Wikiversity:Colloquium/archives/December 2010

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Is anyone good at making graphs, or have a link handy for making them easily? The date on Wikilitigation/WP:NOT would be a lot easier to understand with pictures. --SB_Johnny talk 12:00, 1 December 2010 (UTC)

Would like to know myself - here's a couple of examples I've found: User:Jtneill/Graphing -- Jtneill - Talk - c 12:28, 1 December 2010 (UTC)
That code gives me a headache! Unfortunately w:Template:Include timeline doesn't look much better. --SB_Johnny talk 12:52, 1 December 2010 (UTC)
And I thought mediawiki was supposed to make it easier for editors to do neat stuff. :) SBJ, what are you trying to get into the graph, exactly? I don't have time to figure out either of these MW syntaxes right at the moment, but if I have a clear understanding of what you want I can fiddle and see if there is a way to simplify things. Historybuff 14:37, 1 December 2010 (UTC)

Template help

This one has me stumped - can anyone work out why this works:


but this doesn't

[{{{1}}} Go to a 5 min. audiovisual overview of this chapter.]

-- Jtneill - Talk - c 01:41, 3 December 2010 (UTC)

The "=" in the link is interpreted as a parameter-value separator for the template. {{MECR|1=}} works because you explicitly pass the link to a named parameter. -- darklama  02:00, 3 December 2010 (UTC)
Aha, I see, thanks DL. Is there a work-around? -- Jtneill - Talk - c 02:37, 3 December 2010 (UTC)
I explained and demonstrated one working work-around already above. Another way is to escape "=" like by using {{=}}: {{MECR|{{=}}9VLP7nJeSas}}
  1. {{MECR|1=}
  2. {{MECR|{{=}}9VLP7nJeSas}}
-- darklama  03:24, 3 December 2010 (UTC)
Thankyou! -- Jtneill - Talk - c 04:06, 3 December 2010 (UTC)


When I am editing subpages of my user account I always get this message:

No information has been provided by this user yet, or no user by this exact name exists yet.

I would say it might be confusing a little bit or it may teach users to ignore messages than.--Juan de Vojníkov 15:03, 3 December 2010 (UTC)

I don't know, Juan, but FYI I didn't get that message editing here User:Juan de Vojníkov/Test. -- Jtneill - Talk - c 15:13, 3 December 2010 (UTC)
This issue only affects non-existent pages and comes from the system messages MediaWiki:Noarticletext and MediaWiki:Newarticletext. I'm currently working on a solution to this. Adambro 15:21, 3 December 2010 (UTC)
James, click here to see. --mikeu talk 15:24, 3 December 2010 (UTC)

YesY Done The message on non-existent user subpages is now "No user subpage by this name yet exists." That can of course be changed if people want but the code to make this work is now there. The code detects whether the page in the user namespace is a sub page or not and displays the appropriate message. Adambro 15:46, 3 December 2010 (UTC)

Ah, thx.--Juan de Vojníkov 16:24, 3 December 2010 (UTC)

feedback if you're interested :-)

I just started some work at Journal:A_Wikimedia_Australia_proposal - which is almost self explanatory :-) - I'm all ears for feedback as to the use of the Journal: prefix - I felt it summed up the content rather well, whilst also encouraging / allowing others to help me, if they're so inclined :-) Privatemusings 03:44, 10 December 2010 (UTC)


Wikiversity in general needs a complete restructuring of all the courses, departments, and schools. The information is all scattered all over the place and in my case in Electrical Engineering, there are more than 3 "schools" that deals with the same department. We need to start combining schools to make a simple department that has all relevant courses to that area.

User:Man4857 19:17, 2 December 2010 (PST)

I think Wikiversity needs to abandon schools, department, and portals as part of any restructuring effort if keeping information from being scattered all over the place is to have a lasting impact. I think courses (structure) and resources (material) would help to reduce information from being scattering too much. I believe this issue can begin to be addressed once there is a clear consensus that it needs to be addressed and people can agree on how to address it. Unfortunately progress on both fronts has been slow and nearly nonexistent. I invite you and everyone else to participate in the proposal to merge School and Topic namespaces in the hope that some progress in restructuring can be made. -- darklama  03:43, 3 December 2010 (UTC)

My idea is to allow a group of users to come up with a restructuring scheme presentable to the community and make modifications as necessary to accommodate all departments. We can therefore adopt that scheme and start aligning all materials and such under that restructuring idea. The only problem is, we need manpower to investigate how to restructure Wikiversity. I'm willing to support the development of a restructuring scheme if necessary. User:Man4857 19:53, 2 December 2010 (PST)
When I put together pages, I listed them in subheadings ( the / marks) based on grouping so that theoretically anything could be lumped if it matched. Not sure if doing that would make things more organized or not. Ottava Rima (talk) 04:17, 3 December 2010 (UTC)
I think the schools structure has been largely abandoned - its really mostly an early attempt at structure that, as it turned out, didn't work. Eventually we probably should officially get rid of the School namespace, but for now, I'd suggest putting content into the main space and using a combination of categories and subpages to organise the content. -- Jtneill - Talk - c 05:14, 3 December 2010 (UTC)
Shouldn't the organization of the learning materials and such be following the Wikiversity-set namespaces? That organizational structure seems pretty logical to me. --Man4857 05:26, 3 December 2010 (UTC)
Maybe - but the reality is that there's plenty of organisation of the learning materials in the main space whilst the schools namespace is rather inactive. Just my observation. Namespace discussions in the recent past have usually resulted in a lack of consensus. -- Jtneill - Talk - c 06:39, 3 December 2010 (UTC)
One of the best organised schools, I think is School:Nonkilling studies. -- Jtneill - Talk - c 08:03, 3 December 2010 (UTC)
I think Wikiversity can be benefit from having one namespace for organizing learning materials that teachers, students, and researchers can browse and find learning materials with. -- darklama  15:38, 3 December 2010 (UTC)

Schools and Portals 101

"there are more than 3 "schools" that deals with the same department" <-- Wikiversity Schools are content development projects that help Wikiversity participants organize and develop learning resources in a broad subject area. There is no reason why a single department cannot be of interest to three or even more Wikiversity schools. At Wikipedia, a single encyclopedia article can be of interest to multiple content development projects. This kind of overlap is not a problem, it is a natural aspect of how knowledge can be relevant in multiple contexts.

"I think Wikiversity needs to abandon schools, department, and portals" <-- Is your claim that content development projects like Wikiversity Schools are useless? If so, what do you offer in their place? Wikiversity portals are simply user-friendly directories of content, just like those at Wikipedia; do you claim that all wiki websites including Wikipedia should abolish portal pages? What do you offer as an alternative system for directing people to learning resources?

"we probably should officially get rid of the School namespace" <-- Is your claim that Wikiversity should abolish the only existing system for organizing collaborative content development projects? In my view, we need to re-double our efforts to make use of the Wikiversity Schools. User:Man4857 calls for a great "restructuring scheme" "to accommodate all departments" that will "start aligning all materials". The Schools exist exactly for the purpose of organizing learning materials. It is absurd for people to call for destruction of the existing Wikiversity tools for collaborative organization of Wikiversity learning resources while lamenting that we lack the man power to organize our learning resources. People need to learn how to use and develop our existing tools, not call for their destruction. --JWSchmidt 15:09, 3 December 2010 (UTC)

I agree that schools exists for the purposes of organization but there is no consensus on what topic or how broad of a topic should constitute a "school", the best example is in the Engineering portal. There is multiple schools under the engineering portal and there are more subschools under those. The organization should consists of the School of Engineering, and then a few general departments that deal with engineering and all content should go under each department. Right now, there many departments created that should be in 1 department. --Man4857 16:05, 3 December 2010 (UTC)
I think you bring up a good point, one I keep failing to bring up so gracefully. I agree there is indeed no consensus on how broad a topic should be to constitute a school. I also think there is no consensus on how broad a topic should be to be a department either, or when a topic should be a department instead of a school, or when a topic should be a school instead of a department. I think if the concepts of a school and a department were combined, people could focus on what is common to both, and there wouldn't be as much of a need for a consensus on how broad a topic should be and to try to define what topics are. Courses can cover very broad topics with many classes that need to be taken to specialized topics with only a few classes required to pass, which why I suggest that Wikiversity have courses instead. -- darklama  16:58, 3 December 2010 (UTC)

No strong proposals from me here JWS - just sharing that I don't see much organising activity in the school namespace these days and that I haven't seen much consensus in recent past namespace restructing discussions. Open to ideas and learning from others. -- Jtneill - Talk - c 15:23, 3 December 2010 (UTC)

On my part I think when people are not developing and using the tools available and people find the tools difficult to use the way they wish to use them it is time to reconsider there use. My only claim is people have already found and been actively using other tools to develop content projects that are an easier and better fit for their needs. I am offering Courses as an alternative to Schools, Departments and Portals as a teacher, student, researcher and user friendly "content projects" "directory" of "learning resources". -- darklama  16:02, 3 December 2010 (UTC)

Just a take from having been through a couple attempts at organizing info -- remember, we're using a Wiki. :) I don't think people can't/don't use schools, or portals, or whatever new magical access method we might devise tomorrow to access learning resources. We have to see that we look at the way things are organized through our own rose-coloured glasses. "Oh, everything would work MUCH better if it were organized THIS way". Yes, maybe for you -- but not for everybody. The Original School structure was an attempt to project a physical University into wiki space. It worked well for some, but unfortunately the people who laid this out had big dreams, and built a huge Infrastructure that was largely devoid of content. People got here and wondered where was the good stuff, and left. We had a wave which "transformed" things from Schools to Portals, which to some extent makes more sense.
I have no big dreams just simple ones. You are correct and I agree with you fully there is no way that is much better. That one way is no better than another is the reason I think a reduction in namespaces is called for, let all ways be used in one wiki space without need to define ways or the differences between them. Right now the current infrastructure isn't maintainable because how this or that way relates to one another isn't clear which makes linking things together so people know about them difficult. I think if people began to remove all the large holes, that could begin to change. I think Wikiversity needs another transformation wave to help make the infrastructure make more sense. A huge infrastructure largely devoid of content would be called Software bloat if we were talking about software. -- darklama  23:38, 5 December 2010 (UTC)

The big question we should reflect on -- is "what do the LEARNERS want"? Unlike a huge University/College with a large administration and needing a set in stone way of doing things -- we're using a Wiki. Let's have schools, and Portals, and whatever new idea someone comes up with -- ALL of them, if they aid the learners, really. I think what learners really want is quality content. If we build content that is good, it will start a slashdot-like effect -- learners will find it, in spite of how easy or difficult we make finding it. Just my 0.02 cents. Historybuff 22:53, 5 December 2010 (UTC)

Might be the case for people looking for information, but on the flip side it might discourage content development. In one possible scenario, content developers might have a hard time finding if the content they want to developed has already been developed, and thus look away because of the disorganization. Organization is beneficial to content developers and content seekers, not just one or the other. --Man4857 07:15, 6 December 2010 (UTC)
I think we should encourage content development, of course -- but we're still a Wiki. I don't think there is anything wrong with having two learning resources on the same topic, as long as they were developed by different author (groups). We would be in an enviable position indeed if we could offer two different approaches to a topic. And I'm not against organization either. I did a lot of that when I first arrived here. However, the implication from the above discussions is that there is one "way" to organize things -- and that by finding this "right" way we can set things right. So, let me say it again -- We're a WIKI. :) There isn't a reason that we can't have a few different organizing pages. Unlike a book or something physical, we're not limited by space or strict budget to produce something in a particular format. Different learners, and different content developers, will have different ideas about organization. I'd be happy to see a few methods co-exist, along with some innovations. But I can't see why we can't have more then one. Historybuff 15:40, 7 December 2010 (UTC)
I'd be happy to see many methods co-exist and innovations popping up too. The issue is finding ways for many methods to co-exist while still allowing innovations and new people to wrap their heads around it when people that use to work on it have departed. Many content pages on the same subject already co-exist in the main space. Why are pages co-existing a problem all of a sudden when talking about organization? I think the problem arises when more than one organization namespace is deployed. I think the reason is because the namespaces act as barriers that keeps new people out and discourages people from trying out new ideas from having to continuously justify and define a need for each namespace, and reinforce it whenever a new person wants to try something different. -- darklama  19:47, 7 December 2010 (UTC)
I'm not of one mind or another on the Namespace thing. In general, computer "namespaces" inject some exterior order to things that are logically a bit different, but possibly named the same. For instance, a little part of a machine is called a Widget, and some Graphical User Interface elements on a computer are also called Widgets. To separate these using namespaces, something like Machine.Widget and Computer.Widget make sense.
The problem with the MediaWiki software we're using, if I remember correctly, is that you can just make up things that _appear_ to be namespace elements, look like such, but aren't treated as such by the software. So, I could make up a "namespace" called ReallyImportantContent, add content pieces underneath, and it seems like it might be in a different namespace, but I think it's just collected in the main namespace.
A few years ago, the idea was that all content should go in the main space, and the "other" namespaces should be for organizing courses/learning projects/and other "grouping" and high-level types of summary. I'm not sure what the current state of affairs or community thoughts on this are, or what the practice has been.
If justifying namespaces might be a problem, I don't see an issue with creating a namespace for experimenting, or some equivalent, so people can Learn and try. Historybuff 13:15, 10 December 2010 (UTC)

Wiki Campus Radio -- MMX edition

Hi everyone,

I'd like to revive WCR by launching a webcast. I'm actually pretty busy in real life, but this is something that I've wanted to do for a long time and I've started to put together some of the background research. Right now this is a learning project for me, so I'm not so concerned on the topics but on how to put something together. We did this before a few years ago, and it did work fairly well for a while.

So, I'm asking for both suggestions on topics and possible participants. The main idea here is to put something together that people can learn from, something that would be fun to do, and would be pretty open in terms of content.

I'm going to set the expectations to something that is reasonably achievable -- the first few experiments won't likely be of "broadcast quality", but will allow us to figure out how things work and what we want to do. If I don't hear from anybody, I'll figure out a couple of topics and just chatter to get going -- but it would be nice to chatter to others, or address topics the community wants to talk about. Ideas, comments, questions? Historybuff 14:33, 1 December 2010 (UTC)

I'm also busy, but I'd like to help. "just chatter to get going" <-- What platform do you want to use? --JWSchmidt 14:41, 1 December 2010 (UTC)

Hey JWS. To keep it simple, I'd like to try something I've used before, if possible -- but as this is a learning project -- I'm also open to suggestions. I know that Skype and teamspeak were used, and I've tinkered with Asterisk for this before. If I'm going to do a solo recording, I'll probably just use some silly voice recording software. I'd like to involve others though, for sure. I've re-activated my toolserver account and I'll be working to get the sandbox server running too. Any topics you can think of to start out? Historybuff 19:04, 1 December 2010 (UTC)

I put my first thoughts here. --JWSchmidt 20:57, 1 December 2010 (UTC)

Just a ping -- any further interest in this? JWS did a nice piece on the NASA arsenic announcement. Historybuff 10:49, 17 December 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia Campus Ambassador

I just stumbled upon this. It is part of the WMF outreach:Public Policy Initiative. A project like this could be very helpful to Wikiversity. I'll ask around to find out more about what they have planned. It might also be a good opportunity for us to spread the word about what we are doing and what we have to offer to others working in different WMF projects. --mikeu talk 19:07, 11 December 2010 (UTC)

I've just skimmed the referenced page, and I do like the concept, if not the name of the program. (I understand that WP has the most brand recognition, but it's not the wPf yet, so it should be Wikimedia blah blah. /rant). I actually think that WV's mission is much more closely aligned with Academic institutions then WP, even if they are better known. I'd be glad to help as I can. Historybuff 03:39, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
The outreach wiki does not seem to be very active at the moment. The other link is w:Wikipedia:Campus_Ambassadors. I also have a rant about the wp centricity and will try to push for a broader (wmf-wide) focus as I get in contact with the people involved. --mikeu talk 04:03, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
The centrism isn't all that surprising given the recent resurrection of the idea of renaming all the projects to Wikipedia Books, Wikipedia Learning, etc. on the foundation-l mailing list recently. My personal opinion is that the Outreach wiki is really Wikipedia Outreach. Adrignola 02:12, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
Indeed. The idea is mostly to promote a copy left type of mentality along with promoting Wikipedia. I talked to Sage about it and they are primarily focusing on the pedia, and it mostly seems to legitimize it among college campuses to get more donations in the end (by appealing to young people who may like the idea of copyleft policies). It is almost opposite of what could benefit us. Ottava Rima (talk) 04:27, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
That old idea again. The counter proposal for that is Wikiquote, Wiktionary, and Wikipedia are books and should be merged into Wikibooks instead as b:Quotes, b:Dictionary, and b:Encyclopedia. After that you got Universities, Collages, and Schools have libraries for reading books and old documents, so Wikibooks and Wikisource should be merged into Wikiversity, maybe using a Library: namespace. After all Encyclopedias don't embed books, they are books. Anyways I agree, anything that is suppose to be for the benefit of all the projects end up having a Wikipedia focus. They should rename those projects to,,,, etc. to reflect there actual aims. Maybe than the WMF can be convinced to setup,, etc. -- darklama  07:30, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
I've stopped trying to fight this stuff with logic, since WP has more numbers, we'll never be able to "out shout" them. But, if we're involved with something, we can try to eliminate the "pedia" factor. Copyleft is nice, bit free and open is more then just one bit or slogan. And it shouldn't matter how big your site is, either. ;) Historybuff 11:09, 17 December 2010 (UTC)

Hi folks. So far, the ambassador program is focused on Wikipedia, in part because that's what the scope of the grant for this pilot project is. But going forward (after this upcoming term) the ambassador program will be in the hands of the ambassadors without much involvement from WMF staff, and I think the program will be open to trying to figure out how to work with Wikiversity. Of course, the size of Wikipedia and the fact that it has such a large audience are the main factors that make Wikipedia assignments attractive to the professors we're working with. But certainly some of them have ideas for assignments that don't fit with Wikipedia. Anyone who's a teacher here and also active on Wikipedia, and who would like explore how Wikiversity could fit into the ambassador program, I encourage you to consider applying to be an Online Ambassador. Having experience with what the ambassador program is doing will be essential to figuring out what makes sense for Wikiversity in connection with that. Cheers--Sross (Public Policy) 15:30, 17 December 2010 (UTC)

  • One of the first steps is to place cross-wiki links between Wikipedia articles and related Wikiversity resources. Theoretically, this should be broadly acceptable, but I've seen biased editors reject these links, based on some idea that a Wikiversity resource is "self-published," and it might not be "neutral." That argument, of course, would reject "See also" links within Wikipedia, because the creation and maintenance factors are the same, both are wikis. The rejection is clearly because a Wikiversity resource, by our policies and general practice, can include or explain what would be considered fringe views on Wikipedia. In theory, fringe views, supported by reliable source, are not supposed to be excluded from Wikipedia, but the practical reality is that pseudoskeptics do it all the time. Wikiversity is massively inclusive, there are pages here on far-out, practically preposterous fringe views, and that is proper. A student in a course in a university may raise some such view, presenting it for criticism and learning. A professor might even do the same: "What is wrong with this picture"? Further, professors at universities often hold fringe views, and may explain and teach them, and problems only arise if this is done dishonestly. A professor who taught their idiosyncratic views as if they were mainstream, but excluding mainstream views and the existence of criticism of his or her views, could get in trouble. The fringe views themselves, unless they seriously offend political forces, aren't the problem.
  • But the placing of cross-wiki links to Wikiversity does not need to start with controversial placements. We should be setting those up routinely.
  • Essentially, Wikipedia is a place to read an encyclopedia article on a topic, and, in theory, that article should only present what is particularly notable about the topic. Wikiversity is a place to collectively "teach and study" a topic, with no limit as to depth, no concern about notability (generally), no requirement that every statement be proven by sources. We may, as an example, testify to our personal experience here, we can do "original research" and present it, just as we would be able to do as students at a university, not to mention as teachers.
  • Imagine a professor who states a fact and doesn't cite a source, being interrupted by a student who demands a citation. Appropriate, that demand, for Wikipedia. Not for Wikiversity. Ultimately, here, some resources will become highly referenced, these are the equivalent of academic papers. Others are just discussion, really, seminars where people share knowledge and views. Our effort, it's become apparent, is to structure material toward the creation of deep educational resources. Duplication of Wikipedia articles is not useful here, we can simply link to them or to versions of them. However, the reverse, creation of Wikipedia articles, can take place here, because the open environment could allow article improvement to a degree not possible on Wikipedia for various reasons, and, then, these articles can be ported back to Wikipedia, wherever Wikipedia process decides that a version here is superior to a version there. Thus Wikiversity could be part of a process that is able to bypass certain defects in Wikipedia process. Wikipedia editors remain in control of Wikipedia, through the process there. We can present alternatives. Eventually. I don't expect this to be quick!
  • Wikiversity can be, and is, far more hospitable for experts than Wikipedia, whether from the mainstream or otherwise. We are set up to handle controversy in ways that don't toss out the baby with the bathwater. If there is a controversy, I assume that we want full coverage of it, and we are able to use subpages in mainspace, so that we remain, overall, neutral, even while allowing any faction full rein to cover their point of view. Difficulties in this can arise, and have arisen, where Wikiversity has been used to study Wikipedia itself, but even those situations may, I believe, be handled by a maturing community here, through developing guidelines for such conflict that respect the needs of all parties. --Abd 19:58, 22 December 2010 (UTC)

Second opinion on recent additions

PCano's and KBlott's recent additions to Wikiversity seem out of scope. I can't really grasp what either is doing. The first just seems like... I don't know, and the second seems to be reproducing encyclopedic articles without a purpose. Ottava Rima (talk) 23:06, 14 December 2010 (UTC)

PCano says that he's working on a project, but hasn't stated what it is exactly. I think we should ask Pedro what he's doing and request a bit more explanation. It may indeed be that this is a decent resource for Wikiversity, or not. Bringing this to the Colloquium seems a bit premature. It looks like PCano is setting up a series of pages intending to add specific information to each one. Pedro Cano appears to be a researcher involved with transplant compatibility, see [1]. Let's not forget to be welcoming and inclusive. A University takes all kinds and covers many kinds of subjects....
Likewise the situation with KBlott is no emergency, and I don't see anything particularly wrong with it, but we might assist the user in categorizing and linking the material, perhaps. It is possible that KBlott intends to modify certain WP articles, but I did not check. I don't see that either of these users were notified of this discussion here, and I don't see any need for a community discussion at this time. Ottava, how about closing this discussion? It's better than summoning these users to explain what they are doing to the community, which could seem a little unfriendly.... --Abd 06:07, 15 December 2010 (UTC)
Users don't have to be notified for possible speedy deletions. However, I wasn't going to tag the pages without a second opinion. Ottava Rima (talk) 16:05, 17 December 2010 (UTC)
That is an example of a technical truth which is being interpreted contrary to common sense and courtesy. I suggested that this report be withdrawn; apparently Ottava does not wish to do that. It's his right. However, that does not make it wise. I'm seeing in this a habit of biting newcomers, which is a danger to the community. Ottava, I appreciate that you have continued to welcome newcomers with the welcome template. Now, please, consider what a real welcome would be! In neither case above is straight-out deletion appropriate; rather, the users may need assistance. PCano is an expert in his field, apparently, the very kind of person whom we want to encourage to participate here, but he did not realize that categories are not optimal for supporting content, and did not create an overall covering page in mainspace that would put it all in context. KBlott may or may not be an expert, but is highly motivated to create educational resources, I believe. Deleting a page without the person's agreement is the fastest way to drive someone away. Assisting people to do what they want to do within our guidelines and supporting our overall goals is not going to drive anyone away whom we'd want to participate here. Where copyvio or certain other problems are obvious, then speedy deletion may be necessary, but, again, there are ways to go about it that are less offensive and that are more offensive. Even copyvio, unless so far from fair use as to be unsupportable for a short time, isn't an emergency. A speedy deletion template, with notice to the user, and a little time allowed (a week at least) for deficiencies to be corrected, could be more appropriate than actual immediate deletion, which can then create more work for everyone. --Abd 19:07, 17 December 2010 (UTC)
I think PCano's creations should be deleted. Random section headers, images and tables, with one external link, does not an educational resource make. I could not make heads or tails out of those things until I clicked on the external link, which provided information on DNA sequences in complex scientific jargon. What is the positive that his contributions bring to wikiversity? TeleComNasSprVen 03:08, 26 December 2010 (UTC)
It's a work in progress, TCNSV. This is not an encyclopedia, and resources here may be of use only to very few people. Have you followed the discussion on User talk:PCano? Yeah, it looked very confusing at first. I assume that this will end up as a series of subpages, under a mainspace page that explains which it all is. In fact, I think this might eventually move to Wikibooks, depending on how reliable the information is. Give it some time. --Abd 03:17, 26 December 2010 (UTC)

A course in troll sockpuppets

The title seems a bit like an Ethical breaching experiment (surely we want to avoid that mess again?) and does not have much in reference to the actual troll commonly found on the internet. Perhaps it should be moved to a more appropriate title, such as "A lesson in sockpuppeteering" or other. TeleComNasSprVen 20:53, 31 December 2010 (UTC)

  • Progress is often messy. I don't want to avoid something that advances progress, just because it's messy or controversial. All progress tends to be controversial and messy. Socrates would probably be called a "troll" as would Galileo. Anyone who asks good questions in the course of diagnosing a dysfunctional system is likely to be criticized for "rocking the boat" or breaching some vague taboo. —Caprice 21:08, 31 December 2010 (UTC)
  • I am having trouble imagining how you see that as some sort of breaching experiment. As you might of noticed, the Wikipedia article you linked to has "internet" included in its name to distinguish it from the more common variety. I think the course does have much in reference to the variety of troll commonly found in folk lore and stories though. I think the course would only be misleading if it were called "A course in internet troll sockpuppets". -- darklama  22:41, 31 December 2010 (UTC)
You do know, TCNSV, that this page was created by the maker of those literal "troll sock puppets," right? And that the creator was Durova, at one time a formidable force on Wikipedia, now apparently retired, right? I wonder if we could encourage her to participate on Wikiversity. She's highly knowledgeable in certain areas. Maybe I'll write her.
Meanwhile, the name is clearer and better than the suggested replacement. These are not "internet trolls," though the sarcastic humor is apparent. They are exactly what Durova named them, and, as I recall, she used links to the page, or to one like it on Wikipedia, often, for good effect. Humor. Don't leave home without it! The puppets are made from socks. Real socks. Not "internet socks."
I don't think Socrates was a troll, but that some trolls may think so. His goal was never to provoke, but to challenge and educate. It can have the same effect, though. (A troll's purpose is to irritate and annoy, to arouse a negative response. The irritation and annoyance that ensued upon Socrates's conversations was an undesired side effect. If he did have w:ADHD, as has been surmised, that effect might well have been unexpected, even. He was just discussing things! --Abd 23:03, 31 December 2010 (UTC)
Durova must be a member of the "Retirement Cabal". -- darklama  18:14, 1 January 2011 (UTC)
  • You lost me at "(surely we want to avoid that mess again?)". Durova was engaging in parody, playful learning, and sharing her DIY discoveries. IOW: teaching, learning, and sharing. That's more or less what we're here for. --SB_Johnny talk 23:16, 31 December 2010 (UTC)
  • People across the WMF have agreed that Wikiversity is run by trolls so it seems that such is only an honest assessment of who we all are. Ottava Rima (talk) 23:43, 31 December 2010 (UTC)
Since I don't run WV, does that mean I'm not among those being accused of trollery? —Caprice 23:46, 31 December 2010 (UTC)
If you are feeling left out, I can accuse you of trolling. Ottava Rima (talk) 23:57, 31 December 2010 (UTC)
  • I'd be thrilled if someone would accuse me of asking good questions that make people stop and think. —Caprice 00:00, 1 January 2011 (UTC)
While Ottava's comment is true, the implication that this is some sort of majority position is not true.
As to Caprice's comment, just to be clear, there is a difference between asking questions that make people stop and think and asking questions designed, intended, to make them angry or to provoke some negative response. That's the difference between a Socrates and a troll. In practice, it can be difficult to tell them apart, which is precisely why I've been known to engage with people who have been called "trolls," taking quite a bit of flak for it. Sometimes they are merely asking questions or trying to point out something that's important. The only way to find out, my experience, is to set aside the emotional reactions to being challenged and engage. In the engagement, generally, can be seen what the "troll" is made of. As well as, a byproduct, oneself. That is, someone who approaches a troll as if the troll were Socrates might end up getting asked the questions that Socrates would ask, even though that's not the goal of the troll, necessarily. --Abd 01:29, 1 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Ottava, in 18th Century literature, is it true that those accused of operating as trolls were known as trollops? —Albatross 13:35, 1 January 2011 (UTC)
Haha. I don't think whores use to do anything but lay back and take it back then. Ottava Rima (talk) 15:48, 1 January 2011 (UTC)

Is anybody else becoming critical of this?

I mean, how much is enough? Or too much? --JohnBessa66.pngBessatalk 13:48, 22 December 2010 (UTC)

  • Indeed, all these indefinite references are just too much. (Not to mention all this over-wrought self-referential irony.) —Caprice 14:43, 22 December 2010 (UTC)
  • Look at it as an experiment. It may or may not work.
That's not what I am talking about! Read between the lines ($16,000,000) --JohnBessa66.pngBessatalk 15:25, 23 December 2010 (UTC)
  • What's my cut of the loot? —Caprice 15:29, 23 December 2010 (UTC)

I had no idea what was being talked about at first. Now I think John Bessa might be talking about the fund raiser and the amount WMF supposedly needs to operate. -- darklama  16:44, 23 December 2010 (UTC)

I thought the banners were pretty. They seem to be over now. What turned me off was the continued "urgent message" from Jimbo. With nothing indicated in the message that was urgent at all. That is a formula for increasing revenue now -- because more people might read the message, but reducing it later, because people will stop paying attention. "Urgent message" should be reserved for ... urgent messages! Like the power company is about to turn out the lights, the web site is about to be disconnected from the internet, the servers are about to shut down, or the Foundation is about to lose the services of the CEO or whatever she's called, because her contract requires exhorbitant payments that can't be continued unless we Raise More Money. (I have no idea if she's worth what she's paid, this is a general comment, not a specific one about the current executive, who seems nice enough to me, if occasionally clueless.) --Abd 16:57, 24 December 2010 (UTC)
Maybe if they put some of the money towards additional developers so something as simple as turning on subpages via a config file edit wouldn't take three months to get pushed through, I might consider donating money in addition to my time. Adrignola 04:31, 3 January 2011 (UTC)
"Now I think John Bessa might be talking about the fund raiser.." Darklama gets it! My question is this: is WP merely a vehicle for Jimbo's ego in the same sense that the socialism was a vehicle for communist leaders. I see his misuse of diversity as the socialism of globalism, and my being forced to view his picture nearly everyday reminds me of Orwell's Big Brother. And the money certainly is an issue as operating a free software system cannot possibly cost more than a few hundred thousand.
On a personal side, I am taking a month off from school to attempt to organize my counseling psychology writing. But at the end of the day, I go back to my pre-psych basics:
  • Science is phenomic in that there is a single explanation for all phenomena (including Jimbo), and, on a different level,
  • we all need to try to think in terms of how others will feel about what we say, do, or delete--purely for beneficial results.
--JohnBessa66.pngBessatalk 18:39, 5 January 2011 (UTC)

Learning vs Knowledge

WV slogan is about learning: “Set learning free”. Which, from experience, seem to place its members either in a student or a teacher place. A teacher or a student is involved with a knowledge which is either to be taught or learned. The teaching or learning practices can be improved. Unfortunately these are practices which are very individual. The idea to “set learning/teaching free” seem to be a great idea, because of the difficulty some people have, but is practically not feasible because it would need a personified teacher for every person.

My belief is when people look into WV to find out what it is, like myself, then they do it because they have already something in their mind. Something they would like to share and find somebody with whom they can develop it further. Therefore it seems to be a simpler and more direct approach to get people to join WV if their knowledge is the subject and not their learning. But in the end it would lead to the same thing.

For that I would like to put for discussion the slogan:
“Set scientific knowledge free”.

The name “Wikiversity” provides an aura of science. And that is why people look at WV (I did). Scientific knowledge is bound down by fantasy because most real answers have not been found yet. And because of this it is very difficult to find a place or person which welcomes new or different ideas. E.g. Wikimedias main reasons to reject new ideas is that it is an encyclopaedia and therefore can only accept already verified knowledge. Which brought me to WV. But this is exactly what would be needed, a place where new or different scientific ideas can be discussed and developed. A great counter balance (or pre-stage) to Wikimedia.

This could be done like this:

  1. Any idea could be set up as a “Topic” for discussion to find out if it has the cloud of a scientific knowledge and if it is worth to develop further.
  2. If it passes the test and has enough interests (at least 2) then it could be set up as a “Project” to be developed further. This would provide it with a substance to become a subject ready to teach.
  3. If it has reached this substance then it can be placed into any level of course, school etc. to be taught.

If WV could be arranged like that what great place would it be to improve the scientific progression all over. People would come in to bring new ideas, look for other ideas, and join ideas, which have something in common with their own and are already in progress. It would have an immense scientific background through Wikimedia and would supply it with new “verified” knowledge. And learning would be what everybody is doing but does not have to admit.--Martin Lenoar 18:49, 21 December 2010 (UTC)

Wikiversity isn't limited to scientific knowledge. I support "Set knowledge free" as a slogan. I oppose any process which limits the ability of anyone to teach, learn, and share their knowledge. Waiting until another person thinks a topic is worthwhile will either slow or halt teaching, learning and sharing knowledge. Waiting for approval was tried at another project and it didn't see any growth or progress until waiting as an obstacle was removed. -- darklama  05:12, 22 December 2010 (UTC)
  • Keep in mind that, in science, Knowledge is encapsulated in terms of Theoretical Models (with explanatory and predictive power). A Theoretical Model is our best (current) understanding, and is not guaranteed to be comprehensive, complete, or accurate to arbitrary precision. When a Theoretical Model is not yet fully established, it's called an Hypothesis. The equivalent term in layman's language is Belief. When one is presenting Beliefs which are not yet encapsulated as fully established scientific models, one is (in effect) presenting a school of thought that for all intents and purposes is a Religion. Note that belief in (and practice of) the Scientific Method is a Religion, because one cannot conclusively prove that the Scientific Method is the One True Way to Knowledge. One can believe in, adopt, and practice the Scientific Method, but doing so is an Article of Faith. —Caprice 05:50, 22 December 2010 (UTC)
  • Presenting evidence that contradicts established models, with or without proposed new models, even if undeveloped, is not Religion, it is skepticism, rejecting models, established or not, by presenting and examining contrary evidence. The practice of the scientific method is an indicator of faith, but it is not faith itself. Belief in "established models" is religion, but using them isn't necessarily so, it's just (ordinarily) sensible. Confusion on this leads to the Religion of Science, which is a pathology, because it's contrary to the scientific method, and we like to believe that "science" is rooted in the "scientific method." Newtonian Physics is a defective model, but I'll still use it when I need to predict motion under non-relativistic or other ordinary conditions. Cold fusion represents, at this point, a general model (fusion, through an unknown mechanism, in a cold environment) without a specific model (the mechanism), yet the scientific method falsifies the null hypothesis (that no nuclear reaction is taking place). The Scientific Method can easily falsify a theory without creating an alternate model; in general, when the theory falsified is "accepted," it has probably been assumed to be generally applicable when it only applies under specific conditions (but normal or the common for relevant observation). --Abd 17:13, 24 December 2010 (UTC)
Presenting evidence or arguments that contradict a religious belief is more than skepticism. It's heresy. In the CBS News 60 Minutes story on Cold Fusion, Richard Garwin expresses skepticism (doubt). But he doesn't present any strong evidence or arguments to falsify Michael McKubre's strongly held beliefs. At best, Garwin speculates that there is an error in the calculation of the energy budget. Garwin suspects the input (electrical) energy is measured incorrectly. I doubt that. I suspect there is a missing or incorrect term on the output side of the energy ledger. But with respect to McKubre's cells, neither Garwin nor I have diagnosed the missing or erroneous term in McKubre's energy budget model. I don't reject his model; I haven't even looked at it. Nor did I reject the Miles-Fleischmann Model. But I did note that it appeared to be missing a term, Pmist. McKubre clearly knows about the presence of mist. He devised an inverted Teflon bumbershoot to interdict it, to keep his powder dry. Is there a missing or incorrectly modeled term in McKubre's energy budget model? Probably. Has anybody put their finger on it yet? Possibly. Do I have a clue what might be wrong or missing with McKubre's energy budget model? Not yet. In the case of open calorimetry with venting, the Null Hypothesis was all wet. I have no doubt that McKubre is sincere in his belief that his energy budget model overlooks nothing that would account for why the energy books still don't balance. Since he knows about the mist, he's probably modeling the condensate correctly. But what about the condenser? —Caprice 16:26, 6 January 2011 (UTC)
McKubre is a professional scientist, paid to consult on cold fusion by some major players who Need to Know. Calorimetry is only the half of it. The other half is the ash, the reaction product, which must be created, if there is fusion taking place. McKubre's work is a major chunk of the work that establishes the most accurate known value of the critical heat/helium ratio, work that has shown that helium is, indeed, the ash, and that the heat/helium ratio is very close to the predicted value from deuterium-helium fusion, close enough to be within measurement error. This, alone, is an astonishing result, and it's been confirmed, it was itself a confirmation and tightening up of earlier work, and work is continuing.
Caprice's approach is excellent, even if he sometimes jumps the gun with his "brilliant ideas." That I've shown that some of these ideas were totally bogus, based on ignorance of conditions, doesn't change this, it's just part of his -- and our -- learning process, and the only problem I've had with Caprice is that he ridicules others who don't deserve it, based on his pseudo-certainty, his style of assertion.
Calorimetry alone as the prime evidence for cold fusion was always a problem, because calorimetry can be extraordinarily complex, as Caprice is finding out. His abduction of error due to mist is, as far as it goes, brilliant (even if quite banal, i.e., this is something that should have occurred to anyone with knowledge in the field, and probably did occur, and was rejected because, again, under most conditions, they knew it wasn't happening, there was no emitted mist at all. You can see mist.) He's definitely correct in one sense: the possibility of error from mist should be clearly addressed by the researchers, at least somewhere.
McKubre does address mist, but in a totally different context and for a totally different reason, mist would not affect his results because he is using totally closed cells. Mist could make those cells explode! Caprice's speculations on the probability of error by McKubre reveal only his a priori bias. But mist could be a factor in other CF approaches, and discussing this cannot but help overall understanding of the field.
Caprice is correct to point out the problem with Garwin's response. Garwin is a rarity, in fact, a skeptic who is highly knowledgeable about the research. I've not seen Garwin address the central evidence, heat/helium. I'd love to know what he thinks about it, and if he can think of any alternate explanation than fusion. But this evidence has been around for over fifteen years, so I'm not holding my breath.
Thus our Bozo from Boston (Moulton's clown function) is validating my intuition that he could be very valuable here, showing why academic environments can be and should be highly tolerant. If Moulton crosses acceptable boundaries, he can and should be warned and even sanctioned, but we shouldn't toss out the baby with the bathwater. He's a valuable contributor. --Abd 17:06, 6 January 2011 (UTC)

Thank you for your replies. I guess I need to elaborate further to give this discussion some substance. That thought was sparked through real happenings specifically through my joining WV. The impression I got that the stance WV got toward science is not settled yet and the problems which came with it. The first hurdle seem to be to define science. Science is, unfortunate, all what Caprice and Abd pointed out. For me science should be the process to replace theories, hypotheses, beliefs, religions etc. with the real facts of the universe. And, since so little is really known after such a long time of trying, every idea possible should be followed. On the other hand, as Abd said, if the daily live should be kept under control then it would be impossible to do so by everybody. But it could be done e.g. in places like WV. Here scientific ideas can be “set free” by removing the first and greatest wall every person faces if he does not exactly follow predefined ways: Nobody wants to listed or even take an outsider stance to evaluate the idea. This is due to the human fact that if somebody becomes comfortable with a way to handle a knowledge, even if it is only a theory, then he is settled for live. And there are only very few which do not settle in one way or another. The question here is how fast fictional knowledge could or should be replaced by real knowledge. This depends on how much scientists are aware of if it is placed on real or fictional resources. Again this is usually only important for people which are not settled with this theory. And WVs community might need to decide if it wants to support the advancement of real knowledge or if the status quo is good enough. And here is also where the difference between learning and knowledge might come in. If there is knowledge than there is also teaching and learning. But it is not necessarily the other way around. If e.g. there is a forum of knowledgeable people which are willing to consider (discuss) “new” scientific ideas then the person which had them would be immediately aware of where he was right, wrong or missed. Step 1 above is not meant to be an approval but a simple pro and con of its scientific value and possibilities. (“To pass a Test”, would not be the right word for it). Everything else, like if it can be evolved, proven or taught would come naturally from this discussions. If it is assumed that there are many people, like me, which are looking for a place where they can find honest, freely given, opinions then such a place would be an advance in many directions. As such it would not matter what “science” is considered to be, if it is considered that there can only be one reality for what happens in this universe. Once it is known than it will be acknowledged as scientific reality and will surpass any fantasy theories which try to replace it. WV could be on the forefront of this, and this is what might be up for discussion here.--Martin Lenoar 01:49, 25 December 2010 (UTC)

  • Part of the problem, I reckon, is that it takes a certain amount of intellectual maturity to be able to embrace analytical models of the sort that one finds in science. Models (and Model-Based Reasoning) are not as widely apprehended, adopted, or employed as we would like for a scientifically literate culture, partly because many important scientific models often require at least college level mathematics. When you leave out the math, you have to dumb down the science, relying on analogies and stories to convey the basic ideas. As a science educator, I've struggled to find the right analogies and stories to explain scientific ideas to young people (and to many adults) for whom it is impractical to present scientific theories in the technical form that scientists understand them. Nowadays, computer animations and simulation models and games have helped solved that problem for many subjects previously inaccessible to high school students. —Caprice 02:49, 25 December 2010 (UTC)

Thank you, Caprice, to bring up intellectual maturity. For me that means that somebody has understood and accepted what analytical models (model-based reasoning) are and what their use is. For me they are different forms of explanation of natural happenings for what the real true answers have not been found yet. “Scientific” explanations are usually provided for specific happenings by people which are usually specified in this happenings and are therefore mostly specific explanations. Unfortunately this explanations are usually a conglomerate of reality and science fiction. Which might make sense to somebody else or not and therefore might account for that they can be, but must not be, accepted. Intellect maturity needs to be reached in order not to fight theories or models if they are not being understood. It usually settles the dispute to an acceptance with the hope that someday the following of this models might lead to the real truth. Which, as history proves, might take centuries.

What also does not help in making this explanations understandable to everybody is that tools, like mathematics, is being used to “explain” or is even made a necessity for prove. What is never brought up is that nature does not “know” of mathematics which is purely a tool for humans to explain repetitions. Unfortunately mathematics provides a possibility, through the like manipulations of both sides of the equation, to “prove” whatever it can “describe” in any way “mathematicians” see fit. Basically, since very few people can follow what they have done, they cannot prove to the broad public what they are claiming and the public cannot disprove it. Therefore a mathematically provided prove is only valid for a few people.

To follow your argument, is it preferable to make science understood by everybody or is it too degrading for people, which have studied mathematics very hard and proven that they are capable of analytical thought, that their accomplishments are not placed higher than the need for science to succeed? Is science only science if it is highly complicated? Is this why humans have not understood nature because they are looking much too high?

To bring intellect maturity back to the subject of the discussion it would bring an openness toward what science could be. To set “learning free” could imply that anything, what could be considered to be knowledge, could be taught or learned and should therefore not be limited. On the other hand, if knowledge is the focus, then anything what could be the real truth of nature should not be inhibited and is in a big need to be set free. Providing a way to bring it into the open, discus-sion and recognition. The difference would be on how long humans have to wait until the circumstances of real happenings (discoveries) would force science to replace models or theories with the real thing.

Sorry, I have to get used to the fact that I can get answers before I am finished. And that I am loged out when I save the page.-- 23:53, 27 December 2010 (UTC)

  • To follow your argument, is it preferable to make science understood by everybody or is it too degrading for people, who have studied mathematics very hard and proven that they are capable of analytical thought, that their accomplishments are not placed higher than the need for science to succeed? Is science only science if it is highly complicated? Is this why humans have not understood nature because they are looking much too high?
Explanations of scientific ideas need to be adapted to the audience. There are scant journalists who can both understand the technical elements of a scientific model and translate that into a presentation suitable for a general audience. I admire journalists who can understand my own work and explain it to a general audience, because they are doing something that I find very hard to do. —Caprice 23:46, 27 December 2010 (UTC)
On science, evidence, and models --Abd 19:30, 22 December 2010 (UTC)
  • "Science" consists of two elements, one of which is objective knowledge and the other is "models," and the distinction between models and hypotheses is far from crisp. A model is a hypothesis and a hypothesis may be a model, but a hypothesis may also only propose certain relationships without a model of accurate predictive power, this is, of course, an "incomplete" model, though in some cases prediction is intrinsically impossible even with a complete model, chaotic systems are examples.
A "fully established" model is a "belief." If the establishment of the belief was through the scientific method, we may call this a "scientific belief." However, people tend to be resistant to changes in beliefs, and thus resistant to the application of the scientific method to them, once they are established, either personally or collectively. This resistance is necessary for efficiency -- we cannot constantly reconsider everything --, but it also impedes, to some degree, expansion of the frontiers of science.
The "objective knowledge" is the huge body of experimental evidence. Attributed, i.e., "according to," and with due care, this is, indeed objective truth. I'll assert this, in fact, as a kind of universal religion! Errors can still be made; a common one is to state what someone else found and reported incorrectly, filtering it through the lens of an opinion about the person and what they actually claim to have observed. That's why I mentioned "due care." A present example would be to state that Pons and Fleischmann, in 1989, claimed to have found evidence for nuclear fusion. They did use the term, sloppily, at a news conference, but the actually published claim was "an unknown nuclear reaction." That was not a "model," except in the sketchiest sense. They did not have a clear model, and creating such a model would have been entirely outside of their expertise. This is an example of a hypothesis ("unknown reaction, but nuclear in nature") without a model that allows accurate prediction. What could be predicted from "nuclear" would be one of the many possible signs of nuclear reactions; they only had solid evidence for one, energy. They had found, they believed, two other evidences: neutron radiation -- though at levels far below those expected from the known likely reaction, d-d fusion -- and helium production. The neutron evidence was artifact, and subsequent work shows that the F-P effect, if it produces neutrons, produces them only at truly tiny levels; the heat they found, though, has been widely confirmed, ultimately, and their calorimetry has never been successfully impeached and found sufficiently flawed to discard the results.
Yet because nuclear reactions at the temperatures apparently involved in an F-P experiment were so totally unexpected, and because of the difficulty of replication, their work was mostly rejected, and that rejection continues today in popular myth among physicists and others. "Belief."
The models are not objective truth. Models are generally judged by predictive power, and a model that is highly successful at prediction under some conditions may fail miserably under others. The usually-presented example is Newtonian physics. Extremely and precisely accurate as long as velocities and scale are within normal human experience. At high velocities, in particular, it fails and can make radically incorrect predictions.
Problems arise when objective knowledge is discarded or disregarded in favor of an "established model" that fails to predict what has been observed. This happens at the frontiers of science, now understood as model formation. This is "practical science," because the ability to predict results greatly facilitates engineering. However, not all engineering requires the predictive power of models. Engineering can leap ahead of models, having discovered parameter space through trial and error. Research into "cold fusion" -- even though the evidence Fleischmann had was thin, his "fusion" comment was a "lucky guess," is mostly on a trial and error basis, but this accumulates a body of experimental knowledge, when it's published, and that body of knowledge may eventually allow predictive models to be developed. The math for quantum field theory, which is necessary under these conditions, is horrific.
For now, there are several models that predict excess heat, and one of them is so accurate that it can be considered "established," and it is so considered by most of those working in the field. The accurate one is that if helium is found as produced by a cold fusion experiment that looks for both helium and heat, quantitatively, heat will be measured proportional to the helium at the value expected for deuterium fusion, 23.8 MeV per helium nucleus generated. Others exist that predict energy proportional to deuterium loading factor, to current density, and many other factors, but these are only statistical correlations, not terribly accurate, and none of them are reliable by themselves; poorly-known factors such as the role of palladium nanostructure and the chemistry of palladium surface under electrolysis are at play. The helium prediction is accurate within experimental error, and there are no known contrary experimental results, with many confirmations.
This is science, following the scientific method, and rejection of it, at this point, with the huge body of evidence involved, is about "belief," specifically about belief in a model that had extremely accurate predictive power under plasma conditions, the normal realm for particle physicists and fusion scientists. The model was never thoroughly tested under condensed matter conditions, and that testing was precisely the goal of Pons and Fleischmann (not "free energy" as often claimed), so this whole case, which was called (by a skeptic, Huizenga) "the scientific fiasco of the century," truly was such a fiasco, as to the methodology and sociology of science, and there are academic sources that have covered this in depth. Physicists don't normally read those sources!
Such a situation is, in the modern world, unstable, because a few people are willing to continue to work in spite of massive social rejection, and a few journals are willing to dare to publish their results. There were always, in the last twenty years, mainstream journals willing to publish, it was only a few prominent journals that set up a blackout on the topic. That resistance has been crumbling, and is, from my review of the overall situation, dead, an edifice of entrenched certainty that has no life in it, scientific, economic, political, and other forces will sweep it away in short order, I predict. But to someone who has not been looking at the whole situation, it can look quite different. Ask your average physicist today about cold fusion, you will probably still hear something like "That was bogus, nobody was able to reproduce those results." Which is blatantly, objectively, and certainly false. The results were reproduced, there are 153 peer-reviewed reports in mainstream journals to show, it simply took more time and care than the few early, rushed, "negative replications" allotted. --Abd 19:30, 22 December 2010 (UTC)
Social sciences are easier to access for laymen than physical sciences, because it requires less mathematics. Without reading articles and books, the level of the discussion will probably not rise above those of common forums, that i frequent every day.Daanschr 11:54, 27 December 2010 (UTC)
  • There is an interesting point of view in science, that if something cannot be measured quantitatively, it is not a fit subject for scientific modeling. Scientists are forever coming up with new ways to measure the previously unmeasurable. Here is a wonderful talk by Brené Brown, a gifted researcher in the Social Sciences, on the challenge of measuring such immeasurable quantities as one's sense of worthiness, connectedness to others, vulnerability, shame, and courage. —Caprice 13:40, 27 December 2010 (UTC)
I don't like the extreme focus on quantity. Quality and imagination are essential parts of science. Otherwise all the physical sciences couldn't emerge. Maybe knowledge is partly in hard mathematics and partly in subjective philosophy or art.Daanschr 16:51, 27 December 2010 (UTC)
  • What's important to note is that models with quantitative rigor that make accurate predictions almost always overthrow or supplant theories that lack quantitative models. —Caprice 17:29, 27 December 2010 (UTC)
  • Eventually, it can take quite a bit of time, unless the model has direct commercial or practical application, that forces rapid and wide attention. --Abd 22:19, 27 December 2010 (UTC)
But what is the purpose of a model. In finance, the models used for making as much money as quickly as possible, made the economic crises worse. The alternative has to be imagined, not measured. A world where bankers work for people and not for their pay check.Daanschr 22:55, 27 December 2010 (UTC)
A model, by definition needs to provide beneficial results (and predict phenomena), therefore, economic models are only models in the minds of economists: the defective organs that are responsible for the endless crises. --JohnBessa66.pngBessatalk 20:05, 5 January 2011 (UTC)
The topic of model is an interesting one. It could help to make the decision of what is more important: learning or knowledge. Since the discussion went in the direction of what science is the model could shed some light on it also.
Knowledge, is basically what somebody has learned. This could have happen in numerous ways. Science is a form of learning which supposedly has the restriction that only real knowledge should be learned. Real means that it only should accept what could really exist, really happen and therefore has to be physically present in this world or universe. Unfortunately, humans live on a limited space, which makes the discovery of past real events over time less likely. Therefore humans need to make this events up, create them with their fantasy, and then use their already acquired knowledge to find out if this “model” could lead to real knowledge. As of today most of our “scientific” knowledge is still based on such fantasy models. The success of a fantasy model can be, in my opinion, easily predicted: if the model (fantasy) is based on real physical matter then the outcome could be a real event which produces a real knowledge, if the model is based on other fantasies (not physically existing) then it will stay a fantasy. This might explain why models used in the physics lab always have a real outcome, and why the ones, which are used to explain economics, can never be taken serious because there are never enough real possibilities build in this kind of models.
But lets stick with the sciences which are concerned with the physical events in this universe which includes life. The importance, that this kind of science produce real knowledge, seem to be mostly an individual opinion. The reality on this is that most people don’t care because they have to come to accept that they will die anyway before any significant process will be made. This might be different for science conscious people. They could be placed in two groups, one which would like to stick with the restriction that science is there to produce real knowledge and the other one are happy as long as they have a model to follow. Which one is prevalent depends, like so many other opinions, on what is placed into the foreground of peoples minds. Which, unfortunately, is controlled by usually very unscientific people. Does it matter? The real answer to this is a flat no. As long as humans have exist they have lived from day to day and had either had a happy life or not but after they died it did not matter any more. (Some people might protest against this but this is not for discussion).
Well, lets use a model to go further. If life goes on like this than it would not make any difference. But, if e.g. somebody could discover how to delay aging or even could prevent that everybody has to die then would it make any difference? Only if people can be made to believe that that could actually happen. E.g. lets consider that nature had only had a very short time to evolve living creatures. And that nature is by no means at the end what still could evolve. Some living creatures live as long as 500 years, why not humans? A possibility that this could be real in a short time is that if humans “discover” what makes nature tick and that they could use this to tell nature what they would like to have. Right, controlling evolution. How possible it that? Lets consider something else. Humans are nature, would that not suggest that humans follow the same rules nature follows? Would that not suggest that what makes humans tick also makes nature tick? Therefore the answer could be what is common to every living creature and nature but we are not looking for it. If this consideration would make a long life possible then would it become more important that science produces real answers? Would it be more important to further real knowledge than just the learning of knowledge to shorten the acquirement of real knowledge? I fear the answer to all of this is still no.--Martin Lenoar 09:10, 16 January 2011 (UTC)

Sounds like someone or some people may be finally understanding why Wikiversity cannot be limited to acquiring scientific knowledge. There are elements of music, the arts, philosophy, cooking, etc. that cannot be taught, learned, or explained by following any methods of science. -- darklama  14:17, 16 January 2011 (UTC)

  • There are creative elements of the learning process and there are analytical elements. The creative aspects of discovery learning are an active topic of scientific research. —Caprice 15:05, 16 January 2011 (UTC)
    I guess I need to explain myself better. Scientists do not hover over students at schools and universities, telling musicians, photographers, artists, etc. in the making that they cannot do X because science doesn't understand and cannot provide an explanation yet. People continue to learn and pursue knowledge by engaging in and despite the unexplained. -- darklama  16:15, 16 January 2011 (UTC)
    • No one can dictate the creative process. By definition, anything that is dictated to a student cannot be the student's own creative work. Scientists, like mentors in all disciplines, nurture the creative process. —Caprice 16:44, 16 January 2011 (UTC)
    • A little rose-colored-glass-vision here. In fact "scientists" often don't do this, but good educators, including good science educators, do. Some scientists are lousy educators. However, I might agree that such scientists might not be really good scientists, either, i.e., they may know their field, but if they encounter stuff that is outside their experience, they may rigidly reject it. I've been involved -- mostly as a parent -- with modern educational work that is extremely patient with students, encouraging them to follow up on their own erroneous or half-baked ideas instead of simply "correcting" them. Far more is learned, and the learning is far deeper. --Abd 18:00, 16 January 2011 (UTC)
      I think both your responses help to explain/demonstrate why pursuing knowledge is good and limiting ourselves to scientific knowledge is not. Wikiversity should nurture and provide a decent educational experience that helps learners learn far more and far deeper than what can be achieved by restricting what students and teachers can do. -- darklama  18:40, 16 January 2011 (UTC)

Construction of knowledge

I think you hit on some pretty important topics, especially democracy in learning. I fully expected to become a middle school science teacher and embraced the education in/as therapy, and hence Constructivism. Constructivism benefits from Vygotski's anthropological research that parallels Benedict's Synergy; and is fully contemporary, as it is the only educational system to purposefully embrace the Internet. My research found further parallels between anthropology and the contemporary Information Society: the successful tribal native has many similar attributes to the modern life-long learner (Learning to learn).

  • I found this on [Improving Technical Topics At Wikiversity]:
"Technical topics such as mathematics, science, and engineering are currently taught at universities by experts in these disciplines. Lectures are designed by one person. Text books are written by only one or two authors and minimal additional help by an editor."

The solution is this, the writing states, is

"a very multidisciplinary team"

From the contructivist perspective, the solution is, conveniently, wiki.

I think that I can synopsize the situation as being highly limited by limitations of a single or small group of instructors, or in psychological terms, as egotism: we students do work that is finely tuned to the "needs" of the oligarch (instructor), has to be absolutely perfect from his perspective (so as to assure graduation to the next level, and not just be thrown out into the workforce. Sometimes, I am at a loss because of this in my counseling course; my local mental health agency has no use for the DSM or all the flowery theories that persist. I think I am coming to the basis of Wiki, which is the editing of fact into constructed knowledge so that it can be inserted as building blocks into the single explanation for all phenomena that is Science. Two courses are growing from one, I need to master knowledge construction to implement all the different levels of psychology into a format that is useful for community counseling, as therapy is an 80-90% successful placebo for real life.

Another point that the writer misses is that technical topics that include Science, also include all the things that are built from Science, including Art and Music. The wall is down now; we are constructing knowledge as a single phenomena. The classroom activity is the construction of knowledge, which is editing, which only differentiates from the WV in terms of original research. Research is what is key. We all do it, we all construct knowledge from it, and we all learn in the process of contributing to the single phenomena: Science. The Wp is looking for a format to construct education from wiki (which isn't a dead end), when, in fact, has been right in front of us all along: the wiki is the education, and also the constribution (construction+contribution, totally accidental). Perhaps wiki is not the right word, as the wiki is a Web representation of constructed knowledge; it is our media, despite its quick taxonomic naming by Ward Cunningham.

The difference between Vygotski's traditional constructivism (which is anthropological like Benedicts's Synergy and Kropotkin's evolutionary mutualism) and web-based knowledge construction is the path of the novice. In our Web format, novices begin contributions immediately moving them to expert within their scopes, whereas tradition requires long apprenticeships that start around 13 and mature in the mid-20s, to further mature as "sophia," a topic unto itself. It is interesting how complex counseling has become in the Wv!--JohnBessa66.pngBessatalk 15:27, 20 January 2011 (UTC)

constructivist text

I am presently working on an online master's degree using Moodle; all I can say about Moodle is that it follows the tendency to use the Internet to make a "better brochure" or "checkout counter" or, in my case, school. Wikis have shown for a decade and a half that the contemporary Information Society has lifted information to a constructive level where learning is continually recycled into teaching, yet Education only attempts to bend technology around antiquated didactic methods, which, incidentally, prove to be exceedingly difficult on the Web. Wikis are constructivist as they are highly collaborative, and all information is new information that is properly placed into the big picture so as to support a unified concept of science.

As it happens, most work on the WV is solo, which I find acceptable because what passes for collaboration in the uber system is, in my opinion, a highly corrupt conspiracy to skew meanings, especially of individualism to support egotism.

Constructivism also benefits from remaining embryonic while all the other approaches, such as synergy, have been enlisted to support existing structures. The primary components of Constructivism show the growth of the child away from the parents into the community (which is difficult in suburbia), where the child eventually becomes responsible, the journey from novice to expert, by learning to make innovative, or technological, contributions. Our contemporary version is all good, usually project-based, and nobody fails as everyone finds a productive niche. I segued to psychology because I found the project-based positions would only be given to experienced didactic teachers probably to assure failure! Plus I don't see how failing students helps them.

Another important component of Constructivism is the Community of Knowledge, which comprises all the information in a community; most of it is shared, though some of it is private. By hanging out in the woods, I realized that this cloud of knowledge extends into the environment, and that much of it is owned by the animals with its underlying support being DNA, the handwriting of life. This explains the tribally native relationship with the environment, and why capital--didactic, hierarchal, and oligarchic--is so desperate to destroy it.

The root word construct carries much of the meaning; successful construction brings about self-esteem. This I learned with very handicapped autistic students. So anything that builds in a way that benefits all is constructivist.

--JohnBessa66.pngBessatalk 21:33, 5 January 2011 (UTC)

Talking about Cold Fusion and Cold Comfort

Since User:Kww has locked down the Wikipedia talk page on Cold Fusion, the conversation has migrated to Joshua Schroeder's WP talk page, where one participant has called it "surreal." —Caprice 12:35, 28 December 2010 (UTC) Addendum: See also this thread on W-R.

While what Caprice is asserting is generally true, this is radically off-topic here at Wikiversity, straying into territory that previously brought down intervention from "Foundation functionaries." Jimbo is not likely to return, but studying the behavior of specific Wikipedia editors and administrators on Wikiversity is, indeed, likely to attract contentious participation here, and possible steward action. I have no personal objection to "Wikimedia studies" here, except through the possible political and disruptive effects. I suggested to Caprice, when he asked about this kind of discussion, that it be done on Wikipedia Review or, where "cross-wiki" flak would not be a problem. Caprice cannot post to WR, he's banned there, but he has full access to I did post on WR, as he points out, and maybe linking to that would be okay some place on Wikiversity, but I don't think it's appropriate for the general attention of the Colloquium. We cannot allow Wikiversity to be turned into a refuge, within the WMF family, from which Wikipedia editors can be personally criticized. Passing mention of editorial behavior there, where relevant, maybe. But the above, I don't think so.
Yeah, though, it is "surreal." Now, let's drop it, my suggestion. Massive disruption did occur here when we failed to handle these issues ourselves, considering the needs of the other WMF wikis. --Abd 17:28, 28 December 2010 (UTC)

Which sweats more, a wet turban or a cup of warm pee?

OK, so I have been asking this question around, and I'm getting some unexpected answers...

Question: Which of these carries away more heat from your body:

1) Peeing away a gram of pee.

2) Evaporating a gram of sweat off your skin.

Rather than answering it here, can you estimate how many people actually give the correct answer?

Caprice 23:14, 3 January 2011 (UTC)

So far, two females have gotten this right, and two males have gotten it wrong. —Caprice 00:52, 4 January 2011 (UTC)

Well, wouldn't it depend on the temperature of the surrounding area? Also how much clothing you wear, exposure to air, etc. Ottava Rima (talk) 01:27, 4 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Nope. The key word is evaporating. It doesn't matter if it takes longer to evaporate a gram of sweat than to take a pee. The question is about the amount of heat carried away, not the rate. —Caprice 05:02, 4 January 2011 (UTC)
This is okay for the Colloquium? Well, if it's okay with Ottava, it must be okay. No, it doesn't depend on the clothing, etc., all the necessary conditions were expressed by saying that the sweat evaporates off of the skin. Let me put it this way. There is a reason why we sweat when it's hot, instead of making a different kind of mess. Passed water could carry away some heat, yes, but won't cool what remains; evaporating water actually cools, from the heat of vaporization. In either case we lose the gram of water, but it first cools us in the case of sweat. If the water we pass on the ground evaporates there, it cools the ground, not us! Caprice is making a point relating to cold fusion calorimetry, by the way. Not to be discussed here!
And the section title cleverly led the reader into a false assumption, I'd guess that this could be why two guys got it wrong. Goes to show. Or is it because guys have a thing about peeing? Never a dull moment. --Abd 04:10, 4 January 2011 (UTC)
  • The four people who ventured answers before did not see the thread title here. They just got the question straight up. —Caprice 05:02, 4 January 2011 (UTC)
You can sweat underneath a heavy coat and not lose heat because of the coat. It is a strange situation and why overheating is dangerous in the cold. Also, most people don't urinate into a heavy coat, so the heat would be lost from the body completely. :) Ottava Rima (talk) 04:46, 4 January 2011 (UTC)
  • The amount of heat carried away by the evaporating sweat is unaffected by wearing a coat. What the coat does is capture heat lost from your body and then reflect most of it back. The fact that the environment is conveying incoming heat in your direction is independent of the amount of heat that a gram of sweat carries off when it evaporates from your skin. —Caprice 05:02, 4 January 2011 (UTC)
I now have a correct answer from a male respondent.
Sweating moves more heat from the body because evaporative colling requires additional energy which comes from the remaining water that is left on the body which becomes cooler as a result.

For optimal cooling one would pee onto an item of clothing or fabric and then wrap this around the head. This allows the urine to be used for evaporative cooling in addition to just directly removing heat from the body. The "pee turban" would be a bit pungent perhaps and not much of a fashion statement, but in case of emergency, i.e. being lost in a desert, it might be worth a try.
—Peter R.

Caprice 11:15, 4 January 2011 (UTC)
But you said from the body, and the reflected heat has not left the body. Miracle of clothing! Once you pee, it's gone. :P Ottava Rima (talk) 14:54, 4 January 2011 (UTC)
  • It's not gone if you :P into your hat. Consider that! —Caprice 15:04, 4 January 2011 (UTC)
As I think we ought to know from our own experience, peeing doesn't cool us at all. Thermodynamically, simply removing material from a body, when the temperatures match, doesn't cool it. We pee because we need to get rid of toxins, not for cooling; if not for the toxins, we'd be much better off, if we need cooling, to save the water involved for sweat. And, yes, sweating cools by turning water into water vapor, which absorbs heat, and the vapor will escape through any clothing that "breathes," wool is particularly good for that, ever wonder why the Arabs wear wool in very hot weather? It insulates, but allows evaporative cooling. Ottava should stick with poets, or certain other subjects, where I'm sure he could write circles around me. There is no "reflected heat" involved. Heat of vaporization ("cooling"), very powerful effect. --Abd 20:54, 5 January 2011 (UTC)
  • It actually surprised me how few people got this right. But Abd knows the real reason I posed this otherwise silly question. It's important to distinguish between removing moisture in the liquid phase vs removing it in the vapor phase. The failure to model that correctly can lead to problematic accounting errors in a calorimetric model. —Caprice 21:21, 5 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Yeah, so much for general science education. We have a lot of work to do, Barry. The question raised is an interesting one, but probably moot with respect to the topic we are discussing, unless there is liquid water spitting out of the cell/calorimeter combination, in which case it would be a Big Deal, and if Barry is right in his guess, he won't get the Nobel Prize, but he might get some credit for finally figuring out why hundreds of researchers around the world, include the world's foremost experts on calorimetry, have gotten it wrong. I don't suggest he buy a suit for the award yet. But it makes for some great discussion. --Abd 22:33, 5 January 2011 (UTC)
I'm not gonna hold my breath waiting to find out whether some of the "successful" CF runs were venting substantial amounts of mist along with gases and vapors. What puzzles me is why there wasn't a term in the Miles-Fleischmann Model for Pmist in the first place, or at least strong instructions to insert a moisture barrier beneath the gas vent. Note that every gas bubble that pops the surface will carry some proportional amount of moisture with it, so that the ratio of mist to evolved D2 and O2 will obey some discoverable law. And that means the atmosphere will quickly become saturated (~100% humidity), as seen in the video here. So even if the cell temperature is moderate, I reckon the atmosphere will be as foggy as the moors. —Caprice 23:58, 5 January 2011 (UTC)
"Mist" is transient. Fog occurs when humid air is cooled below the dew point, the point at which water will condensed. Another way to state this is that when the air cools, its capacity to carry heat is reduced, and when it reduces far enough, the moisture condenses. If there is no cool object to condense on, it will appear as tiny droplets of water in the air, thus clouds or fog. The atmosphere in the cell will not be "foggy," because it is not being cooled internally. Generally, these cells are cooled by cooling of the apparatus, which would then cause condensation on the walls of the apparatus. In the Miles-Fleischmann experiment, the cell is a Dewar flask, so, again, it won't cool, the inner wall will be at the general inner cell temperature. Nevertheless, venting gas will pass through some apparatus, perhaps glass or plastic tubing. As water condenses on this, it will heat, until it reaches the same temperature as the inside of the cell, so condensation there will be limited to a low rate, sufficient to keep the vent warm enough. The "Miles-Fleischmann Model" -- Barry's neologism -- is not a general model for CF calorimetry, just for a particular approach. It is not an experimental protocol, either, it's a mathematical study of relevant factors in one particular class of experiments. That class of experiments would, indeed, be vulnerable, in casual consideration, to the error Caprice notes. But practically, if the cell were experiencing this phenomenon, there would be visible mist exiting the cell. It's easy to distinguish between vapor phase and mist, the former is invisible, the latter is easily seen. If they were seeing mist, they'd have considered it! But, my conclusion from what I've read, they didn't, so they didn't.
The video Caprice cites is of entirely different work, with open electrolysis, at very high current. The flying droplets are a result of that vigorous evolution of bubbles. The air inside cold fusion cells will be close to saturation, though not quite there, I think, because of condensation on exposed cooler surfaces (at the top of a cell, where the vent is located).
As long as the exit venting is such that condensation on the inside of it runs back into the cell and does not obstruct the gases, no droplet venting or misting would be expected. Rather, when the vented gases emerge into cooler ambient air, one might see condensation in the gases, but close examination would reveal that this was taking place at a (small) distance from the vent opening, as we see with any boiling water and a steam jet. And that would only be seen at high rate of gas evolution. At the lower rates that would be more normal, no misting at all would be seen, because the the cooling and mixing would happen simultaneously, so that as the gas/vapor cools, the capacity to carry it increases, since the ambient air is far below 100% humidity.
And this discussion really shouldn't be here. It's highly appropriate on Cold fusion pages discussing CF results and problems. Still, maybe there is some value in exposing some part of the discussion to others. Cold fusion is a learning resource, not an article on Cold fusion or the expression of only one point of view. All are welcome to participate, to inform and to learn. Some of the concepts can take time to become sufficiently familiar, but don't worry about "stupid questions." Some of us might call them stupid! -- that's common student banter, and professors have been known to do it -- but the only true stupid question is the one that one has in ones mind but does not ask. Really, "stupid" is a misnomer, the true condition is "ignorant," and ignorance is the beginning of learning. Sometimes, though, we know enough, already, to be able to answer our own question, so "stupid" is a form of chiding, better framed as encouragement to think and reflect. Politically incorrect now, often for very good reasons. If anyone is offended, let us know. --Abd 18:00, 6 January 2011 (UTC)
  • "Mist" is transient.
Yes. As soon as you turn off the battery charger, the bubbling stops. And as soon as the bubbling stops, the misting stops, too. And as soon as the misting stops, so does the measurement of anomalous "excess heat." When I was in Phoenix, a few years ago, I had lunch in one of those touristy bistros where you dine outdoors. They had "misters" that sprayed a fine mist over the outdoor dining area, to keep it cool. You got to accentuate the positive. Eliminate the negative. Latch on to the affirmative. Don't mess with Misters, in this scene. —Caprice 22:07, 6 January 2011 (UTC)

This isn't the place for this, I've written too much already. If anyone is interested, there is voluminous discussion of these issues under Cold fusion and questions and other participation are welcome from all. Otherwise, let's not fill the Colloquium with what rapidly become private conversations. --Abd 21:37, 8 January 2011 (UTC)

  • I've written too much already.
Yes. Way, way too much. It would behoove you to discontinue the practice of writing way way too much. You can't do science by making long-winded speeches. You can't even do politics that way in this day and age. Einstein said more in one brief iconic equation than most people say in a lifetime of exhaled words. —Caprice 23:39, 8 January 2011 (UTC)
I can see by your verbiage that you are not Einstein.
You can see by my verbiage that I'm not Einstein too.
We can see by our verbiage that we are not Einstein.
If you write tomes like us, you can be not-Einstein too.
Except Einstein did not appear, lotus-born. There is a process. Before one can be Einstein, one must be not-Einstein. --Abd 04:15, 9 January 2011 (UTC)

Making Technical Wikiversity Topics Better Teaching Tools by Utilizing the Skills of a Hyper-Multidisciplinary Team

Moved to Improving Technical Topics At Wikiversity, with discussion on the discussion page.

Emesee's pagemoves

This user has apparently moved a variety of pages from the topic namespace to the template namespace. The template namespace should be reserved for transcluded wikicoding, and his moves seem to have disrupted a lot of topic pages. Should these actions be reverted? TeleComNasSprVen 02:19, 29 December 2010 (UTC)

Yeah, page moves like {{New Testament Greek/Department news}} have created a mess. The question is the best way to clean it up. --mikeu talk 02:39, 29 December 2010 (UTC)
It looks like Topic:New_Testament_Greek uses text in the template pages for transclusion. This seems to me to be a rather ugly hack. --mikeu talk 02:39, 29 December 2010 (UTC)

TeleComNasSprVen 04:00, 11 February 2011 (UTC)


I'm not sure if this is appropriate, but I believe that most of the pages in this category ought to be moved under Topic:Novial as subpages of the topic. Otherwise it may appear confusing; for example, upon searching for The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, one might be looking for lessons on how to read the original book, rather than how to translate it into Novial. TeleComNasSprVen 06:16, 29 December 2010 (UTC)

TeleComNasSprVen 04:00, 11 February 2011 (UTC)