Wikiversity:Colloquium/archives/February 2011

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Confirmation hearing for SB Johnny

For 3 years worth of abuse, SB Johnny has been put up for confirmation according to the Wikiversity:Custodianship policy at Wikiversity:Candidates for Custodianship/SB Johnny 2. All are welcome to discuss the suitability of SB Johnny continuing as a Custodian and as a Bureaucrat.

The discussion will be closed 00:16, 1 February 2011 (UTC). Ottava Rima (talk) 00:18, 25 January 2011 (UTC)

Two of three active bureaucrats have indicated that the "confirmation hearing" Ottava opened is out-of-process, and the third is the target of the process. Given that Ottava is threatening users with block for even commenting there, and to avoid the necessity of useless comment, gathering of evidence, etc., I have closed that process. To do this, I'm declaring an emergency, because of the serious incivility and disruption involved, and am willing to act in this developing situation in spite of normal Wikiversity:Recusal requirements. (I wrote that draft policy, in response to a suggestion from another custodian.) See my notice at Request custodian action. I am and will remain fully responsive to the community. It appears that the process Ottava started was coordinated off-wiki, and Ottava believes he has "two custodians" lined up to block me and others. This, alone, would be a very serious problem, an emergency, were it true. We do make decisions by discussion, but discussion must be orderly, or decision-making process becomes paralyzed. I do not intend to allow this. Any registered user may start a Community Review. This is not an attempt to suppress civil and reasonable discussion, but running the community through threats and innuendo and what might as well be called off-wiki conspiracy, must stop. Now. --Abd 17:19, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
It is not within policy for Crats to close such a discussion. It closes automatically at 7 days. If you want to "deem" it closed now, there is no consensus for SB Johnny to keep ops and they will be removed on February 1st. I have assurance by Stewards as to that. You have acted outside of your authority and have disrupted this community long enough. Ottava Rima (talk) 17:21, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
Ottava is claiming to have negotiated a bypass of our community process and procedures, obtaining unspecified and unreferenced "assurance by Stewards." If that did indeed happen, it's very serious, and would be the subject of RfC at meta. It would be just as serious as his claim that there were two custodians ready to block me as soon as they "came back on." We'll find out. Any custodian who actually promised that would be properly desysopped, possibly as an emergency. Our ultimate decisions are to be based on open discussion, review of evidence in a forum where all parties and interested persons may testify, etc. --Abd 17:45, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
I found no sign of recent Ottava activity at meta beyond his new proposal for desysop, which has been ignored except by Diego Grez; therefore the discussions were likely private. If Stewards have any intention of acting here, they should let us know what procedures they will follow, and should request comment, before or after the action. Likely there is no such "assurance," and Ottava's idea is opposite to consensus at m:Requests for comment/SB Johnny. --Abd 18:07, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Pictogram voting comment.svg Comment IMHO there is only one way out of this mess, which is to restart with a blank sheet and select a new group of custodians and bureaucrats where everyone goes through the same confirmation process simultaneously. Regards, Guido den Broeder 17:52, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
  • If there is a way out of this mess, the method eludes me. —Caprice 19:31, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
There isn't a current mess except with one user, a very disgruntled former custodian, removed for cause, continuing to stir up disruption, making threats, etc., plus a couple of others far less actively involved in problems, about whom nothing is likely to happen at all, beyond continued efforts to re-integrate them with the community and allow us to move on from the old mess. If you'd like to propose that total "solution," which would be massively disruptive, and which would require numerous difficult steps, you certainly may. You won't be blocked for proposing it, within process! Nor for proposing it out of process, for that matter, unless you were to totally insist on it, revert war or the like, and ignore specific warnings, etc. Guido, Wikiversity process is working, and working well. We are merely a bit slow, sometimes. Watch. --Abd 18:07, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
The majority of users have disagreed with you. Yet you persist. Ottava Rima (talk) 19:05, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
Apparently Ottava believes he speaks for the Great Inactive Majority. I closed the "candidacy" page, which was utterly and outrageously outside of Wikiversity procedure, at 17:00, 25 January 2011, with this edit summary: (close out of process discussion, see Discussion page attached. Consent to re-opening by any neutral custodian.) Ottava claimed that there were "two custodians" who had promised to watch and prevent "disruption." Well? Who were they? If that closing was disruptive, why hasn't one of the custodians re-opened it, an almost single-click action? One of the !votes above was based on that closure, but, while a day is not enough to determine consensus, we can say that there is manifestly enough support for the closure that it was, at least, reasonable!
Indeed, I persist. My intention has long been (starting on Wikipedia) to represent the consensus that will form if a matter is widely reviewed, and I've been fairly good at that. It does mean, sometimes, standing up against "participation bias," so it can look like I'm "opposing consensus." If, as should be done if someone is seriously concerned about my participation and actions at Wikiversity, there is a Wikiversity:Community Review/Abd, it might be appropriate to review these situations. Obviously, opposing local consensus is dangerous. I try to avoid doing it disruptively, but sometimes even expressing opinions is considered disruptive.... --Abd 18:28, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

Process moved

To appease everyone, the page was opened also at Wikiversity:Community Review/SB Johnny. Per policy, it still closes 7 days after opening, so you have to get your statements in before February 1st. Ottava Rima (talk) 00:48, 27 January 2011 (UTC)

No, that page is fatally flawed, it copies a discussion of a "confirmation hearing" which is a process Wikiversity doesn't have, so the !votes there are meaningless. Maybe because Ottava has recently been involved in such controversy at Wikisource, which has confirmation hearings, he's confused. See [1]. I find Hesperian's difficulties with Ottava fascinating. You mean he's like this in other places, too? Notice how many admins seem to have a "conflict of interest." That's a bad sign. --Abd 04:19, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
It is clearly written in policy. It doesn't matter if you can't see it. It is also hypocritical as you never provided any egregious abuse to warrant my desysop, yet you and SB Johnny have done far, far worse than everyone else here combined. What I can see right now is that the community has topic banned you from Wikiversity space. You should stop editing in it. Ottava Rima (talk) 04:25, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
Ottava doesn't seem to realize that I didn't file the process that led to his desysop, I'd been writing a Review, but hadn't completed it, and SBJohnny took what had been compiled and filed Wikiversity:Community Review/Ottava Rima, since it had become All Too Obvious. I also did not decide the result, that was bureaucrat Mikeu and Ottava filed Wikiversity:Community Review/Mikeu over that. I don't see what Ottava sees, I see an appearance that inspires me to caution, but there is no ban, and nothing ban-worthy alleged. A single close of a discussion, accepted by the community? But it doesn't matter if I see it. If I'm banned, an admin will close and enforce the ban, with a warning and blocks for violation. It's very standard and very clear. Normally, before being banned, a user will have disregarded multiple warnings from uninvolved users and administrators. Ottava's agenda here is transparent. It's payback. I warned him many months ago about his incivility, he blew it off, so I short-blocked him (2 hours). He went ballistic, went to meta and yanked my ops, pretending that was routine, and has continued on this kamikaze course ever since. Ottava doesn't know how to handle disagreement, a fatal flaw in a sysop. It can be a fatal flaw in a user, when it's taken as far as Ottava has taken it. But this is not up to me. It's up to other sysops and the community. --Abd 19:39, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
"that I didn't file the process that led to his desysop" You started it, you canvassed on WR for it, and you continued the nonsense. Your inability to accept any personal responsibility is troubling. Ottava Rima (talk) 20:06, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
I did not start it, this was the start, the last version before Ottava started to respond, and nobody else had edited the page. Ottava does this all the time, argues what is blatantly false, or even more troubling, arguing against what is blatantly true, wasting everyone's time. I discussed it on WR, as did you. I do accept personal responsibility for what I did. And you? --Abd 20:54, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
"I did not start it, " More revisionist history. It was mostly copied from your rambling hate filled subspace attack on me that existed primarily because you were unable to accept that you were, are, and always will be unfit for custodianship and the community has recognized it three times now. Ottava Rima (talk) 22:09, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
I wrote a draft. It was not complete, by any means. I was not ready to file it. It seemed for a while that Ottava might have quieted down, I wasn't in a hurry. There is no revisionism here. I started compiling evidence, that part is true. But I did not start the Community Review itself. As to "rambling hate-filled," it was neither. It has a lot of empty process sections, I was trying to design a more deliberative process, with "owned sections," as is done on Wikipedia before ArbComm (it makes for more coherent pages and deeper consideration, rather than having everything turn into a threaded mess. In any case, judge for yourselves. --Abd 04:48, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
"I wrote a draft, I didn't start" That sums up the problem. You admit reality, then you contradict reality, and fail to see that you did that. Ottava Rima (talk) 05:10, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
Q.E.D. --Abd 18:54, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

About communications

Hello to everyone!

Being a new Wikiversity user, I'd like to ask you whether the only way for different Wikiversities to communicate with each other is via IRC.
Also, I think that the Wikiversity communities and this OpenStudy (external link) community have overlapping goals, therefore that they could benefit from one another.

Thanks! --SpaniardGR 20:58, 3 February 2011 (UTC)

  • There is a Wikiversity nexus channel, #wikiversity, which is used for all languages. There is also for on-wiki discussion for all languages. —Moulton 22:01, 3 February 2011 (UTC)


-- 09:39, 4 February 2011 (UTC)

  • I agree. The less said on the subject of politics, the better. —Barsoom Tork 10:48, 4 February 2011 (UTC)

Current courses

Wondering how we might collate and share about current courses - I'll start a list below. Maybe we can then add the list to Courses and a link from News on the front page? -- Jtneill - Talk - c 14:46, 4 February 2011 (UTC)

Would it be useful to develop a shared evaluation survey so that we can understand better how students view their experience of wikiversity?Leutha 21:36, 4 February 2011 (UTC)

Community Review process discussion

Please participate at Wikiversity:Community Review/CR process discussion. --mikeu talk 20:36, 8 February 2011 (UTC)


Hello, I've installed wikt:fr:MediaWiki:Gadget-searchbox.js from wikt:pl:MediaWiki:Gadget-searchbox.js. It adds the text treatment functions: "go to line n°", "change the capitalization", "search and replace" (eventually "replace all") and sort alphabetically. JackPotte 20:40, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

SB Johnny's removal

From Policy:

Custodians can lose their status for egregious violations of policies. Loss of custodianship involves a process that establishes community consensus. If a specific complaint is not resolved at Wikiversity:Custodian feedback then a new seven day community discussion can be initiated to establish if there is community consensus in support for the custodianship of the custodian who is the subject of the unresolved complaint.

1. Policy states that there will only be seven days. So the matter was officially closed at the beginning of February 2 UTC.

2. Policy says there must be consensus in support, not oppose.

3. A Bureaucrat must close an admin discussion but not a Bureaucrat discussion. That, however according to the proposed policy, is anyone.

As such, SB Johnny's Bureaucrat discussion is closed as a major failure for him to retain the privilege because this discussion has resulted in 6 opposes, 2 supports, 1 "label him as a drama queen for disruption" (an oppose, so 7 opposes), and 1 oppose to the process, so a support. That is 70% oppose to remove of a Bureaucrat. There is not enough support to show a majority let alone a consensus for him to retain these privileges. Ottava Rima (talk) 15:11, 8 February 2011 (UTC)

  • Ottava, I couldn't fail to disagree with you less. —Albatross 15:24, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
But you have succeeded in agreeing with me more. :P Ottava Rima (talk) 15:45, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
Ottava, do you remember our conversation over on Wikiversity talk:Community Review where we talked about how the best interest of the community involves not attacking good faith contributors? Because it negatively impacts on the academic community and discourages them from contributing because the politics of Wikiversity are just too toxic? Do you realize your actions once again highlight how you are acting in bad faith towards the greater Wikiversity community and its goals of getting academics involved, working towards establishing say a peer reviewed journal with the review happening on Wikiverity? Or how your actions undermine our efforts as we're working towards establishing methodology and ethics guidelines to help make the work on Wikiversity more in compliant accepted academic practices? You really need to sit down, shut up and let the big girls and boys do their work. Stop hurting the cause. I know you've said several times in IRC that no one's feelings matter but your own... but that's emphatically not true. You're acting in bad faith in a situation like this and you should frankly be banned. --LauraHale 08:08, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
  • I could, perhaps, discover how to succeed if I tried, but I'm too lazy to make the effort. —Albatross 18:12, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
Ottava made a move typical for him, selective quotation of policy. After what he quotes above, Wikiversity:Custodianship continues:

At the end of that seven day period of community discussion, Wikiversity bureaucrats will review the discussion. If a bureaucrat decides that there is good reason for removal of a custodianship, that bureaucrat will go to the meta-wiki and request that stewards review the community discussion. If a steward agrees that the Wikiversity community has reached consensus about a problem custodian, then that steward can terminate the custodianship of the custodian.


  • the close is by a 'crat. While, if no 'crat is available to act for an extended period, and a discussion shows consensus for an action, a steward might act on review, this is not a reasonable possibility under the present conditions.
  • the policy requires a finding by a crat as to the fact of "good reason for removal." The context implies "egregious misconduct," but the community discussion part implies something different ("consensus in support"). That's not enough conflict of text to reverse the plain and express intention of a 'crat determination and close, and, further, of a steward finding of "consensus about a problem custodian."
  • Ottava's review of the comments is highly selective, and attempts to exclude comments made after 7 days. That is entirely contrary to precedent and custom. Comments may be made in any process until it is closed.
I will review the !votes on the Talk page, Wikiversity talk:Community_Review/SB_Johnny --Abd 16:59, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
The Bureaucrat removal section is not closed by a Crat. "That is entirely contrary to precedent and custom" No it isn't. Clearly says 7 days. Ottava Rima (talk) 17:18, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
  • I have reviewed the !votes at [2]. My conclusion is that there was either consensus for keeping SBJ, if SPA and probably canvassed !votes are deprecated, or no consensus. In order to conclude the opposite, above, Ottava has to exclude all comments made after his proposed automatic closing. There is not a snowball's chance in hell that a steward would look at this and conclude a consensus for removal. So Ottava's argument here is purely disruptive. Contrary to Ottava's claim, there is no "Bureaucrat removal section" provided in policy, and 'crat bits are assigned by the action of a 'crat. The proposal was to remove both the 'crat bit and the 'custodian' bit, so, even if Ottava's fantastic interpretations were true, the removal, then, would apply only to the 'crat bit, and filing a single process for both was simply one more complication in a pile of complications that Ottava entirely created. The process was fatally flawed, from the beginning. --Abd 17:45, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
  • Ottava continued to revert war on the close of the review, see page history, I'd have blocked if I were a (non-recused) custodian, he knows better, way better. Mikeu protected the page, which was proper. --Abd 18:02, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
1. CRs aren't randomly "closed" like that. 2. The "vote" process ended 2 February but that does not mean discussion ends. 3. The community's response was very clear and SB Johnny does not have community support for keeping Bureaucrat status. Ottava Rima (talk) 18:18, 8 February 2011 (UTC)

Probationary custodians, call for a pause

I think it would be a good idea if we spent a couple weeks talking about the current mentorship system before promoting any new contributors to probationary custodian. A few questions worth considering:

  1. Is our system really any better (or worse) than the RfA system practiced on most projects?
  2. Should we have an actual separate usergroup for probationary custodians (that could be both added and removed locally)? It might spare a lot of concern if we could even temporarily remove access when there is a concern.
  3. Should there be some sort of process of approving a mentorship before it begins?

The last few weeks don't bear repeating, so at least some method of better regulating this would be a very good thing. --SB_Johnny talk 15:22, 1 February 2011 (UTC)

I think a discussion on mentorship would be a good idea. Is #2 technically possible? --mikeu talk 18:42, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
Yep, just takes a minor edit to the LocalSettings.php file to add the usergroup and set who can add or remove people to and from the usergroup. For example, you could set it so only 'crats can add people to it, but any custodian could remove it if he/she thinks there's a problem. --SB_Johnny talk 19:06, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
If we go that path, we might as well remove the block button but given them deletion, protection, and import rights. Such a group would be good for professors who would need such for clean up related work for classes but wont need to block. Ottava Rima (talk) 19:23, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
Delinking the tools has some advantages, but on the other hand seeing how someone uses the block button might be good to know before proceeding on to the confirmation (I trust you might have reason to agree about that). The class instructor's toolkit makes sense for other reasons though. --SB_Johnny talk 20:47, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
The ideal would be to give only a crat-like user voted in via a super majority who makes blocks only after community discussion while letting global sysops and stewards to make blocks of IPs which are normally based on cross-wiki vandalism. JWS and Moulton have been asking for that for years. Ottava Rima (talk) 20:54, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
I'm thinking a short pause to clarify the mentorship procedures might be a good idea. --mikeu talk 19:28, 2 February 2011 (UTC)
  • Opposed. When Ottava proposed changing the mentorship system at the beginning of last month, based on my approval as a probationary custodian, I requested examples of where the system had broken down. None were provided. Allegedly, it broke down with me, I recognize that people could believe that. But my actions as a custodian were not reviewed, the community has not examined the situation and made a real determination, and Wikiversity:Community Review/Abd was hopelessly defective. The real issue here is a difference of option between 'crat Jtneill and 'crat SB_Johnny, and that difference of opinion existed before my probationary custodianship. The existing process provides for 'crat approval. It is incorrect to assume, as SB_Johnny did, that a 'crat, under present policy, must approve if a mentor offers. I'm now thinking that SB_Johnny approved, and allowed the whole Ottava business to escalate, precisely to create an appearance of Jtneill error. If, instead, he'd done what was proper for a 'crat (not approve if not personally satisfied that the arrangement was safe), the decision on me would have been made by another 'crat, not him. SBJ was also given the right to yank the bit, and if the community wants it, we could allow any 'crat to do that, on individual discretion. We could allow, as SBJ demanded with Salmon of Doubt, the right of a mentor to immediately withdraw the bit. It's simply not that difficult. Such a withdrawal by a mentor, under existing policy, does not immediately terminate the candidacy, but a mentor, withdrawing, could decide that there was a risk, yank the bit, which is a separate issue. If another mentor appears, then a 'crat could decide whether or not to accept it. --Abd 20:58, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
  • Comment Wikiversity:Recusal covers the problems involved in rash custodian action. I followed that, even more strongly than that proposed policy requires. Probationary custodians have not, historically, been a problem at Wikiversity, rather permanent ones have. On Wikipedia, the RfA process is so onerous that only users who have avoided controversy can pass. Then, once they have passed, they are very difficult to remove. What was unusual about me was that I did not avoid controversy, but my actions, themselves, were not outside the normal discretion of custodians. Until my actions are truly reviewed, assuming that my actions were improper is making judgments without evidence. And a single case makes bad policy. There is a current Community Review attempting to rake Jtneill over the coals for mentoring me and allegedly failing to supervise. This was all, really, moot, because I allowed the entire WV custodian community to supervise; the problem was that no custodian had the guts to take a stand, except, of course, SBJ, who apparently thought that a block of a user whom he had previously blocked for lesser offenses was so horrible that it required immediate reversal, without any consideration of the reasons for the block, which were plain and obvious and necessary for the protection of the wiki. SBJ does not understand Wikiversity:Recusal, himself, and has violated the proposal.
  • My view is that the community failed to monitor the emerging situation, the community failed to intervene, so a few disgrunted users, long disruptive, were able to muster an appearance of consensus, being successfully manipulated by Ottava. It will take time to disentangle this, and changing the policy immediately will, sure, prevent a sysop from mentoring new candidates, but ... the basic problem is that we are desperately short of custodians. I was begging for a neutral custodian to intervene -- even to tell me to stop! or even to short-block me -- and none appeared. Note that the apparent consensus in my CR is quite the same as SBJ's. Will they close consistently? No, there is a prejudice against probationary custodians, but not one based on policy. There is no policy against probationary custodians using tools, including the block tool, and there has been plenty of tool use in the past, not a problem.
  • I used the tools more extensively this period, but there has been no review of my actual tool use, which was extensive. And the CR that removed me did not actually focus on what I'd done as to supposed egregious violations. The whole thing stank. Policy developed out of this, to toss mentorship, will be tossing out one of the best features of the Wikiversity tradition, and I think that's exactly been Ottava's intention. He wants Wikiversity to fail, it's pretty clear, he's angry. SBJ is enabling him. Bad Sign. --Abd 20:58, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
  • Neutral. I will never want to be a custodian, so it doesn't matter to me.--JohnBessa66.pngBessatalk 21:06, 12 February 2011 (UTC)
That's exactly why you should care. Should custodian policy be made by those who "want to be custodians"? That's a setup for attracting those more likely to abuse the tools! No sensible user would "want" to be a custodian, for any personal benefit, it's a pain in the rear, speaking from experience. You get to do a lot of boring work for no thanks, and make one controversial action, you are called on the carpet. Maybe. Even if the action is trivially reversible, as are all custodian actions. Someone who actually wants this, instead of, with some reluctance, merely accepting it, as one might accept being handed a broom and asked if you can help when visiting a friend, is basically crazy. Wikiversity is notable because, with the existing process, you don't have to "pass muster" with some supermajority, all it has taken is a mentor custodian. Which is truly a super idea, as long as the responsibilities of mentorship are better specified. Someone trusted to clean up the university space can recruit a friend to help! On his or her own responsibility, of course. --Abd 21:12, 12 February 2011 (UTC)

Proposed policy

I started to address the lack of a policy with a rough proposal. Ottava Rima (talk) 16:37, 1 February 2011 (UTC)

Looks like a good start, this is what I understood you were suggesting all along and I agree. I also think that SB_Johnny's idea of creating a separate user group for probationary custodians is wise. It doesn't make a good impression if we need to run to Meta to ask for something simple like the removal of bits of a probie. Regards, Guido den Broeder 01:17, 2 February 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for starting it up Ottava, but I was hoping we could brainstorm a bit (perhaps getting "out of the box") rather than moving to a concrete proposal right away. I also agree that going to meta can be a problem, but (IMO) the issue is more that it runs counter to a "no big deal" approach. --SB_Johnny talk 11:29, 2 February 2011 (UTC)
It takes moments for a 'crat to go to meta to request desysopping. I've done it, when we had trouble finding a 'crat, I went to meta to request a steward set a bit. Normally, it's very simple and quick; it takes a minute for a 'crat to set a bit, and if the 'crat has desysop permission, removing it is almost just as quick. Mentors have often required the right to immediate desysop, and, if that's documented with a diff, a steward will honor it. Ottava first desysopped me directly, even contrary to policy, by misrepresenting the situation with me as routine. It was far from routine, that was noticed, but still it didn't change. As long as the desysopping is either supported by permission or is following a discussion that a 'crat closes, it's easy.
Several requests there were very messy, recently, but not because of anything we could fix here, it was because Ottava Rima vigorously protested steward decisions, arguing tendentiously, threatening the stewards, while trying to bypass our process here. That is far from the norm.
It ain't broke. Don't fix it. As to Guido's "good impression" at meta, he's currently blocked there.
While there might be a separate user group, I don't suggest it for probationary custodian. The probationary period is intended as a trial to show how the custodian will be, presumably, when made permanent. If the tools are restricted, there is less of a trial. What's important is to supervise all custodians, probationary custodians are actually the lesser problem.
We might consider a privilege set, or more than one of them, that would allow users, for example, the right to review deleted contributions and revision deletions. Call these "investigators," who can review custodial actions. Further, it's trivial to instruct, say, a probationary custodian to follow certain specific restrictions. If the custodian violates that, it's easy to yank the bit, but, I hope, we'd provide the probationer a proper opportunity to defend the actions. Ahem. --Abd 03:12, 2 February 2011 (UTC)
Since we're brainstorming, how about allowing any email confirmed user to remove this probationary custodian group? I also like the idea of creating more groups than a probationary custodian group. I think the more group options available for Wikiversity, the less need there may be to have as many custodians. Another brainstorm, how about splitting the Custodian group up? Could have a group for importers, a group for blocking/unblocking, a group for deleting/undeleting, and a group that can edit the MediaWiki: namespace. That could allow people to decided what they are willing to help out with and provide a way for the community to decide to what extent they trust people with certain tools without a need for the all or nothing approach that exists now. -- darklama  07:34, 2 February 2011 (UTC)
I think emailconfirmed is a bit too low for the bar (the probability of some sort of odd wheel warring would be around 1:1), but a very-much-no-big-deal "trusted" usergroup might actually be much better than just custodians.
As far as completely breaking up the user-rights, is the idea that people would go through a separate mentor period for each right? --SB_Johnny talk 11:14, 2 February 2011 (UTC)
I didn't have any ideas in mind for how mentoring would work with the tools split up. I guess each group could have separate mentors, mentors could be willing to mentor for multiple groups, and a person could have one or a few mentors depending on who is willing to mentor for each group. I guess parallel mentoring could happen when multiple tools are given at the same time. I guess separate mentoring periods could happen when tools are given at different times. -- darklama  13:56, 2 February 2011 (UTC)
Splitting the tools up a bit sounds like an interesting suggestion, but I'm converned that splitting things up to the degree you described will overly complicate things. --mikeu talk 19:28, 2 February 2011 (UTC)
I agree. There are much more pressing issues. For example, what about Wikiversity:Recusal? What about Wikiversity:Blocking policy? What about Wikiversity:Deletion policy? Wikiversity:Civility is policy, but is, in fact, silent about what is to be done if it isn't respected, beyond measures that may work. And if they don't?
There is no harm, however, in working on a suggested division of the tool set, which could provide flexibility.
But what is really needed is much better guidance for custodians. We have no clear community consensus on what policies a custodian is expected to enforce, and which violations are to be left to discussions, and discussion itself is often disruptive, so there is a tradeoff there. All discussions are to be pursued until everyone gets tired and stops? What? Most of us agree that beating a dead horse isn't a great idea, but how do we know that a horse is dead? Silence? For how long? And on and on.
I was desysopped for what? The discussion actually didn't make it clear. For writing tomes? What policy did that violate? For a block while involved? Again, what policy? I wrote Wikiversity:Recusal and I followed that process, more than adequately. Whatever I did had been done before by other custodians without any serious process being filed. Even two weeks before!
How should desysop discussions be filed, precisely? The Custodianship policy is actually silent. There is a required finding, but that's been ignored, and probably more than once. And I could go on and on. --Abd 20:07, 2 February 2011 (UTC)
And you will, no doubt... Guido den Broeder 20:12, 2 February 2011 (UTC)
Maybe not. --Abd 20:47, 2 February 2011 (UTC)
What "things" are you concerned will be complicated by splitting the tools up? How do you think those "things" will be complicated? -- darklama  21:24, 2 February 2011 (UTC)
Custodians, in general, become more aware of the flow of edits, and the tools work together, generally. It is not necessary to have separate tool sets to have separate user functions. It can be enough that a custodian is restricted voluntarily, to avoid certain kinds of actions, and that can be crafted between mentor and probationary custodian. (and a mentorship agreement can cover multiple mentors and the rights of other community members.) My own view is that, for a possibly controversial custodian, probationary custodianship could be extended indefinitely, the key would be whether or not the mentor is willing (as well as the probationer). If a mentor approves of the actions of the probationer as within reasonable discretion, then we have a way for a mentor to expand their personal capacity. They key to doing this, while remaining safe ,is to provide safeguards, such as, for example, allowing any regular custodian to undo the actions of a probationer, pending review. This would still allow any probationer to take emergency action as seen necessary. A probationer who can't be trusted to at least confine this to reasonable actions, shouldn't be trusted, and neither should the mentor, then, if the mentor has allowed it to continue. If the community looks at how I acted in the recent flap, they will see that very ample safeguards were built in, and, as I see it, the problem was not that I acted outside of proper norms -- I did not -- but that the actions were not specifically reviewed and corrected properly, but were knee-jerk rejected without review of the causes for my actions. The review and correction was continually invited, both before and after acting, and most of my actions were, in fact, supported, all except one. Which was about the most solidly justified action I took! --Abd 22:05, 3 February 2011 (UTC)

London Calling

Wikimedia Meet-Up
Penderel's Oak2009.jpg
Venue:Penderel's Oak
Informal chitchat with no set agenda. We usually have some experienced users and some laptops around so if you want a ten minute lesson in creating tables, doing history merges, etc this is a good venue
CC some rights reserved.svg Wikiversity Image credit: Geni

This coming Sunday, 13th February the next WIkimedia London Meetup will be taking place in Holborn, Central London. If there are any wikiversitans available in London it would be great to see you there.Leutha 08:59, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

Is this Bond? RU shak'n but not stirred?-- 15:59, 12 February 2011 (UTC)

Navigation on the Wikiversity is non-intuitive

Note: I felt bad editing Img-o-reality's original text in the title, so I will fix it--JohnBessa66.pngBessatalk 16:01, 12 February 2011 (UTC)

I find navigating wikiversity non-intuitive. The menu on the left is not very helpful. Wikiversity would be easier to use if the menu system could be modified in some way. The article I had in mind was as elusive as something in the Yellow Pages ( in the UK Yellow Pages one often has to be redirected through several classifications to find the goal of ones search ) and I only found it again because I had added to its talk page.Imageofreality 15:54, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

Perhaps it's a matter of personal taste - I found wikipedia quite intuitive from when I first started. You can add any page to your watch list which means that not only are you informed when it is changed but if you go to "my watchlist" you can find "View and edit watchlist" in small writing at the top, which lets you view everything you have tagged to watch. I have also found that adding categories means I can find pages through "my contributions" as well as linking the page into the relevant category. Perhaps it's also a matter of getting used to handling things in a different way.Leutha 22:59, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
I think it is unrealistic to expect to find Wikiversity (Wv) intuitive. Most projects are solo efforts and as such contained in their own meanings. My guess is that most learners come in to Wv via external search engines, because Wv projects have high SEO. Intuition might come from within collaborative groups whose work connects socially as well as informationally, but the bulk of Wv functions happily and paradoxically at cross purposes despite having an superstructure that is seemingly constantly in a highly-forgiving power struggle. The cross purposes are
  • to create a educational institution extension, or copy, of the Wikipedia (WP) and
  • create a workspace for a truly free wiki, that is, a WP that has no original research (OR) restrictions.
I personally fit into the latter category, and see a future for the Wv as a WMF research branch that can independently help WP editors determine valid sources from those that are simply preserved misconception (such as psychology) or recently-created misconceptions (such as global economy) using OR. In one of my projects, this means proving why tube HiFi is better than solid-state, I am driven to this partly because tube sound is both my cats' preference.--JohnBessa66.pngBessatalk 04:22, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
  • Because electrons in a vacuum tube drift more slowly than electrons moving in solid-state devices, you get more reverb, much like playing music in a "live room" or singing in a shower. Reverb makes the music sound richer. —Moulton 11:31, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
  1. that is what we are trying to prove
  2. nothing to do w/ needless power struggles!
Maybe it is a personal taste what intuition is and its effects.(Intuition: knowledge gained by insight). When the help system (navigation through Wv) gets you in a tailspin, or leads you always to the same answer than this could be called non-intuitive. When this happens to me than I prefer to ask living people. And not surprising most of the time I cannot find the answer there either because if known it would be in the help-system. I was even blamed that I do not accept the help-system.
Why is it unrealistic to expect that Wv is intuitive? Is Wv created and run by non-intuitive people? I don’t think so. To remove all restrictions to enable somebody to perform an original research is quite intuitive but to get the effect that every one with a new knowledge, which needs an original research, has to perform the project solo is not. I don’t think, that the projects end up as solo efforts, are the intention of Wv but that most projects are done by only their inventors are a prove that the system does not lead to collaborative groups. The reason for this is, as I have learned, that there are no places provided for intuitive discussions which would focus on original researches (ideas). Which has the same effect as saying: OK we let you do what you want, but we will not support you until you have proven that somebody agrees (collaborates) with you. Which is in effect the same stand which Wikipedia is taking. New knowledge (ideas) can not inspire or lead to more new knowledge because it is not intuitively seen as a possible source of new knowledge. Which would be the educational institution extension which Wikipedia (and many other ‘scientific’ places) needs.--Martin Lenoar 13:02, 13 February 2011 (UTC)


I've spent about an hour trying to figure out how to connect to #wikiversity.en. Once upon a time, I did figure out how to connect to the main Wikipedia IRC, but that was some years ago.... I registered with Mbbit, as suggested by Firefox, but it dumped me each time I tried to connect. Probably I need an account on No clue how to register such, etc. The help pages are ridiculous.

IRC is *very* user-unfriendly. Is there a page here that gives simple instructions so that any user can readily, and without having prior knowledge, connect to IRC? --Abd 18:19, 13 February 2011 (UTC)

Are you using a Mac by any chance? --SB_Johnny talk 18:30, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
iPhone at the moment, but usually a PC. W2000 Server, or XP Pro, and Firefox on the PCs. Safari, of course, on the iPhone. --Abd 01:17, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
  • I've spent about an hour trying to figure out how to connect to #wikiversity.en.
For starters, the name of the channel is #wikiversity-en (with a hyphen, not a dot). You don't need to register an account. You can use an IRC client or you can use Chatzilla in a browser. —Moulton 01:33, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
Sorry. Typo. I was using the link on Wikiversity:Notices for custodians and it was correct. --Abd 01:54, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
  1. Get ChatZilla for Firefox and restart Firefox.
  2. Clicking #wikiversity should now take you there. -- darklama  01:27, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
Link to addons did not work, ". [3] worked. Then the original link worked... Go figure. I'll let you know what happened after I restart Firefox. --Abd 02:01, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
  • Addons do not work until after they are successfully download, installed, and launched. Only in dreamy flights of fancy do things appear to work before they have been constructed and reified. —Moulton 11:00, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
Notice that the above was added after my comment below. There was no add-in to not work, no expectation of an add-on working without process. I knew that an add-on might be one way to go, but I saved myself a lot of time by asking here. Moulton's comment above about the misspelled link was useless, of course, but Darklama's information was totally helpful, with a minor glitch at first with not responding. Moulton wants to establish and rub in that I'm supposedly given to "flights of fancy." It's part of his agenda which could be labelled "Moulton is Right, Others are Stupid" .... which he pursues with diligence and persistence. When he runs this with highly connected editors from Wikipedia, it pisses them off to no end, thus attracting ... flies, let's say. Garbage. Bad smell. Disruption. Blocks and global locks. All for?
I know the problem of having a very high IQ and being misunderstood, all too well. It gives those with this problem no right to demean and attack and ridicule. Confronting problems, yes, but people are not puppies, and rubbing their noses with shit gets it all over the place. Those with "higher intelligence" -- I'm not sure what this means -- have more responsibility to be careful, not less. --Abd 16:33, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
It worked. I'd have liked to know that it uses my computer login name as a nickname.... but no harm done. I'd also have liked to know that my IP address is broadcast to the world, but no big deal on that either. Might matter to somebody.
Now I have a new way to waste gobs of time. Just what I needed. --Abd 02:54, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
  • There is a reliable way to know in advance what will happen. It's called doing research to find or construct a reliable system model, then exercising the model to discover what the model predicts. NASA used to rely on it in the early days of the Space Program, before they stopped caring if they were about to do something foolish that they were unprepared for. —Moulton 11:06, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
  • What, pray tell, do you seek to learn by wasting time on IRC bantering with Moulton? —Caprice 11:09, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
Learn? I didn't join IRC to banter with Moulton. I already spent about two months exploring Moulton's criticisms of cold fusion research, and his cockamamie theories that boil down to "Even an idiot would have known this was all phony, immediately, so ... you are worse than an idiot and so are all the researchers and ...." This is not the place to examine cold fusion, for sure, but Moulton became a broken record and simply repeated phrases, from the past, on IRC. Value to this? None, as far as I can see. The earlier exploration produced some new information and certain oversights in published material may not be repeated, in future work, as a result. But it was all, in the end, dotting i's and crossing t's, nothing of substance. Done, finished. Unless, of course, Moulton could get his theories published. My position is that they are so obviously bogus, there isn't a snowball's chance in hell of them passing peer review, but ... hey, I'm Not God. --Abd 16:33, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
  • My theories? They're the theories of Faraday, Maxwell, Ohm, Thevenin, Norton, et al, as applied and demonstrated by Elisha Gray, Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, and a host other pioneers from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. —Moulton 16:44, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
No. Moulton has confused his own work with that of the pioneers. The theories I referred to are two: that anomalous heat in electrolytic cell cold fusion research is produced by (1) misting, i.e., the unobserved loss of electrolyte, instead of assumed water vapor, and that (2) anomalous heat is produced by incorrectly estimating input power through missing the effect of current noise caused by bubbles changing the cell resistance. Given the body of experimental evidence, as well as sound theory, both of these theories, while sounding plausible on the face, are preposterous. They predict phenomena that would be easily observed but which are not, they do not consider the actual experimental conditions and results, and they require hosts of electrochemists to make newbie mistakes in their field of expertise. There is no significant misting, as confirmed by the lack of deposits of electrolyte salts that would be produced, and by the similarity of results in closed cells where nothing escapes, and power supply input power has been accurately measured, as confirmed by multiple methods that would not be affected by the noise problem Moulton asserts.
Moulton applies the scientific method to the theories of others, not to his own theories. It's classic.I understand his theories, and have pointed out the problems, including his imagination of evidence from a CBS video that simply was not what he thought it was. He's unmovable, he never admits any errors, he just tries another tack for a while and then comes back to the same bankrupt assertions. It gets him in trouble, all over the place.
In any case, nobody has contradicted the work of those pioneers. Moulton tries to cloak his cockamamie theories with their reputations, and to dominate conversation on IRC with this nonsense. I could explain in detail why Moulton thinks that I and others are neglecting his brilliant insights. But not here. I've spent way too much time on it elsewhere, already, including his blog. --Abd 18:18, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
  • It's not "anomalous heat." It's the expected ohmic dissipation of the AC noise signal. Signal losses in telephony have been measured and modeled since the dawn of telegraphy and telephony. Those signal losses are measured in decibels, named after Alexander Graham Bell. You can measure the AC noise signal with a VU meter. —Moulton 19:12, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
"Anomalous heat" is the term used to refer to apparent heat observed for about 25 years in experiments with highly loaded PdD. It means heat of unidentified origin. Moulton claims to have discovered the origin. His claim has zero experimental support, in spite of the fact that thousands of researchers around the world tried to find the "artifact." His explanations are so simple and obvious that they would have been identified within months. They are armchair hypotheses, based in ignorance of the range of controls that have been used. His understanding of power and noise issues is divorced from practical reality. He imagines that AC power (VU meter) is in addition to "average DC power," when, in fact, if current is constant, and the AC noise is random, as is the case with bubble noise, the AC noise, which is now only voltage noise, does not add to the power, it averages out. Moulton then uses various arguments to pretend that there is no such thing as a constant current power supply, an example of how true theory can be applied, by avoiding realistic quantitative analysis, to come to preposterous conclusions. See the Knol on cold fusion, the comments, for his argumentum ad nauseum, and responses by some with actual experience. And me, of course. Researchers have, in fact, done as he suggested, and have used wattmeters and high speed DSOs to measure the power input, coming up with the sane results as the simpler method he thinks defective, plus these are calorimetric experiments with cold fusion, famous as a chimera. A researcher in the early days might run the same exact experiment three times, with what seemed to be the same conditions and the same materials. The same bubbling, the same bubble noise. So, first two times, the calorimetry shows no excess heat. Which confirms that the power input is being correctly measured. Then, third time, when the current was ramped up, there was substantial excess heat. That is anomalous heat. What caused it? Not error in input power measurement, and not misting: this was closed cell work.
Later it was found that helium is produced in amounts correlated at the "right value" with the excess heat. If it hadn't taken about three years to find that, cold fusion would have been accepted in 1989. But the cat is out of the bag now. It's all over with the mainstream scientific publishers; Moulton's general position is not uncommon, that CF must be impossible, but as far as the experts are concerned, he's lunatic fringe. And if you think I'm blowing smoke, come on over to Cold fusion and we can look at the evidence. Maybe even brew some cups of tea. The ordinary way. I'm not expecting practical CF "reactors." Given that we don't know the mechanism and hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent trying to make CF reliable and scalable. --Abd 23:13, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
  • Symbol wtf vote.svg Bloody Hells Bells — Yes it's uncommon for people to rigorously adhere to the protocols of the scientific method. That's why it's so commonplace for people to embrace a persistent delusional belief that eludes diagnosis for decades, if not centuries. There simply aren't that many competent scientists to go around diagnosing every silly myth and misconception that takes up residence in someone's head. —Moulton 12:59, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
This particular one seems to have deluded the peer reviewers and editors at Springer-Verlag, Elsevier, World Scientific, and Oxford University Press. Moulton, however, has his patent pending BullDog Shield that makes him immune to any "silly myths" and "misconceptions." This is a communication problem that IRC isn't going to fix. Period. I can document every statement I made above. Moulton, however, doesn't need documentation and sources. He just repeats the mantras that his BullDog Shield feeds to him.
Moulton is making, and insisting on, all over the internet, some elementary errors in circuit analysis and application of the scientific method. There must be many here who could diagnose the problem. Determining the reality of Cold fusion is not required. Anyone care to mediate this, so that it doesn't keep filling up the Colloquium with my Favorite Topic? --Abd 15:17, 15 February 2011 (UTC)

(<---) says "In 1989, the majority of a review panel organized by the US Department of Energy (DOE) found that the evidence for the discovery of a new nuclear process was not persuasive. A second DOE review, convened in 2004 to look at new research, reached conclusions similar to the first." Why should anyone - even you - believe that their evaluation of the evidence is inferior to yours"? - WAS 4.250 00:02, 16 February 2011 (UTC)

Cold fusion

Lots of people have opinions about cold fusion, for two decades it was shorthand for Bad Science, but few actually know the history and the science involved. I'm taking the occasion to invite anyone interested to come on over to the resource. Ask questions, correct errors, help make general pages neutral, maybe even do some original thinking or research. I have access to the world's foremost experts in the field, the ones being published under peer review, covered in media, etc.

There is a lot of misinformation that's been published. Above, WAS points to a piece of business from the WP article, some fair-seeming synthesis from the 2004 US DoE review. It's been cherry-picked, there was revert warring over the section for years. There is a little deeper coverage in our top level resource, with links to the review itself, and accessory material. "Conclusions similar to the first" was summary language referring to the recommendations of the reviews. By quoting that together with language from the very negative 1989 review, it is made to seem that the 2004 Review was similarly negative. Not. There is a lot more to explore about this, but this makes a nice vignette about just how bad the Wikipedia article is. --Abd 01:20, 16 February 2011 (UTC)

Wikiversity:Community Review/Ottava_Rima 2

Wikiversity:Community Review/Ottava_Rima 2 has been started, regarding alleged disruptive behavior by Ottava Rima. Per present proposed process, being voted upon, I'm willing to certify this as covering a valid set of issues. --Abd 18:49, 16 February 2011 (UTC)

The page is mostly filled with rants, stuff already covered, and policy violating IRC conversations. There is no "certification" nor are there any actual violations. Abd, you have been criticized for spreading trouble everywhere, including Meta. Why not back off and leave people alone? Ottava Rima (talk) 18:59, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
I did not file this CR, and certainly would not have filed it in that shape. But the filer has the same right to file problematic process as did you, Ottava. I wrote a brief comment, requesting that response not be threaded, and you disregarded that request. I've been "criticized" in many places, but not, generally, by the majority, rather by individuals, often egged on by you, Ottava. I'm not blocked on meta and, I'd say, not even close to being so. You are. Guido den Broeder was unblocked there because of your harassment of the admin who blocked him, but he promptly got himself blocked again. That I'm "criticized" in places is completely irrelevant to your CR, and I had no idea Laura Hale was planning to do this, no part in it, but, Ottava, this is what you do: attack whatever you perceive as might possibly strike some chord with someone. It's highly disruptive. Above, I simply notified the community of the CR. You actually started what became my CR on the Colloquium. Laura seems unaware of much of what you actually have done.
As to "policy violating" IRC conversations, I've long been troubled by the use of privacy policy, with a logged IRC channel, open to the public, with all participants knowing that what they write is visible, being used to cover up and allow bullying and canvassing by IRC. I'd say we should gut that policy for any "official" IRC channel. If it's official, it's public, and logs are public. Laura may be right. In any case, ArbComm on Wikipedia obtained and used an archive from a clearly private mailing list, and published in their proceedings "juicy excerpts" from that list. This was actually illegal, my opinion. But they did it. Far worse than IRC logs from open IRC chat, presented on Wikiversity as to be used, officially, to contact sysops. --20:07, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
I have requested deletion of the page. Ottava is right, this is not a proper CR. Guido den Broeder 19:42, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
And yours were? I think this was an accidental edit, I ran into a bunch of edit conflicts, note lack of sig --Abd 20:17, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
And Ottava's were? --Abd 20:17, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
Oh come on. Stop crying out loud. That's just childish: And yours were?, Now go kick his ass just like a four-years-old kid would do. No. Diego Grez 20:11, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
  • Abd, care to stop disrupting the project and making people feel uncomfortable? You are wrong. Understand, please! For God's sake. I had never seen such a crappy website in my life, this is getting worse than Dramatica. Do you know the reason? THE UNNECESSARY DRAMA you are creating. Diego Grez 20:05, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
Diego, you have a history of jumping in when there is something related to Ottava or filed by him, and knee-jerk agreeing with him. You said you were going to stop that, on meta, but you obviously have not. I didn't file this CR, what I did was to reply in it, briefly, still near the bottom, and then I filed a note that it was open here. A fairly neutral note, far more neutral than the preposterous Topic ban proposal - Abd that Ottava created here in the Colloquium, it's still above, that you immediately voted in. You are transparent, Diego. Just understand that. You can be seen. --Abd 20:14, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
Should I laugh at you? You are being so arrogant. Oh wait, I'm contributing to teh dramah! I'll shut up. Good luck disrupting the project et all, you stupid failing idiots! Diego Grez 20:17, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
Let me translate that into English: Diego made a comment that very incorrectly assumed, on the face, that I was "disrupting the project" and "making people feel uncomfortable" by filing this complex CR on Ottava. When I point out his error, which is the kind of error he's made in many places (shallow, quick comment supporting some goal of his), I'm "arrogant." Yeah! I believe my eyes and I report what they see. A lot of people don't like that. Including, obviously, Diego. Now I know why others were so eager to torpedo his custodianship here. Perhaps they knew him. He was almost approved! --Abd 20:23, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
Let me translate that further: Diego Grez is correct. You are disrupting the project, and by now it is well clear to everyone that you choose to. I expect that we won't need a CR to solve that. Guido den Broeder 20:30, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
Hey, Guido! That was dense! Diego posted as if I'd filed the CR. I had no role in it at all, didn't know it was coming, etc. Now, you repeat this as if you think the same, too! How, exactly, am I "disrupting the project."? Here, Guido, all I did was point to the CR. Read my original comment. Was that disruptive? --Abd 20:10, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

Suffering Succotash

Far be it from me to construct a haphazard theory of mind regarding the principal characters here. But it occurs to me that if there is, in fact, any empathy here, it would be that parties on both sides are in a state of suffering. —Moulton 20:10, 16 February 2011 (UTC)

Best Practices for Educational Dialogues

Over the past few days on IRC, Mike and I have been talking about best practices for educational dialogues. Mike points out that different people have different learning styles or learning orientations. Some people are very flexible and can accommodate a wide variety of dialogue modes. Others are more resistant to conventional didactic methods and require customized modes of interaction. Mike has pointed some recent examples where none of the traditional dialectic modes have been fruitful. Indeed he notes some modes of interaction may even be counter-productive, arousing angst, anxiety, or anger that impedes the learning process.

Neither Mike nor I have yet discovered an effective practice for dialoguing in a productive or constructive way with selected dialogue partners who are not receptive to normative methods of interaction. My own experience is that I consistently fail to engage dialogue partners who are resistant learners of personality type F60.2-8. Indeed my preferred dialogue mode seems to be a litmus test for attracting Cluster/B/Fucks.

So I am open to ideas on how best to devise alternate methods of interaction that don't generate quite so much unproductive drama.

Moulton 14:52, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

I suggest ideas of best practices for educational dialogs be explored in a learning/research project. -- darklama  15:45, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
  • I am more than amenable to that, if there are enough people interested to form a collaborative learning project on the topic. Who else would be interested? —Moulton 15:55, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

Best practices for Autobiographical Monologues

There are situations in which collegial dialogues are not a viable option because one or more of the proposed dialogue partners declines to participate. In these cases, it may be necessary to write autobiographical monologues or personal memoirs in which other individuals who have had a substantial impact on the course of one's life must be referred to in the third person, rather than being present as a collaborating co-author. When writing a personal memoir, what are the best practices for identifying and characterizing absentee individuals who have made a singular impact on the course of one's life? —Moulton 08:13, 19 February 2011 (UTC)

Editorial judgment is required. Algorithms for that purpose are to be made available "real soon now." WAS 4.250 20:59, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
  • I take that to mean that when writing a personal memoir, an author is entitled to write in his or her own natural voice. —Moulton 22:55, 20 February 2011 (UTC)
That is not relevant to the question asked. An author may write in whatever voice the author chooses, as long as it's not libelous. If the author is restrained by ethics, there may be additional considerations. But the question was about identifying and "characterizing" others. And that is a question that is normally addressed and answered by the publisher. And the publisher's legal counsel! If you self-publish, well, you seek your own counsel. You can write any way you like, for your own pleasure, and for private sharing. It's when you publish stuff that it can get dicey. --Abd 00:07, 21 February 2011 (UTC)
  • Thank you for using your own natural voice for dismissing as irrelevant my comment to WAS in the context of his most helpful answer to the question at hand. —Moulton 12:00, 21 February 2011 (UTC)
You're welcome, Barry. Editorial judgment is required. By the publisher. --Abd 17:03, 21 February 2011 (UTC)
  • Do Jeff and Tracy concur that we are each responsible for our own judgment in deciding what to publish and sign our names to? —Moulton 19:51, 21 February 2011 (UTC)

Best practices for addressing fellow scholars

A related issue is how best to address one's fellow scholars, including authors who have published outside of Wikiversity. Please visit the discussion page of the local Privacy Policy to weigh in on the question. —Moulton 15:49, 18 February 2011 (UTC)

The question gets abstracted by Moulton. "Address" implies that one is speaking to the individual (which is ordinarily avoided in academic writing). "Scholar" implies that the individual is participating in some scholastic activity. Speaking to individuals is subject to the customs of the environment and the preferences of individuals. It is not normal in academic circles for participants to use pseudonyms (Such as Moulton, Caprice, Albatross, etc.), but when writing in a field, and referring to the work of others, one will use the name that allows another searching for the work to readily find it. Suppose a woman was born Smith but marries Jones. She published as Smith, a paper. In citing the paper one would cite it as published, Smith. In discussing the paper, one might mention that later work was done as Jones, if the later work was later published that way. But the citation is as-published, and that's how publications are indexed.
"Best practices" implies some standard of determining "best," and, in fact, this depends on context and purpose. If your purpose is to berate, humiliate, and enrage a person, then the "best practice" is to pick whatever name will have the greatest impact for that purpose. What's the purpose? The set of questions is silent on that. The difficulties we have had on Wikiversity over "outing" have to do, not with best academic practice, for which the wiki pseudonym serves best for that, since one can immediately look up all contributions under that pseudonym, but rather with what appear to be attempts to provoke, outrage, berate, and humiliate. --Abd 14:50, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
  • Mr. Lomax, what is your hypothesis with respect to my objectives? —Moulton 15:21, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

RecentChangesCamp 2011 Boston

It would be fantastic to see Wikiversitians attending RecentChangesCamp 2011 Boston, being held on March 11, 12, 13 at Watson Auditorium, Wentworth Hall, Wentworth Institute of Technology: Boston, MA. Historically, RCC has had a number of people attend who are interested in the educational process as it pertains to wikis. We had almost a separate track at RCC 2011 Canberra for educators. It is a great chance to explore these processes, see how they are dealt with on other projects. Beyond that, I've found RCC can really recharge your wiki batteries, make you fall in love with wikis again and remind you why you deal with all this stuff. :) So if you can get out there, it would be great. :) --LauraHale 21:45, 25 February 2011 (UTC)

I hope to be there or be square. --Abd 21:53, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
  • I'll be at the Boston Museum of Science all day Saturday, but I hope to be there at least on Sunday. Possibly Saturday night, if there is anything scheduled. —Moulton 09:47, 26 February 2011 (UTC)
Wish I could (recharging my wiki batteries would be nice), but not a good time of year for travel. --SB_Johnny talk 14:19, 26 February 2011 (UTC)

Wikiversity:Community Review/Pseudonymity and external correspondence

Because these issues keep coming up, I started a Community Review to get better clarity on how we handle these issues. Currently it's a very early stage review, so most of the activity thus far on the talk page. Please join in! --SB_Johnny talk 14:18, 26 February 2011 (UTC)

  • I recommend the (proposed) Academic Steering Committee and/or Academic Review Panel be consulted on this issue. Moulton 15:05, 26 February 2011 (UTC)

Public Domain Resources on Wikiversity

I am wondering what the policy is on developing public domain resources here. That is, if I created a resource (e.g. lesson plan) and as the creator dedicated it to the public domain, then brought it into Wikiversity. Afterwards, could it still be a public domain resource? Given images that are edited by the community can remain public domain, I don't see why not. I did a rough draft of a license for this, built off one from another Wikimedia project where this goes on. --Charles Jeffrey Danoff 21:16, 21 February 2011 (UTC)

Good question, Charles - I'm not sure of the answer, but have wondered about the same thing. There is {{Userpd}} which can be added to a user page. -- Jtneill - Talk - c 21:35, 21 February 2011 (UTC)
Any modification on Wikiversity or any WMF site is licensed as GFDL/CC.BY.SA.3.0 and not Public Domain. To reuse would require attribution of the authors of the modifications. Ottava Rima (talk) 21:48, 21 February 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps surprisingly, it seems that you hit some curious problems when you try to release collaborative works as PD. The main one is that not all legal systems recognize that people can give up their copyright - in many regions copyright can only be removed by specific processes, such as time since first publication. So with a collaborative work such as this, where each contribution needs to be released under a common license, I'd be concerned that you may hit some problems. Indeed, it isn't clear whether or not works created in the US can necessarily be released as PD - some have argued that they can (Lessig says yes, but only with difficulty), but others have said that they can't.
Thus the use of CC/GFDL - you may not be able to release works as PD, but you can license them for free use, which isn't identical but overcomes most of the problems while still allowing open, PD-like use of the work. An alternative has been to release the work as PD, but to also specifically outline the free use side of things, so that where PD isn't possible the free use terms come into play instead. From memory I think that this is what is going on with images, especially with Commons and the CC0 1.0 license.
I would also have some concern about tagging articles as PD, as when you make your edit you agree to release your work as CC/ GFDL, not PD. So while the article may state that additions are PD, the agreement when you save won't. I'm not sure where that would leave us, but it seems like a potential concern.
On the plus side, copying PD works here doesn't change the PD status of the original text. :) Any comments above only relate to derived or new works. - Bilby 22:51, 21 February 2011 (UTC)
Jtneill, Ottava Rima & Bilby thx for your thoughtful responses raising new dimensions to this idea I had not yet considered. I will say this discussion thread from the multi license PD template seems to give support against my ideas. In response though, I would first give these three pieces of evidence in regards to developing IDENTIFIED pub dom resources here on Wikiversity:
1) wikipedia template for user public domain contributions
2) Mediawiki PD help project
3) Wikipedia's "Granting work into the public domain".
All are instances from our sister sites where (1) users are allowed to make public domain contributions and (2) an entire collaborative project made public domain. Furthermore (3) says

"All text on Wikipedia is submitted under the GNU Free Documentation License. Contributors can choose to multi-license their works under other licenses, and users can then choose which license to accept. Many people have also put public domain deeds on their uploaded content or their user pages. Given the above, it is up to any user of the content to decide whether they consider a public domain deed to be sufficiently legally safe."

Also, in the links it has:

A private e-mail from the U.S. Copyright Office sent to User:Dcoetzee that says, among other things, "Please be advised that one may not grant their work into the public domain. However, a copyright owner may release all of their rights to their work by stating the work may be freely reproduced, distributed, etc."

Possible Implementation: For a PD resource, add a notice akin to the top of the Mediawiki PD help pages, including the advice from the US Copyright office. If a user contributes whose already released all their contributions PD its fine. For other users, assuming the notice is clear enough, they should play aware of their release or stay away if they're not comfortable. --Charles Jeffrey Danoff 07:08, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
I think when a person releases all rights to their work, they also allow other people the right to choose any conditions they want for derived works. I think if there are conditions for derived works, than people are not really releasing all their rights. I think releasing all rights works for individuals because other people can continue to contribute and have their contributions be CC-BY-SA licensed.
I think PD help more or less works at MediaWiki because the conditions are guaranteed to be there for any page in the namespace. However I am uncertain whether the situation is clear enough to guarantee there won't be problems down the road. I think there is a risk that the Help must fall back to being CC-BY-SA licensed if the situation is unclear, which I am comfortable with.
I think you can't guarantee a person won't create a new page without the notice with the intention for it to be part of the overall work. I think you can't guarantee a person won't remove the notice from a page, and other people won't have contributed in the mean time. I think if there is no notice whether from the start or due to being removed by someone, changes would fall back to being CC-BY-SA licensed as that is the only clear conditions set forth on the project.
I have seen debate on this topic play out time and again at other projects without any conclusive results. What do you hope to gain by requiring everyone release all their rights? What conditions of CC-BY-SA do you not like? -- darklama  13:56, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
I think we need to customise MediaWiki:Copyrightwarning or MediaWiki:Copyrightwarning2 to be different for these pages, saying that 'by saving, you agree to release your changes into the public domain'. John Vandenberg 03:14, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
That would violate the standard agreement users have with the WMF when registering - you cannot force anyone to adopt anything but the GFDL/CC-BY-SA.30 license. Individual projects trying to rewrite the rules would also run afoul of many things, especially when the WMF legal counsel is not notified first of any proposal regarding it. Ottava Rima (talk) 03:27, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
It appears Wikiversity is simply not the place for editing public domain documents. Naturally, I can still upload them if I so choose. I have no "problems" with the CCASA, I just find it annoying at times if I want to mix something that's CCASA with something that's CCA and something public domain in a lesson plan or something and then its complicated how to re-release it. Whatever though, I can figure it out. Wikiversity is an incredible community and there's no reason to complicate things un-necessarily with this kind of worrying. For now I am a editor, delightedly sharing his work CCASA. Thx everyone for your feedback. --Charles Jeffrey Danoff 06:31, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
p.s. if you wouldn't mind doing something that improves the community with confusing anything, please add your support to enabling the "cite this page" feature above. --Charles Jeffrey Danoff 06:31, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
There are two wikis with clearly defined missions for hosting public domain and other released content: Wikisource, which handles and translates (especially old) texts, and the Commons, which hosts "multimedia files", aka images, pictures, etc. I'm not sure how, but one can release one's contributions into the public domain in the United States (e.g. commons:Template:PD-user-w and other PD templates there). Wikiversity, being a brand new wiki resource to the previously defined/existing stage, with barely a mission carved out for Wikimedia, is a special case I suppose, so your contributions might belong at one of our other projects. TeleComNasSprVen 07:10, 23 February 2011 (UTC)

The primary mission of Wikiversity, as a pseudo-collaborative learning community, is to custom craft educational resources designed to be consumed by just one person. It is well known from the research of Maggie Martinez that Resistant Learners require custom crafted materials designed specifically for a single oddball individual's idiosyncratic learning style. —Barsoom Tork 07:23, 23 February 2011 (UTC)

What Ottava Rima has written above is rubbish. Each project is able to select its own license. e.g. Wikinews changed the entire project to 'Creative Commons Attribution 2.5' in September 2005. Each work on Wikisource has a tag on it which tells the reader which license it is covered by. If Wikiversity wants to use a different license for a few pages, it would be appropriate to discuss this on mail:foundation-l in order that the wider community was aware and can provide opinions or legal advice. John Vandenberg 08:57, 26 February 2011 (UTC)

The idea of discussing this with the foundation mailing list is intriguing and something I'll consider John. For now an experiment within this context: File:How-to Upload a Lesson Plan to Wikiversity.pdf. I still do stand by what I said earlier in response to DarkLama and work done within these confines should be CCASA (uploaded work differs), but regarding the US Copyright office's stance on creators sharing works via the public domain I am confused. Cf. Scroll down to (g) of the office's Code of Federal Regulations: Section 201.26 --Charles Jeffrey Danoff 07:23, 3 March 2011 (UTC)


The welcome area of the Colloquium invites questions or suggestions about Wikiversity but it is not clear where questions or suggestions can be placed. Perhaps this could be rectified somehow. The observation that I wanted to make is that it is not clear how to find articles within wikiversity...when you are on a page it does not seem to show the hierarchy of folders that the page one is on is within. I added to a talk page, but the only way I can find the article that the talk page was discussing is to look at my own contributions and find it that way. My terminology may be incorrect. (The preceding unsigned comment was added by Imageofreality (talkcontribs) .)

New questions and suggests are placed at the bottom of Wikiversity:Colloquium in their own section. If you want to respond to an existing comment, with questions or suggestions, you can respond underneath/after the comment you wish to respond to, or if other people have also responded to the comment underneath/after those comments. If you were thinking, the Colloquium is structured and organized with a proper spot for everything, relax there isn't. -- darklama  12:33, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
First point: it is quite helpful if you can finish a posting with four tildes (~~~~) as this automatically generates a signature and date stamp. Second as regards your question, at the top of the page you will find a series of tabs: It is here that the talk pages are linked to the resource pages. Click the tab and you're there. One of the interesting features of wikiversity is that it does not use a hierachical filing system. users link pages together in a variety of ways. If there is a category page at the bottom of the article you can click on this to see other items so categorised. I agree, I think it would be useful to have more facilities for those just starting out using a wiki like wikiversity.Leutha 12:37, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for the replies...I replied to Leutha's points on my user talk page where I also found them.Imageofreality 15:38, 9 February 2011 (UTC)