 March 2008 (UTC) Opensourcejunkie

Hello. Please tell me what titles you'd like to use, and I'll import it to Wikiversity with full edit histories. —Pathoschild 23:11:39, 20 March 2008 (UTC)
For now, let's just place it under "Documentary Hypothesis research", until I (or someone else) is able to spruce it up to classroom material. I'll know what I'm dealing with better once the work is visible. Thanks for helping us preserve this!
--Opensourcejunkie 00:47, 22 March 2008 (UTC)
Done. —Pathoschild 03:35:39, 02 April 2008 (UTC)
Hey, Pc, I just wanted to thank you for moving the Documentary Hypothesis OR over to Wikiversity. It's quite an incredible resource! Glad we could rescue it from the annals of deletion :-)
-- Opensourcejunkie 14:08, 7 April 2008 (UTC)~
You're welcome. :) —Pathoschild 15:51:34, 07 April 2008 (UTC)

Using subpages[edit]

Hi and thank you for contributing so much material to Wikiversity. When you create new pages, could you perhaps try to make much greater use of subpages. E.g. if you are creating a page called "My Bible Course", then a subpage would have the title "My Bible Course/Jesus". See Wikiversity:Learning_projects#How_is_a_learning_project_structured.3F. Ask me if this isn't clear - and thanks! --McCormack 08:29, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

Hi again, and thanks for your reply. Glad to hear you know what you're doing! Basically when I see a lot of pages being created in the main namespace with very generic, short names, it signals a user who potentially doesn't know about subpages - hence you blipped on my radar! But as said, you seem to know what you're doing. See you around. --McCormack 09:25, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

Moving subpages[edit]

Thanks for your question. I reckon you'll have to move them all individually. --McCormack 10:06, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

Religious policies[edit]

Hi. Would you like to write a first draft of Wikiversity:Draft policy on religious content for us? Some of us have been discussing the need for and possible content of such a policy for a while. My suggestion has been that as you are very interested in this area, and as you are a competent and committed wiki editor with an awareness of policy issues, that you might be a good person to write a first draft. Of course, the Wikiversity:Draft policy on religious content would have to be a global policy for the whole site, covering all religions, including possible future ones and well as extinct ones. It would be very challenging to write such a thing. Are you up to the job? Obviously it would just be a first draft, but first drafts are important. --McCormack 15:56, 26 March 2008 (UTC)

  • Wow. I'm honored that you'd think of me. I would love to be so intimately involved in the inception of such a thing, especially as I have a vested interest ;-). Now, as I've never written a wiki policy draft before, I could use a hand with some information: you mentioned that a dialogue has been going on about the potential policy; do you know where I can go to view what's already been discussed? do you know of any policy writing tutorials/faqs etc., either on here or another wikimedia project? If not I can probably wing it, but such a resource would be helpful. Thanks for this opportunity, McCormack! --Opensourcejunkie 13:19, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
    • Thanks for your reply. Shall we keep the thread here? If you reply, leave a note on my talk page telling me to look here. To answer your questions: the discussion has been rather inconsequential and disjointed so far, so you don't really need to look at it. As regards "how to write policy", I see you've been experimenting with a policy for one of your projects recently, and you could also simply read some other policies on other topics. See Wikiversity:Policy - but I wouldn't call all those examples terribly good, and we may be having a general policy review anyway. The tendency on Wikipedia is for policies to bloat beyond imagination. A policy should generally describe what is acceptable content and what is not. It must observe the general principles of NPOV, and balance these with Wikiversity's educational mission, which may require carefully defined exceptions to NPOV. The policy should lay down a procedure for dealing with possible unacceptable content. Some questions which come to mind for religion: can an educational resource be about any religion whatsoever, and if not, how does one define which religions are acceptable? and can one find a definition of "educational neutrality" which covers religious neutrality? how does one stem messianic tendencies without damping editoral motivation? how does one deal with absolute truth claims made by religious adherents against the context of other policies such as verifiability, reliable sources and the like? Anyway, this is just a first draft, and will certainly be commented on, so don't worry, be bold and get going! --McCormack 13:33, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
      • Thanks, you've been most helpful; I'll get started on it on my next night off. As for today, I gotta go to bed :-) ttys, --Opensourcejunkie 13:40, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
    • Addendum: this isn't intended to exclude any other religion editors from contributing to policy formation. This just puts the ball into your court to start us off. The final result will be collaborative. --McCormack 13:41, 27 March 2008 (UTC)


Draft Questions[edit]

Hey, I'm most of the way done the first draft, but I want to include a couple more things, not the least of which is a section on unacceptable content. Is there any system at present for marking potentially unacceptable content? I know Wikipedia has a series of templates; do we have anything comparable? I couldn't find anything on Wikiversity:Policies. --Opensourcejunkie 11:42, 29 March 2008 (UTC)

I suggest that to continue this draft, we look at some possible problem cases and see how policy would cope (or would have to be developed to cope) with them. A good policy on religious content will be difficult. (1) The Ásatrú religion, which seems to really exist, but has alleged controversial political associations - to what extent could WV be a platform for teaching the tenets of this religion (not informing about, which is what an encyclopedia does, but teaching). (2) Many of the world's "great" religions have had sects in the past which have engaged in practices which seriously offend against what we might call "universal moral values" (so far as they exist) - e.g. flagellation, cannibalism, suicide. The trend in American prisons to invent or rediscover such sects and then sue the prisons under freedom of religion laws is an example of the abuse of one legal rule to evade another. Surely, again, it is one thing to inform about, another to teach these religions. Would a simple disclosure box be adequate? (3) Hinduism, in its mainstream form, includes the caste system and arranged marriages - can we teach these things as well as informing about them? Surely teaching involves an element of persuasion, or at least an intent that the learner should accept the truth of what is being taught. Do you see this as an issue? Should we be setting up a gatekeeper system here for what can acceptably be taught? Or is a mere disclosure box adequate? --McCormack 12:21, 29 March 2008 (UTC)
Hey, real quick b4 I reply to your post - I wanted to note that you didn't actually answer my initial question ;-) Although I admit such a technical issue is trivial in comparison to your reply :-).
Thanks for the feedback; I can definitely see your point. I was actually going to post a justification of the draft's (initial) neutral stance on the discussion page - I just haven't gotten around to it yet. So, I'll post one here that I can later morph on over to the disc. page.
My reservation with a gatekeeper system is that it relies upon, as you noted, a "universal morality". Now I personally believe that there is, fundamentally, a universal morality among humans. However finding one that every religion/sect outwardly agrees upon is, as far as I can tell, fairly intractable. Even the much acclaimed commonality of "love" between religions is not universal; I once read about a tribe in South America that endorses hatred and individuality instead. No, the fact that such a gatekeeper system is necessary demonstrates well that there are groups in disagreement with majority morality.
Thus in order to enforce such a system, we would have to exclude fringe viewpoints, and frankly I'm concerned that such exclusion will hinder the advancement of Wikiversity. Take for instance what JWSchmidt said on the discussion of scholarly ethics: "we know from our history that important ideas initially arising as minority points of view are sometimes eventually adopted by the vast majority once those ideas have a chance to be explored and understood. Many great ideas start out as fragile ideas that need to be protected. If we fully support the search for knowledge then scholars need to be given the freedom to explore and discuss unusual and unpopular ideas."
An obvious example would be evolution. If Wikiversity were around in the time of Darwin, would his Origin of Species have been accepted here? "Universal morality" (at least in western culture) was predominantly Judeo-Christian; thus an anti-Creation (translated anti-God) work would likely have been discarded. In the pursuit of unbridled knowledge, can we really afford to install such censure? For all we know, society's morality may change in the upcoming years to include flagellation, suicide, or (God forbid) cannibalism. (With the advent of Euthanasia, we may not be far from accepting suicide).
Thus I decided in the draft (and of course this is subject to change with the flow of consensus) to disallow any restrictions on the type of religion written about. The gatekeeper then lies downstream, at the requirement for scholarship (which will hopefully be objectively defined). If a fringe religion/cult can write persuasively from a scholarly standpoint, then I cannot see how censuring it will further the goals of Wikiversity, let alone scholarship in general. My opinion, anyway :-)
--Opensourcejunkie 15:32, 30 March 2008 (UTC)

Gatekeeping[edit]

On the whole WP is very tolerant as regards gatekeeping and accepts pretty well all the examples I gave above. However WP draws the line (for example) at religious articles of a "my latest guru" style - i.e. when a guy comes along and someone else (or perhaps the guy himself) declares him a religious leader of a new religion and decides to use Wikimedia projects to proclaim his message. Where would you stand on WV's acceptance of religious articles on religions and topics that WP refuses? --McCormack 16:13, 30 March 2008 (UTC)

Has anyone ever told you that you reply incredibly quickly? It's uncanny!
To be completely honest, I'm not sure where I stand. Mostly that's because I only have a fuzzy, incomplete picture of what people perceive Wikiversity to be. In my few travels to discussion pages, I have read analogies similar to the idea of a Greek philosopher on a hill, dialoguing with whomever comes to him. Such a model of Wikiversity would allow for new ideas, unsubstantiated by third-party sources. In the same quote I mentioned above, JWSchmidt continues, "Fragile new ideas are not subject to verifiability in the traditional way that Wikipedia editors verify sources and citations." Some people seem to see Wikiversity as a place to foster and research new ideas that may or may not have verifiable reliable sources attached to them.
At other times people seem more concerned with Wikiversity's reputation with respect to the outside world, as well as the other Wikimedia projects. Allowing Joe Thinksalot to come onto Wikiversity and just reel off his opinions can certainly denigrate people's perception of our scholarship, and this is exactly what an open-gate policy (such as the one I've written) would allow.
I have a tentative idea as to my stance on the matter - may I emphasize tentative; my perception of Wikiversity is as "under construction" as much of its policies. To answer your question outright, I do not believe that Wikiversity should define its acceptance policies based on those of Wikipedia; we have different goals (we obviously breach policy by merely breaching NPOV and NOR). That being said, we have similar goals in that we both want to produce high quality, scholarly content. Thus I think that we can elicit many lessons from studying (and adapting) Wikipedia's policies.
Personally, I sway more toward the "philosopher on a hill" perception of allowing new ideas, both unverifiable and obscure. I mostly tend this way because academia tend that way; it's how knowledge advances (in our current system). Yet in spite of the openness to new ideas, universities are able to maintain a high level of scholarship; in fact they define scholarship. How are they able to balance openness to ideas with close mindedness toward unscholarly works? I think that the key to organizing Wikiversity's policies lies in understanding Academia's policies.
Without claiming to understand completely academia's solution, I will make a stab at it.
  1. Academic publishing is subject to peer review
  2. Peer review is performed by people familiar with the subject area (i.e. people who study mathematics don't judge the scholarship of a psychological study)
  3. Each subject area has a set of criteria that help to objectively judge a work's scholarship.
I suspect that if we mimic the solution provided above, we may be able to enforce scholarship on all the Joe Thinksalot's of Wikiversity. Here's one possible solution:
  1. If a learning plan's scholarship is called into question, a "peer review template" is placed at the top of the page/section. (the template would automatically place the page in a "peer review" category to make it easier for reviewers to find)
  2. The community at large (or perhaps one of the subject matter experts / "referees" mentioned at Wikiversity:Review board) would then classify the type of work (e.g. religious primary source/OR), and analyse it according to a set of criteria developed for that specific classification.
  3. If consensus thus deems the work "unscholarly", either in whole or in part, it will then be subject to removal or revision.
It's one approach at any rate. I suppose I present it to demonstrate that there are methods to ensure that self-proclaimed philosophers etc. can be forced to do scholarly work. Those who do not conform their writings to provided standards will be frustrated away, leaving the good philosophers to generate new ideas, and thus further the quest for knowledge. (Of course I believe that all the philosophical knowledge one could ever need can be found in scripture, but that's just me :-D ) --Opensourcejunkie 17:26, 30 March 2008 (UTC)

Would Darwin have been accepted by WV?[edit]

I hope so. One of the ideas I've been playing with (in a very formative sense) is that for science-related topics, there should be something like a fringe science percentage quota. For example, policy could state that no more than 10% of resources on a specific topic can be "fringe", and the fringe resources are tagged as such. The result of such a rule would be that if somebody wanted to add their latest fringe theory and the quota had been reached, they would have to add about 9 mainstream educational resources first. In other words, fringe theorists (who often know a lot about mainstream stuff as well) would be motivated to contribute primarily (boring) mainstream stuff. A rule like that would have allowed in Darwin. --McCormack 16:18, 30 March 2008 (UTC)

What an innovative way to ensure quality! It attacks the issue from a direction that I never would have thought of.
How would that work from a technological standpoint? Would the author need to place the publication in a "fringe" category, upon which the quota was placed? --Opensourcejunkie 17:39, 30 March 2008 (UTC)
At the moment it's just an idea. But yes, it would depend on tagging (and therefore categorisation) of fringe material. A template would go onto any such resource, automatically categorising it. The idea behind this is complex. People want to post fringe material on Wikimedia projects because Wikimedia has a (good-ish) reputation and you can be seen there; but the reputation of Wikimedia projects turns on the mainstream stuff; by ensuring that fringe material remains on the edge and that the core is still strong, the fringe authors gain. --McCormack 20:15, 30 March 2008 (UTC)

Defense of the Resurrection[edit]

Hey, you mind if I put upp a framework for a bit of that? Namely, I want to make a part about possible ways that Jesus rose without being divine, and the general Christian response to the theories.

I ask because you may well have plans for it already. We literally just finished the topic of the resurrection in class, so it'd be cool to use my kowledge there ^^

--Saz909 21:45, 26 March 2008 (UTC)

Templates[edit]

WV's current template system is rather inadequate. In general, if you need a template, first search thoroughly on WV (and don't expect templates to be properly categorised). If you don't find the template you need, import it. --McCormack 16:10, 30 March 2008 (UTC)

*nods --Opensourcejunkie 16:12, 30 March 2008 (UTC)

Re: Computer[edit]

It's been at the repair bloke's now since Thursday. He's got the new motherboard in today, and hopefully putting it in tomorrow. Thanks for the offer of a laptop, but since my computer should be fixed soon, it'll be better if you keep it for now. End of school term on Thursday ^^. Which leaves me a bit more time to be doing edits. Sorry I havn't been on for a while, I have to catch up on coursework before term ends. --Saz909 17:00, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

religion and NPOV[edit]

I just has quick look at Wikiversity:Draft policy on religious content and I think it is the direction I would tend to go in. Some people are "color blind" and I am "religion blind"....I have no practical experience/understanding of religious motivations, but I do not like the idea that we would have to exclude discussion of some religions or some types of religion-oriented discussions from Wikiversity. It seems like we should always be able to find a way to make a start on any topic....even if we cannot say everything that could be said. A small amount of self-censorship can be practical in an education-oriented environment. If discussion of a topic or point of view threatens to disrupt or destroy the learning environment then we have to be practical and limit what we say. I'm interested in the idea that by making our biases explicit we can increase awareness and help limit emotional disputes. Of course, we all have trouble identifying, categorizing and appreciating the impact of some biases so it is always a struggle to rely on disclosures of biases as a way to facilitate constructive discussion and learning. Maybe we need some good Wikiversity learning resources that deal with these issues of how to approach topics that tend to lead to endless disputes and clashes of world view. --JWSchmidt 06:03, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

"If discussion of a topic or point of view threatens to disrupt or destroy the learning environment then we have to be practical and limit what we say." --> Hmm, that might be a good first limitation to place on religious content. It's a form of censure put into place to ensure the freedom to learn. I'll see what others think about it.
"Of course, we all have trouble identifying, categorizing and appreciating the impact of some biases so it is always a struggle to rely on disclosures of biases" --> I was reading somewhere that the disclosure actually refers to the resource, not the author (which is true, since this is collaborative work). Therefore if the original author does not notice his biases, the beauty of the wiki way is that other, more critical authors will, and they can add to the disclosures.
"Maybe we need some good Wikiversity learning resources that deal with these issues of how to approach topics that tend to lead to endless disputes and clashes of world view." --> Absolutely; this may have an even greater effect than formal policy (although policy is certainly needed to countermand those who who deliberately transgress scholarly ethics && common courtesy.
--Opensourcejunkie 12:18, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
Policy is not a magic wand. A lesson to be learned from Wikipedia is that wiki participants sometimes work very hard to ignore/undermine/evade policy...how do we know when such evasion is motivated by a noble cause struggling to be recognized? I like to imagine that for Wikiversity the solution to conflicts over the application of policy can be heavy on the use of education rather than heavy on the use of punishment....but if there is disruptive content we will sometimes feel the need to delete first and then debate/discuss the deletion of the disruptive content and some people are going to go away mad because they cannot participate at Wikiversity without causing unwelcome disruption of the community. Can we find ways to limit the chances of that happening? I'm accept the idea of groups of wiki participants making decisions about the extent to which individual learning resources have adopted a limited point of view, but the potential problem is that the original authors of learning resources may not accept the labels that others apply to their learning resources, and sometimes this rejection of labels will be for good reason. I've seen this happen at Wikipedia..."group think" can trump reason. "More critical" does not always mean more correct. It is all too common for dominant religious groups to adopt biased and unfair views of a new religion...often without first having any deep understanding of the new religion. Xenophobia is a fundamental aspect of human dynamic. I accept the fact that conventional/majority views will tend to dominate decisions about Wiki content but I hope we can find ways to keep all of our points of view, even dominant religious and political views, open to scholarly and critical commentary and debate. If Wikibooks can have a "wikijunior" branch, maybe Wikiversity will need a "wikisenior" branch where "adult" and controversial topics can be discussed under a big flashing sign that says, "mature content, no children allowed". I'd like to explore ways to make that possible rather accept the idea that controversial topics are just too hot for Wikiversity to handle. I fantasize that some day we will be able to go to a notary public and have a wiki user account certified as being under the control of an adult. Until then, our online scholarly debates will suffer from self-censorship. --JWSchmidt 22:58, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
"I accept the fact that conventional/majority views will tend to dominate decisions about Wiki content but I hope we can find ways to keep all of our points of view...open to scholarly and critical commentary and debate" --> I think that you and I have similar goals here. I would much rather see potentially offensive (albeit scholarly) material demarcated rather than deleted.
Along those lines, McCormack and I were discussing (in passing) the problem of protecting children from potentially damaging material. For instance, a sex-ed class may be inappropriate for early ages, as would be a mass-suicide cult. In trying to balance the need to protect children with the need to include fringe viewpoints, I thought that perhaps a simple warning template might do the trick:
Crystal Clear app error.png
Content Warning

This resource contains information and/or perspectives that may be offensive to the following group(s) of people: Children under the age of 12.


Allowing "more critical" users to tag offensive pages would give them a viable recourse other than content deletion. That way, readers are at least aware that they read at their own risk. (of course, such a template may attract children rather than repel them) --Opensourcejunkie 08:30, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

Authority versus reason[edit]

Hi, Opensourcejunkie. I'd have liked to have helped you with this, and explored ideas for overcoming the deletionist/inclusivist dichotomy ("3rd way paths") - the very tentative "fringe quota" and "EdPOV" ideas being first steps. However I have previously had discussions with JWSchmidt and attempted to find 3rd way solutions (on quite other issues) with him, and I know that the way he reacts to 3rd way solutions is such that it would damage my commitment and involvement with Wikiversity as a whole - I therefore cannot and will not engage in this discussion if you appeal to him as an Authority. It is my wish to move Wikiversity forward, to make it a child-friendly environment where learners are actually able to find learning resources (i.e. reduce chaos), in which freedom of expression is balanced with the requirements of criminal and civil law, and where people can expect to find useful educational stuff. Such a move forward will not occur unless there are compromises and 3rd ways, with tough, courageous and imaginative decisions. I do not know what these decisions will be, but I am sure that such decisions will have to be taken if the project is to succeed. Of course any gatekeeper criteria will be unfair, but to have no criteria at all is morally worse and intellectual cowardice. We do not need people who are "religion-blind"; we need people who have the courage to open their eyes to all the terrors that religion has produced and think how we can set the path of Wikiversity so that it does not repeat those terrors. The current state of Wikiversity:Draft policy on religious content is that it really needs a lot of work, and I'd have liked to prod you forwards with difficult questions (e.g. Is a tiny disclosure tag really a universal entry ticket? And are people always sufficiently aware of their POV to write a disclosure tag?) My methodology here is perhaps irritatingly Socratic, but it is opposed to Authority, and Authority will not help us. --McCormack 07:48, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

"I therefore cannot and will not engage in this discussion if you appeal to [JWSchmidt] as an Authority." --> My intention in appealing to JWS was not to present him as an authority, but rather to generate interesting discussion on the policy so that it can move forward. Granted, the fact that we share similar viewpoints may have been an ulterior motive. :-|
At any rate, I'm sorry; I didn't know you two had a history. And I guess now that you and I have a history; who could have guessed that we'd have completely opposite viewpoints on this issue. Do you regret asking me to write the draft?
I guess in some ways, we form a nice dichotomy ourselves; if the draft had been written without either viewpoint represented, then the results would yield an unbalanced policy. That is precisely why we can't afford to lose your voice in the discussion; my opinion alone is not enough. There are surely holes in my argument that you can see (such as the effect that unbridled knowledge will have on children), just as there'll be holes in your reasoning that I can fill. So please, JWSchmidt or not, don't leave.
Of course, I still think I'm right (thank God policy isn't up to me alone ;-), so I don't know how much help I'll be in drafting a revision to the draft. However, you seem to have a pretty good idea of what you're looking for (yeah, you are a bit socratic ;-), so why don't you draft up the necessary changes? After all, we are editing a wiki :-D
Hope you haven't given up on me Socrates,
--Opensourcejunkie 12:06, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
"now that you and I have a history" - I don't think it's that bad! When I asked you to try the draft, I knew you had different perspectives from myself, but I also reckoned I detected someone who could think and who knew more about the issues than myself, so I reckoned it would be a good idea to give you a try! I didn't give up lightly on JWSchmidt, so don't think I will give up on you either without some effort ;-) If you want to push through a policy with Authority, then look for some people who support you "blind"-ly. If you want me on board, then thinking caps on and let's try and cook up something different to the usual solutions. I realise it's terribly frustrating when someone plays Socrates with you, but I'm hoping it'll generate some ideas. I have a lot of "questions" about religious policies in my head, but not a lot of solutions (yet). For example, if we accept the current policy of disclosures, then someone simply has to add a disclosure "Nazi apologist" at the top in order to justify educating (not just informing) about Nazism. I have some difficulty with the Invent-A-Guru articles, and we do actually get those ones. I think a lot of people (perhaps even you?) don't actually want Invent-A-Guru articles, but can't see how to get rid of them without endangering the existence of content which they do want, so they run into the safety of zero-deletionism (delete nothing). Anyway, if you'd like to play intellectual cat-and-mouse with Socrates, I'm still here. --McCormack 12:39, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
Aight Socrates, I'm in :-). As far as I can see, we have two major problems to deal with:
  1. Nazi apologists (and other distasteful viewpoints), and
  2. Invent-A-Guru's
Thus, I suggest we deal with these two issues independently, to find a solution that works well for all sides of the issues. --Opensourcejunkie 10:58, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

Nazi apologists, etc.[edit]

Now let be clear - I am not in any way a fan of Nazi's, Neonazi's, or any other form of fascism, for that matter. There is some truth to what you assert in that I would much rather not see Nazism taught in our school. (this applies to a number of other distasteful fringes, but Nazism works well so I'll refer to it here) And yes, my "retreat" into zero-deletionism is due in part to the fact that I fear an exclusivist policy would endanger other, allegedly more desirable viewpoints.

Coming clean[edit]

Now, I've got a hidden motivation that I haven't yet told you, because if I do, it demonstrates that I have a vested interest in the outcome of the debate. Still, I think that if I unveil my motivations, it may help you understand some of my concerns about a gatekeeper policy. Basically, even though I'm part of a mainstream religion (Evangelical Christianity), there is a chance that my religion could be classified as a "hate group" in upcoming years.

Recently, there has bee a semi-global push by the homosexual agenda to call any criticism of homosexuality "hate speach". Laws have been passed in Europe and in Canada that are a step in this direction; a similar bill was passed in the United States Senate, but defeated in the House. In Sweden, a pastor was sentenced to a month in prison for speaking out against homosexuality, although his appeal overturned the ruling.

Now, I do believe that homosexuality is morally wrong; more importantly I believe that scripture clearly teaches it. Thus if (when?) society begins to see such criticism as illegal hate speech, I do still intend to speak out against it, whatever the repercussions. It would be great if Wikiversity would be a place where such open dialog and debate could take place. (Of course, if it isn't I'll certainly respect the rules and policies provided)

My point is this: if we base our acceptable content on the mood of society, we may be incorrectly excluding some important viewpoints. Let's face it - your perception of what's morally acceptable is in many ways based on the society in which you were raised, as is mine. There may be, even today, fringe "hate" groups that have important viewpoints, the exclusion of which might hinder our advancement.

The value of a Nazi apologist[edit]

Even though I have a very pointed hatred toward many Nazi doctrines, I still think that Nazi educational documents have value here on WV. I was reading on one of the policy disc. pages that even if Wikiversity allows non-NPOV content, it will still probably reach a more universal version of NPOV in that lessons teaching one POV will be countered by lessons teaching an opposing POV. In the case of Nazi doctrine, someone who opposes Nazism would, if he finds a Nazi learning resource, likely write an opposing resource, and link them. Thus all POVs will be represented, simply in a more global sense.

Now the reason I find this important is as follows: it demonstrates an interesting strategy in fighting propoganda. Propoganda has historically thrived when the people did not have access to all relevant points of view (Nazism in Germany, War propaganda in U.S.) Thus I propose that the best way to fight propoganda is to allow all points of view - the good, the bad, and the ugly - and to link them.

The alternative strategy, to filter which POVs are acceptable for our students, is (IMO) degenerative. (1) we're thinking for our students, instead of having them critically evaluate each learning resource's arguments, and (2) more importantly, we're forming our own sort of propaganda, based on (at best) our current society's accepted moral standards.

So, if we do install censure (at least censure based on U.M.), I suspect that it will turn around and bite us in our backs (specifically mine :-), when society's morals redefine themselves, and our policy.

The danger of a Nazi apologist[edit]

The danger of a Nazi apologist is fairly obvious. If (A) there are no opposing resources yet written, (B) there are no opposing resources yet linked, or (C) a student is unwilling (or somehow unable) to read alternate resources, then students (children and adult alike) will be susceptible to (what we perceive to be) dangerous resources.

So, a single Nazi apologist on Wikiversity could (inadvertently?) cause a number of terrorist attacks, school shootings etc. across the globe. Wikiversity thus has the moral dilemma of restricting education for the sake of restricting negative outcomes of education. (A little learning is a dangerous thing?)

Well, I'd like to point out that any POVs that find their way to Wikiversity are almost guaranteed to pre-exist on the internet proper. Thus, we cannot stop negative information from harming students; we can only stop negative information from harming the reputation of Wikiversity (an important endeavor).

I suppose then that the breaking point for this issue will lie in determining which is more important: defeating propaganda by allowing MPOV, or permitting a level of propaganda to ensure the safety of WV students and its reputation. What are your thoughts? --Opensourcejunkie 12:38, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

Btw.[edit]

Btw, I created a template to mark potentially offensive material (discussed above under JWSchmidt's post). I doubt this will effectively guard students from questionable material, but it will at least alert them to it. What are your thoughts on that? --Opensourcejunkie 12:38, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

Invent-A-Guru's[edit]

I guess I'm not as worried about Invent-a-Guru's as you are. Perhaps I simply haven't seen the damage they can do.

I suppose I feel that if they can produce scholarly arguments, then they are not only acceptable on WV, but desirable. What exactly is it that makes them so dangerous/undesirable to a school setting? (I can definitely see how they'd adversely affect the quality of an encyclopaedia, but in a learning community, I think they would generate all sorts of interesting discussion) --Opensourcejunkie 12:43, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

Hi again, and thanks for your very lengthy and detailed replies, which I regret I cannot do justice to at the moment. My main wiki efforts at the moment are directed towards the new main page and accompanying pre-tertiary portals - i.e. a bunch of major ease-of-use projects. This is huge, and I'll only get it done if I concentrate rather narrow-mindedly on that project! The temptation to get involved here is great, but it'll have to wait. --McCormack 09:48, 5 April 2008 (UTC)
Just a quick comment about invent-a-guru pages: they do no direct harm, but collectively they damage the reputation of Wikiversity as a serious learning resource (rather like fringe science ideas). A few of them show we are open; many of them show we are silly. Playing Socrates: how would you factor into a policy the collective contribution of articles of certain types to the reputation of WV? (And no, I don't have the solution... (yet)!) --McCormack 09:48, 5 April 2008 (UTC)
Heh; I'm glad you're busy too; I had to go awol for a bit (family stuff). If the poliucy draft goes on the back burner for a while, that'll give me a change to put some more into Genesis too, so take your time. :-)
Your post reminded me of an article I read on Wikipedia, and a quote that apparently stuck with me. "That Wikipedia is chock full of useless arcana (and did you know, by the way, that the article on "Debate" is shorter than the piece that weighs the relative merits of the 1978 and 2003 versions of Battlestar Galactica?) isn't a knock against it: Since it can grow infinitely, the silly articles aren't depriving the serious ones of space." (Criticism of Wikiopedia)
The quote was in response to the criticism that Wikipedia has a systemic bias of coverage i.e. it has more articles about pop culture and the like than it does about more "important" stuff. The criticism is similar to the (potential) criticism that Wikiversity would receive if the fringe material severely outweighed the more mainstream stuff.
Thus coming from a technical standpoint, even if we are inundated with fringe material, it wouldn't really compromise the development of mainstream material. As quoted in the aforementioned article, "Still, a lot of good work—verifiable, informative, brain-leapingly strange—is being cast out of this paperless, infinitely expandable accordion folder by people who have a narrow, almost grade-schoolish notion of what sort of curiosity an on-line encyclopedia will be able to satisfy in the years to come."
Of course, the other side of the coin is that Wikipedia's reputation still suffers from the systemic bias criticism, so Wikiversity's probably would too. Nonetheless Wikipedia has become an incredible resource, even in the inclusion of the fringe. For instance, I'm really glad that Wikipedia has an episode list of (just about) every show I would want to watch online; it helps me search for the episodes more efficiently. If this "pop-culture" material would have been deleted, Wikipedia would have become less useful to me, simply because people wanted to improve its reputation.
So for Wikipedia, the struggle is between usefulness and reputation; the same may very well be true with Wikiversity. If we include Invent-a-Guru's and they flood our Schools of Philosophy and Religion, our reputation probably will suffer. However, (assuming appropriate categorization etc.) our mission of educating (may) be advanced in that their viewpoints will generate educational discussion - usefulness vs. reputation. --Opensourcejunkie 13:02, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
(allow me to reply to my own post :-) Now that I think about it, there is one flaw in my reasoning above. Wikipedia has a notability policy which sifts out all the ridiculously obscure articles. Because of it, the material likely to be useful to others is allowed on, but the material that is obviously unimportant (unhelpful) is not.
Because of that, I'm a bit conflicted over whether or not obscure material is helpful to Wikiversity. I feel that fringe (obscure) original research will be educationally helpful, allowing new ideas to develop. However, an Invent-a-Guru who wants to teach about his religion may be providing content that is simply not important enough to permit inclusion.
To make a ridiculously obscure example, if I wanted to make a history learning resource about what happened to me on Sunday, April 06, that isn't educationally helpful to other individuals (Wikiversity could revert to a blog!) Perhaps this draft needs a notability section/clause that applies only to NPOV and tertiary content, which would limit the sorts of things written about. This would still allow obscure OR && IR, the educationally helpful aspects of Invent-a-Guru's. What do you think? --Opensourcejunkie 13:02, 7 April 2008 (UTC)

Just a note[edit]

I saw in the prayer requests section you called me 'he'. I thought it might be a good idea to tell you I'm not a he, but a she =P. Made me laugh! --Saz909 20:51, 7 April 2008 (UTC)

Bible, English, King James[edit]

I see that you requested the import of Bible, English, King James, According to the documentary hypothesis and related pages. Could you please add all these to a category so that we can keep track of which pages are part of this series? I'm not sure what name is best to describe it... --mikeu talk 04:50, 8 April 2008 (UTC)


Genesis Revisions[edit]

Hi OpenSourceJunkie (Nate?),

I read your study on Genesis with interest and would like to collaborate but I would like to make the study more scholarly, before I started editing I wanted to run my biases by you. I suggest:

  • Redefine the goal of the course. Though the syllabus page says this is a verse by verse study of the bible that is not what the Genesis studies are doing. I would think a verse by verse study would look similar to a commentary. The Genesis studies are more high level then that. Maybe call it survey course or an issues in the text course. I think a verse by verse study (writing a commentary) is too ambitious, especially if you actually want to cover all of scripture.
  • Identify the issues you raise (and I think others raise as well) and perhaps separate them into various sections:

- Bible & science this would look at various issues the text raises about the implications of the Bible and Science and some of the approaches to each other.

- What's going on in the text, this would focus primarily on things like translation issues, structure of the text etc., repetition of Hebrew words.

- Interpreting in view of the larger cannon For example the comments about Breath of life that end with "Thus we are positionally sinless in God's eyes, allowing His Spirit to indwell us once more." While this maybe theologically sound, this did not come from the Genesis text alone.

I would like to separate the issues because people who agree in one area may disagree about issues in other areas. A Jewish student might agree about the text, and disagree about creationism and cannon.

  • Present other points of view. There are any number of attempts to describe in scientific terms what is going on in the Genesis creation and flood accounts. I think if the course references one it should ideally reference other accounts, even if you disagree and refute them.

I'd like to add other sources for what's going on in the text, some which are not Christian, though they are consider the text as normal literature, though not inerrant.

  • I suggest that we define what Literal-normal means. What you have presently confused me. I traced your guidelines through to Biblical literalism in Wikipedia. Wikipedia is trying for NPOV and you are not trying for NPOV! Wikipedia's opening paragraph is:

"Biblical literalism is the adherence to an explicit and literal sense of the Bible.[1] In its purest form such a belief would deny the existence of allegory, parable and metaphor in the Bible, however the phrase "biblical literalist" is often a term used (sometimes pejoratively) to refer to those who subscribe to biblical inerrancy."

I would guess you disagree with the notion that the bible has no figures of speech, and that you would agree Jesus often uses parables. So what POV are you trying for? I guess that you are writing from the POV of inerrancy, you seem to me to take the text as normal literature and as authoratative. If so use the Chicago Statement (perhaps with some explanation) on Biblical inerrancy:

"WE AFFIRM the necessity of interpreting the Bible according to its literal, or normal, sense. The literal sense is the grammatical-historical sense, that is, the meaning which the writer expressed. Interpretation according to the literal sense will take account of all figures of speech and literary forms found in the text. WE DENY the legitimacy of any approach to Scripture that attributes to it meaning which the literal sense does not support."

Anyway let me know what you think, Θεόφιλε (Theophilus)

Hey, sorry it took me so long to get back to you on this - it's been a while since I've been on Wikiversity. Unfortunately, I don't have a link to your own talk page (have you registered an account with WV?), so I couldn't respond there. But I do like much of the feedback && recommendations you've provided. Allow me a bit of time to respond to them (I can't at this point).
Thanks for the post!
--Opensourcejunkie 22:33, 8 August 2008 (UTC)


Okay, so first off, I see where you're coming from with the verse-by-verse issue - I suppose that calling it verse-by-verse could make it seem like we're going one verse at a time. However, the assertion that commentaries go strictly one verse at a time isn't quite accurate - for example, Walvoord & Zuck take blocks of related scripture, and exposit them together. This is quite similar to my (few) attempts thus far, although certainly not in equivalent detail.
Mostly what I was searching for was a way to express that the studies would follow scripture in the order it comes to us - as opposed to taking bits and pieces of scripture from many places, and pasting them together topically (as in systematic theology) So if you can think of a better term than "verse-by-verse, then by all means change it, or let me know so I can change it. last thing we need is confusing categorizations! :-)
"a verse by verse study (writing a commentary) is too ambitious" - absolutely. the scope of this project is ridiculous, especially for only one person. Oh well, maybe it'll be completed in a hundred years, maybe not (or maybe Christ will return ;) - at least we have a framework for others to contribute.
I liked your note on the separation of issues - as it stands, the study of Genesis muddles the interpretation of the immediate passage with interpretation of the Canon as a whole, with no real delineating factor. If we were to impose a separation, I think that it would have to be a separation within the confines of the scripture supersection (ex: "Genesis 2:8 - 17 :: Garden of Eden"), because my goal in this is to traverse scripture, passage by passage - thus the passage separation must be pre-eminent. Another advantage of this approach is that placing these categorizations within a passage block allows each block to have different categorizations. Because different passages raise different issues, each passage needs to be dealt with in a custom manner (for instance, not every passage in scripture, or even genesis, will require a section for "Bible & science")
As for the following,
  • "Present other points of view."
  • "I'd like to add other sources for what's going on in the text, some which are not Christian"
absolutely! The only constraint on the course is that it is written from a literal-normal perspective. This constraint exists simply to keep the course on-track - puttingadditional points of view can certainly be helpful & instructive, so long as it doesn't detract from the course (one way that presenting alternate opinions can detract from a course is by providing so many, the reader gets bogged down in perspectives that he/she did not come to study. Thus I'd say feel free to add additional viewpoints insofar as they help illustrate the issues/strengths/weaknesses of the literal-normal viewpoint. alternate viewpoints within the literal-normal perspective are even more necessary && should be encouraged.
as for more sources - go for it. I'm only operating with the ones I currently own, so the study could definitely benefit from any additional sources you could provide.
Finally, I agree that the Literal-Normal definition needs a lot of work. I simply drafted a quick page, so I could have a bias to write from (WV has depressingly few biases documented).
I'm not entirely sure why the link to Wikipedia was confusing - it defines somewhat acceptably (although pejoratively) what Biblical Literalism is. The fact that WP is NPOV and my WV content is not should be irrelevant - I often link to WP as an alternative resource in my POV content. The only reason I linked to WP from the literal-normal page was to provide an alternative resource to describe the Literal-Normal perspective.
At any rate, thank you for providing the Chicago definition - I find it quite helpful, and I think I'll add it to the literal-normal page. And yeah, you pretty much got me pegged with the POV of inerrancy, given a normal interpretation.
Thanks again for all the feedback, and please - feel free to edit. if you and I get in any conflicts, we can just stage a revert war, and duke it out! ;-) cya 'round,
--Opensourcejunkie 23:34, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

hey, back[edit]

Hey, I went AWOL for a pretty long period of time - life got pretty busy over the summer. Hopefully I'll be able to edit again with some fervour :)

--Opensourcejunkie 22:29, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

Hi. I noticed you went missing. Nice to see you back again. --McCormack 04:34, 9 August 2008 (UTC)

Apologetics wiki[edit]

Hi mate,

You seem to be interested in apologetics and open source wikis, so I thought you might be interested in Apologetics wiki which is a wiki for apologetics.

portal TOC[edit]

Hi, after a long absence I am back.

I suggest adding something I would like, a portal table of contents to the templates and the existing pages to make it easier to get around. An example of this in Wikipedia is found at this link for the Software development process. Θεόφιλε 20:49, 4 April 2010 (UTC)

Biblical Studies status[edit]

Hi I have left several comments in the Biblical Studies area looking for some feedback on a more academic approach to the topic. The current "literal normative" stance seems to have frozen participation since the last edits tend to be in 2008. I am wondering what your opinion is on the future development of Biblical Studies and how you would react to a more academic approach. --Bill A 15:24, 4 January 2011 (UTC)

Synoptic Gospels seminar[edit]

Hi I have been leaving posts in Discussion pages on the Biblical Studies page looking for a way to move forward. Biblical Studies seems to have been active in 2008 and then stalled. I think that part of that stall is due to the "policy" of having material conform to a "literal normative" outlook which tends to reduce academic inquiry. I am planning on starting a Department Project on the Synoptic Gospels which will definitely not consider the text of the gospels involved to be "inerrant" but before starting that I am leaving this message on the discussion page of all noted "active participants". It could be that I should set up the seminar/discussion somewhere else in Wikiversity and I need some direction. --Bill A 15:02, 13 January 2011 (UTC)