Wikiversity:Colloquium/archives/January 2012

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Circular references found in category of EN.WV

Some circular category link are found in the EN.WV :

> Academia > Higher education > Academia > Research > Wikimedia research > Wikimedian Demographics > Wikimedian Demographics/Response categories > WMDGS/Citizen of Belgium

> Internal link templates > Internal link templates > Internal link templates

> Main category > Main category > Main category

> Marine engineering > Ocean engineering > Marine engineering > Offshore engineering

> Multiple linear regression/Data analysis tutorial/Exercises > Multiple linear regression/Data analysis tutorial/Exercises > Multiple linear regression/Data analysis tutorial/Exercises

> Pharmacology > Pharmacology > Pharmacology > Pharmacology of the PNS

> Psychological testing > Psychometrics > Psychological testing

> Rome > Roman history > Rome > Roman people

Crochet.david 10:46, 2 January 2012 (UTC)

You are invited to register for the Wikiversity Assembly

  • The Wikiversity:Assembly has been established as a technique for developing reports on topics of import for Wikiversity administration. The Assembly is not a decision-making body, per se. Rather, it is designed to create or discover or estimate consensus, through focused, facilitated, thorough deliberation. Assembly reports may be referenced in regular Wikiversity discussions, but will not directly control outcomes. Where full consensus is not found, minority reports may be issued.
  • I invite you to register for the Wikiversity:Assembly by adding your user name to the Wikiversity:Delegable proxy/Table.
  • Registering for the Assembly creates no specific obligation, but does consent to direct communication as the Assembly may determine is appropriate. You may opt out of such direct communication by adding "no messages" to the Table when you register, in the user comment field, but it is unlikely that the default (communication allowed) will create burdensome traffic for you.

You are invited to name a proxy

  • When you register for the Assembly, you may optionally designate a "proxy."
  • I suggest that you nominate, as a proxy, the user whom you most trust to participate positively in a Wikiversity discussion if you are unable to participate yourself. The proxy will not be voting for you in any process. Rather, the proxy will be considered to loosely represent you, as a means of estimating probable large-scale consensus based on small-scale participation, in the event that you do not personally participate.
  • If you name a proxy, you will be consenting to direct communication with you by that proxy. If a named proxy accepts the proxy, you become, as long as you maintain the nomination (you may change it at any time), the "client" of the proxy, and by accepting, a proxy has consented to direct communication from the client.


This is a pilot project. Volunteer clerks are needed. Please ask! --Abd 01:55, 30 September 2011 (UTC)

It is probably worth noting that this process currently doesn't have community approval, and that there have been some who have spoken against it. On those grounds while it may be viable as a pilot, as proposed, it should be mentioned that decisions reached via this process do not, at this point in time, carry any particular weight.
Personally I'm opposed to this process, and to the use of proxies (especially in this form), as they seem to me to be a very poor fit with the system here. But I guess we'll see how things go when discussion is opened up on the proposal. Or is this intended as the discussion? I'm a bit unsure due to the wording above. - Bilby 07:19, 30 September 2011 (UTC)
The Assembly doesn't make "decisions," except as to its own process. So of course the "decisions" don't carry any particular weight. Some have "spoken against," more have spoken for, perhaps. Hard to tell right now. As it stands, the Assembly itself is in WV space. It could be moved to user space, or even off-wiki. It doesn't matter. Community "approval" hasn't been sought, because what would be approved isn't yet visible; this is a trial of a process, based on many years of research in social structure, and study of peer organizations that are successful. No, this notice on the Colloquium is intended as an invitation, to participate, not as a decision-making process.
Notice that participation is of two kinds: direct, which takes some time, obviously, and indirect, through a designated "proxy," which would normally take very little time. In the field, other terms than "proxy" are sometimes used, the Swedes used "advisor," as I recall (w:Demoex). "Proxy" is accurate, but can be misleading, because the proxy in this system does not actually take any binding actions on behalf of the client, but is only considered to loosely "represent" the client, wherever the client can't or doesn't directly participate.
There is an open "issue," on Assembly process itself. Any user registered as a member of the Assembly may start an "issue."
The goal of the Assembly is the negotiation and discovery of deep consensus. When full consensus cannot be found, Assembly reports may show an estimation of the level of consensus found. Such negotiations, in standard consensus process, take place between consenting participants, with facilitation when conditions are difficult. The Assembly is designed to set this up in a way consistent with wiki traditions.
Assembly reports only represent the opinions (and gathered evidence) of those who participate. They do not bind the community, rather, they represent that portion of the community which "shows up." Delegable proxy, if used by participants, allows a small group to roughly represent a large group. Small-scale discussion is generally necessary to find deep consensus, but the paradox is that the ad-hoc composition of small-scale wiki discussions can be very warped from true representation of the community, most of which may be completely unaware that an issue is under consideration. This is a proposed solution for that problem. It has wider implications. --Abd 17:15, 30 September 2011 (UTC)
Give it a shot, I guess, and see if there is support. Personally, I won't be supporting any system that uses delegable proxy at any point in the future, as it goes against basic principles of consensus building in Wikiversity, and I have a hard time supporting a discussion system that excludes people from participating on the basis of the opinion of a single person, who also raises the issue, as that also seems to go against basic principals. But perhaps others will disagree with me. Good luck with it. - Bilby 23:15, 30 September 2011 (UTC)
While I suspect that Bilby is making assumptions about how delegable proxy will be used, I thank Bilby for the welcome. Nobody is excluded from participation overall on the basis of the opinion of a single user; that applies only to assembly subpages if they are in user space, i.e., they are somewhat equivalent to a user talk page, and it's well-established that users may exclude from their user space. It is standard deliberative process that a chair may order a member considered disruptive excluded from a meeting. What the Assembly proposal hopes to do is to create, simultaneously, focused discussion among mutually congenial participants, but overall results that are maximally inclusive.
The earliest known mention of the method is by Lewis Carroll, who suggested what recently became known as Asset Voting, as a device for producing accurate proportional representation without the need for a party system. --Abd 23:38, 30 September 2011 (UTC)
Let me echo Bilby: "I'm opposed to this process, and to the use of proxies (especially in this form), as they seem to me to be a very poor fit with the system here." As Abd says - "It has wider implications". As for Lewis Carroll, I am more familiar with his Caucus Race], and sometimes wonder whether that has laso had an impact on how things are done on wikiversity!Leutha 08:29, 1 October 2011 (UTC)
Lewis Carroll was Charles Dodgson, and his pamphlet on w:Single transferable vote was brilliant, anticipating problems that did not become practical realities until much later. His solution to the "exhausted vote problem" -- Asset voting -- was far in advance of the thinking of the time. Subsequently, he's been recognized as probably the foremost analyst of voting systems of his time. I'm not trying to establish this here, but the "wider implications" do have to do with what has been elsewhere proposed as a generic solution to the problem of government. Academia is appropriate for experiments like this. Where else? (Lewis Carroll ran voting system experiments with decisions at Oxford. They produced advanced results.) --Abd 17:47, 1 October 2011 (UTC)
I'll echo Bilby and Leutha as well. If the recent controversies about "welcoming" are related to proxies, they might be causing trouble already. --SB_Johnny talk 10:17, 1 October 2011 (UTC)
Were I preferentially inviting new users to sign up for the Assembly, there could be a connection. I haven't, and I'm not, and there is no connection. What does this have to do with "spammers and vandals"? There has been one user, in particular, who learned about the Wikiversity Assembly and who came here to participate in the experiment. Another user with substantial wiki experience also came for that purpose as well. That's all. These are people interested in voting systems, and I hope they will help develop resources here on that topic, where I'm also an expert. --Abd 17:47, 1 October 2011 (UTC)

I am also opposed to the assembly and the naming of proxies. I think if anything the quality, meaning, and usefulness of consensus could be diminished by it. Comments where people state agreement with another person's views without a clear explanation of what they agree with or why they agree are generally ignored as "me too" comments when considering consensus, which I think the "proxies" setup seems to encourage. Some people might even be inclined to point to the proxies list to justify why someone's comments should always be ignored when considering consensus since they have clearly indicated a prejudice towards supporting certain people. Other people might be willing to go as far as calling the proxies "meatpuppets", and/or the proxied "meatpuppets" for the proxy. The result of anyone volunteering to list themselves might be that their comments carry less or no weight in discussions, or their comments are assumed to have been made in bad faith. -- darklama  12:19, 1 October 2011 (UTC)

  • I'm opposed to this too. I'm not sure how it would improve the consensus building system here in Wikiversity: it would just give users who were the proxies of inactive users more clout than they should have in discussion. S Larctia 13:22, 1 October 2011 (UTC)
"More clout"? How? It has not been stated or explained how delegable proxy information will be used. The usage is actually up to anyone who wants to be advised, and such people may choose their own methods of analysis. If the issue is ultimately to be decided by the preponderance of the arguments, delegable proxy is only useful in terms of understanding how deeply the community is represented in the discussion. In that context, and for the Assembly, then, "me too" arguments become irrelevant, for the cogency of an argument does not depend on how many people support it. However, if, for example, an issue is of importance to active users and not to inactive ones, then someone analyzing the comments may use delegable proxy by devaluing all comments (whether direct or "by proxy") based on the participation level of the users participating or represented. This is already done, informally (and unreliably). --Abd 17:36, 1 October 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps it would be helpful to concisely state or explain the proxies before asking people to volunteer as clerks. The natural language meanings of "delegable" and "proxy" combined with the diagram you're using certainly suggest a system of representative governance. --SB_Johnny talk 09:36, 2 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Comment There are two parts to this proposal:
    1. Delegable proxy. Delegable proxy does not mean much at the moment, but allows the process to be scalable. The history of organizations suggests that once the scale becomes large, there are powerful forces that arise to prevent full participatory democracy. The objections above relate to some imagined usage of delegable proxy that is actually contradictory to the proposal.
    2. Facilitated consensus formation or discovery. Wikipedia largely ignored this, but a whole art of consensus negotiation developed in the latter 20th century. It requires skill and motivation. Some people are good at it and some are not. Bottom line, with most people, it takes substantial discussion, focused by a facilitator, to find deep consensus. What is missing from standard wiki process is that facilitation. Wikipedia guidelines have actually suggested refactoring Talk pages for clarity. It's almost never done, because who does it? I did it on WP with a Talk page discussion that was highly contentious. It worked. The conclusion still stands, over two years after I was banned from the entire, overall topic.
  • In the Assembly concept, as proposed, there is a default facilitator: the person who has proposed a discussion. That person may "name" a facilitator who is skilled (as "clerk"), or can attempt to do it themselves, or can allow a free-for-all, or can dominate the process, excluding others arbitrarily. There is a safeguard against unskillful facilitation, on the one hand, or narrow-minded exclusion of contrary opinion, on the other: independent "committees." Ideally, the Assembly clerk is skilled at facilitation of consensus, or at least at neutral presentation of a variety of opinions or reports, and will manage an overall report if there is more than one committee on a topic. I do have substantial experience at this, both on and off-wiki, and I could point to results on Wikipedia, as well as here, but it's simpler, I'd suggest, to watch what I do. I've continued to learn, and whatever mistakes I've made in the past might not be repeated. My goal is, however, that I be replaced. I asked for volunteer clerks. They need not be skilled, but I -- and the community -- will train them as that is allowed. They need not be custodians, but it would be great if they have experience with off-wiki consensus process as well as wiki realities. --Abd 17:27, 1 October 2011 (UTC)
    • I really don't understand how this would improve the functioning of Wikiversity at all. I don't really understand what you are suggesting, but it's certainly quite worrying. Your edits are not a model of consensus building - you got banned over at Wikipedia for tendencious editing. I don't know where this "deep consensus" comes from apart from the POV of the "facilitator". This at worst will do serious damage to Wikiversity's credibility, and at best will be a bureaucratic waste of everyone's time. S Larctia 10:47, 2 October 2011 (UTC)
      • Do we really want to explore, here, how I came to be banned on Wikipedia? I will simply state a technical fact: I was banned for block evasion, not for tendentious editing as such. I'll state it this way: I was banned for following w:WP:IAR; none of what I was doing directly damaged Wikipedia. In some cases, intemperate administrative response, exceeding the bounds of what Wikipedia policy prescribes, did cause some damage. Because what I was doing was quite open and documented, which is not usual for block evaders, this was observed by responsible administrators, and they did respond to adjust policy in at least one case, and the history stands for future analysis and increased understanding. That was my goal.
      • As to my edits not being a "model of consensus building," we'd have to look at long-term effect. Many times, in the short run, individuals have objected to my "edits." However, the long-term results have generally been in line with what I was proposing and implementing. "Deep consensus" has a meaning. Consensus, as I use the term, is not an absolute, it is a measure of the support that some proposal enjoys, particularly upon careful consideration. "Shallow consensus" could represent hasty and incautious consideration by only a few, and typically represents less than full agreement, often much less than such. Full consensus is possible in small groups, though it often requires facilitation, as mentioned. The consensus is most certainly not the opinion of the facilitator; facilitators may, under some circumstances, recuse entirely from expressing their personal opinions. "Deep consensus" is not necessarily "full consensus," there might remain some objection, but the goal of consensus facilitation remains full consensus.
      • I expect to set up, shortly, demonstrations of how the Assembly can work and can interface with the "general community." What I've seen above is anticipation of problems that will not actually arise, or that, if they do arise, have ready solutions. I will be inviting participation by all. However, if anyone feels that this is a waste of time, they are welcome to avoid this, and they will not lose any rights as a result. --Abd 18:27, 10 October 2011 (UTC)
        • Implementation software -- It seems to me that this would benefit from new software to assure that the debatable issues are forwarded via email to those who need to know what decisions their proxys are making on their behalf on specific issues. Those who trust the proxys do nothing; those who think they need to contribute individually will pull forward to the dotted line, and those who don't like what the rep is doing...
(My view of democracy is that it comprises of those who show up and do the work; not exactly anarchy, but not what we commonly get from government either. I am attempting to define it in aboriginal terms where ancient Athens succeeded by preserving this natural construct as was able to establish western democracy, only to be trashed by oligarchy that preserved the violence of the endless array of family-led ancient empires to raise to the levels of current fascism. w:Talking Stick & w:Talking Circle)--JohnBessa66.pngBessatalk 19:13, 17 October 2011 (UTC)

I am a bit late joining this conversation, but too would like to echo Bilby's remarks: "I'm opposed to this process, and to the use of proxies (especially in this form), as they seem to me to be a very poor fit with the system here." Again it is all non-binding, so in some sense do what you like, but I don't see this process working out well. 02:54, 21 October 2011 (UTC)

In the past I've suggested a similar system in the past for the writing of legislation, so I definitely support the proxy concept. I'd _like_ something a bit more complicated, in that you could name multiple proxies and cast your vote with them only if they all agree (or abstain). Also, I'd like somehow for "concurring opinions" to arrange formally to be counted together, while contributing a set of somewhat different positions like they do on the Supreme Court. In any case this sounds like a great start. One aspect which bothers me a little with the one-proxy system is that you end up in looped systems (I like you, you like me) or systems which end, or perhaps worst, systems which go on through 20 different people and if the Assembly is poorly attended on some issue, your proxy might come out light-years away from where you intended. I think I'd prefer more proxy designations by the single person and fewer by delegation. Wnt 17:04, 9 December 2011 (UTC)

Proposal for immediate moratorium re speedy deletion for "non-free but legal" issues

It's obvious to me that there is a conflict between three views:

  1. Policy should be enforced. Exemption Doctrine Policy prohibits X.
  2. X benefits the wiki and the community.
  3. Users expect X is allowed, from a general sense of what benefit is.
  4. Actual practice has been usually tolerant, allowing users to do what they want, outside of actual copyright violation.

We have a user and a probationary custodian (now up for permanent) advocating and acting for strict enforcement. I've seen situations like this on Wikipedia cause huge disruption. Each side is, of course, "right." So what to do?

Cleaning up Wikiversity is a huge task, and these two users have taken it on, and have been working on it diligently. The problem is that the policy doesn't really match community expectations, there are lots of files where users obviously expected they would be okay. As the policy is being interpreted, "fair use" is being applied very strictly and narrowly, far beyond the requirements of law, and, possibly, even beyond the stricter standards that the WMF board resolution on non-free files may require -- it allows the individual wikis to write their own Exception Doctrine Policy, with "limited exceptions" to the global WMF resolution. The WMF doesn't define "limited" in a way that prevents us from carving out limited exceptions that serve our community.

So: let's suppose that many files are going to be deleted. Existing process suggests that contested deletion goes through WV:RFD, which is a time-consuming process. Because the board resolution being "enforced" here is over four years old, and the sky did not fall, many of these files have existed for a very long time, there is no emergency.

Let's encourage those, who obviously want to do the work, to categorize files according to deletion reasons, according to specific file situations.

Let's declare a moratorium on actual deletions, but proceed with the categorization that will make deletion simple. The hard part is finding the files and considering them, looking for What Links Here, considering fair use rationale, all that. Pushing "Delete" is very fast. Adding a category to a page is an ordinary editorial decision, and the goal is adequate categorization, not "deletion." Deletion can then be decided for categories, after we know what we are actually talking about, how many files will be deleted, the impact, etc.

Let's do this in an orderly fashion, so that our decisions are coherent and consistent with what the community wants. Proceeding as we have, with many individual deletions taking place with little supervision, produces erratic results.

Those doing the cleanup won't have to waste their time justifying each and every deletion. Categorization, such as "non-free file, lacks fair use rationale" should be relatively uncontroversial.

This moratorium should not affect illegal content. If there is no possible claim of fair use which could be asserted for a non-free file, it should be immediately deleted, the only other requirement should be notice to the user, if the user is a registered editor. This moratorium should also not interfere with WV:RFD, where decisions may continue to be decided on an individual basis. This is only about massive speedy deletions without clear community consent.

Then, as our discussions take place on clarifying our policy and getting the community on board it, we will have meat to chew, real cases to discuss, instead of trying to anticipate all situations. We will end up with a better policy, a cleaner wiki, and a happier community of users, than we will get if we only proceed with the status quo.

I am accordingly creating a poll below. Thanks for considering this.


How about giving uploaders more time to find a solution by extending the wait period after notification from 7 days to 30 days? How about insisting that the notifier let the uploader know what solutions can be undertaken that will allow uploads to be kept? While 7 days has been common practice, Wikiversity's EDP and the License Resolution doesn't mention a specific waiting period before deletion of non-exempt works. Having a finite period to work in should help to reduce any doubts that this might become an infinite stall too. -- darklama  23:20, 20 October 2011 (UTC)

Maybe this would work if we had some templates that automatically added files to speedy deletion categories after the set period of time. I came across several files today where the uploader had been notified a year ago, but the custodian never came back after 7 days, whereas the speedy deletion list seems to get clean out more regularly. Thenub314 23:26, 20 October 2011 (UTC)
I'm happy to slow things down a bit more, but I share Thenub314's concern that based on past evidence that this has resulted the the work being dropped. That said, the problem is now sufficiently reduced that I'd be confident that there won't be too much disruption. Two weeks ago there were over 200 files tagged as non-free, and only about a dozen were compliant with the EDP. A number of those that weren't compliant proved to be misstagged, and have since been moved to the correct license. Quite a few were easily replaceable with free equivalents. And the biggest group were files that could readily be given a rationale, in which case one was added. A minority of files had enough problems that deletion seemed the best choice, and in a few cases that has been contested, with a couple of errors made (mostly by me).
That leaves about 70 files which are undergoing more careful consideration, as listed at Wikiversity talk:Uploading files/Fair use audit and categorized for discussion. I suspect most of these will be kept with rationales added, and some will be deemed replaceable (and replaced, where possible). I think we may have to delete the ones without sources, especially when uploaded by now inactive users, but we can be careful with all of these now that the list is more manageable. Most of the remaining questionable files also relate to a small number of projects, which should also help reduce disruption.
Deletion has never been the first choice in this process, (or even the second or third choice), and the aim was to keep disruption down to a minimum. But once we're in a situation where we're compliant with our policy, the act of maintaining compliance will be much easier. Or so I hope. :) - Bilby 01:30, 21 October 2011 (UTC)
Thenub312 is probably thinking of templates at Wikibooks that adjust which category a page is placed in based on time lapsed, which make maintenance there easier. -- darklama  02:22, 21 October 2011 (UTC)
That is what I was thinking, but I was never sure on the technical side of things how that worked. But the status sounds very encouraging. Keep up the good work (well that is my opinion anyways). 02:33, 21 October 2011 (UTC)
I've created Category:Pending deletions, and files have already shifted there based on the current 7 days criteria. -- darklama  21:33, 29 October 2011 (UTC)

Poll on certain speedy deletions

Should a moratorium be declared on speedy deletions for inadequate fair use rationale, or legal but non-free usage, pending review of policy and practice, allowing the work of categorization to proceed, still allowing non-controversial deletions?


  1. Symbol support vote.svg Support. As proposer --Abd 19:43, 20 October 2011 (UTC)


  1. Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose. Any files which should be deleted under our exemption doctrine policy should continue to be deleted until there is consensus against the current exemption doctrine policy. While I know that you, Abd, are opposed to the current state of affairs, it reflects a global policy consensus across Wikimedia projects, and there's generally agreement among users here that our current policy is appropriate. --Simone 20:06, 20 October 2011 (UTC)
  2. Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose. The proposal is much to vague about what non-controversial deletions are. Not clear what is allowed and what is not, and this will only turn into an infinite stall on the work of cleaning up images actually getting done. Let the work continue while people are excited to do it. Thenub314 20:08, 20 October 2011 (UTC)
  3. Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose. The policy has been in place for years, and exists on the basis of a WMF board resolution. It has been erratically applied, which is why we're working to bring the media in line with policy, but by its nature, deleting media which clearly doesn't meet the EDP seems non-contraversial by default, especially if done with proper notification to uploaders and the provision of assistance to update the files prior to deletion. - Bilby 22:07, 20 October 2011 (UTC)
  4. WTF? We've had years to do this the "slow way", and have somehow failed. Git'r'dunn. --SB_Johnny talk 22:38, 20 October 2011 (UTC)
We've had years to do nothing, indeed. Doing nothing is slow, for sure, but is not "the slow way," because there are many slow ways, and most don't work at all. Slow and sure, though, wins the race.
What I can see, and it's obvious, is that the "fast way," i.e., some admin just starts enforcing the policy with large numbers of deletions, can create strong dissatisfaction, with little actual benefit to the wiki. Who is benefiting from all these deletions? Certainly not Wikiversity! Few, if any, of the problem deletions lead to any improvement at all. There is no question but that they cause some level of damage, the question is how much, and compared to how much benefit. --Abd 00:56, 22 October 2011 (UTC)

Some observations and proposals

Over the past several months I've been observing and occasionally contributing to Wikiversity's pages on economics. Unfortunately I've noticed (rather quickly) some very dismal facts:

  1. There are almost no contributions. I have every economics page on my watchlist and there is about one edit every week or so. These are almost always something very minor (categories, typos) or Marshallsumter furiously editing Dominant group/Economics in his (IMHO) strange obsession with those two words.
  2. In the event of an actual edit of substance, the contributor never stays long to follow up and create a decent lesson.
  3. Almost all the pages (about 170) are, in short, totally useless. They are either stubs, Wikipedia copies, personal essays/rants, tables of contents, or useless "lessons" with a couple of incomplete encyclopedic facts and little to no explanation. Mostly, though, they are just stubs.
  4. The vast majority of these pages haven't had a major edit in 2-3 years or more.
  5. A general observation: a lot of the lengthier courses are created by professors at brick-and-mortar institutions for their own classes.

I suspect there is a similar trend in other schools. Of course, I've tried to improve the situation by contributing myself, but I'm held back by lack of confidence in my writing skills and expertise. Building essentially an entire school from the ground up is a daunting task for a wiki-noob like me. It would be better, I think, to start small. But that's rather difficult when everything is so barren.

The problem comes down to a lack of contributors. Frankly, most content on Wikiversity is not very useful. This means there are few readers. Few readers means few contributors, which means little content. It's a catch-22 situation. So I'd like to propose some ideas for getting readership up:

Featured work-in-progress. This would be a call-to-arms each week to bring a specific project up to a high level of quality. Candidate projects should have a decent amount of work done on them already, be of general interest, and have a specific set of goals/tasks to achieve during the week it is featured. The simpler the tasks the better. The purpose of this is to draw new editors in with something easy to do while also building up genuinely useful resources that attract new readers. A featured work-in-progress box would go on the main page right beside the featured project box (picture of the day is largely useless, so move it down.)

Get rid of the cruft. There are many, many pages which contain no real content, have not, and will not be expanded any time soon. The will and means to do so is simply not there. In the meantime they pollute the mainspace and category pages while reflecting badly on Wikiversity's quality. There was a discussion a while back (2008, I think. I can't find the page now) about whether or not to delete these pages. It was decided that they should be kept, just in case. At the time these pages would have been somewhat fresh, but it has now been 4 years. Most of the pages are still without content, their creators long gone. These need to be dealt with, maybe through archival if not deletion. I would be willing to do the work myself if there is consensus but no custodian wants to take up the job.

Wikifying brick-and-mortar courses. There are a lot of university professors who have used Wikiversity as a place to host their course content. Unfortunately, that content is usually designed specifically for the course. There should be a concentrated effort to take this material and make it more suitable for a wider Web audience. A large part of this would probably involve breaking week-by-week lessons into a more specific, topic-oriented format. More generally, we need to address the fact that for the larger lifetime of a course there will not be a dedicated instructor. For these courses to bring in new readers in the long run, they need to have effective self-study and self-evaluation material instead of relying on the presence of an instructor. (The term 'winterizing' springs to mind when I think about this process, for some reason.)

Comments & suggestions? I really want Wikiversity to succeed, but at the moment it feels to me more like a dumping ground than a centre of learning. Rf 03:26, 2 January 2012 (UTC)

  • Symbol support vote.svg Support all three proposals. My suggestions as to how to implement them:
      • Fast-track the deletion process. I've learnt from experience that getting cruft deleted in Wikiversity takes rather too long. We should simply delete everything which isn't a well structured resource, to streamline the project. Best way of doing that would be to make it a speedy deletion criteria (not well structured project). We could create an incubator project for all content which has some value but is too incomplete to be used. If there aren't enough administrators to deal with deleting maybe 30-50% of pages, we could package the delete/undelete tools together and hand them out as a new permission to any user who's trusted to use them responsibly. There is some really great content on Wikiversity, such as Nonlinear finite elements, but most pages are currently useless.
      • We need to eliminate pseudoscience, such as Cold fusion from the project. Fringe content makes up a large proportion of Wikiversity pages. According to the page Buddha oracle, "Saint Anthony the Great is the founder of Christian Yoga."
      • We need to create a structured featured content project (for both resources and images), and have a weekly/monthly content improvement drive on a specific area.
      • We need to make it clear to external users of Wikiversity that we're not just a webhost, and that they should only create content if it is accessible to people outside the course. There are serious issues with the fact that some brick-and-mortar courses are hosted exclusively in userspace. --Claritas 13:16, 2 January 2012 (UTC)

I suspect the lack of confidence in writing skills and expertise, and that writing from scratch is a daunting task are the main reasons why Wikiversity lacks motivated participations. I like the idea of listing tasks to achieve and finding ways to break daunting tasks into simpler and easier to do tasks. I think that could motivate participation and increase confidence. However in my experience a "collaboration of the week" project doesn't increase participation or the quality of works. I think we should be able to do one without the other. I think having some standards to aim for would also help with confidence and motivate participation. I think having some standards to aim for could also help guide speedy deletions and reduce cruft. I think we need to start with some minimalistic standards to keep the bar to entry low if we want to attract participants. -- darklama  14:43, 2 January 2012 (UTC)

Even if a "collaboration of the week" doesn't directly increase participation, I think having one would be useful for motivating project owners to create the kinds of "task lists" that would allow new participants to jump in. This would have to be a specific criterion for getting a project nominated. Without that criterion, I agree the collaboration of the week wouldn't be very effective.
I agree that we should start by keeping the bar low. What do you have in mind? I have a few ideas on my user page for what ideal content might look like.
For IRL courses using Wikiversity as a webhost, I think we should be rather lenient while the course is running. Putting course material under a copyleft license is a commendable action in and of itself that should be encouraged. Once the course is over, though, we should edit mercilessly, and especially remove class-specific content (rosters, group projects, etc.). We should also be encouraging students to edit the course, and meta-encouraging professors to offer incentives for students to edit.
Also agree with Claritas on a new speedy delete criterion, with the provision that it should only apply to content which 1) has not seen a major edit recently and 2) can easily be reconstructed. If 1 applies but not 2 (i.e. it has some non-trivial information but isn't going anywhere) then it should be moved to an incubator for expanding/merging the information. I already have a list of useless economics pages, part of which is already on School:Economics. I'll be putting the rest up in userspace shortly List of economics cruft.
(As an aside, what would be the best way to respond to you and Claritas simultaneously? Indenting my comment below yours doesn't feel right, since I'm responding to Claritas as well, but not indenting makes things difficult to read) Rf 22:50, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
In my experience any motivation evaporate quickly from community efforts that limits focus and has time restraints, and participation decreases lower then before. I think people feel discouraged when their project isn't picked for a community effort, or when their expectations of what will happen differs from reality. I think being able to pick from many projects to work on without time restraints, and being able to measure real progress is a bit more effective at increasing and maintaining participation.
I have in mind answering questions as a community, like HappyCamper's what is an acceptable "stub" on Wikiversity, and documenting the answers to use as a guide for participants. -- darklama  01:01, 3 January 2012 (UTC)
Maybe what we need to think about as well is what the smallest unit of a learning resource Wikiversity should have. What is an acceptable "stub" on Wikiversity? We need some simple heuristic so that we don't end up creating multiple pages of content that are unlikely to result in the creation of viable learning communities here. We probably need to aim for something more focused rather than trying to accommodate all sorts of learning modes at once. Wikiversity can do that, but I think with the resources we have here, we are spread too thinly. --HappyCamper 23:23, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
Agreed. My vision for the ideal lesson would be at least one page per major "teachable" (theory, skill, concept, programming construct, etc.) with links going back to prerequisites. Example: adding fractions is a lesson, which links back to the prerequisite lesson on multiplying fractions. The page is acceptable when it accomplishes the goal of teaching the teachable. In my example, that means after reading the page you can now add fractions. A stub then would be a page which accomplishes this goal, but isn't detailed enough to understand easily or doesn't provide complementary material (problems, diagrams, etc.) This kind of atomic division is simple enough for math and technical fields, but might not work out so well for arts and humanities. -- Rf 23:59, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
Stand-alone stubs are OK for science and maths, but I think they are generally useless for humanities and social sciences. Anything much shorter than Overview of economic schools of thought (which is a nice page!) starts to become less useful without a clear context. Most of the stubs on Wikiversity are almost useless though, and while I agree with Darklama that we shouldn't deter contributors, hosting very poor quality content gets us nowhere. A little study of the first 15 or so articles in Category:Mathematics stubs:
      • 1-D Wave equation is orphaned and makes no sense outside the context of the BVP page.
      • Abelian monoid is a one sentence explanation of a high-level semigroup theory topic. We don't have any resources which explain the basic concepts in semigroup theory as far as I can see.
      • Algebra II just explains the content of a US mathematics syllabus - not really in scope.
      • Algebra1 - test page ? Should be speedied even under current standards IMO.
      • Algebraic rules - no content.
      • Angles - for a very basic topic in mathematics, this is a fairly complicated resource. It would be good if Wikiversity explained what angles are in a simpler way.
      • Beginning algebra - orphaned directory of three pages.
      • Binary operation - two sentence definition.
      • Calculating the square root of a - confusing structure, but could be sorted out. Title makes it difficult to find - it's effectively orphaned.
      • Combinatorics - one out of context explanation. Doesn't explain what combinatorics is.
      • Cycloid - three sentences, no real mathematical explanation of what a cycloid is.
      • Field - very basic explanation, WP does a lot better.
      • Fractions - no content.
      • Galois theory - no content.

Wikiversity has two main problems. The first is that the quality of the content is not consistent. We have some great content (much better than what any other WMF project has to offer on the same subject), but we have a lot of poor content. The second is one of organisation: most projects are pretty much independent of each other. I'd suggest sorting out the quality problem first. If we get rid of all the blank pages and one/two sentence stubs, and incubate short pages which show promise (like Calculating the square root of a), Wikiversity will have less content, but it will be of a much higher standard, so the reader's experience will be much better. It will also be much easier organizing a few hundred good resources (with several to hundreds of subpages each) than trying to organize 17,000 resources of variable quality. --Claritas 00:56, 3 January 2012 (UTC)

edited Boundary Value Problems/1-D Wave equation to point to new location. --Abd (discusscontribs) 23:29, 5 January 2014 (UTC)
I think we need to have a clear understanding and idea of what is expected from Wikiversity courses and resources before we can measure their quality beyond the current standard. -- darklama  01:08, 3 January 2012 (UTC)
Hmm, I would delete anything below about 500 bytes unless it were a clearly focused definition. That would get rid of about 5000 pages of questionable quality. --Claritas 01:30, 3 January 2012 (UTC)
Symbol support vote.svg Support this as an initial razor. Boilerplate and pages below 500 bytes are unlikely to overlap with any reasonable definition of what constitutes an acceptable stub. If in doubt, just don't delete. (Aside: Claritas, I edited your comment to put the essential part of your proposal in bold) -- Rf 02:45, 3 January 2012 (UTC)
I support deleting anything consisting only of boilerplate text. I think I could also support deleting anything after 90 days that lacks a clear description of what the educational objectives and outcomes are, what the educational objectives and outcomes are isn't obvious from the content already present, and there are currently no participants working on it who can add what the educational objectives and outcomes are. -- darklama  14:21, 3 January 2012 (UTC)
I think for most projects the goal is to teach the teachable. I think we need a bit more focus than that. What differentiates courses and resources from textbooks and encyclopedia articles? -- darklama  01:01, 3 January 2012 (UTC)
The difference between the courses/resources and encyclopaedia articles is that a course has a specific target. An encyclopaedia article is targeted at the "general reader", a fairly well educated adult who is not a specialist in the subject field. Our resources should cover a topic at a certain level and in a field - we can have separate resources on the Sun in physics and mythology, and at various different levels (primary, secondary, tertiary etc.).
Ideally, our courses should be interactive. So unlike a textbook on WikiBooks, those using the course should be able to get assistance with their understanding of the resource from its authors or other members of the subject's "department". We can also incorporate video and sound into our resources, which a textbook cannot, as well as interactive tests (which can be used even for high level topics)
We might want to create some formalised guidelines for structure and so on of resources. I'm pretty happy with letting everyone do it freestyle, and if it's educationally useful it stays. Claritas 01:26, 3 January 2012 (UTC)
An introductory course/resource would likely be targeted at the "general reader". Wikibooks allows videos, audio, and other interactive features to be incorporated inside books. I do think to some degree being able to get assistance with understanding a topic is something that differentiates Wikiversity from Wikibooks, and possibly Wikipedia. -- darklama  01:35, 3 January 2012 (UTC)
Wikiversity:Scope says it best. The point of an encyclopaedia article is that it's useful both to a child and a PhD. The general reader is a construction. --Claritas 01:40, 3 January 2012 (UTC)
I think that distinction depends on the work and not the project. I think how topics are presented could be a distinction even if meant for both a child and a PhD alike, but I have no ideas in mind how Wikiversity could be distinct in that way. -- darklama  02:01, 3 January 2012 (UTC)
Another key different between a course/lesson and an encyclopedia article is the target learning outcome. The target learning outcome of an encyclopedia article is always to "understand what is X." The bar is also quite low for what constitutes an acceptable learning outcome, so encyclopedia articles can target a general audience. Lessons/courses by contrast have more specific targets with higher standards for what is an acceptable learning outcome, so their target audience might be more limited. I think we should aim for a general audience where possible (Don't Repeat Yourself, plus adults can be really stupid), but accept that sometimes it isn't. -- Rf 04:07, 3 January 2012 (UTC)

Reading over various policies/help pages again (particularly Wikiversity:Scope), I'm now wondering: who are we primarily building Wikiversity for? The intuitive answer for me is students. People who want to go from state of ignorance A to state of knowledge B in a guided, structured, easy fashion (see Wikiversity:Being educational). That would imply that Wikiversity's primary deliverable would be courses/lessons, with other material being supplementary. But this is essentially the same thing as Wikibooks and is seemingly discouraged as per Wikiversity:Online courses. Do we run WV for educators instead? I like to think that we don't/shouldn't, but there is precedent in Wikiversity:Scope: "Wikiversity offers a collaborative environment for the creation, sharing, and discussion of open educational resources, open research and open academia." Or is it for scholars, in a broad sense, to get together, research, debate, learn, teach, and think critically? I like to think this is closest to the truth, but then what is our primary deliverable? What exactly are we editing collaboratively? Is the purpose of Wikiversity merely to exist as a community? I think that, until we can answer the essential question of what is our primary deliverable? any efforts to meaningfully increase the quality of Wikiversity and attract new editors will be confused. -- Rf 04:07, 3 January 2012 (UTC)

Wikiversity is all of the above and more. It houses and accommodates many types of learning styles and learning models. It's for this community to explore and determine what the limits of wiki technology here can be in terms of delivering educational materials. So I think there will be pages that will reflect the more "traditional" student-teacher relationship, but also pages that are less structured. Some topics might even be more efficiently presented one way over another. It really can be anything. Not a perfect analogy, but I sometimes describe Wikiversity as similar to pages on Wikipedia complemented with multiple forks of content all reflecting a different understanding or approach to the same topic. The numerous namespaces on Wikiversity are intended to provide the flexibility (and complexity!) to help someone navigate these pages. There will also be pages that are not strictly topic specific, but more like help desks where we try to match someone with a question and someone with an answer. There are also pages where people can express an interest in a topic and meet up to explore it with others. Let's not forget some pages are research related. The list goes on. Having said this, I think in general we want to focus on editing that encourages collaborative learning on topic and idea pages. We also need a simpler way to express what our interests are on Wikiversity. It's hard find people with similar interests here at the moment. --HappyCamper 05:25, 3 January 2012 (UTC)
I think wikipedia is about creating Learning Resources - which means that it is for both learners and educators - i.e. a self-directed learner may use it in isolation or even in a study circle, or an educator may use pre-existing material, or adapt that material or create additional material. I think that WV has not found it's feet yet -and indeed faced a move to shut it down not so long ago. It is also worth noting that the outeach work of wikipedia does not take place here, in many ways, i believe, because of the bad reputation WV has gained for being a haven for people who have experience difficulties having their behaviour accepted on WP. I would like to see this situation change.Leutha 08:08, 3 January 2012 (UTC)
  • I've created Wikiversity:Incubator as a process to incubate incomplete resources which may be useful in the future. Any thoughts ? --Claritas 10:30, 3 January 2012 (UTC)
    I think it's a good plan is to do some science pages first. --HappyCamper 17:33, 3 January 2012 (UTC)
I think this thread is starting to get long and I'm starting to lose track of the essential ideas that we want to harvest from it. This is what I gather so far:
  • Consider deletion of old pages that are small and are highly unlikely to develop into anything substantial.
  • Identify what are the bare minimum requirements we want to accept for new pages.
  • Pool together existing editing resources on Wikiversity and direct them towards quality improvement and organization of content.
Yes, more or less? I have more to say about this list, but let me wait for some feedback. --HappyCamper 17:33, 3 January 2012 (UTC)
I think you've got the gist of it. I suggest identifying what are the bare minimum requirements we want to accept for resources and how much time new resources should have to develop into something that meets the bare minimum requirements. After the bare minimum requirements are identified, delete pages that don't meet the bare minimum requirements which have been around awhile. Finally begin to identify improvements to whatever resources remain and organize them. We should also develop a guide which can help participants to develop resources that meet the bare minimum requirements at some point. -- darklama  18:00, 3 January 2012 (UTC)

Suggested minimum requirements for stand-alone resources

  • The resource should be structured into lessons, which exist as subpages linked to on the main resource page.
  • The resource should be reasonably complete - someone using the course should be able to get a basic overview of the topic from it. Unlike on Wikipedia, where any small amount of information is considered more useful than nothing, Wikiversity resources should be in a fit state to be used.
  • The resource should be factually accurate.

These requirements may be high considering the current level of most of our content, but from the learner's point of view they are crucial if using Wikiversity is going to be a valuable experience. Trying to learn about the Hundred Years War from The Hundred Years War and its Aftermath is frustrating, because the resource only covers the chronology. I'm not suggesting deleting all incomplete resources, but I think they should go into the Incubator until they're ready. High quality stand-alone pages should gradually be organised with others of their ilk to form high quality courses. --Claritas 22:14, 3 January 2012 (UTC)

I think people should be referred to Wikipedia if they want to write or get a basic overview for a topic. I think an abstract summary which explains the intended teaching/research objectives and learning outcomes might be more appropriate as a minimal requirement. I can't tell what the intended teaching objectives and learning outcomes are meant to be for The Hundred Years War and its Aftermath. Is the objective to teach how France and England developed in the aftermath of the Hundred Years War, or research why the Hundred Years War happened? I think if people knew that there would be a reasonable chance for the resource to be expanded, otherwise the Wikipedia article is more useful for learners as an overview of the Hundred Years War. -- darklama  00:33, 4 January 2012 (UTC)
I think the minimum requirements of a new page should be something that answers the question of why anyone would even consider going to a Wiki to help with any sort of activity. We want to build Wikiversity, so I think we need to skew the pages to not only present something useful to the reader, but make it obvious that they are an integral part of creating and editing it. I think a new page should make it easy to navigate to related pages and also find people with the similar interests. It's the population of editors here that will make any topic come alive, so Wikiversity should be structured to enhance this interaction. We should do something about these new pages as we encounter them...maybe we mark promising pages as being part of the incubator project? Tag them with something? Pages that don't make the cut should be deleted, but personally I think this is susceptible to problems if we rely on speedy deletions. Perhaps we need something like proposed deletion on Wikipedia to deal with these. Not particularly promising pages are marked for proposed deletion and after say 3 months grace period they are deleted. --HappyCamper 02:06, 4 January 2012 (UTC)
I have been using "Template:Unmaintained" and there is also "Template:Inactive" to mark resources which have not had much activity on them. People might like to review these to see if deletion is appropriate. My feeling is that we should find away of transferring this discussion to policy pages through Wikiversity:Community Review. I have started work on British Empire which I have given structure, incorporated quizzes etc. even though much of it is incomplete. I would welcome feedback as regards the structure. I feel it would be useful if we could build consensus around certain approaches and develop support for editors who which to follow a particular approach. What do others think?Leutha 12:08, 4 January 2012 (UTC)
How about we start collaborating on Wikiversity:Stub? --HappyCamper 18:02, 4 January 2012 (UTC)
Let's go for it. Once we've hammered out a basic guideline on the minimum requirements, we can go ahead with deletion. I've rewritten it.--Claritas 18:15, 4 January 2012 (UTC)
OK, sounds good. --HappyCamper 05:14, 5 January 2012 (UTC)

Ideas about deletion

  • There seems to be consensus here for a very slow deletion process, where poor quality pages are tagged for 90 days before being deleted if no improvements occur. This seems a sensible way of giving editors a chance to sort out stubs which they'd like to improve. I think we should have two templates, one for deletion, and one for incubation. Pages marked with the incubation template will simply be moved to the incubator after 90 days instead of being deleted.
  • I think we need to edit Wikiversity:Deletion policy, and formally confirm it (via Community Review ?), so we have a functioning deletion policy. We should specifically make it very clear that really poor quality content will be deleted on sight, and write in the slow deletion process and incubation process too. --Claritas 18:15, 4 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Agree -- The deletion policy definitely needs to be re-worked a bit with clearer guidelines about what content can be deleted very quickly and what content would need to be placed into the incubator or slow deletion process. Also, I really feel like What is Wikiversity could stand to be re-visited with a more robust sense of what level of depth and quality should be expected from resources here. As a relative newcomer, I found the mission as stated to be extremely vague and I feel like it leaves a bit too much room for the creation of pages that aren't really suitable. It might be a worthwhile project to think about creating a better guide for content-creators in terms of what level of completeness and depth is appropriate for new projects. MyNameWasTaken 19:33, 4 January 2012 (UTC)
Having being away from Wikiversity a while, it is interesting to see that we still don't have a properly agreed Wikiversity:Deletion policy. I like the idea of a very slow deletion. We've had {{query}} for a while but that works on seven days which in some cases is probably too short to really give people chance to develop content if they're intending to do so. 90 days would seem a good balance between keeping the project manageable and not filling up with content of little value with no prospect of development and actually giving the original creator and others the opportunity to see if they want to develop it. On the suggestion that some content is directed into a incubation process of some kind, we do have the {{Welcome and expand}} which does try to guide users and apparently categorises the content to highlight it as new which is perhaps along the lines of what an incubation process would look like. In the past though {{Welcome and expand}} has in my view being used a little too much when really deletion was the right course of action. One example I deleted recently was created with two words, one of which was "poop". The idea that it was going to be developed into a legitimate learning resource was somewhat overly optimistic. As others have touched on, having many pages with little or no actual content sitting around for ages can cause problems rather than actually result in good content emerging. Adambro 21:57, 5 January 2012 (UTC) PS. I'll take a look at where we stand with the deletion policy when I get chance and see how far from it being fit to be an official policy it may be. Adambro 21:59, 5 January 2012 (UTC)

Template for brick-and-mortar courses

Is there a template/category for (good) content from IRL schools which need to be adapted to a broader audience? If not, I think we should have one to help get the ball rolling on bringing this goldmine of content up to a high level of quality. -- Rf 03:29, 5 January 2012 (UTC)

I don't think we have exactly that, but I think Help:Project boxes is a good start. Also, the projects listed in Wikiversity:Featured have some useful boxes. --HappyCamper 05:10, 5 January 2012 (UTC)
To start off, we need to move all the Uni of Florida pages (see User:Egm6321.f10/Other courses to sensible titles in mainspace. Currently I feel they're using us as a webhost for content which they're not really making accesible to the general public. --Claritas 10:51, 5 January 2012 (UTC)
Claritas makes a good point, but I feel that it is start. If they get their students (and staff for that matter) used to editing mediawiki sites, that is good in itself.Leutha 13:30, 5 January 2012 (UTC)
I was thinking something more of a page flag template at the top of the page. Project boxes seem more appropriate for description rather than marking issues. I'll see if I can whip up something later today. -- Rf 17:48, 5 January 2012 (UTC)
First attempt at Template:Real world course. I'm not entirely satisfied with the wording but it should suffice to start tagging pages. -- Rf 22:27, 6 January 2012 (UTC)
Perhaps the term Brick and mortar schools would be more appropriate as I feel it might be a slight on what we are doing as being somewhat "unreal"!Leutha 22:55, 7 January 2012 (UTC)

Slow deletion

I've created a slow deletion template at Template:Prod, which when placed on a page, adds it to Category:Proposed deletions for 90 days, after which it is moved to Category:Pending deletions. Only issue so far is an odd expression error when it's substituted - I'd appreciate it if someone could look over my code and see where I've gone wrong. --Claritas 21:18, 5 January 2012 (UTC)

I imported Template:Query from Wikibooks (and Template:Query notice to notify the creator) a while ago for similar situations but I'm not sure whether it actually works in practice as I can't recall whether I did all the work needed to modify them for Wikiversity. Adambro 21:43, 5 January 2012 (UTC)
I'm probably biased on this one, but I prefer the design of my template for deletion. I might adapt the Wikibooks template for the incubation scenario. Would you be able to look at Appreciative Valuation ? I've subbed the template onto the page, but the expression error's occurring. Thanks. --Claritas 22:31, 5 January 2012 (UTC)
I'm hoping this is working now. See my edit summary for the explanation. Adambro 21:12, 6 January 2012 (UTC)
Working now. Thanks very much. --Claritas 22:57, 6 January 2012 (UTC)

Open-source Ticket Request System

I attend the OTRS Workshop in London on 7th-8th January 2012 and learnt that there is no-one from Wikiversity active on OTRS. I have put myself forward here. I checked Wikiversity:OTRS, which says that Cormaggio and Sebmol have OTRS access, but neither of them have been active on Wikiversity for over a year. I would hop the WV community will support me in this.Leutha 14:08, 9 January 2012 (UTC)

How about also asking those 2 about what's the status? Perhaps also they can share some advice? ----Erkan Yilmaz uses the Wikiversity:Chat + 08:01, 10 January 2012 (UTC)

Discussion to confirm the Deletion policy

See Wikiversity_talk:Deletion_policy#Policy_proposal_-_straw_poll. --Claritas 09:04, 10 January 2012 (UTC)

Claritas, could you perhaps move the related discussion out of the archive and back to the main discussion page where the poll is located? I was a little unclear about which part of the archived discussion it was referring to. MyNameWasTaken 19:42, 10 January 2012 (UTC)
It doesn't refer to archived discussion. It's a simple proposal to see whether the Wikiversity community supports adopting the current draft of the deletion policy as a policy. It would be great if as many people as possible participated. --Claritas 21:45, 10 January 2012 (UTC)

Wouldn't it be better to have the discussion here?--Collingwood 13:09, 11 January 2012 (UTC)

People have had difficulty finding where discussions took place for policy proposals when done here in the past. I think people would have an easier time finding past discussions that too place if done on the proposal's discussion page and located in its archives. -- darklama  13:22, 11 January 2012 (UTC)

Announcing MediaWiki 1.19 beta

Wikimedia Foundation is getting ready to push out 1.19 to all the WMF-hosted wikis. As we finish wrapping up our code review, you can test the new version right now on For more information, please read the release notes or the start of the final announcement.

The following are the areas that you will probably be most interested in:

  • Faster loading of javascript files makes dependency tracking more important.
  • New common*.css files usable by skins instead of having to copy piles of generic styles from MonoBook or Vector's css.
  • The default user signature now contains a talk link in addition to the user link.
  • Searching blocked usernames in block log is now clearer.
  • Better timezone recognition in user preferences.
  • Improved diff readability for colorblind people.
  • The interwiki links table can now be accessed also when the interwiki cache is used (used in the API and the Interwiki extension).
  • More gender support (for instance in logs and user lists).
  • Language converter improved, e.g. it now works depending on the page content language.
  • Time and number-formatting magic words also now depend on the page content language.
  • Bidirectional support further improved after 1.18.

Report any problems on the labs beta wiki and we'll work to address them before they software is released to the production wikis.

Note that this cluster does have SUL but it is not integrated with SUL in production, so you'll need to create another account. You should avoid using the same password as you use here. — Global message delivery 00:06, 15 January 2012 (UTC)

Multimedia resources, Khan Academy, Code Academy, and musings about potential of Wikiversity

It has been a long, long time since I've posted here on the Colloquium, so if you don't know who I am, that is perfectly understandable. Please don't burn me on what I'm about to propose as I do know about the heartache as well as the tremendous successes this community has been through over the past several years. Wikiversity has been a concept gestating with several ideas in the past that have been amazing, but it always seems like the ugly step-sister of Wikipedia in the eyes of of some people involved with other Wikimedia projects.

Please, don't take this as insulting. I think one of the reasons for this is that many of those detractors of Wikiversity simply didn't know of its potential, and dismissed the community of people who have helped to build and support this project over the years since the spark of the idea was originally proposed on Textbook-l very nearly at the foundation of Wikipedia itself and even before the concept of "Wikimedia projects" had even been thought up (with Jimbo Wales still footing the bill personally for hosting services). When this project was originally proposed as a separate sister project it met substantial opposition, including opposition among the WMF board of trustees. It has been in a straight jacket of sorts, never really being able to reach its potential because "the powers that be" won't let it get there.

Getting more to where I wanted to go with this, I have a really good personal friend of mine who has become involved with Khan Academy and is trying to get me involved with developing content for Sal Khan's website as well as offering technical assistance and trying to help him out in terms of getting community involvement project going, along similar lines to things happening with Wikimedia projects. I got a wiki going, but frankly the site is dying because the rest of the people involved really don't understand community involvement in technical projects. I've all but written off that wiki and website too, even though I am the person personally paying the hosting fees for it.

I've also become very excited about another new project that is very much related to Khan Academy, but shows some amazing potential: Code Academy. One of the problems that both Khan Academy and Code Academy are struggling with right now is the inability to accept the crush of volunteers. I am also not very thrilled with the content licensing model that these sites are using for outside contributor content with their terms of service policy. The one clause that completely kills my own involvement in at least Code Academy is the following:

Reading through that I say, seriously, WTF is going on here! I do all of the work, and I give up any sort of copyright control over my contributions and don't even have to acknowledge that I even made the contribution at all? This is one of the reasons I got involved with Wikimedia projects in the first place, and I have always been excited about other open source projects like Linux. IMHO, such terms of use are fatal to a project like this, even if the developers may not be aware of it. BTW, it gets even better. I also read further into the terms of service and found this quote that really made me upset:

In other words, even people who are not necessarily "content contributors" but merely "students" can have anything and everything that they have worked on stolen from them and published elsewhere, without even attribution necessary, and that the users can be exploited mercilessly for commercial gain by the founders of the project. This is something I have dispised over the years, something that Google is famous for doing as well as Facebook and Twitter, but it is something I think needs to be fought against as well.

Where Wikiversity comes in is on the point that I think Wikiversity could be doing everything that is happening with Khan Academy and Code Academy, as well as similar kings of learning environments.... only do it better because not only are we not exploiting either the content providers or "students", but we are also removing shackles from would-be contributors in a way that should be liberating.

Specifically I would like to take some of tools that are being developed for both of these projects, Khan Academy and Code Academy, and be able to make them available for content developers that would like to work with open source licenses like CC-by-SA and the GPL. I don't want to follow the terms of service for somebody who is going to steal my work and keep me from being able to pass my effort onto the next generation of people. What adds insult to injury is that many of the software packages that they are using have open source licenses. In other words, they are taking from the world and not giving back. I want to give back.

I say this too because these sites currently have a whole lot of buzz going on with them, but they too aren't living up to their potential. Still, I think there is a whole lot that is going on which is very useful as their ideas for on-line learning are something that Wikiversity ought to be looking at incorporating as well. We can argue about specific aspects of these non-WMF projects are useful and what aren't, but what I'm proposing is to help develop MediaWiki extensions for content developers that would use some of the more beneficial tools and incorporate that into Wikiversity. There is no reason why that can't be done, other than the lack of support from the Wikiversity community to grow in a new direction.

My question to the Wikiversity community would be if you think this is something that should be happening at all, or am I wasting my breath and time trying to work towards this end? Would anybody else who is involved here with Wikiversity want to work with me in terms of trying to put together these extensions, and would the Wikiversity community want to change the public face of Wikiversity to some extent to become somewhat more like these other on-line learning services?

I haven't even been to the point that some of what I'm asking might start to get some flack from the WMF, as it will be the creation of new extensions to MediaWiki software and it will be doing stuff that is different from what we've done in the past. If I have to start a whole new website to get this done, so be it, but I'm going to do it anyway. I'd rather work with an established community, and I do see that this could give added value to Wikiversity where it could be a resource used as much as Wikipedia and that Wikiversity could take its place as a full sister project and be legitimately seen as such. --Robert Horning 13:59, 11 January 2012 (UTC)

Well, I guess it would need a short term (start page: vision, goals, identifying resources, ...) + long term plan for this, e.g. perhaps:
  • long term: getting new MediaWiki extensions enabled takes a while, perhaps even never works out
    • that would mean to start a new place where those could be used, see also the Wikiversity:Sandbox Server attempt(s)
    • but could be automated in terms of access (automatic log in)
  • change the public face: what do you have in mind? I think there are some drafts of Wv layout proposals somewhere lurking
Anyways, (only) a few people also can change (some parts/aspects of) the world and I'm still interested to hear more :_) ----Erkan Yilmaz uses the Wikiversity:Chat + 10:06, 18 January 2012 (UTC)
My point here is that these projects, Khan Academy and Code Academy, both have on-line resources that I think could be folded into Wikiversity rather cleanly, and that the development of the MediaWiki extensions would be comparatively trivial as the vision and scope of those resources is already well defined. There might be some licensing issues involved, but one of the nice things about Code Academy is that the primary resource they are using in terms of a sandboxed coding box for software development is already open sourced software... a huge plus for making a MediaWiki extension we could use here on Wikiversity.
One of the largest problems I might see come up would be data storage services that the WMF might or might not want to provide for something like this. For those who would be participating as "learners", there would be a certain amount of per user data storage that would be substantially more than the current storage needs for user preferences and user pages. Since content in the "User:" namespace can be quite large for some users, this shouldn't be necessarily something completely without precedent, but storing things like learner progress via some extension and inserting content in the SQL database that is running on the backend of MediaWiki for stuff that goes beyond merely Wiki pages could become controversial.
I'm not a huge fan of the "merit badges" that are in these projects, but that is certainly something that could be debated. It is something that does seem to attract the younger groups of people and the "instant recognition" aspect of progress that comes from it has some merit where a discussion is something I'd love to see.
I especially love the mathematical quizes that Khan Academy has done. If you've never tried them before, I'd strongly recommend that you look at them. There are some problems (I hate the way the progress bar resets when you make a mistake), but the hierarchy of exercises is very nice, and the user interface for those exercises is something I think is useful to be emulated.
I also see how the content for these exercise could be put into wiki pages for easy editing. That is something the Khan Academy is doing a simply lousy job of accomplishing, as they are locking up all of the development tools in a manner that has a very strong central control. That is something that I could seem becoming very positive for Wikiversity, and where Wikiversity would be different.
At this point, it looks like I might have to come up with a "live demonstration" of some of my ideas on my own server. I have my own domain that I own and have paid for with my own money, so I don't need the "sandbox server" even though the offer is very useful. My goal here, however, is to take the ideas and the extensions developed in this way and eventually fold them back into Wikiversity. I know a somewhat similar effort a while back was done with the "Wikidata" project, and I hope to avoid some of the mistakes of that project. Simply put, I want to start small and do several iterations of development in a "release early, release often" model. If there is something "ready for prime time", it would be voted on here in the Wikiversity community as to if we want to bring it in here and make it a formal part of the project. I know the number of people with the technical skills to help me out with this is quite limited, and that is perhaps the reason why I'm not getting so much traction with this idea. I'm glad that I've had a couple of good response to this so far though. --Robert Horning 22:37, 18 January 2012 (UTC)

SOPA initiative

If I may, I would like to ask what if any effect on Wikiversity there might be from the SOPA initiative, and Action? From my reading of what's going on, would a blackout of the US to Wikipedia also affect Wikiversity? Marshallsumter 21:50, 15 January 2012 (UTC)

I believe a blackout would only affect English Wikiversity if the English Wikiversity community decided to participate in a blackout too. AFAIK no discussion about SOPA or having a blackout has taken place locally. -- darklama  22:33, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
As an admin over on Wikinews, I've spoken to WMF people, and they've confirmed that the sister projects are not affected unless they choose to opt-in. See discussion on Wikinews and discussion on Commons. Tom Morris 01:40, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

Well, its a little late to start a discussion now I guess. Might it be worth creating a template/banner to display on the main page in support of the English Wikipedia's blackout, which may draw some additional traffic here as people explore other WMF projects looking for their knowledge fix? --MyNameWasTaken 19:30, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

I like this idea by MyNameWasTaken (talk • email • contribs • stats • logs • global account), might spur some interest on the topic to related sister project websites. -- Cirt (talk) 20:48, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
Not everybody necessarily supports the stunt, or the way it came about. See w:User:Scott_MacDonald for example. --SB_Johnny talk 23:46, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
I never suggested that it had unanimous support SB_Johnny, I merely suggested we discuss some kind of supporting action here. But its a bit late, so at this point I doubt it matters. MyNameWasTaken 21:21, 18 January 2012 (UTC)

Licensing info page needs updating

I noticed that The GFDL and you needs changing. Are there other similar pages which also need to be updated.Leutha 13:45, 28 January 2012 (UTC)

"GNU Project renews focus on free software in education"

more info here, ----Erkan Yilmaz uses the Wikiversity:Chat + 13:36, 31 January 2012 (UTC)

Resource traffic statistics

For Wikipedia articles there is the url=, for example, that allows anyone to see how often an article, "X-ray astronomy" in this case, is viewed on a given day. Do we have something like this or is there someone here who can provide it? Marshallsumter 20:00, 4 January 2012 (UTC)

See for an example. -- darklama  20:49, 4 January 2012 (UTC)

To clarify, it seems one must manually enter the URL using /en.v/YYYYMM/Article_Title MyNameWasTaken 22:56, 4 January 2012 (UTC)
Thank you both! Marshallsumter 00:16, 5 January 2012 (UTC)
Wow, this sorts out a problem I have been pondering about for months. Please see: Wikiversity:Metrics for a page where I have done my best to explain how to access the metrics. It could do with improvement, though!Leutha 12:13, 5 January 2012 (UTC)

working on a small tool where one can see this for any page with data since 2007, some examples:

Will put more info here, when it's done. Until then you can get private access when you ping me, ----Erkan Yilmaz uses the Wikiversity:Chat + 16:50, 18 January 2012 (UTC)

and here from the main links from the left navigation:
Wikiversity:Main Page, Wikiversity:Colloquium, Wikiversity:Community Portal, Wikiversity:Browse, Wikiversity:News, Wikiversity:Community projects, Wikiversity:Help desk, Help:Guides, , ----Erkan Yilmaz uses the Wikiversity:Chat + 21:01, 2 February 2012 (UTC)
So, are these the top 10 places people visit here? --HappyCamper 06:56, 3 February 2012 (UTC)
page rank
Wikiversity:Main Page 2
Wikiversity:Browse 3
Help:Guides 14
Wikiversity:Community_projects 21
Wikiversity:Colloquium 23
Wikiversity:Community_Portal 24
Wikiversity:News 76
Wikiversity:Help_desk 112
and here's another question.
Is anyone interested to join a learning project around this? ----Erkan Yilmaz uses the Wikiversity:Chat + 16:16, 3 February 2012 (UTC)
Maybe? I would like to know how people use Wikiversity. What do visitors see first and click on? I think it is quite different from how I use it. --HappyCamper 20:53, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
Yes :-)
I'd like also such stats to use in delete discussions for example. E.g. when one sees the page has just 4 views, I might wonder if anyone is at all interested in such a topic and making a highly visible dust cloud about it is worth the time instead helping someone in her learning projects.
Anything one can measure could be used for future analysis (of many things WV related). Perhaps it could also lead to dangerous issues though :-(
Another question I've is: why is the view stats not publically on every page and needs to be coded again? That seems to be a waste of time, if you ask me. It should not be needed to request over bugzilla.
"What do visitors see first and click on?" I guess that's not possible, since we can't see their navigation path, e.g. a checkuser could see this or anyone else with access to the database.
Actually the view stats have a major flaw:
you can not distinguish how many people saw it, so it could also mean: only 1 person generated all views. One can take it as a vague measure like: from 1 to max. so many users saw it perhaps, though one has also to count out bots. But I guess it's better than nothing - for start.
One could use it with other indicators (e.g. page edits, comments on talk page, pages linking to it, ... and then do a factor analysis to create a "new metric") to get a better view on usage perhaps
Perhaps, perhaps, maybe, maybe not, ... ----Erkan Yilmaz uses the Wikiversity:Chat + 21:54, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
yep, check [[Category:Metrics]]. I am thinking of creating sub categories. What i thought of but haven't puzzled out is how to create a template for metric links on talk page?Leutha 21:06, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
I don't understand.... Category:Metrics seems blank to me! --HappyCamper 19:16, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
there are now 5 in it, ----Erkan Yilmaz uses the Wikiversity:Chat + 21:31, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
Leutha: a bot can do this, ----Erkan Yilmaz uses the Wikiversity:Chat + 21:31, 5 February 2012 (UTC)

Re-opening unblock requests

This discussion was archived without resolution. I have the following comments.

  • Symbol support vote.svg Support unblocking Abd. He has his faults, but is a net benefit to the project.
  • Symbol support vote.svg Support unblocking Poetlister. I would like to hear his/her comments on my RfD and whether it is possible to salvage anything. Claritas' comments are disingenuous. He knows quite well that the Poetlister1 account can simply be unblocked, and even the Poetlister account could be delinked from the global one by a bureaucrat. This site has never recognised global bans, as Claritas knows from his own case when his account was globally locked but no action was taken against his sockpuppet Simone Larctia.--Improver 12:42, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
Improver seems to know an awful lot about Wikiversity despite only having had an account for such a short period and having made so few edits.Leutha 15:08, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Improver doesn't even understand my situation. Simone Larctia was my sock, but my main account has never been globally blocked. --Claritas 19:11, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
    • Mr Claritas is surely being a little disingenuous. He cannot dissociate himself from any account that was in fact him. If he concedes that he was "Simone Larctia" then he has to accept that he was globally blocked. Incidentally, would SB Johnny like to reconsider his vote now that he has engineered the unblock of Mistress Selina Kyle on WP?--Improver 12:28, 6 February 2012 (UTC)