Wikiversity:Colloquium

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Pages that should be deleted after no improvements (prod)[edit]

So as I've been spying recent changes, not editing (I've been here btw), i found pages that have been proposed for deletion, and in the 90 days, haven't been improved. Some of these pages have been listed at Category:Proposed deletions, some of those pages are...:

So I'm guessing that an administrator is going to delete these pages, or someone can improve these pages before an admin comes and looks at these pages. Thanks. --Atcovi (Talk - Contribs) 16:42, 3 May 2015 (UTC)

Well, the whole point of speedy deletion and proposed deletion is to avoid discussion.... Yes, pages that have been prodded will generally be deleted after 90 days, if nobody objects by removing the tag. Any user may object and remove the tag. Or, later, finding a page deleted, any user may request it be undeleted, and normally it will be, at least for review. If disagreement remains, then there is Wikiversity:Requests for deletion. So, to see what's going on here:
  • Wikiversity:Frequently_visited_pages starts by mentioning a tool that does not exist any more. The page had not been edited since 2007, except for Marshall prodding it. There was an unanswered question on the attached talk page in 2008. Little, if anything, is lost by deletion, and there are other pages or lists that show visit frequencies. Not surprised nobody removed the prod. Some substantial cleanup is needed for this to be properly deleted.
  • American Sign Language was created by IP, with a strange edit summary. It's a stub, and the only function appears to be to turn a couple of redlinks blue, which may actually suppress resource creation. Atcovi, if you think this should stay, you have the option of removing the prod. Another option would be to replace it with a new one, resetting the 90 days. However, I'm going to move that page to be a subpage of Sign language (which already links to it), and I'll yank the prod and do a little cleanup. Ah. Sign language may be a copy of the Wikipedia article. I may stub it, creating a space and structure where WV work can be done on sign language resources. Not right now, though.
  • Film workspace basically nothing. A small amount of cleanup needed, to remove the only incoming link. --Abd (discusscontribs) 00:10, 4 May 2015 (UTC)
  • General practice is that custodians delete pages with an expired prod, if they agree that deletion is reasonable. They may also remove the prod, like any other user. Any user may replace the prod with a regular speedy deletion template, and ({{delete|expired prod}} should do the trick. This will get rapid attention. Prods are not treated with haste, they are a "slow wastebasket" -- a basic organizational tool I learned years ago -- that provides ample opportunity for a page to be rescued. Prods may also be renewed, to give another three months. With this tool, and with an increasingly sophisticated user base, that also understands moving pages to user space or to resource subpages, sometimes as essays, we have eliminated what used to be common, Wikiversity:Requests for deletion, while still cleaning up Wikiversity. Thanks for your work, Atcovi. --Abd (discusscontribs) 14:01, 23 May 2015 (UTC)

Mentorship[edit]

Hello, I am looking for a content development mentor because I want to contribute effectively to this project from time to time. Thank you for your help. Note that I eventually plan on becoming a custodian, but I would love to learn the basics correctly and effectively!

--Spyder212 (discusscontribs) 19:07, 6 May 2015 (UTC)

Feel free to ask me for assistance on User talk:Abd. Tell me (there) what interests you. --Abd (discusscontribs) 20:15, 6 May 2015 (UTC)
Thank you! I will refer to you in the event that I have questions. --Spyder212 (discusscontribs) 01:15, 7 May 2015 (UTC)

Unblock of JWSchmidt[edit]

JWSchmidt is asking to be unblocked on the user talk page. I am not familiar with the situation or circumstances that led to this user being blocked. Statements made on the user talk page suggest that positive contributions will result from the unblock. I will unblock this user unless there is a consensus against. Please feel free to advise. Comments, criticisms, questions, and concerns are most welcome. --Marshallsumter (discusscontribs) 19:29, 6 May 2015 (UTC)

  • Symbol support vote.svg Support unblock. John was a founder of Wikiversity. He believed strongly in this wiki. At the time, he was a Wikipedia sysop. He would have been a bureaucrat here, if he had consented. Wikiversity:Candidates for Custodianship/JWSchmidt , a bureaucrat nomination, shows how popular he was, before and at the beginning of 2008.
Then Stuff Happened, later that year. It was a horrific mess. John, who was a custodian and checkuser, was removed. The decision was made privately, bypassing established process.[1]. (There has been some very strange archiving done, but that ended up at [2]). JWS did not take it well.
After that point, JWS was a man obsessed, largely with one user whom he blamed for what had happened. I became involved in Wikiversity in 2010. I attempted to counsel JWSchmidt to drop the cudgel. He did not take it well, considering me part of the conspiracy. See User:JWSchmidt/Blog/29 January 2011. That was one of his more coherent efforts. Great photo.
Finally indef blocked here -- by his nemesis --, he stopped editing everywhere in the WMF. His adminship on en.wikipedia was removed for inactivity in November 2012.
As can be seen in his request, John has now done what he never did before, taking responsibility for his own response. He will be a positive contributor, or at least harmless, and if he slips, we will remind him. The lack of attention that dogged Wikiversity for so long is not the present situation. We will support him, which includes clear warning and even blocking, at times. I doubt it will be necessary. --Abd (discusscontribs) 21:53, 6 May 2015 (UTC)
  • A block is useless anyways. People know how to bypass that. ----Erkan Yilmaz 08:06, 7 May 2015 (UTC)
Yes, people know, usually, though that doesn't make it useless. John appears to have never bypassed this latest block. --Abd (discusscontribs) 16:32, 7 May 2015 (UTC)
Since there are five votes for unblock and no votes against in almost four days, I've unblocked JWSchmidt. Should the need arise, or later dissenters be enough to warrant reassessment, we can take this up again then. My best to JWSchmidt and I look forward to the contributions. --Marshallsumter (discusscontribs) 00:43, 10 May 2015 (UTC)

Limit write/edit access to a group of users[edit]

We are planning on a group project, creating learning material for a specific topic. How can we limit write and edit access to our group? Thank you, - Jan

--Jangrode (discusscontribs) 15:44, 14 May 2015 (UTC)

I think all of us have passionate views about this that diverge in only minor ways. The short answer is that you can't impose such limits. But don't worry, for two reasons:
  1. Your odds of getting destructive contributions are small. There are a lot of troublemakers in New York City, thousands of them. But there are millions of decent ones, which means you can walk through most neighborhoods without getting accosted. You do have to be careful about being in certain places at certain times in New York, but most people go their way without difficulty. By analogy, you can cover just about any topic on Wikiversity without interference. Do you plan to cover an extremely controversial topic? If not, then don't worry.
  2. In the unlikely event that you do receive unwelcome contributions, most such people are easy to block and their edits are easily reversed.--Guy vandegrift (discusscontribs) 18:12, 14 May 2015 (UTC)
The above is useful. I would simply add, if contributions seem not useful, do not revert war, but be polite and ask for help. You may ask for custodian attention on WV:RCA, but you may also ask me (I'm not a custodian, but I can sometimes mediate disputes), or any custodian. Remember, it's a wiki, and all the work is there in history and anything can be fixed, nothing is lost.
As well, it is possible to set up a project that has effectively restricted membership, in certain ways. It is not possible to prevent others from editing, and any project must be neutral, and that requires that, in theory, any page must be editable. However, to give you an idea, if I create an essay on a topic, and place it as a subpage of a resource appropriate for the topic of the essay, and the essay is attributed to me, it would be ... rude ... for someone to edit it without my permission. (If they want to create their own edited version, they can separately create it!) Of course, if it were edited in good faith, and no harm is done, and especially if the contribution is positive -- how about a spelling correction? -- I'm not going to object.
Take a look at Landmark Education to see how controversy was avoided in one case. There are two subpages there that are "owned." They are neutrally linked from the page above. The topic is highly controversial on Wikipedia, users have been sanctioned there over it. Not a problem here, because of how the conflict was handled when it appeared. It's all voluntary, but ... most people would actually prefer to cooperate than fight, fighting wastes everyone's time.
You could designate a project manager, and allowing others to sign up as participants, supporting that manager. The project manager may then act as spokesperson for the group and designate participants as approved. Their work may then be routinely seen as positive. We'd like, if possible, all projects to be open, but, at the same time, we want your group to be effective. Usually, there is no problem, so keep it simple. If there is a manager, this has no official standing, but, practically speaking, administration here will respect this if it's possible. Be nice! --Abd (discusscontribs) 19:06, 14 May 2015 (UTC)

The project may be organized in such a way that the top level page is available to everyone, and certain subpages are designated for particular authors or perspectives. Other pages in the project might be necessary for rebuttal, but participation can be directed to different subpages. However, since you haven't yet indicated what the project will be about, it's harder to be more specific in addressing your concerns.

If, instead, you want a platform where you can limit edits, take a look at either Google Sites or PBwiki. I have used both of those, successfully, for controlled student projects. There are also free LMS options, including CourseSites, FreeMoodle, etc. -- Dave Braunschweig (discusscontribs) 20:23, 14 May 2015 (UTC)

Proposed new user group that would make probationary custodianship easier and safer[edit]

Wikiversity_talk:Custodianship#Proposal_to_split_the_tools would create a new user group, Assistant. This group would have all the present custodial tools. The Custodian group, then, would have the right to create and remove Assistant rights. No 'crat needed. An Assistant may then apply for Custodianship, as now, with a vote and a bureaucrat implementing on a showing of consensus. The Assistant group is then subject to the supervision of all custodians, not just a mentor. But the original implementing custodian might be considered the mentor.

A study of all probationary custodianships (a preliminary version is at User:Abd/Policy_development#List_of_Candidates_for_Custodianship_subpages) shows that the mentorship system has worked very well for Wikiversity, contrary to what some have claimed, based on an overheated response to very little disruption, overall. The user group idea would streamline it. It will even work in the absence of bureaucrats, if any permanent custodian can be found, willing to be responsible. If not, the situation is as it always was, no mentor, no probationer.

Please look at the policy talk page and comment on the proposal. If we can find some agreement, a Community Review can be started and we can then, if consensus is found, request developers to set up the new user group. --Abd (discusscontribs) 02:13, 16 May 2015 (UTC)

A new group may not be necessary. There is an existing Oversighters group that could be enhanced to meet this need. See Special:ListGroupRights, and additional comments at Wikiversity_talk:Custodianship#Proposal_to_split_the_tools. -- Dave Braunschweig (discusscontribs) 14:09, 16 May 2015 (UTC)
There are no people on WV in the Oversight usergroup, so I'm not sure what you are thinking here. --SB_Johnny talk 20:52, 16 May 2015 (UTC)
Sorry, I thought Oversighter was a subset of Custodian. I now see that it is not. -- Dave Braunschweig (discusscontribs) 22:57, 16 May 2015 (UTC)
This really isn't a big deal, let's just get it done. Making a new section below. --SB_Johnny talk 20:52, 16 May 2015 (UTC)

It's not a big deal, but it also doesn't need to be full Custodial powers. I would like to advocate for, either as this group or in addition to this group, something custodians could activate that would allow users to have the ability to edit, move, delete, view content, rollback, etc. This group could be assigned to teachers who bring a class to Wikiversity, or to dedicated users who have a great interest in managing content, but for whatever reason do not yet have enough experience or trust to go to probationary custodian status.

Also, while we are making changes to group rights, I'd like to see the unblockself right removed from custodians. There's no reason for a custodian to unblock him or herself if they've been blocked. They need to stop and communicate. -- Dave Braunschweig (discusscontribs) 22:57, 16 May 2015 (UTC)

Hypothetically, wouldn't that allow one out-of-control custodian to block all other custodians and become the only acting custodian until someone higher up sorts it out?--Guy vandegrift (discusscontribs) 01:11, 17 May 2015 (UTC)
It would, but it also wouldn't take long to get a steward to intervene, as that behavior would clearly be unsupported by the community. It would also immediately lead to a block and removal of custodial rights for whomever would be dumb enough to have tried it. -- Dave Braunschweig (discusscontribs) 02:37, 17 May 2015 (UTC)
Unblockself for (full) custodians is a different issue. Let's not confuse it with the probationary custodian issue. We really only have one clear example of a rogue probationary custodian. If that person had been an Assistant, there would have been no issue. The response would not necessarily have been a block, it would have been removal of Assistant rights. The mentor would not have objected, I'm sure. We have an example of a rogue full custodian, but not here, it was on Beta. Yes, quickly desysopped. As to Assistants, I would give them the full toolset, including unblockself, so that we see how they act. Remember, these are all potentially full custodians. Whenever the assistant is ready, the Custodian vote can be held. If it fails, assistantship can continue as long as the custodial community agrees.
I know of one example in Wikiversity history where a full custodian unblocked himself, aside from test blocks. It was a two-hour block for incivility, and it -- and other behaviors -- ultimately led to desysopping. --Abd (discusscontribs) 12:36, 17 May 2015 (UTC)
Why is this being forced as all or nothing? There should be an intermediary step that would be more inclusive to a wider audience of editors willing to maintain content but not yet ready for full tools. -- Dave Braunschweig (discusscontribs) 13:57, 17 May 2015 (UTC)
This is not being "forced." Rather, this is two of the most highly-experienced Wikiversity users taking existing policy and suggesting it be implemented in a slightly different way, even though they might disagree on many other issues.
Having played both sides of this game, having seen it work and break down, and reviewing the prior discussions, I took SBJ's proposal,[3] and simplified it. We have had, supposedly, two groups: probationary custodians and full custodians, but no actual difference in tools. Because probationary custodianship was primarily designed to allow people a chance to learn to use the tools, under the supervision of a mentor, it broke down (even though only rarely) because there was no distinction in rights, and it required steward intervention to handle alleged problems. I was actually desysopped twice by requests on meta that did not follow local policy. Under this proposal, if a custodian believed I was doing something improper with the tools, he or she would simply warn or remove the tools, pending. My mentor could restore them -- or any other custodian -- but it would be wheel-warring if done without discussion.
The other problem was requiring bureaucrat action that was mandated by policy, based on nothing other than an agreement between mentor and candidate. This, then, created substantial controversy, in a couple of cases. Unnecessary. We still need bureaucrats to handle full custodian elections, but when there is an election process, with votes showing consensus, it's easy to get a steward to action it if bureaucrats are absent.
If we don't trust custodians to make wise choices in granting Assistant rights, maybe they should not be custodians, but only assistants, and, in fact, the new group would provide an intermediate step between the all or nothing of keep or desysop. It would still require steward action, for generally the wikis have not allowed bureaucrats to desysop. --Abd (discusscontribs) 15:13, 17 May 2015 (UTC)
As to some new group with lesser access to tools, it can be proposed; however, that proposal should not complicate this one. The Assistant group, as proposed, can be used by any Custodian to allow a teacher to manage a resource: it's very simple: the custodian grants the tools with a voluntary restriction. That's all. Use the tools outside the restriction -- which would be stated on the candidate's page -- any custodian can remove the tools if it is a problem. --Abd (discusscontribs) 15:20, 17 May 2015 (UTC)
This would be an unnecessary violation of the principle of least privilege. -- Dave Braunschweig (discusscontribs) 16:05, 17 May 2015 (UTC)
Dave is treating this as a security issue. It's not. Sure, the tools could be made granular, but is it worth the effort? The Assistant user group could be used by any custodian to do what Dave wants, and it was never considered necessary for a probationer to be trusted. There was one example where a probationer was obviously not trusted, and the mentor insisted on the right of removal, and later exercised it. Salmon of Doubt. No disruption, simple. So if there is a violation of the Principle of least privilege, it's existed since almost Day 1 of this wiki. I became a probationary custodian because I asked for Rollback. I was told, become a probationary custodian! And so it started.
The general purpose of probationary custodianship is to train the custodian in the use of tools, and, as well, to test the probationer. The Assistant group will accomplish that, the same as present policy, but with much less fuss. Assistant group tools could be broken down into groups, but I'm not seeing the need for it. So, Dave, if you want to do this, get a specific proposal together. It's separate from the proposal here. --Abd (discusscontribs) 16:45, 17 May 2015 (UTC)

Community support/vote to create the "assistant" usergroup[edit]

While we certainly need some policies to go along with this, creating a new usergroup for what we've been calling "probationary custodians" would really be a good idea. The usergroup should be defined as having exactly the same permissions as custodians, but allowing for local removal. Let's get it done. This usergroup could be assigned by current "full" custodians, and taken away by current "full" custodians. In other words: a custodian who has been approved by the community can give and take away access to the "buttons" that we use to solve problems on the wiki.

Votes (which we need to show to the "devs"):

  • Symbol support vote.svg Pro we should have done this years ago. --SB_Johnny talk 20:52, 16 May 2015 (UTC)

    Note: I agree with others below that "Special:Nuke" shouldn't be part of the package (not sure we even need that at all frankly). OTOH, self-unblock can be useful, particularly for someone learning what the buttons do. Presumably if an "Assistant" actually needed to be blocked, the tools would be removed at the same time by the blocking custodian. --SB_Johnny talk 18:01, 20 May 2015 (UTC)

  • Symbol support vote.svg Pro Yup. Yes, we'll need to write some policies. We would keep the current Candidates for Custodianship, which will allow community comment, but it's not a vote, consensus would not be required, just an agreement between Custodian and Assistant, as shown by setting the bit. --Abd (discusscontribs) 12:16, 17 May 2015 (UTC)
  • Symbol support vote.svg Pro I'm willing to give this a try! --Marshallsumter (discusscontribs) 19:07, 17 May 2015 (UTC)
  • Symbol support vote.svg Pro--Guy vandegrift (discusscontribs) 10:16, 18 May 2015 (UTC)
  • Symbol neutral vote.svg Neutral - Not with the same rights as custodians. It shouldn't simply be who can turn the switch on and off. If we have concerns about needing the switch, then there must also be something in the rights of the assistants that should be modified. I am particularly concerned about mass delete, but also unblock self. -- Dave Braunschweig (discusscontribs) 13:54, 18 May 2015 (UTC)
  • Symbol support vote.svg Pro --Atcovi (Talk - Contribs) 15:26, 19 May 2015 (UTC)
  • Symbol oppose vote.svg Contra After doing some reading on this and giving it some though for a while, I don't see a point in having a group that has the exact (or near exact) tools as custodians do. Further more, giving the custodians the right to assign users to this new group that has (or almost has) the same tools as a custodian just doesn't sit right with me; I'd rather have a bureaucrat assign them. Since I'm fairly new and this is just my vote, I'd take this with a grain of salt. --I8086 (discusscontribs) 00:54, 20 May 2015 (UTC)

Comments[edit]

  • If we are going to developers to change the rights groups, we could ask them to remove nuke (massdelete) -- a truly dangerous tool -- from all sets. I've seen what happened to a wiki where it was used. Restoral from backup was required. A bot could handle this if it's ever needed. Has it ever been needed? But, yes, if we want to keep it for custodians, it could be left out of the Assistant set. Unblock self, though, is actually useful on occasion. It's rare, and it tests the competence of the custodian. That's part of the purpose of Assistantship. Obviously, if a Custodian wants to stop an Assistant, the issue is "use of tools" or "all edits"? If the former, just remove the Assistant rights. If the latter, remove the right and block. It's very simple. If this is Assistant vs Assistant, not having the unblock right but having Block, would give an advantage to the first to block the other. Not good. The wheel-warring, if it happens, will attract attention and the issue will soon be resolved!
  • If you are blocked, and unblock yourself, you'd better know what you are doing, or your rights are toast! --Abd (discusscontribs) 17:25, 18 May 2015 (UTC)
  • This really isn't a comment, just an off topic question. Does anyone know the number of Custodians and Bureaucrats that have gone "rogue"? --I8086 (discusscontribs) 16:43, 19 May 2015 (UTC)
We have a page Wikiversity:Support staff that lists Custodians and Bureaucrats. As far as I know those not in bold have just moved on to some other activity. Depends on what you mean by "rogue" I guess. A small number of Probationary Custodians may have run into challenges that might have best been handled differently, perhaps by asking for consensus, or showing more patience. --Marshallsumter (discusscontribs) 19:01, 19 May 2015 (UTC)
By "rogue" I mean Custodians and Bureaucrats that have abused their tools for malicious/non-malicious reasons. --I8086 (discusscontribs) 19:09, 19 May 2015 (UTC)
While I may not be the best person to try to answer this, here's my opinion. Custodial tools are ideally there to help take care of Wikiversity, e.g. handling vandalism, deleting apparently abandoned resources that have never been developed, deleting files without required copyright permission, and a bunch more. Although I'm not thoroughly familiar with the situations I suggest above, I don't believe any of our Probationary Custodians or Probationary Bureaucrats have committed crimes with the use of these tools. This would be the case for abuse or malicious use of the tools. Instead, from what I have seen, the uses fall under non-malicious use of these tools. For example:
"Disruption" to me is any series of events that pull me excessively away from my contributions, research, or routine custodial matters. We occasionally get these. If anyone over-responds to what they believe is a "disruption" with custodial tools without seeking consensus, assuming this would help, their acts may be considered a misuse of tools. I hope this helps. --Marshallsumter (discusscontribs) 21:15, 19 May 2015 (UTC)
"Rogue" is not merely some "misuse of tools." It is a gross deviation from norms. Example on Wikipedia: [4]. I know of only one example of rogue action on Wikiversity, and it was mild compared with the Wikipedia example. With a true rogue admin, the admin knows that they are not serving the community, they know that they will loose the tools promptly, that their actions will not be supported. The removal of the admin privilege for a rogue is never controversial. This study lists all Wikiversity custodians (permanent and probationary), but I have not studied the ends of custodianship. Removals, other than voluntary resignation or recently per new global policy on inactivity, have been rare. I know of five, including the one rogue. I will cover that. --Abd (discusscontribs) 00:46, 20 May 2015 (UTC)
Thanks, this really helped me kill two birds with one stone. --I8086 (discusscontribs) 00:39, 20 May 2015 (UTC)
To be clear, there have only been two probationary custodians whose tools were removed in any contested or contestable way. I just found another removal of a permanent custodian. The account had been renamed. Talk pages have been moved. There were, AFAIK now, four removals of permanent custodians. Again resignations and removal for inactivity are not included. --Abd (discusscontribs) 19:56, 20 May 2015 (UTC)
  • I8086, responding to the comment with your vote:
  • It will be the same tools (We should remove "nuke" from Custodians as well), and the purpose is to better and more clearly implement the policy that the agreement of a mentor (always understood be to be a permanent custodian), and a candidate, was enough; there was no discussion necessary, normally the assignment was done very quickly, and discussion, including occasional opposition, was always ignored. (Discussion was later, in a vote for "full custodian.")
  • A bureaucrat implemented, because there was no other way to do it at the time (and still now, without this user group). However, we are short on bureaucrats, sometimes, and we came to the point where candidates were not appearing, and when they did, it sometimes took years to complete the process. This proposal does what "we should have done ... years ago," as SB Johnny wrote. There was never any need to obtain consensus; the job of bureaucrats is to assess consensus.
  • Creating probationary custodians was, by policy, a privilege given to permanent custodians, unique (AFAIK) to Wikiversity. We could give Bureaucrats the power to remove the Assistant group members, but if a Custodian can create an Assistant unilaterally, the same Custodian or another should be able to undo it. It's like any other use of tools. For various reasons, bureaucrats are not given, by default, the power to remove custodians, they, or anyone, must ask stewards for this, and it can take, a month.
  • With permanent and probationary custodians being in the same user group (it is a new user group being created), there was no way for stewards to tell the difference easily. Further, stewards are very reluctant to intervene in local disputes, and only a steward could remove the rights.
  • This makes it all very simple. I am not going to state all the advantages, there are many, and I see no down side. That is, this will not make anything worse.
  • SB Johnny is a bureaucrat with long experience here. I have three times been a probationary custodian, and I have a candidacy open now, approved by a mentor, that SB Johnny opposes. Yet we agree on this proposal. --Abd (discusscontribs) 20:27, 20 May 2015 (UTC)
This part of my reason is the most concerning.
Further more, giving the custodians the right to assign users to this new group that has (or almost has) the same tools as a custodian just doesn't sit right with me.
I understand that probationary custodians need the tools to learn/do the job; I'm fine with that part. I just don't like the idea of having two different user groups with the same powers/tools, and one is appointing the other. I suggested that bureaucrats appoint probationary custodians, but that seems to be part of the issue, so I have no solution to the bureaucrat problem and I don't want to naively say 'Get more of them', because I'm pretty sure that's not possible right now.
Security wise, this proposal still doesn't sit right with, but since there are older users who've been here longer, which means they probably have a better understanding of Wikiversity and its needs, I'd take my vote with a grain of salt. --I8086 (discusscontribs) 01:47, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
Please take my "yes" vote with the same grain of salt that I8086 requested on his "no" vote. My reasoning for "yes" is that we can always reverse the decision if things don't work out. Perhaps we should ask ourselves: "What's the worst that could happen?" --Guy vandegrift (discusscontribs) 02:58, 21 May 2015 (UTC)

Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees elections 2015[edit]

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This is a message from the 2015 Wikimedia Foundation Elections Committee. Translations are available.

Voting has begun for eligible voters in the 2015 elections for the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees. Questions and discussion with the candidates for the Board will continue during the voting.

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The voting phase lasts from 00:00 UTC May 17 to 23:59 UTC May 31. Click here to vote. More information on the candidates and the elections can be found on the 2015 Board election page on Meta-Wiki.

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Wikiversity Journal of Medicine[edit]

I've done most of the work at Wikiversity Journal of Medicine for about a year now. An overview of the project is found at Wikiversity Journal of Medicine/About. The reason I came here is because a majority view of the editorial board is to have the published articles at least semi-protected. I heard there may be alternatives too ([5]) so we may start with discussing that. Mikael Häggström (discusscontribs) 12:46, 20 May 2015 (UTC)

The Journal has been generating some good content, well above the norm for Wikiversity. Of course, these are articles.
The issue is page ownership by a user, or by a board created by a user and friends. In my view, it can be done, but I probably would not do it with a top-level mainspace resource. The Journal is called the "Wikiversity Journal of Medicine," but was not created as a community project, and the Wikiversity community did not authorize use of the name. It is a Journal of Medicine, using Wikiversity for publication.
The approval process is partly private. The purpose of the journal as stated on the About page would be a naive attempt to bypass Wikipedia policies on original research.
The Journal was based on Wikiversity:Peer review which Mikael modified, but this is an unapproved policy or guideline without broad consensus.
The Editorial Board contains no regular editors of Wikiversity except for Mikael. It does have some major supporters: User:Doc James is well known, I worked with him when I was still editing Wikipedia. User:Taketa is also a steward. Would I want, however, a newly graduated doctor (Mikael) and a medical student (Taketa) on the editorial board of a peer-reviewed medical journal?
Yet all these users have the right to edit Wikiversity, or to advise Mikael in his editing of Wikiversity.
So ... I'm confident we can host the project, but it must also integrate with wiki policies as interpreted by the community. Here, Mikael is asking for page protection, but the About page has "Readers can edit published articles after publication, but all edits are monitored daily." That would be in accordance with standard practice, but protection of pages so that "readers" cannot edit the articles, then, deviates from that.
There are other solutions. The list of published articles may point to permanent versions as-approved. Currently, the articles do have a template that shows the as-approved version but, of course, someone could edit that! I have little difficulty with the idea of semiprotecting or even full-protecting tables of contents, that are themselves transcluded on a page that may be edited.
There is no rush here. There are several users watching all the pages. There is no vandalism to speak of. If IP vandalism appears, it can be handled routinely. --Abd (discusscontribs) 01:08, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
I have recently started a page related to the possibility that the journal could have a future as a separate Wikimedia project, in which case its name would no longer need to contain "Wikiversity". However , it cannot simply be named "Journal of Medicine", because there are tens of thousands of other medical journals out there. As long as it is hosted by Wikiversity, on a wikiversity.org domain, it would be very confusing for external readers of the articles to have a different name.
If we have the articles edit protected, I would certainly update the statement that currently says "Readers can edit published articles after publication".
The articles do have permanent links to the versions of the articles at the time peer review was performed. Surely, if there are many substantial edits, it would motivate making a new peer review, but it would not be necessary for every edit, such as spelling errors. I find it very complicated to have one article version that was last approved (including minor edits) and one that was completely up to date, except if we apply Wikipedia:Pending changes. Mikael Häggström (discusscontribs) 04:44, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
The name of the journal and the pagename here are not necessarily the same. If this were an open journal, with a neutral, uninvolved article approval process, it could be the Wikiversity Journal of Medicine without a problem, as to the name. However, I'd still want to see Journal of Medicine be the pagename, or, better, an abbreviated form, because full article pagenames can get long. Mikael found a way to split the pagename display, which was great.
There were many early projects on Wikiversity that did not push through and resolve problems. To have a true peer-reviewed journal that would satisfy WP RS standards will probably take an independent, responsible publisher that can establish a reputation. It's not impossible, and I want to congratulate Mikael for taking the initiative. Some good work has been done, but it's not necessarily fully compatible with the goals. The goals might become more modest -- Wikiversity resources can already support Wikipedia articles, just not as RS, but as places for broader learning and discussion and exploration, including original research, which can't be done on Wikipedia. When readers try to discuss the topic on Wikipedia article Talk pages, they really should be sent here, and there should be sister wiki links, far more than exist presently.
Or the goals might be expanded. As Mikael, I'm sure, realizes, setting up a genuine peer-reviewed journal that will be accepted in the presence of controversy, as w:WP:RS is not a trivial task. The key is "independent publisher." Looking at the core of this, the *editing* must be independent; that is, the process of deciding what is published. WP depends on the general principle of publishers who are responsible to the readership, not the authors. If they publish junk, they will lose readership and money.
Yet wiki "peer review" can, in fact, be deeper than standard publisher peer review. Errors in articles can be subtle and easily overlooked by a single reviewer. So ... how can we harness wiki peer review and manage it with an independent board?
The largest problem I've seen with Wiki J Med is that the review process hasn't been independent. That is, authors, often involved with the Wiki J Med Editorial Board, select reviewers. That's not going to fly, for the longer-term purpose. I will be making proposals on the Wiki J Med pages. I would, however, want to generalize this process, because what should really be created is a multidisciplinary journal, or several. Or an independent organization that facilitates these, collaborating with Wikiversity. The organization would decide notability and arrange for the review of articles posted here. Generally, these articles would not be in mainspace, they would be subpages of resources. There would be pages here where the Wikiversity community advises ... let's call it Wiki Journal. But the wiki cannot control the Wiki Journal organization. It could actually be organized either for profit or nonprofit. (I hear screams of horror somewhere.) There can be more than one of these organizations.... These are hybrids, synthesis, for those who follow my organizational concepts. --Abd (discusscontribs) 13:40, 23 May 2015 (UTC)

Is there actual vandalism by IP taking place, or is this simply a proactive request? It seems to me that the concern is to be able to preserve the article as published. The permanent link does that, and instructions at the top of the article could direct well-intentioned users to using the Talk page to discuss the article rather than modifying it. Another approach would be to generate a PDF of the article or articles as published, and upload the PDF as a permanent record of the published content for easy reference and reading. Protecting pages that aren't vandalism targets isn't part of our current practice, and seems unnecessarily exclusionary if it isn't solving an existing problem. -- Dave Braunschweig (discusscontribs) 13:04, 21 May 2015 (UTC)

The online version will be the official latest version, although we will have PDF files as well. Semi-protection is indeed a proactive request, and no vandalism has occurred yet. Nevertheless, I will definitely be back with the same request once it has occurred. Mikael Häggström (discusscontribs) 15:54, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
I think it is reasonable to see if problems occur before we request semi protection. If we get this pubmed indexed than a static version will appear on pubmed commons as we can link to it from the top of the articles.
We are likely years away from spinning this off as its own sister project. But agree if this model is success that would ultimately be ideal. Either the scope of this journal will need expanding or sister journals for other topics will need creating. There is lots of potential. User:Abd good to see you. It has been a long time since we lasted interacted. I appreciated your guidance when I was just learning the ropes. :-) Doc James (discusscontribs) 06:35, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
Thanks, Doc James. What I do here I did for some years on Wikipedia. Most of it wasn't controversial, but ... some was. --Abd (discusscontribs) 13:40, 23 May 2015 (UTC)

Pending changes[edit]

Wikiversity Journal of Medicine is demonstrating a possible need for w:Wikipedia:Pending changes on Wikiversity. We have a possible developer request already (the Assistant usergroup, which has consensus), this would be a request to add the Pending changes extension to Wikiversity, which will also require a Reviewer usergroup and appropriate permissions. We would, for a published journal article, hosted here, use Level 2 protection (see [6]). We would develop policy over review. This cannot be undisciplined, wiki free-for-all. Comments? --Abd (discusscontribs) 13:52, 23 May 2015 (UTC)

I'd prefer this one for the journal articles if it was implemented in Wikiversity. Mikael Häggström (discusscontribs) 15:23, 23 May 2015 (UTC)
It would have other usage, wherever there is explicit authorship or page management and/or a recognized approval process. "Explicit authorship" is displayed, and to handle neutrality, we avoid explicit page ownership in mainspace top level, though plenty of pages have been created with it, and many have not been cleaned up. We are now being much more careful about this. --Abd (discusscontribs) 16:00, 23 May 2015 (UTC)

Does html always work on Wikiversity?[edit]

I am trying to find a way to keep lines together when they are printed as pdf. In desparation, I looked up how to do it in html and tried it on Wikiversity. This seems to work:

<div style="page-break-inside:avoid;">
# This line
# ... and this line
# ... and this line
#... as well as this line always print together. 
</div>

Do most html commands also work the same way in wikitext? If not, can I assume that if this trick works now, it will work in the future?--Guy vandegrift (discusscontribs) 04:00, 21 May 2015 (UTC)

There are three moving parts to your question.
  1. Browser support of a given HTML tag.
  2. PDF converter support of a given HTML tag.
  3. W3C agreement on HTML standards.
This particular tag seems very stable, according to W3Schools, addressing items 1 and 3. Whether the PDF will interpret correctly is up to the PDF converter used. In other words, if you were to print directly from a browser, this code is very likely to work. Converting to a PDF and then printing is at the mercy of the Wiki PDF converter. But if it is working now, that's a good sign.
Dave Braunschweig (discusscontribs) 12:32, 21 May 2015 (UTC)

Pywikibot compat will no longer be supported - Please migrate to pywikibot core[edit]

Sorry for English, I hope someone translates this.
Pywikibot (then "Pywikipediabot") was started back in 2002. In 2007 a new branch (formerly known as "rewrite", now called "core") was started from scratch using the MediaWiki API. The developers of Pywikibot have decided to stop supporting the compat version of Pywikibot due to bad performance and architectural errors that make it hard to update, compared to core. If you are using pywikibot compat it is likely your code will break due to upcoming MediaWiki API changes (e.g. T101524). It is highly recommended you migrate to the core framework. There is a migration guide, and please contact us if you have any problem.

There is an upcoming MediaWiki API breaking change that compat will not be updated for. If your bot's name is in this list, your bot will most likely break.

Thank you,
The Pywikibot development team, 19:30, 5 June 2015 (UTC)

VisualEditor News #3—2015[edit]

10:45, 13 June 2015 (UTC)

Pie charts[edit]

I brought a template called "Pie chart" over from Wikipedia to use it in the resource: Gases for helium use. It in turn calls the template "Pie chart/slice" which I also brought over. But, this is what it does here:





Circle frame.svg

Estimated 2013 U.S. fractional helium use by category. Total use is 47 million cubic meters.

  Cryogenics (32%)
  Pressurizing and purging (18%)
  Welding (13%)
  Controlled atmospheres (18%)
  Leak detection (4%)
  Breathing mixtures (2%)
  Other (13%)

The working one can be found in Helium. The template:Pie chart/slice appeared to call a routine template:floor, which I also brought over but no effect. Suggestions are most welcome! --Marshallsumter (discusscontribs) 16:54, 16 June 2015 (UTC)

I'm not sure what's wrong, but floor is not a template in this usage. It's a rounding parser function. See mw:Help:Extension:ParserFunctions/en. -- Dave Braunschweig (discusscontribs) 03:42, 17 June 2015 (UTC)
Well, thanks to mw:Help:Calculation I've tested the operators: floor, #expr, and switch. All are working correctly here on Wikiversity. The problem seems to rest with "border-width". It does not return the correct arc for the pie chart. For example, a piece should be say 88 % of the pie, but it always comes back 75 %. #expr returns the correct px, but "border-width" ignores it. It's as if floor is operating beyond its bracketed limits. The additional colors and pieces of the pie never show up past the first three (by highest per centage) or fewer. --Marshallsumter (discusscontribs) 04:49, 21 June 2015 (UTC)
I left a message on mediawiki about this problem with pie chart. The response was "You need to add the transborder class to MediaWiki:Common.css." The only statements in the wikipedia version which works are

/* Pie chart test: Transparent borders */

.transborder {

   border: solid transparent;

}

  • html .transborder { /* IE6 */
   border: solid #000001;
   filter: chroma(color=#000001);

}

The /* text/* appears to be a comment statement. I will insert these into our MediaWiki:Common.css before a comment statement if anyone else is confident this will not create problems. Or, I can just try it to see what happens. Comments, criticisms, questions, and suggestions most welcome. --Marshallsumter (discusscontribs) 20:26, 24 June 2015 (UTC)

.transborder is a specific class. The code shouldn't impact anything except content tagged with that class. Go ahead and try it. We can always undo. -- Dave Braunschweig (discusscontribs) 21:07, 24 June 2015 (UTC)
Well, I'll be! We now have a working pie chart template. Enjoy, one and all! --Marshallsumter (discusscontribs) 21:39, 24 June 2015 (UTC)

Merging schools[edit]

We have a proposal on the talk page for the school of Electrical Engineering to remerge it back with the school of Electronics under the school of Electrical Engineering. While it would be great for these two schools or departments of one school to be improved, I'd like to find a novel approach for Wikiversity rather than conforming to brick and mortars or perhaps online universities. I'd also like to maximize the contributor's efforts and minimize later potential unmerging. Help, comments, suggestions, criticisms, and input would be much appreciated. What do you think? --Marshallsumter (discusscontribs) 20:43, 16 June 2015 (UTC)

It's not my area of expertise, so I can't speak to combining these two specifically, although I noticed that their does seem to be some overlap between the two. But I would say that we have too many schools. There are currently 110. Some are clearly opportunities for consolidation. The Category:Schools page was the 15th most popular page on Wikiversity last year, so this is a high frequency 'portal' that should be optimized for the benefit of both users and content. After that, only 44 of the 110 schools made the top 1,000 pages. But both Electrical engineering and Electronics are in the top 500. Interestingly, the more popular page in this field is Topic:Electrical Engineering, which means people are less drawn to either school, but more often find the school by way of the the content. See Wikiversity:Statistics/2014 for details. -- Dave Braunschweig (discusscontribs) 03:36, 17 June 2015 (UTC)
In an effort of transparency, I'm the one who proposed this latest merger. I'll be succinct and keep the rhetoric low for why I think we should merge these two schools.
  1. Moving the school of EE to a topic of the umbrella School of Engineering would match the hierarchy of the other engineering disciplines e.g. Mechanical, Civil, etc.
  2. Electrical Engineering is undoubtedly the "umbrella" over which Electronics Engineering resides, not the other way around.
  3. While internationally the 'Electronics Engineering' degree may be equally prevalent, it is limited to a relatively small field of study and work that utilizes electricity. I mean to say that Electrical Engineering encompasses power & energy, communications, control, instrumentation (electronics), electromagnetics, and solid state devices, among a few others. This hierarchy would lend itself well to having an Electrical Engineering topic within the School of Engineering.
  4. From this Electrical Engineering topic, of which students would start learning basics, would be further topical branches to the sub-disciplines of Electrical Engineering, namely Electronics Engineering, Power Engineering, Communications, Control, etc. that the student would then move on to after reaching "Junior" or "Senior" status.
  5. It may be confusing for some students to arrive at the Electronics Engineering School to find that there is little development in the basics, yet finds that the Electrical Engineering School, as it currently stands, has well developed basics that seem to be the exact same thing. This is both redundant and an inefficient way of teaching/guiding students along the path of broad electrical engineering learning into smaller specific fields later on.
As a side note, there certainly does seem to be an exorbitant amount of 'Schools' listed. Many of these can be restructured under a more user-friendly hierarchy system of schools of 'Arts and Sciences', 'Engineering', etc, which is partly why I'm suggesting that there be some restructuring of the electrical and electronics current 'schools'. -- William Leismer (discusscontribs)
03:36, 17 June 2015 (UTC)
Just to clarify, you are suggesting that both move under School:Engineering, rather than maintain either school separately, and to then have Topic:Electrical engineering and Topic:Electronics? That makes sense to me. I'm somewhat concerned about Electronics as a career field being lost under Engineering. I'd be inclined to also list Electronics under School:Technology or similar. But after looking at School:Technology, I decided against that for now. The schools need cleaning up. -- Dave Braunschweig (discusscontribs) 22:25, 17 June 2015 (UTC)
Yes, that's essentially what I'm proposing. Electronics Engineering seems to be a particularly difficult discipline to categorize because of the many different meanings it takes on for different people. To some, Electronics Engineering is the same as Electrical Engineering; to others, it's merely a trade profession that technically wouldn't even fall under the realm of Engineering. I personally feel that it does deserve its own topic under the more general topic of Electrical Engineering, and the fact that my governing body, the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers, has kept its historical title leads me to definitely want to keep this topic alive and well, just sorted more appropriately within the right school and topic. -- William Leismer (discusscontribs) 01:55, 18 June 2015 (UTC)
While I feel like I'm tossing in a banana among the apples and oranges, I wanted to mention that Electronics, a course on the electrical components, sometimes is a field actually under Physics in part because of the search for novel properties (e.g., superconductivity) and structures (transistors) using advanced materials (like diamond). This sidelight could be handled as Electronics/Courses, Electronics/Physics, Electronics/Devices, and Electronics/Materials, perhaps under Physics or under Engineering. Papers on each of the fields have been published in IEEE journals and conference proceedings, as well as in Physics and Materials Science journals and proceedings. But where to put the beginnings? --Marshallsumter (discusscontribs) 04:01, 18 June 2015 (UTC)
I think they are separate issues. If I understand correctly, you're looking at courses rather than school/topic organization. There's no reason the Physics and astronomy school couldn't have a link to Topic:Electronics. To me, the courses themselves would be Electronics/Materials and Electronics/Devices. Electronics/Courses is something that would be under Topic:Electronics. I don't know enough about the content to say whether Electronics/Physics or Physics/Electronics makes more sense. It may depend on the perspective of the course. -- Dave Braunschweig (discusscontribs) 04:21, 18 June 2015 (UTC)
I would have to agree with Dave. This issue is separate from the organization of the schools, but Marshallsumter's point is good to talk about. Electronics and Physics overlap especially when you start talking about 'Solid State Devices' used in electronics and the 'Solid State Physics' that are necessary to research/develop these devices. Electronics, nowadays, spans such a wide spectrum of devices, but analysis can be done at many different levels, some of which don't even really consider solid state physics. So, I'll agree with Dave and suggest that we deal with those linkings based upon the perspective of the course. Necessarily, a physics department will offer courses that delve deep into the theory of solid state physics for development of solid state devices, so some linking may be made to the Electronics for reference, but much of the material can be developed and stay under the Physics. When teaching on electronics, we typically mention the basics of solid state physics, only enough to initially allow a student in electrical engineering to move beyond the nano-meter scale up to the millimeter scale of circuit creation, testing, and development with said solid state devices.
TL;DR - Solid State Physics courses should stay under the umbrella Physics with some references to Electronics where necessary for clarification/forward looking learning. Solid State Device courses that focus on circuit design and analysis should stay under the umbrella Electronics with some references to Physics if the student requires deeper understanding of the nano-meter scale atomic inner-workings. -- William Leismer (discusscontribs) 16:56, 18 June 2015 (UTC)

HTTPS[edit]

22:00, 19 June 2015 (UTC)

HTTPS[edit]

23:59, 19 June 2015 (UTC)

PlanetPhysics[edit]

PlanetPhysics (Wikipedia:PlanetPhysics) was a physics-related website/wiki that was active until maybe four years ago. The site has since disappeared, but User:GangofOne had a backup of the website from 2011 and provided it to me off-wiki about a month ago. The backup contains a copy of each of the 828 wiki pages in two formats: HTML and TEX. The HTML would be perfect for restoring to a website, but it is not useful as wikitext because of the extensive use of images to display the math formulas used on each page. With images, the 828 pages becomes 20,691 items, including folders. So, the only practical use from our standpoint would be the TEX (LaTeX) content.

I have researched and experimented with a variety of TeX to Wikitext converters and found one that makes most of the pages mostly legible. Some pages are fine. Others end up with citation errors or other unrecognized and/or unconverted TEX commands. I've now put in almost two days of effort trying to improve the conversion script and I'm at the point where I can't spare any more time on this. So, I'm asking the community for direction.

I can use a bot to upload the content as converted. There would be a PlanetPhysics learning project with 828 subpages. Someone would need to look at the content, decide if there is any value to it, and then clean up or otherwise edit based on what is available. I would upload the TEX content to the corresponding Talk page for each page. This is necessary both as a license reference of who created the original content, and also as a resource to try and decipher any errors in the conversion process.

Or, I can let this project go, and encourage User:GangofOne to find a website to restore the content to. That would be a straight FTP upload and done, fully functional, but it wouldn't be here. So, what does the community say? Is anyone willing to step up and take responsibility for this content once it is uploaded? It instantly becomes our largest learning project, and increases the size of the main space wiki by almost 5%. The value will be minimal without a curator.

Dave Braunschweig (discusscontribs) 01:35, 25 June 2015 (UTC)

The physics department has only a few active participants at present. Depending on the number of subpages needing fix-up, the effort to have PlanetPhysics fully functional may take a couple of years. I'll be happy to do what I can to that end. Hopefully, some of the physics project at Wikipedia may enjoy coming here to help. Ultimately, the final decision rests with User:GangofOne. We'd be happy to have it here. --Marshallsumter (discusscontribs) 15:26, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
PlanetPhysics content is now imported. 828 subpages. There's a limit to how many subpages can be listed at once, so the page only shows the first (200?). You'll see that pages need to be cleaned up, renamed, etc. If you find there's a standard set of things that should be cleaned up across all pages, post it on Talk:PlanetPhysics and I can look at having the bot clean all pages at once if there's a simple rule for what it needs to do. -- Dave Braunschweig (discusscontribs) 03:05, 26 June 2015 (UTC)
I looked at the following pages, selected because they seemed like undergraduate college physics topics: Talk:PlanetPhysics/AlbertEinstein     Talk:PlanetPhysics/Acceleration     Talk:PlanetPhysics/CapacitorNetworks     Talk:PlanetPhysics/ComptonEffect     Talk:PlanetPhysics/FirstLawOfThermodynamics
My proficiency in reading Latex is only moderate, but what I saw looks like a parallel effort to Wikiverstiy: The PlanePhysics pages seemed to be "starts", sketchy introductions that require more content in order to become useful. In this way PlanetPhysics and Wikiversity are quite similar. Two differences between Wikiversity and PlanetPhysics are worth noting: (1) While I fully endorse Wikiversity's policy of encouraging student efforts, one consequence is that many Wikiversity pages are of low value or quality. In contrast, ALL of the PLanetPhysics pages seemed to be of good quality (though not very useful until material is added). (2) Dave Braunschweig estimates the content of PlanetPhysics to be 5% of the main space wiki. If "main space wiki" refers to all of Wikipedia, then the total content of PlanetPhysics is much larger than the content of physics and astronomy articles on Wikiversity.
Conclusion: I believe that we have three equally viable options:
Plan A: Find a Latex/html host that revives PlanetPhysics in its current form. This would be good for PlanetPhysics, and not particularly bad for Wikiversity because competition among open source efforts is good for all concerned. This is in contrast to commercial ventures where competition is good for the whole but bad for the individual competitors. (Footnote:With CC-by licensing, all these "competitors" credit each other in one glorious effort!)
Plan B: Use a bot to translate PlanetPhysics into Wikiversity wikitext pages. I don't think the extra clutter damages Wikiversity because quality pages can be reached by search engines (i.e. Google). But it would be a waste of time to expend great human effort on this translation from Latex to wikitext.
Plan C: Do nothing, except store PlanetPhysics on Wikiversity or somewhere else. This is the path to choose if no bot exists to implement plan B at the moment.
The only thing I don't recommend is laboriously translating all these pages by hand from Latex to Wikitext. Most editors looking for ideas can probably just skim the Latex and glean enough information to rewrite as wikitext--Guy vandegrift (discusscontribs) 15:27, 27 June 2015 (UTC)
Everything is imported. According to [7], we now have 29,537 articles. So, PlanetPhysics is almost 3% of the total. It was already translated based on the best bot I could find. Additional bot cleanup is possible as recommendations are discovered/made. -- Dave Braunschweig (discusscontribs) 18:59, 27 June 2015 (UTC)
I've begun working on some of the PlanetPhysics resources. One that is finished is PlanetPhysics/Fresnel integrals. When a bot removes the empty math calls a lot of the expressions will become clear on the other resources. --Marshallsumter (discusscontribs) 23:03, 27 June 2015 (UTC)