Wikiversity:Colloquium/archives/November 2011

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Importing pages from other MediaWiki installations

It looks to me like Wikiversity's raw settings don't allow imports from other than a short list of wikis, i.e., beta, w, b, q, and s. That seems to be an unnecessary limitation. XML imports ("direct upload") which would allow imports from any MediaWiki installation at all are also not enabled. Custodians should have this right, here, and, structurally, this allows for a kind of regulated independence, where, for various reasons, pages may be developed elsewhere and then imported here, and it's possible to do this so that there is maintained attribution to specific users, in history. I have an immediate situation to handle, but because this can be handled differently, I don't need immediate attention to this, I'm calling attention to it for the long term. --Abd 13:27, 2 November 2011 (UTC)

I could support adding an import group with the rights to use the import and XML import tools. That way the work is distributed to anyone willing without also having to give other tools associated with the custodian group out. -- darklama  14:18, 2 November 2011 (UTC)

I would not support that, and the reason is that XML import can create many pages in one import, making a massive mess. I don't see a need for a new trusted group. Someone who wants to do special work like this can and should request probationary custodianship. I'll note that any probationary custodian or their mentor can set up special restrictions, thus, in effect, if someone only wanted to do imports, and were only trusted to do that, they could simply be instructed to do only imports, with Wikiversity:Candidates for Custodianship/Standard stop agreement, if part of their custodianship agreement, allowing immediate removal of tools for violation.
What is needed here is change of WV settings so that XML import is available to current importers. I.e., all custodians. --Abd 14:32, 2 November 2011 (UTC) struck. Bad Idea. --Abd 16:01, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
I have noticed at other projects people are more frequently willing to ask for group membership and help out when there are fewer tools involved compared to before when the only way to use a tool was to get many other tools too. People can also create many pages and make a massive mess using other tools out there for copying content between wikis. I believe the XML import tool provides at least a bread crumb trail that can be followed. Other tools are not usually as informative and so can result in pages being deleted indiscriminately. Some people may opt for the other tools given a choice between the other tools and having to get all the tools that come with the custodian group. In other words, the same mess can happen either way, but people are more likely to participate and help out if more options are available to them. -- darklama  15:23, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
It's simple, Darklama, to ask for probationary custodianship in order to use one tool, and to avoid using other tools. Are you suggesting that there are people who would prefer to not have the other tools, because they'd be tempted to use them? Perhaps. --Abd 15:59, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
I'm suggesting people have a preference because what groups are requested changes when groups with fewer tools are introduced into a wiki. I was not suggesting why people have a preference for fewer tools. Few people have explained why they prefer one over the other. I can imagine quiet a few reasons why people prefer it, and I could be wrong or failing to consider other reasons. Of the people I have seen give a reason, the most common one is they have a need for a tool, and simply don't see a need for the other tools and don't want to have them. That may be due to people wanting to focus on specific tasks and not wanting distractions. -- darklama  17:06, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
There are two issues here, and they are being confused. First of all, XML import. This is actually extraordinarily dangerous, it could create massive disruption, so much that I am now thinking this should be a seriously reserved tool. (As it is. Only a developer would be able to do this). Interwiki import from the list of wikis is far less dangerous, and having a reduced tool set is an idea that has been kicked around before. --Abd 15:59, 2 November 2011 (UTC)

There are precedents for having importers; for example, there is an Importer class on EN:WQ [1]. In general, I cannot see the objection to splitting up user rights. The original Wiki software only provided for omnipotent administrators; this has already been split into stewards, bureaucrats and admin/custodians. On many other WMF wikis, other rights such as rollback and autoreviewer hava also been split off.--Poetlister 12:40, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

Thanks, Poetlister. On the other wikis, obtaining admin rights has become a sometimes onerous process, made worse by necessity: if rights cannot be easily removed, then supposedly one would need to be extremely careful about granting them. Structurally, this is insane, because users will act one way before being approved, and may change their behavior when they feel immune. Be that as it may, Wikiversity has an alternative: probationary custodianship, and there is a recent precendent for "permanent probationary custodianship." Essentially, it is easy to obtain easily-revocable rights here. On Wikipedia, rollback is a separable right, and can be granted -- and revoked -- by any administrator with no fuss. In other words, elsewhere there are reasons for having the rights separated out. That reason is less applicable here. It is now possible to grant specific rights, simply by requiring, with the grant, voluntarily accepted, that the user not use other tools. What's not clear to me is a need for enforced restriction, i.e., impossibility of violation. And I have no personal problem if a user who has asked, say, for rollback, being voluntarily restricted from, say, blocking, who nevertheless sees an emergency situation with blatant vandalism and who goes ahead and blocks, following the proposed guideline for emergency actions. Technically, with the restriction in place, any user (or any admin, I think the Standard stop agreement provides), could go to meta and point to the restriction the violation and the tools would be removed. So what? If the usage was supported, the tools would be given back, and if the violation was only technical, the user complaining might be trout-slapped. Again, not really a problem. --Abd 16:44, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
On some other wikis, these additional groups can be added and removed by any administrator, reducing the need to be careful about about granting them, and has encouraged a no big deal attitude for them even if the administrator tools as a whole are harder to get. I consider the benefits to be that more people are likely to contribute to the project and the atmosphere of the project becomes more friendly and relaxed from what I have observed. -- darklama  17:17, 4 November 2011 (UTC)


Hello, i was trying to access the homework assignments for spanish and i was wondering if anyone could help me with this. i'm also looking for more advanced spanish courses. are there any coming?

--Joseph Kollhoff 23:09, 9 November 2011 (UTC)

Hi Joseph. We do have learning resources on Spanish 1 and Spanish 2. I am not sure if either of them have homework assignments. There category for all Spanish resource pages at Category:Spanish. But being a volunteer organization it is hard to tell sometimes what is coming and what is not. Hope this helps. Thenub314 23:36, 9 November 2011 (UTC)

Rethinking configuration issues.

Partially inspired by this recent events I wanted to see if there was any consensus to:

  • create a separate group for probationary custodians that could be added and taken away by local bureaucrats, without having to involve meta.
  • Rethink how we do we divide tools across user groups.

Personally I think the first bullet is a must, and it never hurts to discuss the second bullet. Thenub314 00:21, 17 November 2011 (UTC)

Stewards do seem to have trouble understanding our probationary custodian process. I guess having a probationary custodian group that bureaucrats can add and remove could be good way to only involve Meta with full custodians who are removed through consensus as the stewards there are use to. -- darklama  00:35, 17 November 2011 (UTC)
It would certainly be simpler. We are short of active 'crats, though. --Abd 01:05, 17 November 2011 (UTC)

about general information

Do wikiversity have experts who can give general information about subjects of science?

--Umar farooq miana 15:40, 18 November 2011 (UTC)

Being a group of volunteers there are sometimes people around who are familiar with some particular subject, and sometimes not. As the base of contributors grows this will of course become less of an issue. As it stands there are a few people familiar with science, but you can see some of the resources already written by them in Category:Science, and you are welcome to ask questions here, or on an articles talk page, and if there is anyone who feels they can help they will join in the discussion. Thenub314 16:24, 18 November 2011 (UTC)

Picture of the day

I was just wondering whether the community might consider changing the set of images used for the eduacational picture of the day to some images of higher technical quality, or establishing a process to feature pictures on Wikiversity. While the images used at the moment look alright in preview, at full resolution they're not really comparable to the best work of Commons nowdays. --Xijky 08:46, 20 November 2011 (UTC)

See Wikiversity:Featured. I think any pictures of the day should be of pictures in use at Wikiversity, and not just available at Commons though. -- darklama  13:33, 20 November 2011 (UTC)
I would agree with you - I'll try to find some resources to illustrate. There are some current picture of the day - like File:Avercamp Winter.jpg - which are unused on any resources here.
Would it be a good idea to create a Commons template for our pictures of the day ? Thanks. --Xijky 17:34, 20 November 2011 (UTC)

Gymnastics articles

Recently, many articles have been posted regarding gymnastics. They are copies of Wikipedia pages. For example, compare Trampolining with w:Trampolining. I think this is a problem because people are considering Wikiversity as merely a lesser encyclopedia and not as a host of academic resources (which mean lectures, homework assignments, tests, etc.) Ottava Rima (talk) 14:21, 27 November 2011 (UTC)


There is a discussion at Wikiversity:RCA concerning whether editing restrictions should be imposed on Abd. --Simone 14:46, 27 November 2011 (UTC)

RCA is not the page to discuss or determine sanctions, other than ad hoc restrictions determined by custodians, that would be Community Review. RCA is for what the name says, "requests for custodian action." --Abd 19:45, 27 November 2011 (UTC)
As you always say, ignore all rules =). I'll create a special Wikiversity project page if anyone apart from you complains. --Simone 19:47, 27 November 2011 (UTC)
I don't always say that.... IAR is for situations not covered by rules, where the application of a rule is defective because it wasn't written for the situation. When rules exist and are what a community expects, they should be followed. --Abd 19:56, 27 November 2011 (UTC)


Discussions are archived for review purposes. Please start a new discussion to discuss the topic further.

Because, in these discussions, no grounds supporting a local block, per WV:Blocking policy were shown, but only arguments that should be irrelevant here, I have accordingly unblocked Poetlister1. If no custodian is willing to take a stand for our policy, which is clear, the policy is dead, and so, ultimately, will be Wikiversity, and, in my opinion, so too the WMF. Wikiversity has stood as an opportunity for users to cooperate and collaborate who were unable to do so elsewhere. If that's gone, it's the beginning of the end. --Abd 13:48, 15 November 2011 (UTC)

Thenub reblocked, and SBJ went to meta, claimed I was acting outside the terms of my custodianship, and got an emergency desysop. It appears that SBJ does own Wikiversity, i.e., unless there is a consensus against it, he can do whatever he wants, including misrepresent situations, block non-disruptive users, and it's okay, but if another sysop does something SBJ doesn't like, that's, he claims, acting without consensus, etc., and deserves immediate desysop. For one action, following clear policy. SBJ is following himself, and if the community lets him get away with it, the community will get what it deserves, a wiki that is unsafe for scholars. --Abd 00:46, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
To be fair there was also the small matter of changing the terms of your probationary custodianship that was part of the concern. Thenub314 01:03, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
That wouldn't be fair, because I never violated the original terms. I withdrew from the Standard Stop Agreement for a few hours, but never violated it, made clear I was still subject to mentorship, and that my mentor could insist on Standard Stop if he so chose. I then, after review -- and based on some arguments you made, Thenub -- restored it before the desysop. It was alleged by SBJ that I actually violated terms. That was false. What I'm seeing is that some users can accuse anyone of whatever, and are not required to provide any evidence at all. And others don't care. Whatever. I don't like him anyway. Ban. --Abd 01:18, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
You did make it very abundantly clear you felt the standard stop agreement didn't apply to you at the time he went to meta. So much so that you couldn't expect anyone to have invoked it. If not invoked then it wouldn't be violated. Your correct you didn't violate it, but that statement is something of a catch 22. That being said... I am glad you thought things over and decided to restore the pages. I am very glad my I was somehow helpful in that. But I think "ownership" overstates things a bit. SBJ had reason to go to meta, maybe he could have backed off after you restored, but maybe he had lost faith in his closing. Either choice seems reasonable to me. He seems to support a fresh RfC(ustodianship), and hopefully that will put this episode behind us. Thenub314 02:51, 16 November 2011 (UTC)

Unblock Poetlister

As I have been the one to block I should really start this discussion. Poetlister has been globally banned for crosswiki abuse. But he hasn't caused any problems here. If we show consensus to unblock there is a chance he can over turn his global ban and return to editing. The issues involve block and ban invasion and abusing multiple accounts over a period from 2005 to present, misusing the names and images of people he knows IRL. If there are other issues other people please feel free to list time. Link to meta discussion meta:Requests for comment/Global ban for Poetlister. Thenub314 00:57, 16 November 2011 (UTC)

  • Recuse Thenub314 01:00, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Support unblock for User:Poetlister1 or SUL delinking for User:Poetlister. Wikiversity:Blocking policy prohibits blocking a user for what the user did elsewhere, and for what the user did other than recently. We should not need to judge outside actions, which can get impossibly complex. We may decide to unblock, that's clear from meta discussions and comments, and has been established practice. We should decide based on Wikiversity welfare and Wikiversity behavior, which has been nothing but positive from this user. Prior problems with multiple accounts are irrelevant for an account which is openly him. In the past, it's been considered better to delink the main user account, but this requires a 'crat. It can be done with consensus. This disables the local lock and is the equivalent of local whitelists that bypass the global blacklist or global blocks. Asking for the lifting of a global ban is an onerous and unnecessary burden, and does not recognize that a global ban might be proper, while a local unblock might also be proper. One size does not fit all. --Abd 01:10, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
  • @SBJ. We can unblock, or delink, as you know very well, you did it yourself in the past, and it is extremely unlikely that a steward would act to defeat this. What history shows is that they won't, and when superusers disregarded local independence and policy, that was the cause of mucho drama, not a local wiki deciding to allow a user to edit nondisruptively locally. It did not go well for the superusers who have done this. Once that decision has been made, generally, there has been no disruption. We have a policy here, and it's designed to handle situations like this, and it is ignoring the policy that causes drama. It is unclear to me whether meta can apply a lock to a non-linked account, such as Poetlister1, I suspect they cannot. To emphasize, meta does not control what options we have, we do. We should do nothing that harms other wikis, but there is no credible allegation of harm here from allowing Poetlister1 or Poetlister to edit here. If he is the socking monster that he's been alleged to be, the wikis are safer with him openly editing here, not at increased risk. So the reason for the block is? I'm still waiting for an answer that makes sense. --Abd 18:53, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
  • @Bilby. I'm not asking for Poetlister to be given "another chance." He never blew his first chance here. He edited here with almost 500 contributions from 25 January to 26 June 2011, when the account was first locked (out of process, reversed). At that rate, he'd possibly have over 1000 edits by now. You have a total of 825 live edits, Bilby. This matches his history from the past, by the way. This is a very valuable contributor, as to actual page editing and skill. His alleged crimes are in another area entirely, and, reviewing the evidence about that, which took days of research, my conclusion is as I stated in my response to SBJ. Most of Poetlister's work is building educational resources. Much of yours is licensing policy enforcement, which is legitimate, but which does not build our resources. Hence dismissing his work as "a few good edits" completely misses the point, and is divorced from reality. This is a positive contributor who has been blocked here by SBJ and Thenub314, because of allegations of bad behavior elsewhere, all of it old, the conclusion decided elsewhere, and not in accordance with our policy and established procedures. We cannot, here, properly determine the truth of that, and it is not our business, in fact. Meta has the right to determine and impose locks. Further, as can be seen in Thenub314's comments at [2], Poetlister has edited another wiki recently, and it was obviously non-disruptive there (nor was any policy violated.) When I look at the meta discussion, I see that his ban on WikiSource was actually for the crime of being Poetlister (editing as Longfellow, disclosed to 'crats and checkusers, as would be the Wikibooks account. This information is apparently then disclosed on the checkuser wiki, which is leaky, with confidentiality apparently routinely violated.) He's been harassed and pursued, and improperly so. Paying attention to what he's doing, good. Hounding him, not good. This should all be irrelevant. For very strong practical reasons, the editing privilege on Wikiversity should depend only on editing history here, and that's what our policy provides. --Abd 19:33, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Support unblock - I've reviewed Special:Contributions/Poetlister and see some helpful edits in Wikiversity namespace and categories, and mainspace contributions mainly to bible-related topics and some contributions to statistical topics. I don't any local evidence as reason to prevent the user from editing here - the contributions to date appear to have been beneficial. -- Jtneill - Talk - c 05:01, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose unblock One of the fundamental issues with working on these projects is trust. We extensively have to trust that other users are working towards the same goal, honestly, and without attempting to deceive. In Poetlister's case, he appears to have lost that trust on multiple projects, to the extent that the community felt that it needed to ban him from all of the projects. While I can respect that an individual project can choose to give someone another chance, a few good edits doesn't good local edits don't seem sufficient to justify that chance for me, especially when the problems weren't related to good or bad edits but to the missuse of positions of trust and attempting to deceive. Admittedly, I'm not sure what would be sufficient: it is going to be difficult for someone in his position to regain the trust of the community. But I'd be much happier if he returned to the wider community at Meta to gain another chance, rather than sidestep them. - Bilby 11:51, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
  • I'm opposed for now. Let's wait and see what our options actually are before taking the path of most drama. Until the mechanisms for appeal are put in place on meta, it's not as if anyone who objects to him editing here wouldn't be able to get a global lock on any given account (and at least one of our regulars vehemently objects to his presence). --SB_Johnny talk 12:23, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Support unblock - I'm not very familiar with the Poetlister situation on other projects, but I have looked at the user's contributions here and am in agreement with Jtneill. For me, the key matter is not using Wikiversity to strike at other projects. Although the unblocked period that occurred is very short, the restraint shown by the user helped me to rethink Wikipedia's point of view, hopefully for the better good. And, as SB_Johnny has pointed out "it's not as if anyone who objects to him editing here wouldn't be able to get a global lock on any given account", is a safeguard. Marshallsumter 21:59, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose unblock - largely per Bilby. The line was crossed long ago in many people's mind with regards to this user. Sometimes the deception and abuse of trust is so overwhelming that "second chances" can't be appropriate. I'm afraid this seems to be one of them. His edits, per se, were never really the issue with this user, his actions and intentions were. Just out of interest, do we have anywhere a statement from this user acknowledging all his past actions leading to the global ban, and sincere apologies to the users and people hurt by them? I'm not honestly sure, given past deceptions, that such a statement would help convince me - but it would certainly be a prerequisite, and I'd certainly be interested to read it. I believe it would be irresponsible to expose local WV users to risks that are well known. Begoon - talk 00:04, 4 December 2011 (UTC)

KhanAcademy and small colleges.

I have two points of interest. The first is to ask has anyone ever examined the website From the website: "With a library of over 2,700 videos covering everything from arithmetic to physics, finance, and history and 240 practice exercises..". The site is not unlike Wikiversity in that the content created on the site is from different individuals who specialize in that topic. I believe individuals are just screened to meet professional criteria before they are allowed to create content for the site, which would be the main difference between and Wikiversity. My overall point is, I think the two projects have a lot to gain by interacting with each other on a very formal level. I know that there are often problems to such collaboration so I wanted to ask the Wikiversity community what they thought of the idea of working with, and what complications may make formal cooperation difficult or impossible.

The second point of interest I have is I'm delighted to find Wikiversity because of my experiences dealing with a small two year degree college in South Carolina, U.S. Wikiversity is set to solve a specific problem I've noticed at the college when it comes to course material. Certain topics such as astronomy need very comprehensive updating from year to year. A teacher trying to do this on their own would have difficulty doing this. I'm interested to see how Wikiversity could solve that problem. --Lokistrategiesinc 21:59, 24 November 2011 (UTC)lokistrategiesinc

The khanacademy is great - I'm going to loose myself there for a few days, it seems. :) I think the main problem we'll have working with them is licensing differences - they seem to use CC-BY-NC_SA, while we use CC-BY-SA or the GDFL. Thus their license isn't compatible with ours, although the reverse is true: they can use our content.
I'm also interested in whether or not Wikiversity could help with maintaining content - I think that it might work best if there was a proactive attempt to build up the required group to maintain the content for a particular area, but it would be valuable. There are an awful lot of fields that would required annual updates, so I can see a lot of value in that. - Bilby 04:33, 25 November 2011 (UTC)
We should not duplicate pages that are hosted elsewhere, even if the license permits it. Rather, we should generally link to it, where it will enhance the educational experience of our own readers and users. (We might have a stub with a link, if nothing else, on every topic covered at Khan Academy.) In this way, we might supplement, for example, material that is hosted on Khan Academy, and their content will supplement ours. They may choose to incorporate our content, which is fine. We don't care where content is hosted, really, we care about creating, maintaining, and improving educational resources on all topics. --Abd 16:23, 25 November 2011 (UTC)
I'll disagree on duplication of pages -- it depends on what the aim is. If we are just going to duplicate and forget pages, I agree, a link would be better. But if there is going to be some improvement, addition, change -- or it's a small piece that is needed for a particular page, as long as the license is compatible, I say duplicate away. The Internet isn't a large building, but rather like the shifting sand of the desert. The idea of a wiki is let people change things and improve them, at little risk and cost. Sites often change their layouts or even go away, breaking links all over the place, so if the piece is critical to a learning resource here, there is little downside to duplication. (I'm also not saying we shouldn't collaborate with like-minded sites, or leverage other resources -- but we should realize the risks if we do so). Historybuff 15:48, 3 December 2011 (UTC)

I'll jump in here too. I work for The Saylor Foundation and we do some work similar to Kahn. Our main license is CC-BY, but we also link to a lot of other resources that have varying licenses (or are copyrighted). We've actually been talking here about looking into which of our courses might be well-suited to be wikified for this project and we'd love some assistance. I'm going to create a new section on this page, but I'll monitor this discussion as well. Or hit up my Talk page! MyNameWasTaken 22:11, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

Colloquium image

-- 10:45, 11 November 2011 (UTC)this seems a painting of the 14 century .the place seems to be depicting a meeting between men of portugal.moved from Colloquium page by Abd 15:16, 11 November 2011 (UTC)

File:Marburger-Religionsgespräch.jpg. Marburg, Germany. see the notes on the image page, and an article on the meeting, w:Marburg Colloquy. --Abd 15:21, 11 November 2011 (UTC)