Wikiversity:Namespaces/Proposals for new namespaces

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Proposals for new namespaces can be listed on this page.

Proposals[edit]

Please only list new namespaces that you will actually use. (No theory; just practical names)



Low-end names in the namespace[edit]

  • Here are namespaces which are useful to me. (In some cases, I am already using them.)
"Course"
I need a namespace for full courses, each of which is a series of multi-page lessons, etc. If a potential student is interested in learning what I teach, they need to know that a page identified as a "Course" is not a lesson but rather the starting page of a series of lessons aimed at a single goal. (I see names such as "Stream" and "Project" but the word "Course" is much closer to what I offer.)
I am currently working on three unrelated courses. Eventually, I will write one new course each year (30 lessons for each course) consisting of about 1000 pages of which I will write about 200 of the pages.
"Lesson"
This is the first page of a lesson. If the lesson is short, this can be the entire lesson. If the lesson has many steps, it can be the introductory page.
"LessonPage"
This is all lesson pages other than the first lesson page. I need to be able to find these and identify these quickly since these pages often have the most need for changes.
Like most instructors that I have seen at Wikiveristy, I develop lessons on line. I do not have any tools for developing lessons off line. Therefore, I am continually searching through (and working on) all the lessons I am currently writing… and that is a lot of pages. I never complete one page before I start the next. Rather I work on all the pages at the same time… hence my need to be able to identify them in my mind. I believe I current have about 200 of these pages and I am continually working on all of them. Because of my writing style, I will continue to polish all my pages even after they are finished.
Perhaps another name would be better but I cannot think of it. "AdditionalLessonPages" is too long and "Pages" is not clear.
"Reference"
I need an identifier for pages which have information vital to a lesson but are not part of a lesson. (The names could be "ReferencePage" but that seems a bit too long.) Reference fits a wide varity of purposes. Normally, a reference page is only a single page.
"Review"
This is a new namespace that I am thinking about. As part of my lessons, I continally recommend programs (almost always FREE programs for the Macintosh, Windows and occasionally Linux) which students must use to complete the lesson. However, it would be nice to have a page where I (and other uses of the computer program) explain and review the program. For this, "Reference" might be sufficient but it might also be misleading since it is only opinions. The word "Reference" is not what people associate with a product review. "ProductReview" is a much clearer name but possibly too long. I will recommend about 100 programs in the basic filmmaking course. Therefore, it would be nice for people to know WHY I recommend that they use these programs. Reviews will solve that problem.
"Homework"
I need a namespace for completed assignments. The name could be "Homework" or "CompletedHomework" or "Assignments" or "CompletedAssignments". Establishing a namespace might not be enough because most of the assignments I have received so far are PDF files which have no easy marking system (as these are all called "image" inside Wiki.) I have not found a good solution for combining these two file storage systems.

Discuss low end names proposal[edit]

"I need a namespace for full courses ..... a "Course" is not a lesson but rather the starting page of a series of lessons" <-- Just create a page for each course in the "Topic:" namespace. There is no need for a new namespace for courses. --JWSchmidt 16:47, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

Lessons are main namespace content. There is no need for a "Lesson:" namespace. "LessonPage ..... I need to be able to find these and identify these quickly since these pages often have the most need for changes" <-- put all related lessons in the same category, that will allow you to find them. You can also create navigation aids in the form of lists of hypertext links or navigation boxes. See w:Wikipedia:Navigational templates. --JWSchmidt 16:55, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

"Reference", "Review", "Homework" <-- These all sound like main namespace content. There is no need to create new namespaces for different kinds of main namespace content. Just give each page a good name and include them in appropriate categories. --JWSchmidt 17:00, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

Reply by Robert Elliott[edit]

You are asking me to do more work than is necessary. Putting all my low-end pages in the main namespace does not provide me with the tools and the structure that I need. Instead, you are asking me to do all the work manually rather than use the Wiki software which will do it all automatically for me.
Asking me to do more work is OK… if I am doing on a few pages or a few lessons. But asking me to continually create and maintain navigation templates for hundreds of page because you do not want to change 10 lines of code is not reasonable.
The Wiki software has tremendous power if you apply it correctly. Robert Elliott 17:22, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
  • Thousands of people have developed and used this software over the past five years and developed solutions the organizational problems you have described. As far as I know, all Wikimedia Foundation sister projects use categories to keep track of related pages. Categories provide a flexible system that allows wiki users to organize content as needed. Any change to the namespace structure of Wikiversity needs to be performed by a developer. I doubt if any developer would ever start down the path of replacing the category system with your proposed new use for the namespaces system. If you need help organizing the pages you create, try placing a request for help at the Colloquium. There are some wiki participants who love to do that kind of work. --JWSchmidt 17:57, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
Note
The software we are using for Wikiversity is NOT the software that is used for WikiBooks. This is a highly modified version which is still incomplete.
Also, I am not requesting any programming changes (in the request above). I am only asking that the data file which controls the searches in Wikiversity be expanded. When you click on "My Contributions", you get a search engine with a fixed number of options (a fixed number of namespaces that you can search on). These options are controlled by a data file which currently has 22 entries. Simply adding lines to this data file does not require any programming. Robert Elliott 00:56, 14 November 2006 (UTC)

Thoughts from Cormaggio[edit]

First of all, I think I should say that I've always been reluctant to create more namespaces - we already have more than any other project, as far as I know. I think our system is already confusing as it is - and we need to be sure that we are working off solid principles before we create further complexities in the system we're using and developing.

This conversation throws into relief for me the limitations of the system we are dealing with (ie the MediaWiki software). And no solution I have seen seems to fit the real problems that Robert is experiencing. The namespaces proposed seem clumsy and don't seem to me to help the situation of making course-pages more easily findable (but if you think they can, please spell this out for me). Categories and navigational templates are what have worked best for other projects, though, admittedly, the other projects (apart from Wikibooks) do not have the same type of "page-dependency" (for want of a better phrase) as we do. Perhaps, there is another way? This seems like something that is of key importance to developing a solid bank of resources on Wikiversity - so it deserves our deep attention. (Btw, It has also been requested by the KDE community for the development of their training materials to have a system of overlaying a web of pages with a structure of learning trails, which the learner follows to carry out a specific task, amassing the skills that are of interest to them.) All this just makes me think that it might be an idea to have a chat (or some form of discussion) with the Wikimedia developers, to see if something like this is possible - along with our other technical needs and issues.

Obviously, we need to create structures that are easy to track both for the navigator, and the contributor. I can't see any of these namespaces working any better than the structure we have in place at the moment (though, as I've said, please spell it out for me if you disagree). This is of prime importance - so we must take it seriously. Cormaggio 21:17, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

Point of clarification by Robert Elliott
When I talk about Low-End Namespaces, I am refering to the area of Wikiversity which currently has NO namespaces. This is called the main namespace but really it is a void without any structure at all. Currently, all lesson pages, course pages, homework pages, etc. are given NO namespace name at all. There is absolutely NO structure for these pages in the current system.
The changes I am requesting is simply adding a few lines to the data file that controls searches in Wiki. There is no actual programming changes needed to add a namespace called "Lesson". Only one line is added to the data file which simply says "Lesson". Same with "Course" and "Homework". There is no programming to do this. Robert Elliott 00:43, 14 November 2006 (UTC)
Just to clarify my own perspective - it's not any programming that I'm objecting to - it's having namespaces that could clutter the organisation of content, rather than help people find and add content. (Also note that I'm not saying that this is the case with your proposed namespaces - it's just that I don't currently see what good they would do.) Cormaggio 00:52, 14 November 2006 (UTC)
The developers are not going to create new namespaces for everyone who will not learn how to use categories and other existing organizational tools. At Wikipedia, the Music genre page uses a "navigation template" at the bottom of the page (w:Template:Music genres). There are 45 subcategories in w:Category:Music genres and a couple hundred pages. By following the links in the "navigation box" produced by that template you can visit pages such as List of blues genres which has its own navigation box that is generated by w:Template:Blues. Another example of a Wikipedia category with many subcategories and pages is w:Category:History of Europe. The Wikipedia page for History of Europe has several "navigation boxes" at the bottom to help guide people to particular articles. It is not hard to organize hundreds of related main namespace pages by making use of categories, lists of pages and "navigation templates". We could have a community project to do so for something like Course:WikiU Film School Course 01 - Learning the Basics of Filmmaking. --JWSchmidt 00:54, 14 November 2006 (UTC)
Robert Elliott, If searching within wikiversity is your concern, then please use google.--Hillgentleman|User talk:hillgentleman 10:00, 21 November 2006 (UTC)

Support[edit]

  • Course: Agree. There should be a namespace that denotes the level of organization that is a set of learning objectives aimed at accomplishing a certain strategic learning objective. This may mean it is a university-style class (History of Pants), or a part of a DIY section (Using a Lathe), etc. In the School of Strategic Studies, this would be the numbered courses that could then be arranged in a course calendar. This would make Wikiversity more modular: if a stream (curriculum) designer wanted to put together a curriculum with some overlap with another, (e.g. Peace Studies and International Relations) they could simply choose applicable courses from the course calendar, knowing that they were groups of small learning objectives geared to teaching a student about the topic that is the subject of the course.
  • Department: We should include Department and not Topic. Topic doesn't fit into the proposed school organization, it has to be forced to fit there.
  • Class/Lesson: Agree. A limited learning objective that is the atom of a course. Again, a general catalog of these would allow for the modular construction of more curricula from a good core of classes.

Diversity of approach in organization actually hinders the development of this site. There should be built-in standardization to a degree, so that curriculum developers can find what they need if it exists, and not have to look through disparate forms of categorization in order to find what they seek.--Dnjkirk 16:52, 14 November 2006 (UTC)

Oppose[edit]

I don't see how adding namespaces can benefit Wikiversity. In fact, I think we have too many already. Portal:, School: and Topic: even seem extranious to me, but I've become accustomed to them as I shall the new ones if there is a consensus.

As for the Film School my feeling is that naming conventions were not adhered to, thus causing some problems. Mr. Elliot has a definate style and that is great, but I intuit that he ..we.. could solve the above problems with navigational templates and categories. Furthermore he should, in my opinion, simplify the titles of the pages. As JW said, there are people here who thrive on this sort of work. I'm one of them.

Category: and Template: are powerful tools because of their added functionality. If it's a matter of navigation between and among related pages, Templates and Categories can be of great value if applied correctly. For instance Category:Courses contains only three pages. What's up with that?

I've suggested the Template Taskforce as a learning project for getting the most out of MediaWiki templates. It could be part of the MediaWiki Project and Topic:MediaWiki which really look into the nuts and bolts of MediaWiki. Shouldn't we look more deeply at the engine that powers Wikiversity? Isn't there some existing functionality we're not exploiting? Do we not have a working relationship with the developers? Let's step back and look at this, please. CQ 19:35, 14 November 2006 (UTC)

Oppose. The idea of splitting main namespace content into subsets to be placed in new namespaces has never been justified in terms of how it would provide any benefits over the current namespace system. The way to facilitate human interactions with related main namespace pages is by making use of portals, categories and templates. The "Topic:" namespace is a good place for Wikiversity content development projects because "topic" is a general term and the current naming conventions allow for Wikiversity participants to refer to the pages in the "Topic:" namespace as divisions, departments, programs, centers, projects, courses or with any other label selected by those who collaborate to develop learning resources for a particular topic area. There is no generally agreed upon meaning for terms such as "department" and "course" and it would just lead to confusion and argument if there were new namespaces called "Department:" or "Course:". --JWSchmidt 21:25, 14 November 2006 (UTC)

Oppose:

  • Every suggested use of the new namespaces can be done by using categories and templates. For example, references and homeworks can be put in their appropriate categories.
  • Topic: is a good namespace - it flexibly allows many possible paths of learning, complementing the more traditional school:. The namespaces suggested above ('lesson:, course:, reference:, etc) are not flexible.--Hillgentleman|User talk:hillgentleman 10:00, 21 November 2006 (UTC)

How to expand the main namespace[edit]

In case you wonder where the namespaces are stored, below is a typical file which comes with the wiki software that defines the namespaces.

Wikimedia says...[edit]

The names are set in files such as those listed in m:Locales for the Wikimedia projects, with default m:Language.php:

/* private */ $wgNamespaceNamesEn = array(
        NS_MEDIA            => 'Media',
        NS_SPECIAL          => 'Special',
        NS_MAIN             => '',
        NS_TALK             => 'Talk',
        NS_USER             => 'User',
        NS_USER_TALK        => 'User_talk',
        NS_WIKIPEDIA        => $wgMetaNamespace,
        NS_WIKIPEDIA_TALK   => $wgMetaNamespace . '_talk',
        NS_IMAGE            => 'Image',
        NS_IMAGE_TALK       => 'Image_talk',
        NS_MEDIAWIKI        => 'MediaWiki',
        NS_MEDIAWIKI_TALK   => 'MediaWiki_talk',
        NS_TEMPLATE         => 'Template',
        NS_TEMPLATE_TALK    => 'Template_talk',
        NS_HELP             => 'Help',
        NS_HELP_TALK        => 'Help_talk',
        NS_CATEGORY         => 'Category',
        NS_CATEGORY_TALK    => 'Category_talk'
);

As you can see, this is a very simple data file that can be expanded immediately to include a better structure for Wikiversity. The advanage of adding structure to the low end (main namespace) is to allow easy searching in "my contributions". My list of contributions for the main namespace has long passed 500 so it would be nice to be able to find changes to courses, lessons, lesson pages, reference pages, homework, and reviews easily and quickly. Robert Elliott 20:25, 18 November 2006 (UTC)

Class and Session namespaces[edit]

The Class: and Session: namespaces are special purpose containers for static (class:) and dynamic (session:) constructs that will work in conjunction with MediaWiki Objects, Automatons, bots, spiders, crawlers, etc. on various levels at various times in various contexts. They generally help various applications to know who is doing what with automated database integrity generated by login sessions, timestamps and contexts such as a unique School:, Portal:, Topic:, MediaWiki:, Help:, or other "place" on Wikiversity.

These namespaces, when seen through the lenz of the OSI Model, exist in the Application layer. Class: and session: variables are set to initial, progressive and final values allowing users and the applications to track progress along a timeline, position within a course of study, traversal through a predefined series of contexts or other "moving-target" sequence of expected, registered or consequential events.

Submitted by CQ on 18:06, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

This all seems very abstract. Can you provide specific example of what kinds of pages would go in the "Class:" and "Session:" namespaces? What purpose would the namespaces serve that cannot be met by having Category:Class and Category:Session? How do "Class: and session: variables" relate to "Class:" and "Session:" namespaces? --JWSchmidt 18:45, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

Book:[edit]

With the recent addition of the book tool, it would be useful to have a Book namespace. This is the default namespace for storing books, but it hasn't yet been created on Wikiversity.

Currently, the {{Saved book}} indicates that books in the Book: namespace are in the incorrect place. But this is because the namespace hasn't been created yet. -- Jtneill - Talk - c 00:56, 29 September 2010 (UTC)

What book tool? Since I'm ignorant of the book tool, I'm going to guess as to what you're talking about and ask, shouldn't any book type materials be created on Wikibooks and be linked to? Or are there policies on Wikibooks that keep things like work problems or whatever from being added to books. --Devourer09 03:22, 29 September 2010 (UTC)
Thanks, Devourer9 - I've started Help:Book to provide more info about the book tool. -- Jtneill - Talk - c 04:09, 29 September 2010 (UTC)