Wikiversity:Colloquium/archives/September 2012

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Legal Fees Assistance Program

The Wikimedia Foundation is conducting a request for comment on a proposed program that could provide legal assistance to users in specific support roles who are named in a legal complaint as a defendant because of those roles. We wanted to be sure that your community was aware of this discussion and would have a chance to participate in that discussion. If this page is not the best place to publicize this request for comment, please help spread the word to those who may be interested in participating. (If you'd like to help translating the "request for comment", program policy or other pages and don't know how the translation system works, please come by my user talk page at m:User talk:Mdennis (WMF). I'll be happy to assist or to connect you with a volunteer who can assist.) Thank you! --Mdennis (WMF) (talk) 15:33, 5 September 2012 (UTC)

Sandbot request

Hello, I'd like notice brought up about my bot request at Wikiversity:Bots/Status. The task is quite simple: it resets the content of the sandbox to a predefined text. Thanks. -- Hazard-SJ  ±  02:43, 7 September 2012 (UTC)

A bureaucrat has to decide the status, not sure if you contacted already one, but here are they listed, write them on their talk page. ----Erkan Yilmaz uses the Wikiversity:Chat + 02:02, 10 September 2012 (UTC)

Who wants to help add news at the front page?

see Main Page/News please, ----Erkan Yilmaz uses the Wikiversity:Chat + 17:17, 7 September 2012 (UTC)

I was wondering if recently completed lectures for the forthcoming course Principles of radiation astronomy could be announced as part of Main Page/News. Perhaps reading something like "The lecture Astronomy for the forthcoming course Principles of radiation astronomy to be offered by the School:Physics and Astronomy has reached a high level of completion and is ready for student testing.", or words to this effect. Suggestions welcome. --Marshallsumter (talk) 16:36, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
Well, it's been a while that someone added news there - besides me (see here and that will tell you another story).
In my view: either no news or put in something
If someone disagrees with you putting info there, you'll see since (s)he will use the edit button.
So, yes, put it in there, it's the front page people (where people land on)... ----Erkan Yilmaz uses the Wikiversity:Chat + 18:28, 9 September 2012 (UTC)

I just added The_Science_Behind_Parkinson's, ----Erkan Yilmaz uses the Wikiversity:Chat + 16:17, 10 September 2012 (UTC)

Wikidata is getting close to a first roll-out

Wikimedia Foundation RGB logo with text.svg

(Apologies if this message isn't in your language.)

As some of you might already have heard Wikimedia Deutschland is working on a new Wikimedia project. It is called m:Wikidata. The goal of Wikidata is to become a central data repository for the Wikipedias, its sister projects and the world. In the future it will hold data like the number of inhabitants of a country, the date of birth of a famous person or the length of a river. These can then be used in all Wikimedia projects and outside of them.

The project is divided into three phases and "we are getting close to roll-out the first phase". The phases are:

  1. language links in the Wikipedias (making it possible to store the links between the language editions of an article just once in Wikidata instead of in each linked article)
  2. infoboxes (making it possible to store the data that is currently in infoboxes in one central place and share the data)
  3. lists (making it possible to create lists and similar things based on queries to Wikidata so they update automatically when new data is added or modified)

It'd be great if you could join us, test the demo version, provide feedback and take part in the development of Wikidata. You can find all the relevant information including an FAQ and sign-up links for our on-wiki newsletter on the Wikidata page on Meta.

For further discussions please use this talk page (if you are uncomfortable writing in English you can also write in your native language there) or point me to the place where your discussion is happening so I can answer there.

--Lydia Pintscher 13:15, 10 September 2012 (UTC)

Distributed via Global message delivery. (Wrong page? Fix here.)

Where to link in a new learning project

Advice please. A few of us have been working on a learning project with top-level page Portal:The_Science_Behind_Parkinson's. I have put a link in Portal:Learning_Projects. But where else should the link go so that the project can be found? The problem is that the project looks at Parkinson's disease from the point of view of explaining the science of the disease and, in particular, keeping track of the research that is going on and describing and explaining it and discussing its implications. So it crosses many boundaries so that it comes under health and medicine but also under life sciences, biology, neuroscience, biochemistry, cell biology, genetics, pathology and an awful lot of other potential headings. So which Schools and Departments should it be listed under? Is there a Wikiversity principle that a project should go under ALL schools and departments that it potentially relates to or to the minimum number? We have partially done the categorisation of pages in the project but the same problem of a large number of potential categories arises. Should we a create an individual category hierarchy or use existing categories? Advice please!

It probably goes without saying that we also want as many people as possible to know about this project. We really want to attract people affected by Parkinson's who are able make a contribution through explaining the science and by writing in accessible language about research progress as it happens. We want to find such people to contribute to this project and to make it a valuable resource for those who want to know more about the condition that in many cases has turned their lives upside down.

-- Droflet (talk) 09:42, 7 September 2012 (UTC)

It's quite late here, therefore some short remarks:
Thanks for these comments. I'll intersperse my comments below: Droflet (talk) 16:26, 11 September 2012 (UTC)
  • I'd not do it as spammers do (this is no hint that you are one, since you ask here)
  • if you want it to be found, I'd make the content with diverse text (I did not read it yet)
    • why? because your content will be found by search engines
  • you should also consider using external channels
    • e.g. WV mailing list
Where do you find this? Droflet (talk) 16:26, 11 September 2012 (UTC)
at: Wikiversity:Mailing list (the fact that this info is "hidden" in the box on top of this page could mean it should be designed better), ----Erkan Yilmaz uses the Wikiversity:Chat + 17:38, 11 September 2012 (UTC)
    • setting links in WP to your learning resource
I've asked for this to be done in w:Parkinson's_disease Droflet (talk) 16:26, 11 September 2012 (UTC)
    • ...
  • an experienced WV user will know how to use the search button
  • to really get people to use it you will have to do what most people do NOT do here at WV
    • take care about others
      • so, if your claim that it touches many things is correct (remember I did not read yet), then it should not be a problem to get other editors here on that train by chatting with them + showing them the connection (but again in a nicely manner)
Yes, this is in our plans. Droflet (talk) 16:26, 11 September 2012 (UTC)
  • so, in case all fails, fall back to this rule: put it on the top3 categories you think it belongs
Done this for 2 cats and looking for an appropriate 3rd! Droflet (talk) 16:26, 11 September 2012 (UTC)
Hope this message is perceioved by you as positive as I intend it to be + I'll try to look at your project soon, ----Erkan Yilmaz uses the Wikiversity:Chat + 02:00, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
Very positieve, thanks. Droflet (talk) 16:26, 11 September 2012 (UTC)
It may also be helpful to see how WP has tried to solve the problematic with the categories, see w: Category:Parkinson's disease, ----Erkan Yilmaz uses the Wikiversity:Chat + 02:11, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
I am afraid that the WP entry is not very helpful in this regard! Droflet (talk) 16:26, 11 September 2012 (UTC)

Comment period on the Wikimedia United States Federation

There is a proposal for an an umbrella organization for chapters and other groups in the US called the Wikimedia United States Federation. A draft of the bylaws is now up at meta. There will be an open comment period on the bylaws 17 September, 2012 to 1 October, 2012. The comments received given will be incorporated into the bylaws and they will be put up to a ratification vote from 8 October, 2012 to 15 October, 2012. --Guerillero (talk) 21:56, 17 September 2012 (UTC)


I am having fun writing quizzes for various lectures and courses, but there seems to be only three kinds of questions:

  1. True/False,
  2. Fill in the blank, and
  3. only one answer out of several choices.

Is there anyone who can write a question choice which allows all or multiple right answers? Each of these has value and makes a student think more about the field. --Marshallsumter (talk) 17:58, 19 September 2012 (UTC)

Found an answer at Help:Quiz. --Marshallsumter (talk) 18:44, 25 September 2012 (UTC)


There are a number of free compilers on the web for various programming languages such as Ada. Is it possible to have an embedded compiler available at Wikiversity for teaching programming in Ada, for example? Such an onboard compiler would need to be CPU/Memory allocation limited so that even an accomplished hacker cannot take over the WMF computers. But, it would or could allow beginners to write simple programs and run batch jobs to test program writing basics. --Marshallsumter (talk) 19:03, 19 September 2012 (UTC)

I guess it should not be hard to install this on the sandbox server (on the WV mailing list is also mentioned access to Labs accounts.
With embedded do you mean it to run also in the browser "on the fly" here at WV? If yes, takes probably much more time until boxed through the hierarchies. Your best (and fast) way would be the SS, Labs. But who knows one day a Gadget may be possible ----Erkan Yilmaz uses the Wikiversity:Chat + 10:48, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
According to the GNAT entry on Wikipedia, "GNAT is a free-software compiler for the Ada programming language which forms part of the GNU Compiler Collection. It supports all versions of the language, i.e. Ada 2005, Ada 95, Ada 83 and Ada 2012."[1] My understanding of using such compilers may be quite antiquated compared to today. But, it would work like so:

user1 uses browser to edit a page perhaps called user/MainProgram. It would look like any page in resource/user space, except in the display area are lines of code:

  1. dim genename$(60000),genelocus$(60000),category$(60000),genedescription$(60000),indicator$(20)
  2. open "/ChipmunkBasic/Chipmunk_Basic_3.5.7/GeneProject/Addending Characters/AddendingCharacters.bas" for input as #1
  3. input #1,nc
  4. for i = 1 to nc
  5. input #1,character$(i)
  6. next i
  7. close #1
  8. print "No location budget available!"
  9. goto 90000
  10. end

Another page is an exec file (user/AdaExec) that contains statements that call the compiler and submit the source code contained in user/MainProgram as a batch job which prints or sends the output to another designated page, say user/Output page in user space.

Usually, a student is asked (see Ada) to download a compiler to their own computer and runs small learning programs there. One benefit of having the compiler and executable pages in user space is a common compiler for all that should yield the same results for any student.

I'm also looking around for the Labs setup to see if this is a better idea. --Marshallsumter (talk) 21:17, 27 September 2012 (UTC)


  1. "GNAT". Wikipedia (San Francisco, California: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc). September 9, 2012. Retrieved 2012-09-27. 

Link colors

I feel there is an implicit mistake in the design of Wikiversity. The color of the links is identical to Wikipedia. Yet, the links here are not to explain the meaning of the word (via an encyclopedia). If you test it on people, you can find their error in overlooking vital links. They know the word - where's the category/lesson/course links? Frustration becomes obvious!

  • I believe if the color was changed to something else (turquoise and green), then participants would identify new Wikimedia links to concern themselves with. (opt 1)
  • The red links, here, are as equally annoying (for the educators). An educator using red links looks sloppy! If purple was used (by Wikiversity) they would look like shrewd planners. (opt 2)
  • Furthermore, this change would allow the traditional 'links to explanations' to be used alongside Wikiversity's special links. These options are simply added features that will make an 'identifiable' difference! (opt 3) WDYT?

Brett Johnston (talk) 16:22, 28 September 2012 (UTC)

I like each of your suggestions! --Marshallsumter (talk) 19:57, 28 September 2012 (UTC)

Wikiversium Yardstick

I am not quite sure about the Wikiversium Yardstick colorful circles that have shown up on each of the schools listed within the category of schools.

  1. Firstly, there are many additional schools that happen not to be listed in the category so no circles present.
  2. I added the Swedish language department to the Foreign language learning departments at the School:Language and Literature, evaluated the School per the yardstick and the school would go from F to A based on this department alone.
  3. Personally, I believe the user Planotse who has added these colorful circles sincerely wishes to improve the learning resources at Wikiversity, but so many schools apparently too quickly assigned to F seems to me to be unduly discouraging to potential contributors and students.
  4. Even the School:Computer Science is rated F, yet has at least three courses already that are sufficient to have been rated an A before the circles appeared.
  5. If these ratings are to remain, I believe they should more accurately reflect the schools.
  6. If these are to be changed or removed, what is the best way to do this? I personally do not have time to check each school, even just those with colorful circles.
  7. Hopefully some feedback here will be forthcoming. --Marshallsumter (talk) 07:17, 19 September 2012 (UTC)
This particular circle is troublesome

{{Is this a real school}} As Wikipedia is considered at least a secondary education source for information, including some in course/lecture/article content seems reasonable. --Marshallsumter (talk) 15:09, 19 September 2012 (UTC)

"Either improve the Wikiversium grade by measuring up to its [obscure] standards or deleting the symbol from the top right of the page since it seems to be based on rather arbitrary criteria and imposes a negative vibe."[1], [obscure] added later, from School:Economics, Section: Short-term goals of the School of Economics. --Marshallsumter (talk) 13:45, 25 September 2012 (UTC)

All of the schools in the category Schools that have a colorful rating circle have this one:

{{Wikiversium yardstick/grade|f}}

All of the schools in the category that have a colorful circle have the yellow one above.
I changed the one at the School:Language and Literature to an A and have deleted the yellow one. --Marshallsumter (talk) 14:30, 25 September 2012 (UTC)

Ditto to the School:Computer Science. --Marshallsumter (talk) 14:36, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
Ditto to the School:Business. --Marshallsumter (talk) 16:27, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
I too have questions and comments about the Wikiverarium Yardstick. It's not grades for the students, but grades for the teachers. After all, we are hoping for quality articles! The idea of a yardstick seems reasonable to me. The rubric seems, on the whole, consistent with what I was taught as I was studying for a Master's degree in Education. But it seems to me that so far no one has implemented the evaluation of the Yardstick. I too was somewhat put off by the fact that I could find NO school with a passing grade. Who will issue the evaluations? and when? I have also seen some evidence that some other schemes for evaluating the Schools have been attempted, notably, an analogy of Schools compared with Buildings, with an attempt to define a workable "Building Code". I'm new enough to be just beginning a systematic search of the Wikiversity for constructive ideas. May I suggest that interested parties continue these discussions on the "discuss" page of "School:Wikiversity Studies"? Ray Calvin Baker (talk) 01:15, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
Another contributor to the School:Economics has deleted the Wikiversium colorful rating circle. --Marshallsumter (talk) 10:30, 30 September 2012 (UTC)
I have deleted the colorful yellow and F rating circles from the School:Physics and Astronomy for their negative effect. --Marshallsumter (talk) 01:40, 1 October 2012 (UTC)


WV: Mailing list problem

See mailing list: users can freely spam (or don't understand how to unsubscribe or just troll, whatever), no active mod seems there. As WV community make a decision... I hope someone will stand up! ----Erkan Yilmaz uses the Wikiversity:Chat + 19:56, 30 September 2012 (UTC)

I was pointed to this thread. I'd be happy to set a new list moderator if someone volunteers, but failing that, our only options are to leave it as is, or to shut it down. I'd prefer not to shut it down, but will act upon the consensus of the community. Philippe (WMF) (talk) 00:16, 1 October 2012 (UTC)

Building code?

I've been away for a bit, but we went through the whole "faculty/school" thing, and while I personally liked it, it was discarded by community consensus. Now we have "buildings" and a "building code"? Really?

If the metaphor helped strengthen learner's understanding, or made resources simpler to use, I'd be all for it. Except, it forces you to use it's navigation scheme, and seems unduly heavy and hard to use. I'm commenting because I noticed it in the CS area. Comments? Historybuff (talk) 01:44, 30 September 2012 (UTC)

There are more comments at School:Wikiversity Studies. I'm tending toward deleting the colorful circles from all schools to which they have been applied, if this is what you are referring to. To perform the Wikiversium evaluation requires most effort simply going to finding all courses, then looking for lessons. It takes way too much time that I would rather spend on writing lessons, articles, lectures, quizzes, etc. The colorful circle dropper hasn't written even one lesson at any school inside Wikiversity but has apparently been directing potential students to a module called from FitNesse. While sending students to another online learning module is okay and quite common, I'm wondering about motives. Is the Wikiversium Yardstick some form of spam or subtle vandalism? --Marshallsumter (talk) 21:39, 30 September 2012 (UTC)
The Wikihigh module does contain lessons and appears to be designed to follow the Wikiversium Yarstick so my comment about creating lessons is incorrect. But no lessons appear to be created for any of the schools negatively evaluated with the colorful circles. --Marshallsumter (talk) 22:02, 30 September 2012 (UTC)
May I suggest taking a look at Tonymax469 and accompanying talk page User talk:Tonymax469. --Marshallsumter (talk) 22:56, 30 September 2012 (UTC)
The section in CS that I looked at doesn't seem to add anything to the learning experience, and the building metaphor is quite strained. Saying that registration is required is very heavy handed. "All students, teachers and builders are required to register with the school as an active participant." source: Cse/Obama Hall/School Directory --mikeu talk 05:15, 15 October 2012 (UTC)
I took a closer look at CS regarding your comments. My gut response is that of feeling our CS school has been taken over by Loki. While I would not want to deny any student the opportunity of experiencing this alternate educational style, I believe it should not be THE style. As someone who will be doing more hopefully with computer programming once I learn more about the WMF laboratories, I have no interest or intent to obey Loki's commands. --Marshallsumter (talk) 18:23, 18 October 2012 (UTC)
Another concern I have about Wikihigh and what's on the School:Computer science is with respect to the graphics and software being used. Here, User:Planotse has put forth an effort very similar to that of User talk:Tonymax469 on Wikipedia. Are these graphics and accompanying software copyrighted to someone and being used here in violation of that copyright? While to me, there is an implied transfer of copyright to Wikiversity and Wikipedia by its use on each, is that transfer from the copyright holder? How do we know this? --Marshallsumter (talk) 23:32, 19 October 2012 (UTC)