Wikiversity:Religious content

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Wikiversity may need a policy or guideline about Religious Content.

(N)POV issues[edit source]

Should all resources related to religion carry a Neutral Point Of View (NPOV)? Consider:

  • Should all religious resources by directed at someone from outside the religious faith?
  • Could we have one set of resources about Islam for non-muslims, and others for muslims?
  • Does this question go in the wrong direction? No editor on WV has the right to determine who their audience is going to be - that would be almost like putting passwords on things. On the other hand, one can write on topics which would probably appeal to people with certain interests. The issue of "acceptable content" and NPOV is not an issue of audiences, though, but the style of writing. Evangelical styles would make WV laughable; objective academic tones would be "neutral". --McCormack 16:34, 11 March 2008 (UTC)
Well, there were discussions about this a while back... for example, a resource about Marxist economics would obviously hold a Marxist point of view. Likewise, English grammar for native speakers would be different from English grammar for native Chinese speakers. Religious topics likewise have insides and outsides, and variations on point of view. --SB_Johnny | talk 09:17, 12 March 2008 (UTC)

A NPOV template could help end conflicts which might appear faster, because we could then at hot discussions say: "Please remember the NPOV". If not at the main page, it could be placed at the talk page(s) of that ressource ? But I am definitely pro for such a template. ----Erkan Yilmaz Wikiversity:Chat 10:04, 16 March 2008 (UTC)

  • I really think religious content at WV needs to go MPOV (Wikiversity:Multiple points of view), not NPOV. People should be encouraged to create content by Muslims for Muslims about Islam, by Muslims for non-Muslims about Islam, and by non-Muslims about Islam. Of course, it need not be limited to 3 POV's! Let it be 5, or 500. The more different perspectives we get, the more we can all grow and learn from the experience. I think, for this reason, it's important to not shut out any legitimate point of view. The Jade Knight 09:32, 5 September 2008 (UTC)

Verifiability, Notability[edit source]

Should we only allow content related to established, large religions?

  • Who decides?
  • What if someone wants to make up a religion or sect as a thought experiment?
  • Could Wikiversity User Blogs be used for making responses?
  • The "let WP decide" principle has a number of advantages:
    • Making decisions about religious content is time-consuming - do we have the manpower?
    • Making decisions about religious content is inevitably controversial - much more than other topics. Does our community have the strength, solidarity and cohesion for this? Or would we be threatened as a community by such controversies? If we outsource the decisions to WP, it's not our fault!
On the whole I'm not in favour of following WP policy everywhere, but on the issue of "which religions/sects", a defensive, conservative approach is good for our fledgling community.
--McCormack 16:31, 11 March 2008 (UTC)
I'm certainly not talking about outsourcing, but rather borrowing their experience as a foundation to build upon while developing our guidelines and/or policies. Staff and (wo/)man power will need to come from the community that works on these resources, and that community can make a better-defined set of guidelines as the needs become apparent.--SB_Johnny | talk 09:17, 12 March 2008 (UTC)
I am talking about outsourcing, though, at least for the moment. To put it another way, personally I do not want to risk my neck in arguments about whether a religion or sect is too whacky or tiny to earn a right to educational materials on WV - I've got better things to do - so who is volunteering to work on this issue? If we don't have a solid, knowledgeable core of people willing to work on this contentious problem, we have no other choice than to adopt a (provisional) principle such as "if WP doesn't have an article on the religion/sect, then WV doesn't devote space to them either". (Volunteers, please sign below). --McCormack 10:15, 12 March 2008 (UTC)
>Should we only allow content related to established, large religions?
No, we also allow original research, so what is the difference then (asking stupid now) ? What about if someone tells like: I want to write a novel here: content contains a fictional religion - where then the ideas are presented.
There are so many ways to disguise things, so we should not try to prevent them, because humans are genius in finding ways :-) We recently got this project at de.WV - it was also something where I thought: oh no, but in the sense of original research and letting freedom be, it should be allowed.
BTW: if someone would have "censored" Jesus or Mohammed or any other larger religion founder back then, we would not see the religions active now. Let just future decide how they will evolve. ----Erkan Yilmaz Wikiversity:Chat 10:17, 16 March 2008 (UTC)
I side somewhat with Erkan on this issue. However, I'm thinking a compromise may be good—say: any religion which has a (time-tested, so they don't just throw one up real quick) article at Wikipedia may be a valid source of educational content at Wikiversity. However, religions without educational content at Wikipedia may appeal to have their religion in resources here. I think specific criteria needs to be created to determine when a religion would be allowed, and when one wouldn't (stuff like nothing illegal, a claim to specific educational value for the project at Wikiversity, etc.) The Jade Knight 09:39, 5 September 2008 (UTC)

Original Research[edit source]

Somewhat related to verifiability and notability: how should we interpret Original Research?

  • Surveys could of course be used similar to those developed in Wikimedian Demographics...
  • Personal meditations?
  • Do all interpretations need to follow logical deduction or induction?
  • In the natural sciences, I reckon that original research should probably have an empirical underpinning at WV in order to count as respectable. This requirement would not translate easily to theological topics. Areas of theological research which might be acceptable include comparative and historical religious analyses - e.g. analyses of recently discovered papyrii. However I do not think that the foundation of new religions or the personal exploration of one's own religious sentiments should be accepted as a "research" topic. --McCormack 16:27, 11 March 2008 (UTC)
    • I agree that it shouldn't be considered "research". At the same time, I don't think it should necessarily be excluded, either. The Jade Knight 09:42, 5 September 2008 (UTC)

Disclosure[edit source]

What, if anything, do we want contributors to disclose about themselves?

  • Their religion?
  • Their educational background?
  • I think the path of forcing people to make disclosures, particularly on religious matters, could be both immoral and even illegal. Better to stick with a requirement for objectivity, surely? --McCormack 16:24, 11 March 2008 (UTC)
Which contributors - all or the people participating at pages with religious content ? In general people should tell only what they want to tell. We can't even prove so easily if what they tell is true btw. ----Erkan Yilmaz Wikiversity:Chat 10:21, 16 March 2008 (UTC)
That's the problem, it's easy enough to lie, play agent provocateur, deceive, etc. No one can be forced to disclose honestly, and because it can't be done, it shouldn't be done. However, that doesn't mean we can't encourage disclosures. And I do think we should encourage them. The Jade Knight 09:51, 5 September 2008 (UTC)
See my comments here. When the "Press & Information Secretary" for a religion creates a page about that religion, we should require a disclosure about conflict of interest. WV should not be a host for infomercials. --mikeu talk 11:46, 18 March 2008 (UTC)

Educational Value[edit source]

Is there a line we can draw somewhere between resources of educational value vs. resources with only "exracurricular interest"?

  • You assume that "educational" = "curricular". Are you sure you wish to do this? --McCormack 16:22, 11 March 2008 (UTC)
  • Aren't we basically speaking of course offerings here? Sounds like curriculum to me. --SB_Johnny | talk 09:17, 12 March 2008 (UTC)
  • We're using different meanings for "educational". I'm using it in a much wider sense than "curricular". I think you are talking about what is sometimes called "formal education" or "the formal education" sector, which effectively means the formal path through schools and (optionally) through to post-secondary education. There are a wide variety of terms for education outside the formal sector, including, amazingly, "informal", which is not a good term, as it suggests a lower level of professionalism, which is not necessarily the case. --McCormack 10:20, 12 March 2008 (UTC)
  • The Board have specific said that they want Wikiversity to be "extracurricular" in the sense of not being limited to courses. The Jade Knight 09:53, 5 September 2008 (UTC)

Groups to contact[edit source]

See also[edit source]