Wikiversity:Colloquium/archives/August 2007

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Multi site watch lists

I'm now on a few Wikimedia projects, and several other projects that are using Mediawiki software. How do people manage watchlists or talk pages over several projects or wikis? Hopefully someone has something they are already using; if not, if anyone sees it as useful I might put something together. Historybuff 16:46, 1 August 2007 (UTC)

All of the Wikia wikis and the Meta wiki have a feature that provides participants with the option of getting email notification when pages on your watch list are edited. We could request that this feature be activated for Wikiversity. --JWSchmidt 17:56, 1 August 2007 (UTC)

Well, longer watchlists and heavier editing would bury you in e-mail. I was thinking that someone might have an RSS style reader, like the RC list. If it doesn't already exist, would anyone else find it useful? Historybuff

I guess it could be useful to have a simple way to have the RSS reeds for pages on your watch list organized for reading. --JWSchmidt 14:28, 3 August 2007 (UTC)

RSS, plus a single email every day of the RSS output, maybe?John van v 00:02, 4 August 2007 (UTC)

I'd hope that a good RSS reader would obviate the need for e-mails. I haven't found one, but it's a thought. I could dig into doing an RSS feed if there is interest -- I have some code that should work (famous last words) Historybuff 03:57, 9 August 2007 (UTC)

Classical Latin Wikiversity

Who here knows classical Latin, to start a Latin Wikiversity? --Laleena 22:07, 3 August 2007 (UTC)

Is this "classical Latin"? --JWSchmidt 00:28, 4 August 2007 (UTC)
Yes, I think so. Latin is not just classical, I think. Laleena 17:07, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
The place for development and incubation of new Wikiversity communities devoted to a particular language is the multi-lingual Wikiversity hub. --JWSchmidt 17:31, 12 August 2007 (UTC)

"Java Script is Working" symbol

By the way, I really like the symbol that now appears when Java Script is working (such as checking file names on the uploading documents page). It is good to see what is happening (or not happening.) Hopefully, they will keep this debugging feature in future releases. Robert Elliott 14:21, 12 August 2007 (UTC)

Wikimedian Arts

Why can't we offer such a study course? It would be interesting to see more people at work on Wikimedia Foundation projects. --Laleena 17:05, 12 August 2007 (UTC)

I'm not sure what you have in mind for "Wikimedian Arts", but you can take a look at pages such as Wikimedia, Wikiversity:Service community and Topic:Wikimedia. Wikipedia service-learning courses was an interesting project tat was started a couple of months ago but never developed. --JWSchmidt 17:26, 12 August 2007 (UTC)

Project of the week/month?

I believe Wikibooks had something like this in the past, or still does; but aside from the featured learning materials, how about having a project/department/course of the week/month that everyone would be encouraged to maybe devote a little extra attention towards in their wiki endeavors? It could maybe have a spot upon the front page. --Remi 07:32, 14 August 2007 (UTC)

I think it is a good idea. So far what has been done is make lists of learning projects that might be of interest to many people in the Wikiversity community (see Template:Learning projects header and Portal:Learning Projects/Featured learning resource). Such lists tend to get "contaminated by projects that might be too specialized (example: History of Ireland through Song). It might be useful to add some kind of vote/poll system to such a list in order to allow community members to decide which wiki pages are of interest to the largest number of people and might be good candidates for a "collaboration of the week/month". --JWSchmidt 14:55, 14 August 2007 (UTC)

Help

Hello everybody
for the english departement of fr wikiversity, I would like oral comprehension be created. So, I want some help because it's better an english person record the sound.
If you are interested send me a message
Thank you
Vivelefrat 13:49, 5 August 2007 (UTC)

If you have a list of words/phrases to be spoken in English and saved as OGG format audio files, I can help with that. --JWSchmidt 15:31, 5 August 2007 (UTC)
Cool, a sound exchanged. Maybe you could speak them in French and we could do a trade?--Rayc 05:54, 6 August 2007 (UTC)

We can even get some real dialog sessions going, if we have some mutual interest. I'd love to do this to enhance my French. Historybuff 04:02, 9 August 2007 (UTC)

..And it would also be interesting to have different accents record different (or the same) texts in order to give learners a sense of the diversity of "native" accents. Mine is Irish, and I'm willing to help. :-) Cormaggio talk 18:27, 15 August 2007 (UTC)

Stats

Is there any way to see how many users Wikiversity has, which of them are online currently, and/or how long it's been since a particular user was online? Those would be useful features. --Luai lashire 22:35, 13 August 2007 (UTC)

"which of them are online currently, and/or how long it's been since a particular user was online" <-- not that I know of. "how many users Wikiversity has" <-- Try this. Others: Wikiversity:Statistics. --JWSchmidt 05:50, 14 August 2007 (UTC)
Thanks. --Luai lashire 15:43, 14 August 2007 (UTC)
I notice that the stats.wikimedia stuff hasn't been updated since June... any reason for that? --SB_Johnny | PA! 12:19, 15 August 2007 (UTC)
In the ~ six months I have known about those stats resources, they always have been a few months behind. --JWSchmidt 14:55, 15 August 2007 (UTC)
If there is a lag in Erik Zachte's stats, it's normally because there isn't yet a current database dump, rather than Erik not getting round to it... :-) Cormaggio talk 18:36, 15 August 2007 (UTC)

Building Materials

--41.209.120.22 17:22, 12 August 2007 (UTC)Realy am wonder about how we can classify building materials in order to be automatically processed r

Please elaborate... --Remi 05:29, 16 August 2007 (UTC)

Where is the sense of organization??!?!

There are too many Portals and Categories and Schools and Topics etc!!! This has become ridiculous! If a contributor has looked through the standard channels (portal, school, department, etc.) found nothing and then added something, at what point does futility seem obvious? Is it the point at which that contributor realizes that there was another page all along buried in the swamp, unlisted anywhere??? Please...PLEASE reduce the number of divisions within this structure!
- gustable (moved to bottom by --SB_Johnny | PA! 12:07, 15 August 2007 (UTC))

My sense of this lately is that these are something of a relic from the early days of Wikiversity, when we were big on organizing but at that point had little content yet to organize. The Topic namespace in particular is a bit confusing... there are some conversations about this in the archives somewhere, so I'll likely be running across them while categorizing the archives.
A big project to link all these structures together would be a great idea. --SB_Johnny | PA! 12:12, 15 August 2007 (UTC)
Portals are like directories of learning resourcess. Wikiversity Schools and Topics are content development projects. If you are interested in collaborating with other Wikiversity editors to create, organize and develop learning resources for broad subject areas or more narrow topics then you can participate at pages in the "School:" and "Topic:" namespaces. Otherwise, you can just ignore the "School:" and "Topic:" pages and use the portal pages as guides to existing content. Since Wikiversity is relatively new and most learning resources are still under development, the content development projects in the "School:" and "Topic:" namespaces are very relevant to many Wikiversity participants.....there is more "content development" work to do than mature "learning resources" ready to use. "buried in the swamp" <-- Many people create pages for learning resources and then fail to link to those pages from the portal pages. We probably need a good tutorial about dealing with this problem.....that is something that has been on my "to do" list for a long time. I'm reluctant to make one because it should be featured along with other similar tutorials on the Main Page, but most people seem to think the Wikiversity Main Page should look like the Wikipedia Main Page rather than actually be useful to Wikiversity participants. --JWSchmidt 15:16, 15 August 2007 (UTC)
It is true that there are many Portals, Categories, Schools, and Topics; and, if you look far enough, you will even find Resources!
But, please, No Worry. Wikiversity is Eminently Searchable.
The Contributor who has seemingly looked Everywhere, not found That for which he was Looking, and then added Something may Know that it is not all so obviously Futile.
Even though the Contributor may Discover that there was another Page all along Buried in the Swamp, it cannot be Unlisted Anywhere. Everything at Wikiversity is Somewhere. A Page would have to be some other (Nonexistent) Place to be Nowhere.
If something gets added Inadvertently, there is a Remedy.
Probably nobody regards the Wikiversity Naming Conventions as Perfect; and this Participant is Certain that they will Evolve.
Undoubtedly Structural Overhauls of Wikiversity will occur. We have no Idea what Form Wikiversity may Eventually take.
In the meantime let Us Carry On as Best We are Able, Improving Wikiversity When we can, How we can -- Structure and Content. Portals, Schools, Divisions, Departments, and Last but not Least Learning Resources.
"Don't waste time mourning -- Organize!"
Best regards,
Dionysios (talk), a Participant in the Wikiversity School of Advanced General Studies, Date: 2007-08-15 (August 15, 2007) Time: 2151 UTC
"Where am I now and how did I get here?"
The main problem is there is no way to determine where you are in Wikiversity. A useful portal will take you all the way across the galaxy and drop you someplace new without telling you where you are in the structure of Wikiversity. The page you want might be sitting right next to you but you cannot find it because you don't know where you are.
Each page in Wikiversity needs some way of determining where you are. Then you can determine where to go next -- up or down the structure of the Wikiversity.
Individual instructors have created their own road maps within their lessons but this is never consistently applied nor linked to pages of other authors with the same numbering system.
There needs to be a standardized system of page identification such as a button which gives you the map of Wikiversity with your current location flagged.
It is great to be organized and have a structure but if you cannot show people where they are, you have nothing useful. Robert Elliott 02:38, 16 August 2007 (UTC)

Navigation aids

One approach to the problem of not knowing how a wiki page relates to other pages is to provide "navigation boxes". Some examples:

If anyone is interested in creating standards for Wikiversity navigation templates, Wikiversity:Templates is a place to start.
--JWSchmidt 04:32, 16 August 2007 (UTC)

Random resource and topic – now where would this go in the conversation?

Since we use "resources" in instead of article or page, how about we change the "Random page" on the left side of the screen to "Random resource" and then also add, "Random topic" below that... if it would be possible? --Remi 05:07, 16 August 2007 (UTC)

Topic:Topics was started as a list that could provide a way to have a useful "Random topic" link in the sidebar, similar to "Random book" at Wikibooks. --JWSchmidt 00:36, 17 August 2007 (UTC)

Thanks so much...and lets hear it for Navigation Aids!

For your unending enthusiasm and philosophical generosity. I especially appreciate the chuckles, Dionysios. I will not despair! I shall instead advocate for a path string at the top of each page in an effort to bolster the claim of JWSchmidt that there is no path through the morass. Wikiversity is much different that the rest of the Wikiverse in that it is an inherently sequential entity and not a daisy-chained reference such as Wikipedia or Wiktionary. A user might wish to divine the true meaning of loss, or explore the truths of the human archipelago, only to find themselves lost in discovery. This however, is not a very good corollary to the progressive didactic of a scholarly institution or a course of studies, which may require countless references to past studies. Surely this behemoth must be given reins if not brains.
- gustable

My Friend, You are most Welcome to my Unending Enthusiasm and Philosophical generosity; and it is most Generous of You to suggest that Your Servant has such to offer. As for the Chuckles, we need to follow up on Those. It could be that everybody needs more Chuckles!
Your Servant joins You in your Advocacy of a Path String at the top of each Page in an Effort to bolster what You see as a claim by JWSchmidt that there is no path through the Morass. And then, of course, we will also need to go farther with that Morass Idea.
True, Wikiversity is much different that the rest of the Wikiverse.
Your Servant is Thinking about the possible Sequentiality of this Entity as Opposed to the Daisy-Chaining of a Wikipedia or a Wiktionary. That makes very Interesting Thinking. Thank you.
As for Divining the true meaning of loss or Exploring the Truths of the Human Archipelago, that might be too much for Your Servant at this Time. He already has a lot on his Plate. But, then again, do not We all have Time for Discovery.
Your Servant must Apologize, Your Corollary is Beyond him. But, the notion of a Progressive Didactic appeals; and Your Servant joins You in the Efort to Give this Scholarly Institution and the Course of Studies, this Behemoth, Reins; and, he would say: Also Brains.
Good Success!
(s) Dionysios (talk), a Participant in the Wikiversity School of Advanced General Studies, Date: 2007-08-17 (August 17, 2007) Time: 1747 UTC

Should Not There Be an Option to Keep Track of Lessons Completed

should not there be an option to keep track of lessons done..acores done etc --216.151.80.148 20:27, 21 August 2007 (UTC)

I suggest that you create an account and then use your user page to keep track of your activities. The wiki software will automatically track all of your edits. --JWSchmidt 20:56, 21 August 2007 (UTC)

Anonomity, Convienience, Non-Exclusion (of non-technical types). Three reasons to add the lesson-tracking feature. Networked.Frog (The preceding unsigned comment was added by 203.173.46.148 (talkcontribs) 08:10, 12 September 2007)

CheckUser

Back in April we started discussing the idea of CheckUser policy for Wikiversity. An editor with "CheckUser status" on a wiki can:

  • Determine from which IPs a registered user has edited
  • Find all the edits on the wiki from a specific IP (even when logged in)

Data collected via the CheckUser feature can be used as an aid in fighting persistent vandalism of articles by people who create multiple accounts. The Wikiversity community needs to request access to the CheckUser tools. If you are concerned about protecting Wikiversity from vandals, please participate at Nominations for CheckUser.
--JWSchmidt 21:20, 21 August 2007 (UTC)

This is what we are deciding to do now? --HappyCamper 23:22, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
We're a bit against the wall now to be honest... within the past few weeks we've been visited by at least 2 sockpupet mischiefmakers who've been firewalled off all the other en projects due to more aggressive use of CU and other tools on those projects. More are certainly going to be arriving, and we're just too big now to be relying on meta. --SB_Johnny | PA! 00:21, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
"what we are deciding to do now" <-- The process is now underway. The process is one of community discussion. If the community cannot demonstrate strong support for at least two CheckUser candidates, then we will have to continue with the current system of going to the meta-wiki to request CheckUser action by a steward when we are being attacked by a persistent vandal. --JWSchmidt 01:08, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
OK, I see. Thanks. --HappyCamper 14:56, 22 August 2007 (UTC)

Company sponsored lessons?

Basic Inquiry
I have a basic question. Are companies allowed to place lessons for their products on Wikiversity?
Example:
If the company which produces FrameForge 3D Studio wants to create lessons to show people how to use FrameForge 3D Studio Free demo version to create storyboards, are they allowed to put these lessons on Wikiversity?
Background info
At Wikipedia, a person may not write pages for themselves or for the company that they work for. Does this restriction apply to Wikiversity?
My personal opinion
Personally, I think it is fantastic if companies want to write lessons for Wikiversity students as long as it is free. Robert Elliott 02:34, 19 August 2007 (UTC)
We might be able to learn a few things from Wikipedia, see: Wikipedia:Conflict of interest. Wikipedia has a core policy for making every article neutral. When an editor has a financial interest in something they write about, it is doubtful that they can provide an objective and neutral account, so Wikipedia discourages people from editing articles for which an editor has a conflict of interest. Wikiversity has drafts of policies for disclosure of biases and conflicts of interest and scholarly ethics. The goal of these proposed Wikiversity policies is to allow Wikiversity participants the freedom to explore their personal approaches to subjects without being bound to the task of creating a completely neutral presentation. "The policy on scholarly ethics is designed to keep Wikiversity free from propaganda, deception and intellectual dishonesty". As long as employees of companies are open about who they are and if they restrict themselves to factual descriptions of what their products can do, I think they should be able to help provide useful learning resources by editing at Wikiversity. Employees of companies need to understand the distinction between advertising a product and teaching people how to use a product. There are "gray areas" between advertising and informing. The entire Wikiversity community will have to find ways to define the boundary between acceptable learning resources and unacceptable advertising. --JWSchmidt 03:17, 19 August 2007 (UTC)
I've never quite liked the COI concept. All edits should be judged on their merit, not on the authors potential bias. Now with Wikiscanner reveling numerous COI each day, I just think, maybe staff at the BBC would be great people to edit the BBC article, no?--Rayc 04:54, 20 August 2007 (UTC)

I think http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Notability is a helpful basis for a WV policy of "educational notability". The issue of commercial knowledge is not whether it is commercial or not, but whether it is educationally notable or not. A training programme for an obscure product is not notable, it is mere self-promotion. A training programme for a widely used or important product is legitimate, regardless of additional self-promotional intent. McCormack 06:34, 20 August 2007 (UTC)

A fundamental idea at Wikipedia is that editors should function like an automaton that observes what has been previously published in multiple reliable sources (preferably many secondary sources) and then editors fairly summarize what has been previously published in the cited sources. One of the foundation policies at Wikipedia is Wikipedia:No original research (NOR). The NOR policy says that editors are not supposed to directly study a topic (such as a new piece of software) and then add to Wikipedia what they have personally observed. Wikipedia editors should wait until other people have published accounts of the software in reliable sources then Wikipedia editors can cite those sources and summarize the previously published conclusions. (However, in practice, there is still a huge amount of content at Wikipedia that is based on the first hand knowledge of editors, not what they find in previously published sources.) Educational notability is a new concept that needs to be explored. Wikiversity does not have a "no original research" policy (see Research guidelines). So how do we protect Wikiversity from editors who want to create content that is just "self-promotion"? Original research at Wikiversity should be "scholarly research". If we require that original research be scholarly research then we can make it clear to editors that original research conforms to our educational mission and we can "keep Wikiversity free from propaganda". The scope of research does not include "research that promotes a specific commercial product or political candidate or any other kind of research that has as its goal something outside of the educational mission of Wikiversity". "regardless of additional self-promotional intent" <-- Does this mean that the intent of an editor can be to advertise a software application as long as the software is well-known? I think what is important is the "tone" of the content that is added to Wikiversity. While editing at Wikiversity the editor must meet OUR expectations and keep in mind OUR mission: editors should be thinking about the educational implications of the content they add, not the commercial implications. I have added to Wikiversity "tutorial" content for obscure software, not to promote it, but because I find it useful. Wikiversity and Wikipedia have different approaches to the educational mission of the Wikimedia Foundation. An important part of original research within educational institutions is that obscure, new, or unpopular topics can be explored. If someone wants to write about an "obscure product" then we need to look at the "tone" of what is written. I think we need to ask, "is the Wikiversity content exploring ideas in an intellectually honest way and providing a factual account or is it an obnoxious advertisement? --JWSchmidt 14:25, 20 August 2007 (UTC)
I think we need to feel our way towards a new terminology here. I think our meanings haven't quite met, yet. The origin of the problem is that as WV becomes more popular, it will increasingly become a target for manipulation. Manipulators (e.g. spammers) unfortunately don't just "clearly" stay outside the realm of acceptability; they play with and challenge any rules we create, and exploit our lack of clear policy if we don't have it. I think JWS's mind is thinking mainly about the notability of ideas, which is related to originality of research. The more original something is, the more likely it is to be not notable yet. However there are also issues of notability of people (cf. the discussion about deleting a page below) and notability of products (cf. the above example of a software product). I suggest that a draft policy might like to think about...
  1. Raising the bar (notability requirement) if the main subject is a person or product rather than an idea.
  2. Raising the bar further (notability requirement) if a commercial interest is involved.
In other words, non-notable ideas get an easier time than non-notable people, and non-notable commercial products have the toughest time of all getting in. Am I talking sense, anybody??! McCormack 14:56, 20 August 2007 (UTC)

When I said, "I have added to Wikiversity 'tutorial' content for obscure software, not to promote it, but because I find it useful," I was thinking about a several specific pieces of of software that the creators would like to be paid for when people find the software useful (shareware). I would object to a Wikiversity policy that says I cannot discuss non-notable commercial products. I do not view notability as a valid measure of educational value. --JWSchmidt 15:49, 20 August 2007 (UTC)

Hi, JWS. Of course, I agree with you if you put it that way. "Cannot discuss non-notable commercial products" is not the same as "cannot devote an article to a particular non-notable commercial product", and the latter is not the same as "educational notability should be given greater weight when considering an article about a particular non-notable commercial product". To my mind, a key part of a university education is for the student to learn to distinguish important from unimportant things, and part of the educational process that is WV must surely be to help students towards making such distinctions, such as by involving them in discussions and votes on the inclusion of materials where notability is a permissible factor in the consideration of certain types of material. McCormack 16:21, 20 August 2007 (UTC)
I'm having a hard time imagining how such a discussion would go. I'm imagining that I create a tutorial page for a virtually unknown piece of software, "Unkwown App". You seem to be suggesting that someone else can come along and say, "'Microsoft Bling' is the software that most people use to do that. I've never heard of 'Unkwown App'. I propose that we delete the tutorial about how to use 'Unkwown App" and replace it with a tutorial for 'Microsoft Bling'." I could easily construct an argument for the idea that Wikiversity should be extra supportive of editors who want to provide learning resources about little-known software. There are already many tutorials and learning resources for well-known software applications, so making more of those should actually be a lower priority for Wikiversity editors. --JWSchmidt 17:36, 20 August 2007 (UTC)
In the particular example you give, the identity of the author is perhaps another factor to be taken into consideration, as well the intent. Case A: John the Academic, with selfless intent, creates a tutorial on Unknown App. Result: good. Case B: Eric the Programmer, with self-promotional intent, creates a tutorial on Eric's Own App. Result: bad, but might be mitigated if the software is educational and/or cost-free and/or notable (and/or perhaps any of a list of other things we haven't thought of yet), subject to a final decision by the community weighing things up if someone wants to put it to a vote. McCormack 17:48, 20 August 2007 (UTC)
People want to do things in their lives. Computer software is a tool that helps people accomplish their goals. Wikiversity should have no qualms about providing learning resources that help people learn how to use computer software. It does not matter if the software fits some arbitrary definition of "educational software", "cost-free" or "notable". If someone makes a learning resource at Wikiversity that helps people learn what computer software can do and how to use it then that is a good thing. What are the problems that can arise from editors who have conflicts of interest? Editing by someone with a conflict of interest might be deceptive, misleading or dishonest and rather than help people, such content might waste the time of Wikiversity participants or lead them to buy a piece of software that they will only later find has been mis-represented. The solution to deception in wiki content is vigilance and corrective action by other editors. Another danger from editors with conflicts of interest are the useless marketing phrases that tend to drift into prose composed by biased editors, such as "this is the number one software application for Foo". These marketing blurbs are easy to spot and challenge....both for citation of reliable sources to support the claims and for an explanation of how the claim contributes to the educational mission of Wikiversity. Rather than make a rule saying, "do not edit if you have a conflict of interest" (people will still edit and just not admit to the conflict of interest) I think we should use a rule that says editors with conflicts of interest have to be open about those conflicts, be aware of the Wikiversity mission and edit appropriately. An additional option would be to say that any discussions of commercial products within Wikiversity must try to follow a traditional Wikimedia neural point of view policy. I don't think that is the right direction to go because people can other conflicts of interest besides just those that arise from $$$$. --JWSchmidt 21:50, 20 August 2007 (UTC)
Ah - on our voyage around WV policy we get to POV and disclosures, which I'm afraid I think is an almost unworkable proposed policy, because few people are aware of their own POV. I think it takes an unusual intelligence and integrity to declare one's own POV in a manner others can understand, and that we need simpler rules of thumb where possible ("fingers off if it's yours"). But let's come back to software, as software promotion is a problem area all of its own. Do you think that WV could incorporate a software review centre into its school of computing? Perhaps we could import shareware metadata? Should we invite authors (shareware and commercial) to treat WV as free hosting for product tutorials? Could part of WV become an extension of SourceForge? Or is there a difference between myself and someone else running around inserting links like THIS ONE (click me, please, please, please) into WV on relevant pages? I think that opening the door to software self-promotion is an especially dangerous one, with real floodgates potential. But what do you think about these questions? -- McCormack 04:46, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
To answer Robert's original question -- I think it would be fantastic if we could encourage authors or companies to write Tutorials or lessons here at Wikiversity. We should have a bias towards free, open or low cost software, and we should be critical of lessons or tutorials that are slanted or biased.
As to promotion -- As far as I'm aware, all WV links are "nofollow", which doesn't give you any link-weight from WV. And since spammers and promoters would get more traffic from PR then they ever would from visitors, the fact that their search-engine rank doesn't improve will disuade them. Most software people dislike writing documentation, so I'd be doubtful that someone would write a terrible app and then write great documentation to "sell" it. Historybuff 06:31, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
Good points. McCormack 08:04, 23 August 2007 (UTC)
Floodgates open should not be a huge problem as long as the WV internal link structure, directory lists, and/or search engines is adequate for the users to find what they what, instead of what someone else wishes to give them. Link spamming obviously would be a problem but is easily deleted by a community aware of the problem. I think for the moment we should err on the side of greater activity attracting more users and visitors to the community. user:mirwin

My humble opinion: NO, you can not place an article about yourself or company on Wikiversity YES, it is brilliant if companies provide lessons on their own product IF they are just that: lessons. Advertisements (poorly disguised as lessons) are UNWELCOME. Of course, this sparks more debate. A contributer to, say, C++ could say " I recommend the TotalFiction compiler over the OpenFiction compiler. OpenFiction can not differentiate between NOT and IF statements." and it would be fine. However, if an employee of TotalFiction wrote that, it would be inappropriate (even if true). Therefore, it is hard to provide the very substance of any good course, namely, WHY should I study this?. (The preceding unsigned comment was added by 203.173.53.141 (talkcontribs) 02:01, 9 September 2007)

/w/index.php bug in MediaWiki?

Particularly the vandal fighters will be aware of the number of spoof pages appearing from IP editors with "/w/index.php" following the name of the page. Usually these have been spam pages, so up to now I had suspected an error in someone's wikispam software. However City_of_Palo_Alto_official_website/w/index.php is a legitimate contribution - somehow a bona fide IP editor ended up having their content placed on this page by the MediaWiki software itself. Can a MediaWiki programmer comment on this? Incidentally, although a WV URL normally has the path /wiki/TITLE, when you edit a page, the URL is /w/index.php?title=TITLE, so the rogue string is already there in MediaWiki. McCormack 04:47, 22 August 2007 (UTC)

The history of the /w/index.php issue is that it's created by a buggy script (apparently developed for blind linking on web forums), so the editor might be using this script to edit. As a rule, these pages can be traced to open proxies, so it may be something in the programs used for making zombies. This is definitely the most content I've seen on one of these pages though (usually it's something along the lines of "nice site!"). --SB_Johnny | PA! 10:16, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

Open question on donations and accountibility

If someone were to donate money or land to Wikiversity, how could we as a community ensure that it is used responsibly, fruitfully, and fairly? --Remi 23:47, 8 August 2007 (UTC)

Wikiversity only exists as a legal entity in that it is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation. I'd contact Mike Godwin for legal issues. There is information about about donations at the Foundation's website. Cary Bass and Vishal Patel might be able to provide information about how to target donations directly to Wikiversity. --JWSchmidt 00:58, 9 August 2007 (UTC)
Wikimedia chapters are another way that money/property can be donated to Wikimedia - and this could be specified to be used for Wikiversity. Cormaggio talk 18:32, 15 August 2007 (UTC)
Would someone be able to donate with money "earmarked" for a particular project? (I'm not sure if or how that would work, just wondering) Historybuff 23:27, 18 August 2007 (UTC)
Yes, this is very much possible - though more questionable whether it would be possible in operationalising/implementing it. ;-) I definitely think we need to be thinking about how we can support such donations. Cormaggio talk 16:42, 27 August 2007 (UTC)
I guess it depends on what form the donation takes. Monetary would be the hardest to steer, whereas equipment or in kind donations would be much easier to facilitate. I agree, however, that we have to work on laying the groundwork for them.

OpenStat-Project

Hi to everybody!

I want to start a content development project concerned with collecting free statistical sources, commenting, checking and evaluating them and finally packaging them into meta-datasets useable by common statistic-solutions and especially GNU R. The first project will be an dataset related to migration into the EU. I have posted this project on the german division of wikiversity ( de:Interdisziplinäres_Zentrum_OpenStat ) but now want to migrate it to the english wikiversity. Which sub-domain / subsection would be appropriate for this kind of interdisciplinary project?

Another problem is the copyright status of statistical material. I would be thankful if somebody could help clarify the related copyright questions.( Commons:Commons Talk:Licensing )

Greetings euro 19:33, 28 August 2007 (UTC)

Maybe there could be a page for R (programming language) that is linked to from Topic:Computer programming. We have Topic:Statistics, but it needs to be formated as a content development project. Topic:Statistics could probably be called a "division" with several smaller sub-projects. We have Template:Division and Template:Division boilerplate. --JWSchmidt 22:26, 28 August 2007 (UTC)

Courses which every Wikiversity should have

There is a need to have such as crucial basic courses on each Wikiversity. They are:

  • MediaWiki course - which will teach new users how two work in MediWiki environment (and optionally they will study how two make articles on Wikipedia, text on Wikibooks and behave on Wikiversity)

The Technical writing course can take on this responsibility. We've already got some content on making wiki tables. We could add some more modules, such as using graphics in wiki, and other intermediate topics. But overall, the wikimedia help file is quite a good one and should be the first place people look for this instruction. TWFred 08:05, 30 August 2007 (UTC)

  • Typing course - if someone is coming here, he should now, how two type fast using all ten fingers. This helps a lot.

Couldn't disagree more. It's not the speed or volume, it's quality that counts. I don't think Wikiversity is the place for this type of skills training. TWFred 08:09, 30 August 2007 (UTC)

  • Internet and PC - this is not necessary. If someone is coming, he probably already knows hot to use these entities.

Do we have these courses? Not yet? I think we should run them as soon as possible. All coming people who don’t know MediWiki should pass them (students/teachers). I am opening this course on cs (see [1]), but I would not be possible to do the same here on en.

When I entered on Wikipedia two years ago, I thought I will study a lot. My work during those years was to correct articles and write new ones. What I learned from that? How to make encyclopedical content and how to work with MediWiki, but nothing more. So I don’t want to make a same fault here on Wikiversity. Think about it...--Juan 11:37, 20 August 2007 (UTC)

Topic:MediaWiki was started on the day after the launch of Wikiversity. We have Elementary Typing. "Internet and PC" <-- We have pages such as Internet, Topic:Internet audio and video, Web 2.0, Free culture movement, Operate a personal computer, Wikiversity computer skills. --JWSchmidt 15:11, 20 August 2007 (UTC)

Thanks. I see it exists, but it is not complete, thats bad.Juan 19:40, 21 August 2007 (UTC)

Well, we're a wiki, I'm not sure we'll ever be complete. :)
However, there has been a bit of work done -- if you have ideas about what more could be done, or what more you'd like to see, write a talk page note or post a tickler here. I have seen that content activity breeds content activity, and chatting about things can spur reaction. Historybuff 06:35, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
Many people look at Wikipedia and then assume all wikis should be like that. Wikipedia is thousands of times bigger than Wikiversity. Everyone should get in the time machine and see what Wikipedia was like one year after its launch. --JWSchmidt 14:54, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
I agree that people have great expectations of WV, when they look at WP. But we need a Strategic goal, and some tactical ways to achieve those goals. Some of what we are doing might need baby steps, and it might take quite a while to get done. But, as long as it is moving forward, we'll get to the same place WP is eventually. Historybuff 18:34, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

Syllabus planning and structure.

Hi, I just graduated, and at my university, a lot of the modules (in Biology) had each lecture's powerpoint presentation online which covered all the knowledge that you needed, but for others there was just a list of learning objectives; these were about 30 bullet points of a sentence each describing a topic that would be covered with this module. Usually about two or three points would fill an hour's lecture. These topic titles were sufficient for the student to learn the rest of the course by finding their own learning materials, mostly through the internet and wikipedia but also occasionally the library. Can we have a page used in the creation/development of departments laid out into desirable courses for each one , and then within the course, have a list of all things (learning objectives) that ought to be included in this module. Hopefully this will reduce overlap, confusion over where to write lessons and possibly act as a stimulus by having the groundwork to be done listed so that anyone with the knowledge or a resource can realise they'd help by adding the page. as all the modules for all the degree schemes my department offered has these learning objectives online i could access them but im not sure of the copyrights involved. --Robin Lee 02:46, 31 August 2007 (UTC)

School:Biology is mostly a bare list of content development projects such as Topic:Biochemistry. Feel free to start adding additional content from the lists of "bullet points" that you have. I suggest that you not directly copy content from a syllabus unless you know that the original creator of the syllabus has explicitly made the content freely available for re-use. --JWSchmidt 04:43, 31 August 2007 (UTC)

Aptitude Tests

I would like to see an aptitude test/s as a service of Wikiversity. Along with what will - hopefully - be an unlimited opporuntiy for learing, people may like to know what their aptitudes are in addition to their interests, in order to focus their resources. It should be free and anonymous. If offered, I'll be among the first to use it. Thank you. --Shir-El too 23:48, 23 August 2007 (UTC)

Would these be just general "you would be good in the ZZZ field", or are you talking about actual tests that would be done to show knowledge of a particular course/subject? Historybuff 18:35, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

General tests. The thought is that people (myself included) may like to know more about their own abilities and talents: aptitudes. Knowledge is acquired with greater or lesser effort; aptitudes are already present.

If the rational of any 'university' is to produce a 'universal' wo/man, what about a tool to let each one discover more of their innate abilities, so that they can develop them? Many conventional education systems and methods suppress or handicap the individual for the sake of the group. Here, no individual need be penalized and, ideally, the group becomes a dynamic learning environment that enriches each of its members, rather than bridling them. Shir-El too 02:38, 26 August 2007 (UTC)

Rather than emphasize areas where people are already talented, an alternative is to just encourage people to explore anything they are interested in. --JWSchmidt 14:51, 27 August 2007 (UTC)
If someone had the motivation, desire and know-how to create an aptitude test I have no reason to believe that it would not be fully encouraged and appreciate by both those who would use it and those who would not. There is the quiz extension somewhere around here; maybe that could be hacked. Alternatively, tests can be made so that the taker scores the test on their own and compares the resultant score to a key which explains what the score means. Developing such a test on Wikiversity, that actually is useful and has validity, would be an interesting learning endeavor on its own. --Remi 08:15, 30 August 2007 (UTC)
Thank you Remi - I was beginning to think I was a majority of one! Where is the quiz you mention? ...tests can be made so that the taker scores the test on their own and compares the resultant score to a key which explains what the score means. * I've seen two of these on the e-mail rounds: one supposedly authored by a personnel department, the other a Chinese 'spiritual' test; both were remarkably accurate as to personality traits. I'll see if I saved copies; if so, where should I send them? * Perhaps the Psychology Department would adopt this as a project? (I have the interest, not the nohow).
BTW: in response to JWSchmidt's comments: WV will make it possible for anyone to learn nearly anything. I know too many people who's true talents have gone unremarked or suppressed because of envy, stupidity and/or lack of resources. Why not give everyone a tool to discover the flowers and diamonds inside themselves? Shir-El too 13:26, 30 August 2007 (UTC)
I'm skeptical about the idea that people have hidden "true talents" that can be efficiently revealed by an aptitude test. For every person who might benefit from an aptitude test how many will be harmed? Aptitude tests skew the entire educational landscape by creating false beliefs about the limited domain the test measures.....people come to believe, without evidence, that the test is a valid measure of what is important to people. Rather than explore their real interests, students are forced to conform to the test. Aptitude tests tell us interesting things about the beliefs of the people who make the tests as well as those who are willing to use the tests to label people with a number and then happily treat people as a number. The aptitude testing industry is a powerful device for social engineering. We now have a well-developed system that selects for people who can efficiently learn and repeat what they are told, without question. We are now seeing the fruits of this system: corporate and government employees who are happy to do any illegal or unethical task without questioning their masters. I'm skeptical about the idea that aptitude tests are the best way to use wiki technology to help students discover and explore their learning goals. Historically, aptitude testing has been shaped as a tool for the factory education system where the individual student conforms to the system. Wiki technology provides a way for individuals to function as self-directed and active collaborators in explorations of educational opportunities. The question becomes, is an aptitude test the best tool Wikiversity can provide or is it a distraction from better options? --JWSchmidt 15:12, 30 August 2007 (UTC)

Dear Sir or Madam,

“Sometimes the hardest part of science is escaping from what we think we know and finding ways to open out thinking to new ideas.”

By and large I agree with you, and I would continue to agree if any of the parameters you so heatedly and justifiably resent were applicable to what has been suggested so far. It was not my intent to lock horns with a Custodian less than 10 days after joining WV, nor to stir up unpleasant associations. Nonetheless your objections deserve a response.

1. I would rather know more about myself than less; even if it is only by what standards others have judged me. Why should I deny myself the same information that is already available to every Joe Schmo employer, review board, admittance committee, etc.???

2. Since any such test would be (a) anonymous and (b) voluntary, no one could be “forced to conform to the test.”

3. The question is not “is an aptitude test the best tool Wikiversity can provide...” since no one has made that claim. The question is: is anyone interested in such a tool to enhance their efforts?

4. If, as you believe, aptitude testing lies at the root of so much abuse, then what about a project to reverse-engineer such tests? The tests can only work so long as we are ignorant of the methods and purpose...

Very truly yours, Shir-El too 00:23, 31 August 2007 (UTC)

  • I was stimulated by Remi's comment about having aptitude testing at Wikiversity: "I have no reason to believe that it would not be fully encouraged and appreciate by both those who would use it and those who would not". There is a rather large published literature that can be described as on-going discussion and debate over the benefits and problems associated with aptitude testing.....I view my critical comments about aptitude testing (above) as a way to bring that long-running debate into the Wikiversity project. Does "locking horns" have anything to do with this discussion? Wikiversity is open to a wide range of approaches to using wiki technology to support learners. I've voiced my concerns about aptitude testing and you are free to go ahead and develop some form of aptitude testing at Wikiversity. What exactly do you mean by "reverse-engineer such tests" and what benefits do you think might come from it? --JWSchmidt 02:19, 31 August 2007 (UTC)


Please bear in mind that I am none technical/academic: as I understand the term "reverse-engineering", in this case it would mean studying the techniques and culteral biases used, then describing and publishing them in laymens terms to be accesable to the broadest possible public. The benefits? As you pointed out, analysing such tests would reveal as much about the tester as the testee. My stake in this? Firstly, I would like to know more about myself. Secondly, if I have been pigeon-holed in the past, I'd like to know what someone else thinks they know about me.
I'm also delighted to know 'locking horns' has no place here. Wishing you all a Good Weekend and Shabbat Shalom", Shir-El too 08:13, 31 August 2007 (UTC)
Shalom. :-) Just to add my enthusiasm for a learning project about aptitude tests as well as providing such tests themselves. This strikes me as a powerful model of education - looking at the artifacts of knowledge production and seeing them in their full social context. :-) Cormaggio talk 11:43, 31 August 2007 (UTC)


Here is the Quiz and here examples which was asked about.
BTW: the world is not black and white, there is no standard for anyone to measure. I would take such a test to see, what it is like, but "to know more about myself" I would recommend someone taking time to think about herself or ask some of the closest friends, who can tell how one behaves in some situations. Often it even helps to shutdown the PC :-)
Actually it is better to think in general ways then to think our strength lies in specializing. Imagine in past times great thinkers were talented in many areas. And nowadays people specialize, because society demands it. Steping out of the box !
I do not need a test to tell me what to read or where to digg more, my gut just tells me this. Hormons will show a person the way and when one has tried many things oneself will know where the own strengths lie (if this ever can be found out). Not always taking the shortcut is a good thing. The search alone could bring oneself to the goal (which will change over time).

E.g. I would recommend anybody to scan through Wikiversity to get to know things. Starting with the recent changes. There is so much changed everyday, karma will certainly lead you to a topic somebody finds interesting. Or using the "Random Page" link. And if not in Wikiversity then in Wikipedia and then comeback to WV.

But keep in mind: starting such a Aptitude Test and see where it goes is a good idea. Wikiversity is a wiki. Everybody can do (nearly) anything. We are still only discussing here. Probably the discussion is too long already and we are forgetting what the goal of Wikiversity is. So I would recommend starting a project Aptitude Test with a goal and poeple who want to join will come with time. And I believe also people from this discussion will observe it.

"government employees": I am laughing now - this is an inside joke :-) ----Erkan Yilmaz (evaluate me!, discussion) 20:15, 31 August 2007 (UTC)

Here is a crude example of attempting to use some simple quizzes which are self scored to direct readers to further reading material. user:mirwin

In Summation: the mechanism, results and uses of aptitude testing is questionable but worth exploring, to which end a page has been opened. See you there!Shir-El too 06:54, 2 September 2007 (UTC)

Deletionism & Mergeritis

On August 9, 2007 a Deletion Request was placed against the Page "Riaz Ahmed Gohar Shahi". The Reason given for the Request was that the Article "may be outside the scope of Wikiversity, being an encyclopedia article and adding nothing of educational value to the equivalent article already on Wikipedia."

The Initiator of the Page indicated his willingness to make the Page a Wikiversity Resource and did so.

Accordingly, the Undersigned asked that the Deletion Request be Removed and those involved with the Page should be accorded the opportunity to develop the the Resource as they are able and that absent some New Objection, the Deletion Request should be Removed.

The Undersigned indicated that he would Remove the Request himself, except that as a General Rule those who place such Requests should be the ones to Remove them; and the Undersigned further indicated that should the Deletion Request not be Removed, "Perhaps Administration should become involved.", the Undersigned slowly but surely becoming convinced that Deletionism can be a problem and The Decoration of Pages with unwarranted {{dr}} Header Templates possibly being an obvious Distraction.

The Undersigned further expressed the view that those who place Deletion Requests should follow the Arguments and be quick to Remove their Requests if the Reasons for the Requests no longer Apply and, again, that absent some New Objection, this particular Deletion Request should be Removed.

That Message was placed on the Deletion Requests Page on August 17, 2007; but the Deletion Request still "Decorates" the "Riaz Ahmed Gohar Shahi" Page.

The Case of the "Riaz Ahmed Gohar Shahi" Page represents an opportunity for Wikiversity to take on the matter of the Pernicious Nature of Deletionism with a view toward Elimination of this Offensive Practice.

-- Dionysios (talk), Date: 2007-08-20 (August 20, 2007) Time: 1442 UTC

Many thanks for your thoughts. However I respectfully disagree, and I now strongly support the deletion of this page. It's true the author responded to the challenge to make the page acceptable, however to my mind, he completely failed. There is nothing educational about the page - it's still just an encyclopedic biography. The page needs to actually have something about it that makes it a learning resource. Here are some examples of things which would make it educational, but which are lacking...
  • Integrated into an educational resource of larger granularity (e.g. a course, series of pages).
  • Explicit internal educational structure (e.g. start by revising the background of relevant Islamic thought, place the new thinker in their context, summarise main ideas in a memorable manner, etc).
  • Interactive content such as closed questions (e.g. quiz) or open questions for discussion; activity/project suggestions.
  • Classroom materials for printing, cutting out, photocopying, displaying.
  • Some kind of social constructivist element - e.g. multiple participants discussing or building something as they engage in learning.
  • Explicit reference and relevance to related educational material in related study areas.
-- McCormack 15:05, 20 August 2007 (UTC)
And thank you McCormack, for your speedy response. Your approach represents a Particular approach to Education, but not the only one; that the "Riaz Ahmed Gohar Shahi" Page uses another approach could hardly justify Deletion.
Surely, the advocates for the Page will need to Engage with Your approach as it relates to the particular Page; but here Your Servant is concerned with the General Case of what he regards as the Pernicious Nature of Deletionism and with Elimination of this Offensive Practice.
He would appreciate Your Thoughts and those of the Colloquim on Deletionism. Do you understand, as Your Servant does, that there is such an Animal and that it can do or is doing much Harm to Wikiversity?
Best regards,
(s) Dionysios (talk), Date: 2007-08-20 (August 20, 2007) Time: 1618 UTC
Thanks for your reply. Can you tell me why you think the page is of any educational value, under any theory of educational value? -- McCormack 16:25, 20 August 2007 (UTC)
Greetings McCormack! The Undersigned certainly can tell you why he has found the the Page to have been of "Educational Value". He has Learned from it. The Page, both in its Original and Present forms, has been the Source of his Knowledge of Riaz Ahmed Gohar Shahi. So, to that extent, it has been a Learning Resource; and chances are he might never have learned of Riaz Ahmed Gohar Shahi but for the Page. And whatever Defects the Page may have, the Author has indicated Willingness to Correct them. Best regards, (s) Dionysios (talk), Date: 2007-08-20 (August 20, 2007) Time: 1645 UTC
Thanks for your reply. Your theory of educational value holds that "if any one person learns from something, it can go on WV". I have deleted many pages from WV devoted to dubious pharmaceutical product vendors and crude pornography, and I'm sure I have learnt from these experiences about the depravity of humanity, and I'm sure that many other people could learn many different things from these pages. However I don't regret deleting the pages. More to the point: any encyclopedia article can be a learning experience in this wide sense you invoke, so why don't we do a mass import of all WP pages? I think there is currently a consensus at WV that, whatever "education" is, it is not quite as wide as this. As there is already a WP article, in your sense of learning, anyone can already go to WP and do that learning; to justify a 2nd article on WV, I think that there needs to be some additional educational goal achieved by the page which the WP article does not and cannot achieve. -- McCormack 16:58, 20 August 2007 (UTC)
Greetings McCormack! Your Servant must take exception to Your Characterization of his Theory of Educational Value as holding that "if any one person learns from something, it can go on WV".
Your Servant does not recall that he has ever shared with You any Theory of Educational Value. He simply Answered Your Question.
Perhaps, if Your Characterization of His Answer as suggesting that "if any one person learns from something, it can go on WV" were Correct, it might imply that Your Servant held to some Pragmatic Theory of Educational Value drawn out to an Absurd Degree.
It might be more Accurate, however, to Suggest that Your Servant holds to the view expressed by William Barton Rogers in his Plan for MIT: that there should be "a new form of higher education to address the challenges posed by rapid advances in science and technology... with which classic institutions were ill-prepared to deal. The Rogers Plan, as it came to be known, was rooted in three principles: the educational value of useful knowledge, the necessity of 'learning by doing,' and integrating a professional and liberal arts education...."
When Your Servant suggests that he personally found the Page to have been of "Educational Value", it being the Source of his Knowledge of Riaz Ahmed Gohar Shahi, He did not Intend to make a Trivial Response.
What He was attempting to Relate is that Useful Knowledge was Conveyed by the Page.
It is True that such Knowledge could have been Conveyed to Someone Else Some Other Way; but Your Servant was Usefully Introduced to Riaz Ahmed Gohar Shahi through the WV Page.
Although You may have made many Well Merited Deletions, in the Humble Opinion of Your Servant, your Continuing Attack on this Particular Page could hardly be said to Rise to the Level of Deletion of Those Many Pages Devoted to Dubious Pharmaceutical Product Vendors or to Pornography. Of course, there will be Valid Reasons for Deleting Certain Pages. ¿You cannot be Equating the "Riaz Ahmed Gohar Shahi" Page with any of these?
Again, Your Servant was mainly Indicating that the Page has "Educational Value" because it Imparts Useful Knowledge.
Q: "So why don't we do a mass import of all WP pages?" A: Because WP is There for Us as We Need It. You Know This, perhaps Better than Your Servant.
The "Riaz Ahmed Gohar Shahi" Page is in the Process of Being Transformed from an Wikipedia Article into a Wikiversity Learning Resource even more Valuable than it Already is. The Justification for the Page began when a Newcomer authored the Page; and it continues as Those Involved with the Page continue their Efforts to Improve It.
Your Excellent Suggestions of things which would make it educational are seriously being considered, but should not Govern. Some should Doubtlessly be Implemented; but in the Humble Opinion of Your Servant, the Page should Survive even if should never add such things as Quizzes and Cut-Outs.
The "Riaz Ahmed Gohar Shahi" Page, and more importantly also All Others Similarly Situated, should be Retained and Encouraged.
The Deletion Request should be Removed and Deletionism should End.
Best regards,
(s) Dionysios (talk), Date: 2007-08-21 (August 21, 2007) Time: 2212 UTC
My own perspective on "deletionism" is that, while I try to be "inclusive" (in the wiki as well as the educational sense), and always try to see how any editor's activity or materials could contribute to somebody's learning, I am also not afraid of deleting something if I do not feel it offers anything within Wikiversity's scope. Wikiversity stands for something, and while that "something" is quite broad (education), it still means that Wikiversity must have some standards of inclusion and exclusion. And so I agree with McCormack in that I think that every resource on Wikiversity should have a sense of what its educational context is - not just that it informs us of a subject, but that it helps the reader form a picture and an understanding of this subject - and that this understanding should be a broad-based and critical one, that fits the global, inclusive, and collaborative flavour of Wikimedia's work. To address this specific page and its proposed deletion, I think it could easily fit into an educational perspective on Islam (or a part of it), but I think it needs to be substantially edited to reflect this "broad-based" perspective that I mentioned. Cormaggio talk 17:41, 27 August 2007 (UTC)
Page deletion is a good tool for getting rid of obvious vandalism and pages that obviously can serve no educational purpose. When a page is not obviously disrupting Wikiversity, then we should assume good faith and the first impulse should be to think about ways to repair and improve the page, not delete it. We have a serious problem if the first reflex of a Wikiversity participant is to propose deletion of a page before we have exhausted possible ways to repair and improve the page. If we want to enforce standards such as "every resource on Wikiversity should have a sense of what its educational context is", then those standards need to be clearly communicated to new participants and the emphasis should be on showing editors how to meet these standards by good editing. I'd prefer that we find ways to welcome and educate new participants.....listing their contributions for deletion is not the best way to do so. --JWSchmidt 16:25, 28 August 2007 (UTC)
Yes, I agree with that. I've long thought that identifying and collecting a range of materials, and what kinds of educational use they could be put to, would be a good thing to have - and this could help current and future participants see what kinds of things Wikiversity does, and how and for what purpose its materials are used. I think developing a tutorial on this would be useful too. Cormaggio talk 19:43, 28 August 2007 (UTC)
May we please return, briefly, to the Case under Consideration, the "Riaz Ahmed Gohar Shahi" Page. The Undersigned has found that his "Request for Custodian Action for the Removal of One (1) Pernicious Request for Deletion" was Archived; and, of course, he Renewed the Request. He now must note that no edits of the page have occurred since 2007-08-18 (August 20, 2007). He now therefore has become concerned that by Biting, we may have driven one Newcomer away; and he Requested Custodian Action to undo the harm.
He was advised that "These requests for custodian action do not seem to require custodian action." and it was suggested that he "take the action" that he "feel[s] is justified." -- <JWSchmidt 18:54, 11 September 2007 (UTC)>
Accordingly, he once again takes his license to be bold and will soon begin to Delete Pernicious Requests for Deletion.
It is well and good that this discussion should focus on the larger issues; and the Colloquium is the place to do so; but, since the Undersigned is also talking to Custodians, it might be well to for him to gently indicate that Action is also needed and so he will Act.
And now, on to the larger questions.
The Undersigned now also expands the Issue to include the allied problem of "Mergeritis".
On the subject of "Deletionism", it is well said that Wikiversity must have some standards of inclusion and exclusion and that every resource should have a sense of what its educational context is: helping the reader to form a picture and an understanding of the subject in a broad-based and critical way that fits the global inclusive collaborative flavor of Wikimedia's work. It is also well said that when a page is not obviously disrupting Wikiversity, then we should assume good faith and the first impulse should be to think about ways to repair and improve the page, not delete it and that we have a serious problem if the first reflex of a Wikiversity participant is to propose deletion of a page before we have exhausted possible ways to repair and improve the page.
The Undersigned also submits that "Mergeritis", the disruptive Proposing of Mergers, seems to be another form of "Deletionism".
Action against "Deletionism" and "Mergeritis" is needed and so the Undersigned will begin to Act where he finds unmerited Proposals for Deletion and unmerited Proposals for Mergers. He hopes to have some substantial support in his efforts.
Best regards,
(s) Dionysios (talk), Date: 2007-09-11 (September 11, 2007) Time: 2028 UTC

Hi Dionysios. Please note that unilateral action of the type you are now taking is not the way that Wikimedia projects run. Consensus is the way we work. Please reconsider your decision to take unilateral action and replace any deleted templates until a consensus has been formed. Thank you. -- McCormack 21:01, 11 September 2007 (UTC)

Done, under protest. Why do you not remove the offending Template? This Participant hopes to have some substantial support in his efforts: Wikiversitans, Help! Combat Deletionism. Best regards, -- Dionysios (talk), Date: 2007-09-11 (September 11, 2007) Time: 2128 UTC
Thank you. Please see my brief comment on your talk page for an answer to your question. -- McCormack 04:26, 12 September 2007 (UTC)
Your servant asks you why you do not remove the offending Deletion Request Template, not why did you not remove it. That is to say, "McCormack, my friend and adversary, please remove the offending Deletion Request Template."
Apparently, you and Your servant have a vastly different understanding of Consensus.
You indicate that, "[T]here is a small consensus in favour of deletion, but not a large consensus yet. If there is consensus against deletion, the template goes. If there is a clear consensus for deletion, the page will be deleted. If there is a neutral result or only a small consensus, the template remains so that more people can state their opinion. It makes no difference how strongly you oppose deletion - you can only vote once. Please respect the opinions of others and wait for more votes. It is quite possible the voting may last for months."
Your servant, on the other hand, finds that there is no Consensus. In his view, your servant has blocked Consensus.
The Wikipedia Article on Consensus Decision Making could provide us with some guidance here. It provides an etymology: (Latin) "cum meaning 'with' or 'together with', and sentire meaning to 'think' or 'feel'. Thus, etymologically, 'consensus' means to 'think or feel together'"; and indicates that "as a decision-making process, consensus aims to be:
*"Inclusive: As many stakeholders as possible should be involved in the consensus decision-making process.
*"Participatory: The consensus process should actively solicit the input and participation of all decision-makers.
*"Co-operative: Participants in an effective consensus process should strive to reach the best possible decision for the group and all of its members, rather than opt to pursue a majority opinion, potentially to the detriment of a minority.
*"Egalitarian: All members of a consensus decision-making body should be afforded, as much as possible, equal input into the process. All members have the opportunity to table, amend and veto or "block" proposals.
*"Solution-oriented: An effective consensus decision-making body strives to emphasize common agreement over differences and reach effective decisions using compromise and other techniques to avoid or resolve mutually-exclusive positions within the group."
The Wikiversity notion of Consensus, which so far seems to summed up in the major content of the "Wikiversity: Consensus" Page: "Consensus usually means that a large majority of community members who have discussed a proposal have provided good reasons for either adopting or rejecting the proposal." does not seem to your servant to be so well thought out as the Wikipedia Consensus Policy, which Policy might provide us with some guidance.
Perhaps you, your servant, and others interested in the true meaning of Consensus could work together to develop a Wikiversity Consensus Policy which might reflect a shared Understanding of Consensus. While your servant has a concept of Consensus in line with the Wiktionary second definition of Consensus, in his humble opinion, a Wikiversity Consensus Policy needs to be developed, again, based on a shared Understanding of Consensus.
It is hoped that Wikiversity will work on building real Consensus. In the humble opinion of your servant, your comtinued Decoration of the "Riaz Ahmed Gohar Shahi" Page with a Deletion Request Template represents a clear departure from Consensus Decision Making. Your servant has blocked Consensus on your request to delete the Page in question. A strong commitment to Collegiality prompted your servant to comply with your irregular request that your servant restore the offending Deletion Request Template; but his Action was in no way Unilateral. He did what is necessary to correct a continuing, real, and serious harm that a Pernicious Deletion Request is causing, after being advised that "These requests for custodian action do not seem to require custodian action." and receiving the suggestion that he "take the action" that he "feel[s] is justified." -- <JWSchmidt 18:54, 11 September 2007 (UTC)>. Now that he has removed and restored those Four (4) Offending Keystrokes, perhaps we can move on to a solution of the underlying problem.
Would you please be so kind as to join your servant and some other interested Wikiversitans in an effort to develop a Wikiversity Consensus Policy which will reflect what might come to be a shared Understanding of Consensus?
(s) Dionysios (talk), a Participant in the Wikiversity School of Advanced General Studies, Date: 2007-09-12 (September 12, 2007) Time: 2007 UTC
Please note that I only revived Wikiversity:Consensus today, with the clear edit summary request to help develop that page. Cormaggio talk 21:24, 12 September 2007 (UTC)
Noted. The above Comment by your servant makes use of an earlier version; your edit has improved the Page and perhaps started us on the road to developing a Wikiversity Consensus Policy which will reflect what might come to be a shared Understanding of Consensus. -- Dionysios (talk), a Participant in the Wikiversity School of Advanced General Studies, Date: 2007-09-13 (September 13, 2007) Time: 1222 UTC
The undersigned has placed a notice of the beginning of the development of a Wikiversity Consensus Policy in the Colloquium. -- Dionysios (talk), a Participant in the Wikiversity School of Advanced General Studies, Date: 2007-09-16 (September 16, 2007) Time: 1914 UTC

Motto and slogan contests completed

After nearly a year of discussion, the motto and slogan contests have concluded.

  • The motto portion of the contest ended August 5, 2007. The motto selected is "open learning community".
  • The slogan portion of the contest ended May 2, 2007. The slogan selected is "set learning free".

The following reproduces the finalist section of the motto contest page. Please feel free to add comments at the end of this section or on the contest talk page.

Winning Motto: "Open learning community"

The winning motto is "open learning community".

Summary of final round: From the goals of the contest, the Wikiversity motto is both a phrase that conveys the general mission of Wikiversity (or part of the mission) and a "short description" that briefly describes Wikimedia project. The motto will be listed with our logo.

The winning motto, "open learning community," had 61% of the positive support statements in round 6. There were 27 support statements for "open learning community," and many included substantive points in favor of the option. "Open education" had 3 in support and "free learning community" had 14 in support. The objections are few in comparison to supportive statements (except for the least popular "open education" option). The winning "open" motto had 3 comments against, the "education" motto had four against, and the "free" motto had two against. The objections do not seem to invalidate the value or meaning of the free/open learning community motto options.

As for the choice of an article to possibly precede "open learning community, an important criticism of using the "the" was made on the talk page (Open University already exists). Twelve supporters of this motto did not favor using an article or did not mention the issue. The definite article had twelve supporters as well. The indefinite article had three supporters. This is a difficult call. Because of the substantive criticism made on the talk page, the winning motto is presented without a suggested article. A merit of using no article is that the motto is shorter and will fit better under the logo. This can be an issue for later discussion.

See the "summary of contest process issues and possible further steps" section (of the motto contest page) for other possible discussion points.

Winning Slogan: "Set learning free"

The winning slogan is "set learning free".

Summary of final round: The Wikiversity slogan is a phrase for listing at top of main page with "Welcome to Wikiversity". "Set learning free" had 68% of the positive support statements in round 6. There were 30 support statements for "set learning free". "Knowledge is free" had 4 in support and "Because knowledge should be free" had 10 in support. The latter 2 options had 3 comment each against use. "Set learning free" had no statements against. As for the wording of "set learning free" vs "learning set free," a few more people preferred "set learning free".

Archive of comments: Motto_contest/Round_6

Thank you for your interest and participation! --Reswik 02:18, 7 August 2007 (UTC)