Wikiversity:Colloquium/archives/November 2010

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Open PhD

--Opriter 02:14, 1 November 2010 (UTC)I took research courses in a doctoral program. I had an idea about a topic for dissertation. Doing some research on alternative education I came upon the open PhD program and I was able to read about some people who are preparing a PhD using open educational resources with the goal of writing a dissertation or getting the degree by publicizing research. I intend to engage myself in this route by starting to write my dissertation and having some articles publicized somewhere. According to my research, in England there are several universities if it is not all that award doctoral degrees by research only. I just read at Wikiversity content that you have a mentoring research program leading to a certificaton of Doctor of research. I am interested about it and would like to integrate it in my Open PhD project. I am presently interested in having a mentor to start a dissertation proposal. I would appreciate your response on this matter.

Open PhD

--Opriter 16:27, 2 November 2010 (UTC)I posted some thoughts about Open PhD. I didn't have any feedback yet. Did you have the opportunity to look at it?

Perhaps there was a list of mentors on the page you read. Typically people make a list of mentors/teachers and then learners/students. If you can find a list of the mentors you could leave them a message on their talk page and they will probably be more likely to see it. Devourer09 16:39, 3 November 2010 (UTC)
You could just start e.g., User:Opriter/PhD and ask for feedback e.g., see User:Leighblackall/PhD and User talk:Leighblackall/PhD -- Jtneill - Talk - c 13:21, 4 November 2010 (UTC)

Adaptive learning on Wikiversity

Hi, I'm wondering if it would be possible to incorporate some adaptive learning on the Wikiversity. Based on item response theory and Collaborative filtering users could get personalized recommendations as how to best approach a specific topic. Who should I contact if I want to work on this? --LoveSaves

I'd be interested to hear more. Not sure whether the ideas could be pursued using existing functionality or whether this would involve technical changes (e.g., for the latter, something like conditional activities in Moodle might be more effective). -- Jtneill - Talk - c 13:18, 4 November 2010 (UTC)
I'm with Jtneill as well. Interested, want to hear more, and not sure whether technical changes would be involved. -- darklama  17:27, 4 November 2010 (UTC)

Broken template

{{Notice}} seems to have broken and I'm not sure why. Probably because on an import, I updated {{mbox}} but I can't seem to undo or rollback the most recent edit to that template which is puzzling. Can someone else try? -- Jtneill - Talk - c 15:12, 12 November 2010 (UTC)

Fixed. -- darklama  16:58, 12 November 2010 (UTC)

what wikiversity practically is

I think I just realized what wikiversity is in practice. There are 2 ways to describe it, and both of them are essentially the same. One is a course website. Most modern university has a website for its course, on that page you usually find:

  • Syllabus / Study Plan
  • Lecture Notes
  • Required Reading / Links to wikibooks
  • Recorded Lecture / links to teaching video like [MIT OCW]
  • Exercise and Practice Questions and solutions / again wiki books and some other online material
  • Exam, Quizzes and Answer keys. (either made solely for wikiversity, part of wiki books, or from online open domain)
  • IRC links to other teachers and students

In other words, the building blocks of wikiversity is an aggregate of online study material. Does anyone like the idea? --ArielGenesis 06:20, 16 November 2010 (UTC)

Wikiversity is the above and more. For example, it's possible to have a seminar here, a place where students address a topic. Almost all of the above is oriented toward what teachers do. But colloquiums are also held by universities, and seminars, where students prepare reports on aspects of a topic, and the reports are shared and discussed. Hopefully, someone pops in who knows the topic! --Abd 02:52, 17 November 2010 (UTC)
I see, yes I agree it is obviously more. But what I am concerned is that if we could publicize wikiversity as that, course website / resource aggregate, then may be we could invite more developer as well as users who would otherwise think that that wikiversity is a formless unfinished project instead of just unfinished. --ArielGenesis 10:38, 17 November 2010 (UTC)
I think ArielGenesis has made a very valuable observation here. Recognizing this focus area as a "core" starting point for Wikiversity, and promoting it as such, may be helpful in expanding the mass appeal of the project.--Pharos 12:58, 17 November 2010 (UTC)

Student volunteers

I am three months "out of sync" because of my counseling studies, and my wiki skills have been crushed under university-type domination and the APA (psychology) style. But I do have a lot of new material, and I am looking for an easy way to convert APA citations into mediawiki style (which makes so much more sense).--JohnBessa66.pngBessatalk 14:56, 18 November 2010 (UTC)

Proposed addition to Custodianship Policy

Wikiversity talk:Custodianship‎#RfC - Minimum Activity Requirement. Ottava Rima (talk) 18:18, 11 November 2010 (UTC)

There is a process problem here. A new proposal was made, possibly setting up the removal of sysop privileges for inactive sysops, without any small-scale discussion first, to establish the details and preliminary consensus -- or a need to appeal. The new proposal is complex, not just one simple change, not something with prior consideration -- or if there has been prior consideration, it was not referenced. The RfC was created and participation immediately invited here, as well as in the site banner, which requires admin tools, and it was placed there by the proposer, who also invented a closing date (it seems, is there some standard for this, with what is obviously not, by nature, an emergency?). This may attract some level of what can be seen as voting, without the opportunity for review and criticism first, without an attempt to seek consensus in a small-scale discussion, with, only after that, a referral to the community only if (1) consensus cannot be found, or (2) it's desired to make sure that small-scale consensus is fully approved by the community. This is standard wiki procedure, it is how premature, lengthy, and unfocused RfCs are avoided. An RfC without prior discussion is far more likely to attract ill-considered or uninformed initial comments, and the user may never return to look at later evidence or arguments. Immediate solicited comment (which can be taken as votes, sometimes -- and the RfC immediately set up Support and Oppose sections), on complex and new proposals, invites premature decisions or comments biased toward the original proposal, without prior negotiation of the proposal itself. This is not how any face-to-face organization would function. It is known to be harmful.
Generally, in face-to-face organizations, nothing is submitted to vote without, first, a decision that the question is ready for vote. Under w:Robert's Rules of Order, that requires a two-thirds vote itself!. The idea that someone could unilaterally set up and start collecting votes, prior to discussion and a decision to solicit such decision-making power or support, would be anathema. Now, supposedly, we don't vote. But, in fact, numbers are considered by some. In a process like this one, begun prematurely, it would be important for any closer to consider that later comments are likely to be more informed and more fully considered, and should generally be given more weight, if numbers are considered at all. My primary concern here is the process, which wastes a lot of editor time that need not have been wasted if the change to policy had been made normally, i.e., through discussion on the Talk page there, with edits made as part of the process, and RfC only needed if someone considers that local consensus isn't representative.
The edits, all by the same custodian:
It's ironic that this RfC is on Wikiversity talk:Custodianship, where, immediately above, is discussion of proposed clarification of recusal policy. Recusal failure, where a custodian acts, not in clear service of consensus, but of personal position or opinion, is one of the most damaging events on a wiki, and it is damaging even if the failure is only in appearance, not in reality, because it reduces public trust in the administrative corps. The appearance of recusal failure should be carefully avoided by any privileged user, and some are very careful about this. Some are not, and it causes, over time, considerable disruption, on any wiki. --Abd 18:35, 17 November 2010 (UTC)
All policy proposals are RfCs and do not need discussions before as they -are- discussions. That is how the WMF operates. Ottava Rima (talk) 20:38, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
Well, when some guy with tools puts it on the sitenotice, proposes a new policy to be voted upon, and sets a deadline, it looks like he's trying to push something through. --SB_Johnny talk 23:11, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
Darklama asked me to put it up on the sitenotice. The discussion length is standard. It is also to get people to post early instead of waiting months. Obviously, nothing was pushed through, nor was I the original one to come up with making some kind of policy on the matter. Ottava Rima (talk) 23:19, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
What is the problem here? It's completely fine to post to multiple discussion boards if the topic covers many different subjects at once. TeleComNasSprVen 04:34, 22 November 2010 (UTC)

College Degrees

Wikiversity should offer structured courses and possibly even degrees. The information is all here, all it needs is the legal paperwork required giving out college degrees. -- 03:06, 19 November 2010 (UTC)

Yes we agree, so go ahead and create a course. But I dont agree with degrees. Even 7 year old boy may do here a research project which is mostly focust for adults.--Juan de Vojníkov 17:55, 21 November 2010 (UTC)
That's really not an option (it's outside our mission), but there are currently some projects that are hosted here that are part of University classes (such as Motivation and emotion). --SB_Johnny talk 01:43, 22 November 2010 (UTC)


-- 16:54, 20 November 2010 (UTC)

What about 2g? Would you like to see a resource, ask a question, have something clarified? And what does 2g refer to? More information, please -- we'd love to help. Historybuff 11:06, 21 November 2010 (UTC)

School of Filmmaking

It looks the school of filmmaking is death. So why to have it in Featured Content. I can see its instructor edited page two years ago. It might be confusing for the students to come than.--Juan de Vojníkov 17:53, 21 November 2010 (UTC)

Unblocking a goat

Per statements I've seen, I was given one recuse on the matter and what seems to be a support. Adambro seems to be the only one that would have a problem with the matter. So, I am going to unblock a goat. This does not preclude any future blocks regarding problems, nor does it make Moulton immune to our privacy policy. Delrevs might be necessary.

"And the prefect struck off the head of Pilate; and, behold, an angel of the Lord received it." Ottava Rima (talk) 23:34, 22 November 2010 (UTC)

This is a controversial action; however, and not without some trepidation, I support it. I urge Adambro not to reblock for several reasons. It would be wheel-warring, and his prior block might have been considered such (but water under the bridge!). There is no emergency that is not easily handled. And if Adambro does see some emergency, Adambro can, under the proposed Recusal policy, still act, but should bring the situation to Wikiversity:Request custodian action for review. Because of long-term involvement in the matter of Moulton, I do recommend -- as I have in the past -- that Adambro consider himself under recusal requirements. I also recommend that it would be better for the Moulton account to be unblocked, to avoid confusion, with Caprice either blocked or, better, remaining as a declared sock for "dramatic" use -- under developed ethical guidelines, which I hope that Moulton might help develop. The Moulton unblock would require 'crat action and, to be safe, this is undoing a meta action, should have, at least, majority support as a minimum in a discussion around it. We should be careful when we assert our independence from meta that we do not needlessly offend, and we should protect the family of wikis against true harm. Criticism is not harm, in itself, and it is, in fact, necessary. So let's proceed with caution and respect. And preserving and enhancing academic freedom. --Abd 01:02, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
By the way, procedurally, and to use a technical term, this sucked. Ottava appears to have asked for various opinions about this from various custodians by email. This is inadequate, in my view, to maintain transparent process, which is needed for Wikiversity under almost all circumstances. Custodians are not in charge and, in theory, have no more authority than any editor as to community decisions. But at least he did consult before acting, that's to be commended in itself. It looks to me like Ottava is now trying to make amends and that, in itself, is also to be commended. --Abd 01:06, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
Actually it was via IRC. Personally I support undoing the blocks, but really the best way would just be to revisit the discussion about moulton from the 2008 CR. It's been over 2 years, after all. --SB_Johnny talk 14:23, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
now-moot protest and response over now-reversed wheel-warring

I'm collapsing this part of the discussion because Adambro reversed his blocks, commendably. Adambro may uncollapse this if he prefers, I'm not insisting, merely offering. --Abd 21:09, 24 November 2010 (UTC)

In spite of my suggestion above, Adambro is continuing to use tools with respect to Moulton, which should immediately cease. There are plenty of other custodians who could block if needed. I've pointed the problem out to Adambro before. Adambro also reverted Caprice, without explanation. I'll revert him there, because that revert seems inflammatory, and petty at best. Moulton cannot edit directly because of the SUL lock. However, Moulton, as Caprice, is unblocked, so blocking IP that signs Moulton is quite the same as blocking Caprice, unless there were a ban on Caprice editing without logging in, which there is not. SB_Johnny is correct, we should have a discussion, and I'm not thrilled with the unblock of Moulton without some kind of cautionary conditions, but I'm also willing to give it a try periodically. I found Moulton to be usually cooperative, and sometimes not. If he, and we, can find ways to channel the activity, it could be very useful. I'll discuss it in a reopening of the CR.
Meanwhile, Ottava may have unblocked Moulton/Caprice to "hasten the day," to foster a situation that would prompt meta interference again, and this is is consistent with his question/information yesterday to Sue Gardner on meta. He's using tools in ways that may be creating disruption, even if the actions themselves are justifiable in some way. It's worrisome. Adambro is not helping. I hope that another custodian will give him some advice about this. And I hope that the community will pay some attention to Wikiversity:Recusal. We very much need to make recusal policy clear, and to enforce it. It must be done right, it must not unduly hamper custodians in their normal work, it must preserve freedom of action and discretion by custodians, but it also must set limits, so that custodians like Adambro (and Ottava, of course) have clear guidance on what they can freely do and what requires caution. If we do this properly, we will leapfrog Wikipedia in this area. They have only primitively defined the recusal responsibility, and the administrative corps has strongly resisted any further clarity. Which then leads to deep disruption which can continue for years. --Abd 17:41, 23 November 2010 (UTC)

The situation here is very much like that with Thekohser. Don't ask, or perhaps demand, that I turn a blind eye to a blocked/banned user evading their block, particularly considering the cirucmstances. If the community wishes for Moulton to edit then we should show there is consensus for a 'crat to deal with the issue with his proper account. As it stands, nothing seems to have changed. Moulton's recent edits don't inspire much confidence that he wants to return to contributing constructively and so I see no overwhelming justification to ignore his block evasion, particularly when the account concerned has Moulton pretending to be a goat or some other nonsense. Adambro 19:31, 23 November 2010 (UTC)

Moulton unblocked by Adambro

Adambro, apparently realizing the problem of an appearance of bias or prejudice, has unblocked Caprice and Moulton. He is to be commended for that, which is an action which protects the community from the appearance of administrative inflexibility, which damages our open cooperation and the seeking of true consensus. Any other uninvolved admin, seeing an immediate problem with the Caprice or Moulton accounts, as with any of us, may, of course, warn and/or block.

(Moulton cannot yet edit directly until the account is unlocked; with Adambro, I consider that unlocking superior to relying only on Caprice, but there is nothing wrong with a user having more than one account, as long as it is disclosed -- or, sometimes, private but never used improperly.)

Even a previously involved admin may act, by declaring an emergency and reporting the action at a noticeboard, such as Wikiversity:Request custodian action or whatever noticeboard the community settles on as the best for this. But I rather doubt that there will arise an emergency requiring this. Simple violations of policy, even, are not necessarily emergencies, particularly if they can be easily fixed.... I thank Adambro for his respectful decision, it took courage to back down like that and accept the arguments being presented to him. This all brings us a step closer to a deeper collaboration.

Welcome, Caprice. May your sojourn with us be productive of more than lengthy block logs and discussions that go nowhere! --Abd 21:05, 24 November 2010 (UTC)

Decreasing margin spacing

For some reason, I seem to be getting large vertical margins between boxes at Introductory_Algebra

Is there an easy way to fix this?

Bastetswarrior 23:09, 24 November 2010 (UTC)

Depends on what you think of as easy, but this template seems to be a copy/modification of the of the Mathematics portal template, which in turn calls the Portal:Box-header and footer templates. You could skip the middle man, and copy these templates directly and modify as you see fit. If you copy that template you can change commands like margin-bottom:.1em; to margin-bottom: 0; etc, until you found a look you like. But the padding values look hardcoded in The portal templates. Thenub314 23:41, 24 November 2010 (UTC)

Proposal to break Moulton's SUL lock

I am requesting a crat to break Moulton's SUL lock. There was only a slim consensus to keep him blocked before and I changed my mind and Darklama recused, making it no longer the original consensus. Now it is time to finish it and break his SUL. The Foundation no longer cares if SUL is broken to override a global lock and we have no reason to care if they no longer care. Ottava Rima (talk) 15:50, 23 November 2010 (UTC)

  • Symbol support vote.svg Support Ottava Rima (talk) 15:50, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
  • Symbol support vote.svg Support The WMF never did care. Some stewards, especially Big Daddy Steward Jimbo Wales cared. He's retired from that role, quite sensibly. We can deal with Moulton locally as needed and appropriate, and having the flexibility to block and unblock locally can allow negotiation of behavioral limits, if needed. It's not about Moulton, it's about our ability to run our own affairs. Moulton will require, my guess, watching and supervision, which is not to insult him, he is not a child, but to recognize the reality that he can be quite disruptive, even believes that disruption is educational. He may even be right, but .... institutions sort topics and some topics are educational in one way, and some in others. It is crucial to Wikiversity to be one of the most open of the WMF wikis, we can experiment and allow users here who might be readily and even appropriately blocked on the other wikis. What we cannot allow is true cross-wiki disruption, where a user here abuses Wikiversity as a base for criticism of other wikis, without having appropriate guidelines in place. We are a WMF wiki and must respect the needs of the other wikis. We can also work in cooperation with, which is a place where controversial studies can take place, independently. Again, we will need guidelines. Suppose there is a page on which "outs" editors? I'd advise NK against this, generally, but there might indeed be places where it's appropriate, and they, too, will need guidelines. What should be our policy on linking to Etc. I'm hoping that Moulton will participate in this, and Thekohser as well, that was part of my hope in arranging for the unblock of Thekohser. These are two of the best-known critics of the WMF. And, as a "university," we can invite them to "speak." Within limits. --Abd 17:52, 23 November 2010 (UTC)Clarified reference to "Big Daddy" per comment on my User talk from Thenub314 --Abd 20:30, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
about the SUL lock. There is a basic misunderstanding behind some arguments about this. --Abd 20:30, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
  • Something should be clarified about the SUL lock. This is documented at meta as a tool for fighting cross-wiki vandalism. It was not intended to be a global lock for anything resembling legitimate users, or users that any of the wikis would want to participate. However, some people, highly opposed to WMF critics, realized that they could set up, effectively, a global ban with the tool. There are many kinds of global blacklists, but all of them have provision for local whitelisting, except for the SUL lock. That's been considered a bug. However, it was realized that the SUL lock does not apply to unlinked accounts. That is also a feature, desirable, in a vandalism fighting tool, intended merely to avoid the convenience to a vandal of creating one SUL account and then vandalizing many wikis as an "established user." It was not intended to block someone who merely has the same name on another wiki. So it only works with linked accounts, and accounts are linked by the logged-in action of the user. Using this for "political" purpose was arguably abusive. However, politics does exist. At meta, it's unclear, there has never been a broad discussion that I've seen, in public, but there is sentiment both ways about Thekohser (clearly) and about Moulton (an older case, and murkier). That is, many or most personally prefer to see these people blocked. After all, these are high-level volunteers and the critics are, they believe, attacking what they obviously love. On the other hand, many also believe in the principle of local autonomy, which is important to the wikis.
  • There was never any requirement that a user link their global accounts. Using the global lock to block users, then, only affected those users who had voluntarily linked the accounts, presumably not realizing how this could be used against them.
  • The global lock for Thekohser had been removed by steward pathoschild, who went around locally blocking, so that the "ban" declared at the time by Jimbo was effective immediately, but also making it explicitly obvious that this was not an attempt to interfere in local rights. Each wiki could make its own decision to unblock or block. However, as some started to do that, Mike.lifeguard decided, apparently alone or with little consultation (he was very vague when asked about it) to reset the global lock, thus undoing the work of admins on some of the wikis. Because of the 'crat renaming workaround, however, each wiki could still make its own decision, and several did. Thus the 'crat renaming is a device which allows stewards to use the global lock for political purposes, while still preserving a more limited local autonomy. It is a part of the current political balance. There is nothing reprehensible about "going around" the block. It is, in fact, with the whitelists, a device for preserving local autonomy. A whitelist would be better, but it's not a high priority with the developers.
  • From another point of view, the present status is better, because if there is a critic who is perceived as damaging the WMF family of wikis, the global lock sets a default condition which requires a 'crat to act locally. That means that small, naive wikis are protected against what may be believed to be a sophisticated, clever, disruptive user. To argue against delinking, as is done here, as was also argued by the same person on Wikibooks -- against a 75% consensus -- on the basis of it being wrong or evasive, is simply to argue for meta as being properly in charge. That is a position not supported at meta, nor by the WMF.
  • It was suggested here, when I was working with the unlock/unblock for Thekohser, that the proper remedy was to get the account unlocked at meta. That is a drastic misunderstanding of how the WMF wikis work. Pages are, for example, blacklisted at meta for "spamming," ostensibly, but sometimes it's done for political purpose. So any wiki can add a page -- or entire site -- to a local whitelist, which overrides the meta blacklist. Practically speaking, it is very difficult to get a delisting of a site at meta, I've been through this a number of times, and there is a strong tendency to "We were right and we are not going to waste time reconsidering this. Go away." Even if ArbComm found that a blacklisting -- the same blacklisting, instigated by the same person -- was abusive. ArbComm has no authority over meta. If you argue for delisting at meta, the first thing you will be told is that if this is useful, get it whitelisted locally! The same arguments apply to the global lock. They will not undo a global lock as long as individual wikis can get around it, that is almost inflexible. Sometimes, if many wikis have whitelisted, it will then be taken as evidence that the global blacklisting is a problem. To try to get the delisting first is, as to political realities, to put the cart before the horse. Meta, normally, follows the local wikis and serves them, but also sometimes, paternalistically, "anticipates" what they need.
  • By delinking, and unblocking, by action of a high-level user, a 'crat, we demonstrate to meta that we do not want our user blocked. Each wiki makes its own decisions about blocking, that is very clear and obvious. Our custodian Ottava Rima is banned on Wikipedia. It's mostly irrelevant to us. If we have problems with Ottava, they are local problems. I'm topic banned on Wikipedia, it's irrelevant to us, and only marginally relevant if I came into conflict over the same topic here. We make our own decisions, and our needs and requirements are different from the other wikis. --Abd 20:30, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
  • Summary: Delinking the account is the local equivalent of whitelisting a blacklisted link. It does not establish usage on any particular page; unlocking it does not unblock a blocked user. It simply allows local decisions to be made about editing, about talk page and email access, by any admin. It is not a violation of any WMF policy or consensus, rather, it implements consensus as to wiki independence. It allows negotiation, if local admins permit, with the user through the user's talk page. There is no presumption at meta that a global lock is intended to override individual wikis' rights to make their own decisions. It's a vandal-fighting tool by design, and that local 'crats can defeat it is part of the accepted function, replacing the need for an SUL whitelist. --Abd 20:30, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
  • Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose Moulton shows no signs of being interested in contributing constructively. Even his most recent edits as Caprice have been nonsensical. He hasn't changed so what is different now that means he should be given the green light to return? As far as I can tell, nothing of any real note. Adambro 18:38, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
    To clarify, my position regarding Moulton is the same as with Thekohser. I'm not in favour of allowing him to edit but if community consensus is against me on that I would urge that he is allowed to edit properly as Moulton and not restricted to other accounts such as Caprice which only exist because he's evaded his block/lock. 19:23, 23 November 2010 (UTC) unsigned comment added by Adambro, note by Abd 02:44, 24 November 2010 (UTC)
  • Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose Per SBJ (in section above) and Adambro. His behavior hasn't changed, and community decided two years ago the behavior was not acceptable. From my personal discussions with him, I am of the opinion he doesn't want to be free to edit. (Then he could no longer play the appropriate role in his drama, remember all the world is a stage, and we are the players upon it.) Seems to be no reason not to give him what he wants. Thenub314 19:14, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
Per me? I don't support the block. --SB_Johnny talk 19:43, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
I know, but your comments above taken in combination with Adambro's comments helped me make up my mind. I was looking more at the specific evidence you gave, rather than the conclusion you reached. Thenub314 22:17, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
  • Symbol support vote.svg Support The original issue (and in particular the one that got Jimbo involved) was that he was being asked not to use "real names". His issue with that, in turn, was that there was no policy stating that, and thus it was unfair to have a special policy just for him. That particular problem has been fixed recently.
As for his posts being a bit strange and theatrical: well, no harm no foul.
It's also just pointless to keep blocking him... it's not "preventing disruption" (and in fact it's probably achieving disruption. He's clearly not "going away" either, so I'm just not sure what the block is supposed to achieve, other than make-work for the staff. --SB_Johnny talk 19:43, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
Is there anything to suggest he is actually interesting in contributing to Wikiersity beyond making snide remarks? If not, isn't it right that he is blocked and shouldn't "staff" do whatever work extra to protect is necessary the community from such nonsense? Adambro 19:49, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
The snide remarks seem to be mostly about his being blocked, and his opinion about that :-). I have reason to suspect that he'll put down his stick if we put ours down too, but also that he won't if we won't. --SB_Johnny talk 22:23, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
Most people do not take well to being insulted and rejected and banned. Blocks may be necessary, but unnecessary roughness inflames disputes and deepens them and can make them intractable. We are not an encyclopedia, we do not have critical content to maintain, we can afford to be more tolerant. One of the errors is to assume that the only choices are block/unblock. That's true only when one side or the other is completely intransigent. Let's make sure that Wikiversity is not the intransigent side! Let's respect users, including critics like Thekohser and Moulton. The sky did not fall when Thekohser was unblocked. Moulton is more cantankerous, I'd say, but, then again, he's older and maybe even wiser in some ways. That can go with being opinionated! His experience could be valuable here. Or the effort to collaborate with him may fail. If we allow the maturity of our own community to manifest, we are likely to succeed, but even if a particular case turns out badly, the processes we develop will help with other cases. We can, I believe, avoid certain traps that Wikipedia fell into. To be fair to Wikipedia, they do have a tougher problem. --Abd 03:00, 24 November 2010 (UTC)
It is a little odd how you say Moulton will overburden the staff but also to vote to expel the staff member who did all the work. Ottava Rima (talk) 19:57, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
The staff member in question did not do all the work, particularly with regard to Moulton, and the work that was done about Moulton was work that mostly caused more work to be necessary. I'll bring this out in any CR involved. The !votes were necessary, because warning and advice were being actively rejected and resisted, over a long time. It's been pointed out, many times, how Ottava could (still!) avoid desysopping. As to Adambro's comment, I've done a serious study of Moulton's actions, and the administrative response to him has frequently caused more disruption than it prevented, including the less-obvious disruption of range blocks. Adambro has become a one-man enforcement team, which is a Bad Idea on any wiki. It fosters an appearance of personal bias, whether or not Adambro's opinion that he's only enforcing consensus is true or not. It was the same with Thekohser.
Blocks frequently cause socking. Moulton's socks are relatively cooperative, because the edits are almost always signed. A mature community will always look at cost/benefit, and will not allow itself to descend into punishing defiance, per se, but will only work to protect from actual disruption. Merely being critical is not actual disruption. Gratuitous personal attacks, outing, vandalism, etc., yes. When Moulton is treated with respect, he tends to respond with respect. He's not perfect, nor are any of us perfect.
When I was a custodian, I blocked Moulton, as Caprice, when he "outed." It was a silly case, though, a purely formal offense, doing no real-world damage, because anyone could find the name in a flash, the user has outed himself, in many ways and in many places. Still, the outing policy is in place, and there is a kind of promise to users involved, so I did enforce it. I also, after losing the bit, courtesy of Ottava, requested blocking of Moulton IP due to revert warring. Specific offense, but it was triggered by obstinate reversion of his edits. My point was that Moulton should not do this himself, not that the reverts themselves were "wrong." Again, the enforcement was more disruptive than the user. --Abd 21:15, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
You two (Ottava and Abd) might try putting down the sticks too, just as an experiment. There's a whole CR page to continue the battle on if you really need to do so. --SB_Johnny talk 22:23, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
Ah, SBJ, very little of my comment was about Ottava, like the first half of the first paragraph, responding to some negative aspersions about you. I'm not interested in battling with Ottava. However, I will take additional care to avoid more inflammation, so to speak. Ottava has done some decent things here, and it seems that, in some ways, he is trying to make amends. At least that's what I hope is the motivation, and I'm willing to assume it. --Abd 03:05, 24 November 2010 (UTC)
  • Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose Same with the revocation of TheKohser's SUL in that only the local communities of a particular wiki should determine whether or not a user is allowed to edit in determining the 'crat use of override for a certain account; if Moulton is to edit, then he should edit here, and we should not determine for other wikis like Wiktionary whether or not he should edit there, let them decide on such matters themselves. TeleComNasSprVen 23:06, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
TCNSV, you seem to have misunderstood the proposal, delinking, a local action by a local 'crat, which will have no effect on other wikis, as Adambro correctly explains below. Where he is incorrect is that a successful proposal here is not a conclusion to unblock, and SBJ has specifically suggested reopening the old Community Review which was the original basis for local block of Moulton, the consensus may have shifted. I agree with this. And this is rapidly becoming a huge mess, with wheel-warring. That ought to be a clue that blocking isn't the simple solution that some believe it to be. --Abd 02:52, 24 November 2010 (UTC)
  • Just to clarify, what is being proposaed as far as I understand it is to rename Moulton to something else then back again as was done with TheKohser to enable the WV community to decide whether he should be allowed to edit. That would disconnect his local account from his global account meaning the global lock would no longer apply to him here. That doesn't change anything on other projects so the global lock on Moulton's account will continue to apply elsewhere. It is important to note though that this discussion is effectively about whether he should be "unblocked" rather than simply whether the WV community should take responsibility for blocking him. Adambro 23:19, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
  • No. I support delinking, unconditionally. I do not necessarily support unblocking. the proposal here is to delink, period. As noted, this does not affect other wikis. However, Ottava did unblock Caprice and Moulton, and now Adambro is clearly repeating earlier wheel-warring by reblocking. Wheel-warring is not tolerable in the lack of an emergency. I highly recommend that Adambro undo his latest blocks. See Moulton block log and Caprice block log.
    The question here was only about unlocking. And the wheel-warring problem is about wheel-warring, not about whether or not Moulton should be blocked. Wheel-warring does damage to the community regardless of who is right. There is a reason why so many admins have been admonished or desysopped on Wikipedia for wheel-warring when there was no clear emergency. It's even happened when it was not a single admin reversing a decision, but when it is a single admin, this is blatant. It should stop, immediately. Adambro should not touch with tools anything related to Moulton, unless to undo a standing action of his own, which I highly recommend, to avoid further disruption. --Abd 02:17, 24 November 2010 (UTC)
  • Just a comment here: he's been unblocked on beta for some time now. --SB_Johnny talk 09:57, 24 November 2010 (UTC)
    If his contributions there are any indication of what he might do if he was unblocked here then I think it provides a good illustration of why he shouldn't be unblocked. I'm afraid I don't belive if he was unblocked he'd suddenly change. Adambro 10:02, 24 November 2010 (UTC)
Adam, if you wish to register opinions such as the one above, then you must be prepared to receive feedback from me on the subject. I welcome your opinion, and I have no wish to deny you the right to speak your mind. But I also expect you to afford me the reciprocal right to respond and rebut your point of view. Anything less is unworthy of an academic colleague. —Moulton (talk) 01:07, 25 November 2010 (UTC)
  • Activity elsewhere is not, in fact, any more than a (weak) indication of what an editor would do here. The issue here is his behavior here, not elsewhere, or his "character," i.e., some idea that his character must change, or his opinions, which he freely expresses there. I do the same at Wikipeia Review, as do many. I'm not necessarily civil, at least not superficially, on Wikipedia Review. (I'm "frank," which can be "rude.") I certainly hope that I am civil here. It's about behavior. --Abd 16:55, 24 November 2010 (UTC)
To my mind, the issue is whether Wikiversity will subjugate itself, in general, to the SUL maneuver. As Abd can well attest, there is something murky and unwholesome about the way this tool has been employed in at least two cases that have come to the attention of the scholars here. I urge the community to repudiate the imposition of SUL in general, and to reserve the right to establish local norms of participation in the Wikiversity community. —Moulton (talk) 01:07, 25 November 2010 (UTC)
I'll agree, in general, but without the rhetoric. How about setting it up this way: any admin may request SUL delinking, just as any admin can unblock and any admin can bypass the global blacklist. A 'crat will review the request and grant or deny it, no community discussion should be necessary, simply a 'crat review; however, the 'crat may also decide that a community discussion is appropriate. Normally I'd advise against it, it is inviting disruption, with people parachuting in from other wikis, pursuing "cross-wiki agendas."
The principle of local autonomy is clear and sustainable and broadly supported, including by most stewards, but there is a balancing principle, that we, as a WMF wiki, respect the needs of other wikis and of the stewards at meta. There is no need to "repudiate the imposition of SUL," just as there is no need to "repudiate," say, an abusive blacklisting at meta. We have no authority over that list. If we want to locally turn off the effect of the global blacklist, we easily can (and, by the way, if you go there and complain about an abusive blacklisting, the most common response will be that they don't want to hear about it, they don't have time, and if you need the link or the entire site, you can easily get it whitelisted by any admin at your home wiki. It took me more than a year to get an abusive blacklisting removed at meta, and that was after ArbComm had confirmed that the whole mess was abusive. Meta is its own world.
We do not need to act to "reserve the right to establish local norms," we have already done that, and will continue without problems, provided that we respect the rights of other wikis in the WMF family. There are only a few situations where true inter-wiki problems arise, and they seem to require some very strongly motivated groups of editors. I'm suggesting that we develop behavioral guidelines to clearly establish what is legitimate here, what we will stand firmly for and allow, and what is not legitimate, what we will not allow and will not defend.
Why should the request come from an admin? Because it takes an admin to actually unblock, and to whitelist pages. If one cannot get an admin to request this, it's probably not a good idea. I have some stories to tell....
I think you will see a global unlock in a few days, here, Moulton, unless you succeed in getting yourself blocked before then, in which case it might not be forthcoming. The Moulton account is now unblocked, so the only thing in the way of using the Moulton account directly is the global lock. The delinking is permanent, I believe, unless you personally relink the accounts, so even if you do get blocked after the unlock, later unblocking will remain, as we want it to remain, a local decision. --Abd 02:11, 25 November 2010 (UTC)
  • What kept Moulton out for the past three months, Abd, was not the global lock on User:Moulton. What kept Moulton out was a range block on a quarter-million IPs in Eastern Massachusetts, Northern Utah, and the State of Washington, plus a complete block of the entire IPv6 network, worldwide. Do you really think there remain any Custodians here foolish enough to repeat that gambit, just to keep out a tiresome schmeggegy academic like Moulton? —Montana Mouse (talk) 09:45, 25 November 2010 (UTC)This is Moulton, for those who need a program. --Abd 21:05, 25 November 2010 (UTC)
Yes. But Moulton could have bypassed that, as well. I do not see any custodian, now, willing to even block Moulton, much less issue such a massive range block. But, I'll also point out, Moulton could flip this situation, easily, through sustained disruptive editing. I think that, if it became necessary, we would (short)block even more than that fraction of the internet. What has changed is the boundary; those range blocks were issued simply because Moulton was editing, and they were issued unilaterally, without consultation with the community or community support. Most people were probably unaware of them. It's fairly clear that the defacto consensus is that Moulton, if reasonably restrained -- some level of criticism is allowed! --, may edit, and the edits triggering the massive range blocks were mostly harmless at worst, some were even useful, I was tracking this for a time at User:Abd/Moulton_edit_review. This oversensitivity happens easily when ban enforcement becomes an end in itself, Wikipedia has fallen into this trap in a big way, with massive enforcement effort becoming focused on a user for what amounts to lese majeste. "We are blocking him because he has defied our blocks!" That was a loss of the original wiki vision, which never punishes but only protects. That's why I've insisted on recusal policy, which can sometimes interrupt this dysfunctional cycle. Moulton should not mistake this, however, for approval of some of his extreme editorial actions. Some of them -- only a few! -- might have resulted in a block for about anyone! (Jimbo has a block log, you know, and not all of it was completely silly.) I just want to emphasize, here, that the proposed action is only to unlock the account, not to maintain unblocked status, that is a separate issue entirely. It is correct to see it, as Moulton has proposed, as an issue of local autonomy. With the SUL lock, we cannot negotiate cleanly with Moulton, qua Moulton, and make local decisions with flexibility. I'll note that both of our highly active 'crats have supported this unlock. Given that the default is "unblocked," and therefore, in this case, "unlock," -- since the lock serves no function at all with Caprice active, except to encourage confusion -- I'd say there is enough consensus here for a 'crat to go ahead with what is reversible in effect by a simple block issued by any admin. --Abd 21:05, 25 November 2010 (UTC)

Symbol support vote.svg Support This gordian knot can be untied, and the proposal to break Moulton's SUL lock is a step towards that. -- Jtneill - Talk - c 06:09, 25 November 2010 (UTC)

JWS's custodianship

If people remember, JWS had his Custodianship removed via a private meeting without community consensus. There was no process. There were no standards. There was nothing really done. When SB Johnny requested his Custodianship and Cratship back, it came up that without any standards, anyone can rerequest back such things. As such, JWS can rerequest his Custodianship back and his Cratship back without community discussion, and, when this was pointed out, SB Johnny said to effect that it would be about time for JWS to return.

If people want to discuss, vote, or whatever on the matter, feel free. But I am of the opinion that JWS need only request the Custodianship and Cratship to have them returned. Ottava Rima (talk) 16:32, 24 November 2010 (UTC)

I agree, partially. Custodianship can be removed out-of-process in an emergency. It is then within 'crat discretion to restore custodianship. It is not the same as a desysop after normal Community Review. Has JWS requested a return of the tools? He's complained about removal, but that's not the same as a request to restore them. I'd imagine that a 'crat might want to question him about his intentions. What were the original problems leading to emergency removal? If there is no documentation of that, then I'd suggest restoration should be the default. There should be documented abuse before removal, unless there is a true emergency and a situation requiring privacy, but this decision, then, would not be binding on future bureaucrats.
One thing is clear. The events of 2008 left deep wounds in this community. I've been saying for some time that it is time to heal these wounds. I think JWS's response has been dysfunctional, and I even supported (short) blocking at one point, or some kind of topic ban, but ... the fact remains that there were grave offenses against the collegiality of the community, compounded by outside interference. It is time to move on, and undoing what damage was done is part of that. I do not think that JWS would wreck the place, but if anyone is concerned, they could ask. --Abd 16:51, 24 November 2010 (UTC)
I do not agree that there should be a discussion on the return, which could just confuse the issue. I suggested long ago that JWS could stand for sysop again, through normal process. He was once very highly respected, and the "fall" was very rapid, under conditions of high stress, for which he and Wikiversity were unprepared. Obviously, anyone can propose that anything be discussed, but a 'crat could act here without discussion, if there was no clear community basis for removal. Or a 'crat could require discussion. It's up to the 'crat. If there was a 'crat involved in the original desysopping (my guess and vague recollection is that there was), that specific 'crat could definitely undo the action with no further fuss, if the 'crat has come to an opinion that harm would not result. But another could, likewise. --Abd 17:01, 24 November 2010 (UTC)

I think it is perhaps clear that we should clarify what process former custodians/crats can regain those rights. Ottava was one of those who weren't happy about SBJ being given his rights back. Only two days ago Ottava commented how SBJ had "reclaimed your own ops without policy authority or community consensus". It could be that a proper discussion there would have helped, allowed anyone to raise concerns, and then going forward not given anyone who objected to a user regaining their rights the opportunity to suggest they did so improperly. I think it would be better in all circumstances to have a proper discussion. If a user has coped without custodian rights for a while I don't see why a week long discussion would be too much of a problem. There is too much potential for later disputes if this is just left for a 'crat to make a decision. Adambro 17:09, 24 November 2010 (UTC)

Here is the problem, Adambro:
  • Community discussions on contentious topics consume community resources that could better be put into improving content or maintaining content.
  • It's classic that any active sysop can end up being a target of enmity, and those who dislike a sysop will preferentially disapprove of the sysop if there is a reconsideration or review. While this argument can be overstated and overapplied, it is the reason why so many sysops on Wikipedia resist the idea of ready community removal of the bit. It's assumed that users who dislike a sysop will watch the sysop's Talk page, will see the notice of a discussion about removal, and will pile in.
  • The precedent is clear that removal by request is readily reversed on request. That's why SB_Johnny's request to return was quickly granted. This avoids what could easily become a contentious drama, for the reason given above.
  • A 'crat decision does not negate the possibility of discussion to reverse it. It simply restores the status quo ante. It is also within the discretion of a 'crat to open a discussion. Ideally, the 'crat will consider all the issues I'm raising and decide if a discussion is necessary. I'm merely arguing that a 'crat can decide that the discussion would do more harm than good.
  • If the 'crat errs, no harm has been done, over the option of holding a discussion first, because, then, there will simply be a discussion anyway. Suppose SB_Johnny's return had been with a discussion. It would have been, I'd predict, highly contentious, whereas presented with a 'crat action, there was no disruptive discussion. If the action had been wrong, such a discussion could certainly have been held. However, the claim on which the objection was based was preposterous, on the face. "Cloud" does not mean that someone disliked the sysop, but that there was actual process, filed or visibly being prepared for filing, and known, to remove the bit. In that case, again, 'crat discretion would be involved. And this brings us to the JWS case.
  • It's clear that JWS was considered to be some kind of hazard by someone. I have not thoroughly researched this. I'd expect a 'crat to look at it before making a decision. But because the formal process for removal was not initiated, but emergency procedures were followed, the community wasn't asked. A 'crat should make sure that there is no reasonable risk of significant harm from restoring the bit, but, beyond that, because of the absence of established process, presumably due to emergency, and in the absence of a confirming community conclusion that the removal was proper, my position is that restoral would be the default. Given the cautions I've indicated.
  • A 'crat can also, as an intermediate action, announce an intention to restore and ask for comment on the 'crat's Talk page, and can consider that. What this would avoid is a sprawling community consideration, which can be massively distracting, but still allows a rapid decision, and the 'crat can shut down uncivil participation and the like, through normal talk page discretion. This is all part of how wiki administration works, through individuals who have and exercise discretion, and who are trusted to do this by the community. Someone who is not worthy of discretion should not have the tools, my opinion. My problem has not been with administrative discretion, nor even with administrative error, it's been with failure to respect and follow recusal policy in some cases.
  • A 'crat can also impose conditions on a resysopping, and could, in effect, establish a mentorship for a period, simply as a precaution. Once we understand how much discretion is allowed in a situation like this, we can see how unnecessary disruption can be avoided.
In general, my main interest is in setting up process to improve community collaboration, make it more efficient, and lessen unproductive disruption and useless argument. There used to be many people on Wikipedia who understood the principles I've enunciated, but many of them have retired in frustration, because necessary structure to protect these ideals wasn't put in place, and the community was overwhelmed by rapid growth. We can take steps to avoid that, and healing the wounds of the past is, I believe, a part of this. --Abd 20:03, 24 November 2010 (UTC)
  • I favor a return to collegial and congenial terms of engagement, appropriate to an authentic learning community. —Moulton (talk) 20:11, 24 November 2010 (UTC)
  • Thanks, and welcome back. Let's work, together, on policies that will avoid useless repetition of prior problems, and let's do it collaboratively and civilly, indeed, as an authentic learning community that learns, first of all, how to work together, it's not necessarily easy or automatic. --Abd 21:13, 24 November 2010 (UTC)
Because of this response from JWS, I intend to close this discussion. If JWS changes his mind, he could ask for reinstatement of his bit, and a 'crat could decide if further discussion is needed, as is the normal practice. If we want to develop policy, we should do it on policy pages, and refer it to the community for comment only if we cannot find consensus. --Abd 00:40, 25 November 2010 (UTC)
  • For the record, let me repeat here in public what I said to you off-wiki. My view is that if (as has been hinted) JWS was unjustly stripped of his role, by a corrupt or unfair process, then those who participated in it have a moral obligation to set things right, without JWS having to beg them for it. —Moulton (talk) 00:49, 25 November 2010 (UTC)
  • That's an extreme view and probably impractical if generally applied in this way. JWS should not have to beg, that is true. However, all wiki norms require him to request it. I once sat for a week waiting for someone to correct the "injustice" of my block on Wikipedia. I finally figured out that those who might unblock were waiting for me to ask for it! I did, the unblock was denied, but before I even saw this, another admin unblocked because it obviously was not necessary any more. It never had been necessary, but if I'd been screaming about the terrible injustice of it all and railing at the admin who, in good faith -- I'm sure, from later conversations --, believed I was being disruptive, I'd probably still be blocked....
  • Basically, the past is full of injustices, and we must give priority to those with ongoing effect. JWS indicates clearly that he doesn't want the bit. It may be impossible, my view, at this time, to disentangle what happened in 2008, to determine if the desysopping was legitimate or not, or, at the least, it would require a potentially disruptive process.
  • It's clear to me, however, that if JWS requests the bit back, it would be reasonable for a crat to consider giving it, given that there is no clear evidence that it was removed for misbehavior. Maybe, for example, it was merely a precaution; note that JWS in his reply hints that he might be tempted to use the bit to "fight" if he had it. That is a temptation we might all face, so it's not a disqualification in itself, but .... all I'm saying is that some may have been concerned, then, and acted to avoid disruption rightly or wrongly. If one of us, now, was part of that removal, and decides to fix it, that's fine. But simply that Ottava proposes this is not enough.
  • On the other hand, I don't see anyone actually objecting to the return, Adambro's concern is about process, not about JWS having the bit back. So if a 'crat wants to offer it to JWS, that would be fine with me. I'm not sure it's a great idea, but only because JWS himself seems to be concerned about risk from it. I still intend to close this, later, simply for the obvious reason I've already described. --Abd 01:36, 25 November 2010 (UTC)
It may be an extreme view, but it's my view that ethical behavior cannot be coerced, demanded, or imposed by political fiat. Ethical behavior is a learned behavior. At best we can try to make it as easy as possible to learn, and give people the opportunity to conduct themselves in an ethical manner. If those who have exercised political power over JWS and the others do not choose to operate in an ethical manner, then there is little more to do but to lament the failure of the educational process. —Moulton (talk) 01:50, 25 November 2010 (UTC)
That is quite correct, i.e., that ethical behavior cannot be coerced. --Abd 02:58, 25 November 2010 (UTC)
However, that's not the legitimate field of coercion. Some believe that there is no legitimate field for it, but that is an extreme view and not a stable approach to governance. The "opportunity to conduct themselves in an ethical manner" probably requires some level of order and stability, and that probably requires, at least under present conditions, some level of coercion, but a healthy community can realize that coercion is harmful, in itself, and thus must be minimized to only what is necessary for that order and stability.
Moulton, when the opportunity presents itself for you and the community to move on, if you continue to "lament" the past, we might still move on, but possibly without you, or with your participation impaired. "Those who exercised political power over JWS," to the extent that they did that, did so in the past. We may be able to apologize to JWS (and you), and to some extent this process, here, is a step in that direction, -- at least there was a kind of offer to JWS! -- but if we try to mix this with fixing blame on those past actors, we will torpedo the ship of reconciliation and progress and quite possibly preserve the conflict, because when people feel attacked, they defend. And so do their friends. Right or wrong.
I want you to realize the monumental significance of what happened today. A sysop recused while he still firmly believed he was right. He recognized and acknowledged that the appearance of personal domination was a problem more important than being right. And he did not merely recuse, which does not strictly require undoing prior actions, he actually undid the actions. This is not the Wiki Mafia Wars any more, those Dons would never "surrender" like that. This is, I'm hoping, a new kind of dawn. And we did not have to lose him as a sysop, or fight about it. If he continues this way, and I have every confidence that he will, an excellent precedent has been set, and with clearer recusal policy, much of what has been problematic may be yesterday's nightmare, not today's. This is way ahead of Wikipedia, I hope you will realize. They got stuck with about half a recusal policy.... and without a full and clear policy, everything becomes vague and difficult to enforce, and so they get stuck with abusive sysops for years, until they finally step on enough toes and it all becomes too obvious, and meanwhile, the damage has become huge. --Abd 02:58, 25 November 2010 (UTC)

My suggestion is that if and when JWS would like custodian status again, then he should request it, then we discuss and act according to consensus. -- Jtneill - Talk - c 05:54, 25 November 2010 (UTC)

  • In the meantime, it occurs to me that JWS is entitled to an apology for the atrocious way he was treated, along with a promise never to treat anyone that way again. Binding, gagging, and stuffing a custodian in the janitorial hall closet for a week is simply a tacky way to treat anyone, no matter how tiresome and tedious they are in their otherwise dull and boring academic studies. —Gastrin Bombesin (talk) 10:01, 25 November 2010 (UTC)
I'm going to suggest that Moulton use, pending unlock, the Caprice account, logging in, and set the signature for that account to show (Moulton) to make the identification clear. Using IP and the betawikiversity account tends to obscure the history, leading to reduced transparency. This is actually a little like abusive socking, i.e., it can create an appearance of multiple supports where there is only one. If there is a problem with using Caprice, let us know!
Now, as to the substance, JWS is probably due an apology. How do wikis apologize? I'd suggest that it would require a CR, to mean anything more than an individual user, or a few users, apologizing. Caprice, how about you post an apology on behalf of Wikiversity on JWS's talk page? That's the place to start. If you write it well, I'd confirm it. If not, I might still second it in some way. Ottava could do the same if he wants, etc. And someone who opposes that could also comment there. And if this is not enough, then there is the CR route, but, do we really want to open that can of worms?
Yes, I know, it would require you to start thinking of Wikiversity as "us" rather than as "them." If it's "them," then you will sit here demanding that "they" apologize.... --Abd 20:41, 25 November 2010 (UTC)

beauty of numbers

I would like to see children presented with Pascal Triangles, and not offered any information about it except that it is interesting. See what they can find in it, and when they do a little algebra, a little probability, or Fibonacci numbers, they can be shown the chart again to see what more they can see in it. --Harrylarryfarry 20:12, 26 November 2010 (UTC)

You can create a resource yourself here at Wikiversity to present children with Pascal Triangles as you would like to see done. Do you need help figuring out how or where to begin? -- darklama  22:23, 26 November 2010 (UTC)

Community Review of Mu301/Mikeu

Wikiversity:Community Review/Mikeu was opened on long term abuse of Bureaucratic function regarding sysop and desysop in direct defiance of multiple policies, including Wikiversity's consensus standards. Ottava Rima (talk) 01:58, 27 November 2010 (UTC)

Requesting a helping hand from our old friends

In some recent discussions there's been a concern expressed about the lack of active custodians. I'd like to send a friendly note to a few of our old friends, but with all the talk lately regarding "canvassing" and such, I thought I should ask for opinions first.

Are there any serious concerns about me sending off an email? --SB_Johnny talk 01:22, 28 November 2010 (UTC)

I've no problems. I really think there should be a procanvassing policy going forward. (And if there isn't such a policy, then a policy needs to be created that says that your behavior on Wikipedia Review and IRC need to meet with the same behavioral expectations as required on Wikiversity. --LauraHale 01:33, 28 November 2010 (UTC)

My suggestion: first of all, custodians should really have email enabled to notify them of notices on their Talk page. We have one custodian who does not have email enabled; that is the one inactive custodian where I would agree that, if there is no response to a talk page notice, desysopping could be quite appropriate, and we should set some policy/procedure about this. So if all have email enabled like that, they should get notices or requests that are on their Talk page. Any sort of broadcast notice, whether by Talk page or email, should be drafted and approved before being sent -- or at least reviewed! --Abd 03:13, 28 November 2010 (UTC)

Speaking of broadcast messages, my opinion is that any site message should be reviewed before being put up. The present practice, in effect, gives custodians an advantage in terms of what discussions are brought to the community's attention. And how the notice is presented can have various effects that could warp participation, or solicit participation before an issue is ripe for general comment, with the evidence and arguments basically laid out. Custodians should edit the site message as a close to a proposal, it would be far better process. (It's somewhat tantamount to a motion for "The Previous Question" under standard deliberative process, which requires consensus (2/3 vote in Robert's Rules of Order) before a question is put to the membership. Before that, it is formal deliberation, amendment, etc.) Adding a shred of deliberation. --Abd 03:20, 28 November 2010 (UTC)

On the not so serious side or for a light hearted laugh

"Please read: A personal appeal from 4chan founder Christopher Poole". Besides a light hearted laugh, maybe someone will find this of interest for a resource on the use of parodies in the digital age. -- darklama  01:42, 28 November 2010 (UTC)

Putting Moot's parody on the sitenotice would be epic lulz. Actually, that might be a good thing (since no publicity is bad publicity). --SB_Johnny talk 01:58, 28 November 2010 (UTC)

mission statement

--Harrylarryfarry 19:00, 28 November 2010 (UTC) I do NOT have a ready-made mission statement, but I think such a thing should be dynamic, anyway. I would like to join the discussion, however. I have been an educator all my life, and think that by and large we (Americans) are going about it all wrong. Much better is the hacker-space approach, in which people learn what they need to learn AS they see what it is they NEED to learn and WHY. Our young people, including children, are really insulted (or should be) by knowing adults telling them what it is they should need to know. We clutter their brains to death. How many college students I have met who took calculus in high school because it looked good to college admissions people -- and who not only don't have the foggiest idea how to use it for anything, but NEVER EVEN had a chance to note the extraordinary beauty of its development! They are ruined for any creativity, UNLESS they can catch fire by accident and come back around to calculus the back way, without knowing that's what they're doing. Calculus of course is no particular threshhold to creativity; it is just my example, from my world, and the thousandth illustration of how we can ruin almost anything by trying to teach it. Remember Paul Tillich?: Do NOT throw answers at UNASKED questions!

This medium, this era of electronic networking (you see, I am from the model-A era) has more potential for building community and sharing education and inspiration than all the previous ideas combined. We need to let kids be kids and explore everything they desire. Then let adults and children educate themselves as they thirst. What could be more central to planetary human existence and growth than something like Wikiversity?

We all want to be useful, and here we can be "useful" where it's "appreciated" or "needed". I'm just reading J J Rousseau for the first time! Oh what a lesson in clarity of thought ! ! Harrylarryfarry 19:00, 28 November 2010 (UTC)


I find it interesting that Abd canvassed on Wikipedia Review and even canvassed blatantly on user talk pages as seen here. It is interesting to note that he canvassed a user who was a blatant plagiarist, acted highly inappropriately, and was indeffed at Wikipedia just recently for massive amounts of sock puppetry.

Are there any lows that Abd wont stoop to in violating our principles for vengeance? Ottava Rima (talk) 01:05, 26 November 2010 (UTC)

Charge of canvassing denied. Charge of motivation of vengeance denied. I'll respond in detail if a responsible user seconds this. I can say for sure that I was astonished to see this comment from Ottava based on the edit to KBlott talk, since I encouraged KBlott not to blame Ottava for what happened. The cited diff makes no sense at all. Nevertheless, is it not the custom to inform users that they are being discussed on some page? --Abd 01:19, 26 November 2010 (UTC)
Did you post at Wikipedia Review? Yes. Did you recommend a user to go vote at a CR that you started? Yes. Canvassing in violation of Wikiversity:Consensus. Ottava Rima (talk) 01:26, 26 November 2010 (UTC)
Did I post at Wikipedia Review. Yes. Almost every day I post there. This is relevant here how? It is not clear that one single person showed up to !vote in the CR as a result of my discussion on WR, but maybe one became aware of the CR, since he's more active there than here. On the other hand, he is a user here and does have a watchlist and some interest, so I can't tell.
Did I recommend a user go vote at a CR that I started? No. Doubly no. First, I did not recommend a user vote in the CR, period, and Ottava should immediately retract that accusation or back it up with a diff. Carelessness with the truth is tantamount to lying, so I demand that he prove or retract the statement. If he can prove it, I'll apologize. Secondly, I did not start a CR. SB_Johnny did. I was drafting one but had not completed it, and was hoping that Ottava might make it unnecessary, but he was proceeding to attack almost everyone in sight. --Abd 02:56, 26 November 2010 (UTC)
If you can't see how blatant canvassing is wrong, how can you be expected to abide by any of our policies? An apology at the very least is in order. Ottava Rima (talk) 04:09, 26 November 2010 (UTC)
Not seeing any confirmation of Ottava's complaint here, I'm reducing my comments to a minimum. I didn't engage in "blatant canvassing," anywhere, I've responded to each charge elsewhere, in detail. So there is nothing to apologize for, at least not yet.
As to "canvassing" itself being "wrong," the Wikipedia prohibition on canvassing is a result of dysfunctional decision-making process. Ordinarily, considering that there is something wrong with inviting comment from those concerned, or by experts, would be seen as preposterous. Even "biased" canvassing should be permitted, with a mature decision-making process that can handle the resulting participation bias. So we need to work on better process, or we have fallen into the same trap, reduced to arguing over what should be irrelevant. Canvassing cannot invent non-existent cogent arguments, the only harm it can do is a multiplication of numbers of votes. More than this, now, I'm not writing, but there would be fairly easy ways to handle this differently, I'll be proposing them, this is actually my long-term academic interest. --Abd 18:46, 26 November 2010 (UTC)
How is it dysfunctional to expect discussions to be dominated by active community participates with an intrinsic interest in protecting an academic environment and not, say, WR users who have a negative view of the WMF in general and seek its destruction or those who left the community years ago after nasty disputes broke out? Ottava Rima (talk) 18:48, 26 November 2010 (UTC)
Allegations were made here of canvassing by specific people and for a specific discussion, and evidence will not support that this actually took place in such a way as to warp a discussion, at least not by me! Canvassing is not contrary to Wikiversity policy, but canvassing can, indeed, warp a discussion. But so can not informing people who might be able to contribute cogent arguments, or, if !voting is part of a process, represent a balanced cross-section of the community. The meaning of "participation bias" should be considered. Canvassing is only a possible problem if decisions are based on numbers, and if the canvassing is such as to create participation bias, though there is some additional problem if pile-in creates a discussion so large that the essence is buried. But participation bias can easily exist without canvassing, I've seen it many times on Wikipedia where, for example, some faction closely watches sets of talk pages and dives in to participate whenever their ox is about to be gored. Or they have an opportunity to gore someone else's ox, both, and this creates an impression of false consensus.
The concept that anyone should "dominate" discussions is problematic. The newest user might have the idea that changes the wikiverse. However, when someone comes into a discussion and simply adds a !vote, with no relevant argument, a closer should probably deprecate that as representing a part of informed consensus. I've done a great deal of study of the problem of how to deal with the issues raised: should !voters with more contributions be given more weight? Note: this is only where numbers of votes count, as with RfA on Wikpedia or custodian candidacy !votes here. It is not a resolved problem, and results will vary with the bureaucrat. The present CR contains a desysop proposal that will be closed by a 'crat, or possibly by more than one, and the ultimate decision will be made by a steward at meta. I assume that all the issues raised about canvassing, weighting due to lack of involvement -- or even weighting due to involvement in controversy! -- will be on the table for the 'crat to consider. The decision is not made by robots. --Abd 21:50, 26 November 2010 (UTC)
Also, at 1:19 Abd claims I didn't notify him. This shows I notified him at 1:06. 13 minutes before hand. This could have been corrected by Abd but was not. Abd has a long history of making unsubstantiated claims about me and Wikiversity. Canvassing, outright false accusations, etc. Then Abd goes to Jtneill saying that without me here we would need more admin to help out and suggesed himself. A clear conflict of interest. Or, if he means KBlott, no, it is not "custom" to do that otherwise you can list all of the people you have ever "wronged" to come out. It is called canvassing. Ottava Rima (talk) 01:30, 26 November 2010 (UTC)
The thing about a claim of no notification is bizarre. I made no such claim. I wrote I was astonished to see this report, and I saw it quickly because ... he notified me! The 1:19 edit is above. I did not say I was not notified. This, again, shows how Ottava is incapable of clear reading of the evidence, he thinks "every cry is against him." KBlott wasn't "canvassed" at all, and certainly not in the diff Ottava provided. I responded in more detail in the CR, because KBlott did eventually vote (two days later, with quite a different obvious cause). This is getting completely out of hand. Somebody tell Ottava the implications, he is definitely not going to listen to me. --Abd 02:56, 26 November 2010 (UTC)
You claim I can't read yet I provided -two- possibilities. Do you see the word "or". You did not put an object in your sentence. Either "Abd" or "KBlott" were suitable objects. I provided a response to both. Your incivility is highly inappropriate. Ottava Rima (talk) 04:09, 26 November 2010 (UTC)

Where would be the place to advocate for a position that canvasing be allowed? Given the relatively small size of Wikiversity, I think this would be a good idea.

First, with that small size, canvassing means that most of the stakeholders will be informed of what is going on. The more people involved, the greater the chance that genuine consensus across the project will be achieved. If people show up who have never been active on Wikiversity before and subsequently do not contribute, that can be addressed while that occurs.

Second, canvasing type activity is already perceived as taking place on the project. This involves things like people link dropping on #wikiversity and on #wikiversity-en , and posting to Wikipedia Review. (When Ottava drops in and just provides a link to the current kerfluffle on #wikiversity-en , I perceive that as a form of canvassing. He appears to be showing it to an audience he likely hopes will be sympathetic to his goals. Others beyond Ottava also engage in such link dropping.) By formally accepting canvassing as acceptable, these other spaces can be seen as legitimate work spaces to improve Wikiversity.

Third, by allowing canvassing, it creates accountability for actions taken elsewhere. Thus, while allowing canvassing, I'd also like to stipulate a rule change that any thing said in #wikiversity-en and #wikiversity can be logged and used as part of the public record when it comes to dealing with kerfluffles on Wikiversity. At the moment, the IRC rooms appear to be accountability free zones where canvassing takes place and no one can be called out for that behavior as it didn't occur in public space. By allowing canvassing and making people's actions accountable, a lot of the problems happening above would be mitigated and should help improve the overall climate at Wikiversity by making actions more transparent. --LauraHale 04:30, 26 November 2010 (UTC)

Well, there's actually no policy against canvassing, but I do think it would be a good idea to have either a CR or a policy to clarify when and if it's appropriate or inappropriate. Perhaps we can take that up when the sitenotice becomes a bit less crowded ;-). --SB_Johnny talk 16:09, 26 November 2010 (UTC)
Wikiversity:Consensus by spirit would say that canvassing isn't appropriate as it goes against the essence of discussion. Wikiversity:Consensus isn't technically a policy because it was deemed a "process", a fundamental aspect that didn't need to be a "policy" as such a term would not fit. We are discussion based, not vote based, not having people give one response and leave, etc. It is about active participation and action, not drawing out people who stick around to "vote" every once in two years. Ottava Rima (talk) 16:26, 26 November 2010 (UTC)
Right, but sometimes there will be cases where we will benefit from the opinions of people who are connected to the community but haven't weighed in yet because they were unaware of the discussion. Sometimes we might even want to get some input from experts who have no prior connection at all. The goal shouldn't just be a consensus, but rather an informed consensus. --SB_Johnny talk 16:35, 26 November 2010 (UTC)
If that is true, then I get to email all of the admin who dealt with the blocking of KBlott and drag them over. Do you really want to play that game? You push for a corrupt governmental system and you will be burned by it. It was an attitude like yours above that led to the corruption of KC, Salmon of Doubt, and Centaur of Attention to come over here and disrupt our community for 6 months. It is highly irresponsible and you should be ashamed for even considering it. Ottava Rima (talk) 16:39, 26 November 2010 (UTC)
There would have been absolutely nothing wrong with emailing them and asking them to weigh in (or "drag them over" if you prefer). That's the whole point.
And "KC, Salmon of Doubt, and Centaur of Attention" were welcome to add their input too, though their input didn't actually skew the local consensus: the situation they were interested in was handled by Jimbo Wales (as opposed to by community consensus).
Maybe we should just start a CR on canvassing. --SB_Johnny talk 17:01, 26 November 2010 (UTC)
Are you forgetting that the trio involved themselves in other discussions that had the result of making JWS and Moulton feel harassed and bullied? Ottava Rima (talk) 17:08, 26 November 2010 (UTC)
Laura, Draicone, SB Johnny, and Darklama and you were the only ones in the room. There was no "canvassing" as everyone there was already involved with the matter. You know this. It isn't appropriate for you to make such allegations when you know this and the IRC logs confirm it. Jtneill already deleted your inappropriately placed log to trim it down. By the way, if you want canvassing to be acceptable, I have 6 semi-active actual Wikiversity participants I can message right now and end this farce. Ottava Rima (talk) 04:35, 26 November 2010 (UTC)
Sorry, Moulton was in the room too. He was blocked at the time. Ottava Rima (talk) 04:36, 26 November 2010 (UTC)
  • Isn't it the case that Moulton was also blocked on IRC, and thus not able to be present (at least under that pseudonym) on IRC? And if so, how do you make your case without violating the privacy policy? —Caprice 16:44, 26 November 2010 (UTC)
I can see if I can find some logs, but the case was this - I was called into a private room with SB Johnny and Mikeu. I was told that you were being banned and that I would have to go along with it. Did the decision happen on IRC? No, not that I know of. Ottava Rima (talk) 17:10, 26 November 2010 (UTC)
  • If what you say is true, then that suggests a corrupt practice, which isn't exactly news to anyone, as the evidence for a corrupt governance culture is relatively abundant. —Caprice 17:20, 26 November 2010 (UTC)
  • It's true, sort of. He was indeed invited to a private room, but he was not given any "orders". He was quite keen on the idea of banning, iirc.
  • And Ottava, Moulton and JWS are already aware of the private room (etc.) :-). --SB_Johnny talk 17:46, 26 November 2010 (UTC)
SB Johnny was warned here for incivil claims - he knows for 100% fact that I was never "keen" on blocking the person who I considered at the time my bestfriend and he knows 100% that I was crying for days over the matter. Directly stating what you know to be false in such a manner is inappropriate conduct on Wikiversity. Ottava Rima (talk) 18:09, 26 November 2010 (UTC)
Should IRC rooms be publicly logged, anyone wanting to canvass will simply use the email function on the wiki to do it. Whack-a-mole. Adrignola 16:02, 26 November 2010 (UTC)
Well, seeing as how Abd went to WR, I doubt he cares about it being public or private. His double standard that "people involved need to be contacted" yet him probably complaining when the admin who blocked KBlott for mass disruption at Wikipedia being contacted is more of the real problem. It shows a mentality based around "voting" than "discussion", and we are discussion only. Note that the people with "concerns" haven't followed procedures or tried to even find out ways to make things better. Ottava Rima (talk) 16:08, 26 November 2010 (UTC)
I do not mind that anyone points to a discussion thread on Wikipedia Review, as to my participation, except that the entire thread should be referenced, not just my individual posts. I would ask that any such reference point out that Wikipedia Review is a different environment, where even bluff and macho bluster are the norm, it is like a local bar, where one may meet and palaver with WMF participants, arbitrators, blocked editors, critics, and people merely interested in the lulz. That environment calls forth a frankness -- and even lack of caution -- that would be offensive and uncivil here. It's not exactly private, but neither is it standing up in a faculty meeting and saying the same things! There was, however, no canvassing there on this issue. There was discussion of it, and at most, as far as I can see, one person showed up to comment from seeing that, or none. The person may quite easily have seen the discussion here, he is an editor here and has a watchlist like the rest of us.
This has nothing to do with "voting," but, if we were to be concerned about canvassing, this would have to do with people showing up who are not participants here, who came to support their friend, perhaps, with, indeed, a "vote." And that clearly happened. As to people with "concerns" and "procedures," the procedures for concerns with custodians, per [[Wikiversity:Custodianship}}, were followed, the intermediate steps were taken, etc., without result. I'm glad to see that SBJ, below, is starting to examine policy on canvassing. --Abd 15:34, 1 December 2010 (UTC)
While not dreadfully important, it's worth noting that the only person weighing in that seems likely to have first learned about that review on WR was Thekohser, who isn't exactly a stranger here in any case. --SB_Johnny talk 16:01, 1 December 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for confirming What I Said, I've bolded it now in case it was lost in the grey. --Abd 16:54, 1 December 2010 (UTC)

I got a start on Wikiversity:Canvassing. Please chip in! --SB_Johnny talk 10:11, 1 December 2010 (UTC)

New Book namespace?

A few people use the Special:Book function to create a book, but the majority of them are in Special:PrefixIndex/Wikiversity:Books/, and therefore this causes the {{saved book}} template to display an error message for the books. To avoid later hassle about allocating the WV namespace to books, I propose that the Book namespace be inserted into Wikiversity much as it has been working for Wikipedia. TeleComNasSprVen 04:45, 22 November 2010 (UTC)

Good call. Yes, Book: namespace is needed to use the book tool properly as per other sister projects. -- Jtneill - Talk - c 11:18, 22 November 2010 (UTC)
Sounds fine to me. For those who aren't sure what this is, see w:Wikipedia:WikiProject Wikipedia-Books. --SB_Johnny talk 11:40, 22 November 2010 (UTC)
See also Help:Books. -- Jtneill - Talk - c 12:03, 22 November 2010 (UTC)
Wikibooks seems to be doing just fine with Wikibooks:Collections/Blah and collections in userspace. Maybe you should take a look at b:Template:Saved book and see where the problem lies instead. I much prefer the term "collection" to "book" since the latter in most cases is anything but when compared to real books at Wikibooks. Adrignola 21:30, 22 November 2010 (UTC)
I'd prefer a Collection: namespace over Book:, don't need people even more confused thinking Wikiversity hosts books too. *Goes to check on whats wrong with {{saved book}}* -- darklama  21:50, 22 November 2010 (UTC)
Maybe "presentation" would be more suitable to WV's aims? --SB_Johnny talk 22:00, 22 November 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I think "presentation" will work. -- darklama  22:11, 22 November 2010 (UTC)
Looks like the local template has been fixed - thanks Darklama. I like the idea of using Collection: since its more generic than Book: and probably more likely to represent the kinds of content that may be gathered on Wikiversity for download or print format. -- Jtneill - Talk - c 22:24, 22 November 2010 (UTC)
So "Collection:" it is then? I'm ready to make the request to the developers anytime. TeleComNasSprVen 02:55, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
Bugzilla:26126 has been filed for this request. TeleComNasSprVen 22:37, 27 November 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for requesting this. -- Jtneill - Talk - c 20:50, 11 December 2010 (UTC)