Wikiversity:Colloquium/archives/November 2007

Putting your picture on your user page (rights issues)

In the next few months, I want to design a template for my students to put on their USER page. On this page, I will mark which assignments they have completed, etc.
I want students to post their picture. But there is a rights issue. It is foolish to ask students (or anyone) to put their picture on their USER page with a GNU license which will allow anyone to use their likeness for any purpose. That is asking too much of people (as well as allowing identity theft.)
Therefore, I need a license for person's likeness (photos, sketches or other kinds of portraits) that only that person has the rights to. Robert Elliott 02:10, 6 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
How can an image file be used for identity theft? User pages are supposed to be used to facilitate constructive participation at Wikiversity. How does non-free content (pictures that cannot be re-used) contribute to Wikiversity? --JWSchmidt 03:05, 6 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sorry, I am not sure I understand. What license do we have which is "non-free content"?
A few of my students are (or will be) famous people. A GNU Open License will allow anyone to sell products (songs mostly) with my student's pictures on them.
There is a "For non-commercial use license" but someone has changed the programming of Wikiversity to say that any image using the license will be removed in a few days:


This image or media file is missing a copyright license and/or source and will be deleted on or after February 28, 2024, unless a copyright license and source are provided. Once both a copyright tag and source have been provided, this template may be removed.

Please remember to notify the uploader on their talk page about this issue with
{{subst:image copyright|Image:Colloquium/archives/November 2007}}~~~~

To me, it is not clear what alternative license can be used by students for their portraits.Robert Elliott 22:47, 6 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Robert, you need to be realistic about this. Your students (like every other wikiversity participant) need to play by the rules, and one of the most fundamental rules is that content contributed here is free content. If you want to place restrictions on the use of content, you really should just pay the $x per month and host your own wiki.
I don't mean to be hostile here, it's just that I get the feeling from your comments over the past year or so that you're just really uncomfortable with Wikiversity's copyrights. We couldn't change those if we wanted to, and to be frank most of us wouldn't if we could. --SB_Johnny | talk 23:10, 6 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"There is a 'For non-commercial use license'" <-- Which license? Wikiversity allows fair use. Some companies explicitly allow educational use of screen shots of their software while explicitly forbidding commercial use of screen shots of their software. "It is foolish to ask students (or anyone) to put their picture on their USER page with a GNU license which will allow anyone to use their likeness for any purpose." <-- I'm not a lawyer, but the GFDL does not make illegal practices "allowed". I believe there is a body of law which prevents unauthorized marketing devices that imply someone famous endorses a product. The simple solution for people who want to own their own photographic image is to not upload an image to Wikiversity. I still do not understand how placing a picture of yourself on you user page promotes the educational mission of Wikiversity. --JWSchmidt 00:09, 7 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
While there have been some issues relating to this with the Creative Commons licenses, there have not been any (at least that I know of) with the GFDL, due to the arduous conditions attached to the use of that license (in the case of the linked example, the billboard would need to have 7 pages of license displayed on it). GFDL is good for publishing and selling things, but terrible for advertising.
OTOH, if someone is going to use an image for e-vile purposes (like identity theft), they probably won't care what license is on it. --SB_Johnny | talk 09:44, 6 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't see any reason why a person can't expect their own personal likenesses to be protected to a degree beyond that of the site content. The idea of this site is to provide free educational content, not free access to use and abuse the likenesses of the editors. Beyond that, images can be released under a non-GFDL license, as evidenced from all the CC-BY-SA and other licenses that are used for images already. User pages typically are exempted from the policies of the main-content pages, and there is no reason that this could not be extended to user-page-only images as well. People should be able to use images for their userpages under a restricted license, such as non-commercial, no derivs, all rights reserved, etc. So long as it is not being used in the content (which must be copyleft) and so long as it benefits Wikiversity (albeit indirectly, by helping to establish the identy of the contributor, and keeping a group of editors organized), I see no reason why such a thing should not be allowed. --Whiteknight (Versity) (Books) 23:22, 6 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I disagree. All images must use a license which allows it to be freely used, modified, redistricted, etc for both commercial and non-commercial uses, regardless of what page its used on. However I think images, illustrations, etc. of the person can be used on their own user page under terms of fair use if they do not wish for it to be used freely. There should be nothing stopping someone from making an image of themselves or otherwise available under less free terms somewhere else and using it here as fair use. --dark lama 23:35, 6 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The only reason I say what I said is because I dont think this qualifies as a valid "fair use" situation. For instance, an image of my self, being used by me is not a fair use situation. Neither is the posting of a persons picture on a non-content userpage. Fair use is not a license, it is a defense for using a copyrighted work without express permission from the copyright holder in a few specific situations.
From a different angle, what is the harm in having such images? People want them to be posted for various uses, but people also want to protect their likenesses from all sorts of abuse. If recent events have proven anything, it's that people can never be too careful about the use of their likeness. So long as the images are only used on the user pages (not anywhere in the content pages) they aren't harming anything and the licensing will help provide the protection that some editors would want. --Whiteknight (Versity) (Books) 00:07, 7 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Robert, my proposal would be firstly to have uploading an image to your user space as optional. That way, you are not forcing anyone to upload an image - this goes beyond the issue of reuse to that of basic identity management (for want of a better word) - ie the right to be anonymous etc. Secondly, I would allow people to upload an image that represents themselves in some way - like an avatar, a cartoon character, a peaceful scene, whatever - which would allow the person to explore and share their identity beyond that of a photograph. With those basic provisos in place, I would still then encourage people to upload images of themselves, explaining that it can lead to a better learning community and environment. Finally, if they are nervous of reuse of their own images, the best thign to do would be to upload a low-resolution small-sized pic that cannot be used realistically for any marketing etc purposes. Overall, I agree with comments above that images on Wikiversity should be free content - but I agree that the issue of an image of oneself is a tricky one, beyond the mantra of free content. Cormaggio talk 12:39, 8 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I know it is technically possible to have the Mediawiki software display images that are located on external servers. For example, at Wikia websites you can use <div style="float:right; padding:10px"></div> to show an image from the file "myimage.jpg" that is hosted at "". We could request that this be allowed in the user namespace at Wikiversity. Wikiversity participants could then upload image files to other websites under non-commercial licenses and show those images on their user page at Wikiversity. --JWS 14:21, 8 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, call me paranoid, but that seems to me to be a rather interesting loophole for certain kinds of vandalism. Would we have a blacklist? Would we need someone to maintain that blacklist all day? Much as I would love to have a "weatherunderground" banner on my page (so people can know how cold it's getting here at SB), I really think allowing external IMGs would be much more trouble than it's worth. If the learning project is about how to set up a facebook page, we can certainly host learning materials about that without compromising on copyrights. Besides, it doesn't matter where the image is posted... if it's on the net anywhere, anyone can use it anyway, assuming they don't care about the copyrights. --SB_Johnny | talk 17:14, 8 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Any external images that are displayed on Wikiversity user pages would need to have some value for the project. I'm still not sure about the value of personal photographs on user pages. To some extent Wikiversity is a social networking site. We want Wikiversity participants to form learning communities and we support the idea that Wikiversity participants should make use of their user pages to share their learning goals and objectives with other people. I can understand that some people might feel uncomfortable trying to understand and collaborate with disembodied editors....being able to see a smiling face might be important for some people. I do not really understand the Wikimedia system of URL blacklists/whitelists, but I think we could probably manage any potential abuse of links to external images. I do not know how easy it would be to restrict the display of external images to user pages. --JWSchmidt 20:20, 8 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If an image is of value to the project, we should host it here. I do know a bit about how those blacklists work, at least enough to know how much work it involved in maintaining them. We really don't want to go there, and unless we have a very good reason to do this (which we don't), I will absolutely oppose it. This is a dangerous thing, and I don't think we should take on the negative connotations without a very good positive (which, again, we don't have right now). --SB_Johnny | talk 22:38, 8 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

San Francisco / Bay Area Wikiversitans?

Hi, I'm wondering if there is anyone in the Bay Area (San Francisco) who might be interested in facilitating discussion with an Open content-type group in Stanford? That's about as much as I know of this for now, but if you could indicate here (or on my user page or via email), I could put you in touch with a member of that group. Thanks. Cormaggio talk 19:59, 16 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The philosophy of the basic filmmaking and film scoring courses

Perhaps this will answer some of the questions from above:

1. Learning the basic theory
The first part of the courses on basic filmmaking and film scoring teach basic theory.
To encourage each student, I correspond with the student every time the student submits an assignment. Also, the students answers are posted to the website for the student's own pride.
During this phase, the quality of the students' answers are not important. I believe that it is enough just to get them to think about the theory.
Currently, the students submit their assignments directly to the instructor. Then the instructor reformats and uploads the finished assignments for posting on the Film School pages.

2. Practice exercises
After learning the theory, the students are asked to do high-quality exercises.
For this, teacher-to-student correspondence is not enough. There must be peer review to produce better work by the students.
To get this peer review started, I think pictures of all the students along complete biographies and especially their goals are needed so that students know who they are talking to. Avatars are a possible way to protect the students identity but, in the film and music industry, real faces are very important.
To do this, I am considering Facebook. I am not familiar with writing applications in Facebook but this seems like a good place for students to meet and critique each others work. Facebook might provide the necessary environment which will foster group learning.

3. Actual projects
After completing all the basics, the students begin working on real projects for their demo reel. (This section of the Film School will be completed in two years.)
Most of these students are people trying to get jobs in the motion picture industry so the quality of their work should be almost professional.
To get students to work together, a totally new method of communication must be developed which offers extremely easy way to communicate both ideas and data. Obviously, YouTube will be a good choice for viewing video. Hopefully, Facebook can be programmed to do most of the rest. Some place must be found for sharing project files, folders, and other data.

If anyone has experience with writing applications for Facebook, please let me know. ~~~~ Robert Elliott 10:14, 10 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Facebook says, "By posting User Content to any part of the Site, you automatically grant, and you represent and warrant that you have the right to grant, to the Company an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, publicly perform, publicly display, reformat, translate, excerpt (in whole or in part) and distribute such User Content for any purpose on or in connection with the Site or the promotion thereof, to prepare derivative works of, or incorporate into other works, such User Content, and to grant and authorize sublicenses of the foregoing."
"a totally new method of communication must be developed which offers extremely easy way to communicate both ideas and data" <-- We now have a place where we can experiment with computer tools that are not currently allowed within the Wikiversity wiki: Topic:Sandbox Server 0.5. For example, we can place QuickTime movies there. --JWSchmidt 15:30, 10 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There's a large body of literature about online community, and how communities contribute to learning - eg. this paper. In fact this paper points out two sides of the same coin - that photographs and other indicators of 'who we are' serve to bond people to the community and motivate them to participate; but that thinking about how much to divulge about oneself can often lead us to hesitate to participate (ie inhibition can be reduced through anonymity). I think therefore, that people in Wikiversity should be allowed to give as much or as little information about themselves in order participate - but that requiring people to give a certain level of information (ie photo) could reduce participation. I think, Robert, it might be a good idea to outline some of the types of participation/communication you want to facilitate in this community, and to see where/how those can be supported. I would like to explore Wikiversity as a social learning space (it is one of the goals of the project - or certain people at least, including myself) - but would also like to see how Wikiversity could interface with other online spaces, such as Facebook and YouTube. However, I would also heed John's info above in that uploading content on places like Facebook could well be much more exploitable than on Wikiversity (where, at least, you, the uploader can specify how content can be reused). Cormaggio talk 18:30, 10 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Three different levels
As I mention above, there are three different levels. The basic lessons, advanced lessons, and actual projects.
1. For the first level, I need to simplify the current methods of uploading completed assignments for viewing by other students. Students need to be able to submit their completed assignments with just one click. That is there needs to be a single button which takes the student to a special version of the UPLOAD file page which is designed specifically for that lesson. The student only needs to select the file from their hard drive and all the rest should be automatic. Since this is for a specific lesson, all the other information normally filled in on the UPLOAD page is already know and can be filled in automatically.
2. I am still trying to figure out what is needed for the second level. It needs to be as easy as Facebook.
3. For the third level, students will need to communicate just like at a normal film studio. Roger Corman's film studio is a good example since all of the staff and crew were film students doing their first jobs without pay to get credits on real films. Therefore, I think that this type of communication will be rather easy to set up.
Again, this is a long way in the future but still it is worth thinking about how this can be done. And how it can be programmed. ~~~~ Robert Elliott 17:40, 17 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hmm, dunno, but the first level might not be as hard as it seems. :-) I remember Sebmol was able to create customised versions of Special:Emailuser through the use of templates - I wonder if the same sort of thing might be doable here...? Cormaggio talk 19:32, 17 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The three parts of uploading an assignment.
This would be done in three parts.
1. First the file or answer is uploaded with a click of a button. (etc.)
2. Then automatically, the name of the file (and, if appropriate, a picture of the assignment) will appear on a page which lists all the completed assignments for that specific lesson.
3. Then automatically a beautiful message will appear at the bottom of the student's ABOUT page saying that the student has completed that assignment along with the date and the link to the page of the assignment and also thanking the student for participating in the class, etc.
To prevent spamming, there might be the need for an extra step after step #1 where the instructor approves the file and adds a score for the assignment.
  • That should keep Sebmol busy for a while!
To understand the kind of homework assignments at the Film School, look at Completed Homework Assignments for the film school. (This is a compilation of all the current templates and is still a rough version... but it gives you a idea of the different kinds of assignments.) ~~~~ Robert Elliott 02:11, 18 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Elisia Johnson has completed the
thumbnail storyboard assignment.

October 1, 2007 - 10 points.

Email functionality for Watchlists on Wikiversity

Email preferences at

I recently discovered that the emailing of changes to ones watchlist is not a feature that is turned on in Wikiversity. This seems to me like quite a shortcoming to the idea of creating active learning projects amongst participants because it requires users to have to login -> check their watchlist, to see if changes have been taking place on projects in which they may be participating. I also don't find the watchlist feature to be all that 'user friendly' and this sentiment has been echoed around a few users groups that I've worked with in other MediaWikis. Essentially Wikiversity is then all pull and no push .. which is a bit of a shame I think. I understand why this feature has been turned off in Wikipedia - way too much email would be generated; but it seems to me that the difference in our project is that it requires far greater two-way communication than does Wikipedia and that at the level it is now, not that much email traffic would be generated. What do others feel? Countrymike 20:51, 1 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I find it useful to have the extra email preferences available as options at the Wikimedia meta-wiki (shown in the image). We could put in a request to have this activated for Wikiversity. --JWS 01:57, 2 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Wikiversity is likely far too high traffic and has far too high an edit frequency to enable this option. While it's likely not higher than meta, meta is (AFAIK) the only Wikimedia wiki with the option enabled, and so enabling it here would potentially double the load on the mail servers. I also think that most contributors to Wikiversity are fairly frequent participators and would be able to check their watchlists once daily or weekly. On the contrary, on meta, most only visit the site once in a blue moon or when they get e-mail about a page on their watchlist or their talk page being changed, which is why the feature is enabled here. I don't really see the necessity for the feature on Wikiversity. AmiDaniel (talk) 02:01, 4 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think we should go ahead and ask for the feature to be activated, even if the response to our request is "no". If email load is a problem, I wonder if there is a way to throttle the system so that each person using it could only get a limited number of emails in a month. --JWS 14:48, 4 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I wouldn't have thought that Wikiversity was that highly edited, but I could be wrong and we'd hope that this was increasing -- so I take your point there. Although, editing alone does not necessarily create emails from the system, only people who have the email functionality turned on in their watchlists get email sent to them. Is there a way to get some stats on the average number of edits that are taking place on Wikiversity, so that we may be able to get a better idea of how much email something like this might create? I still think that the model of having people visit their watchlists all the time, particularly if we want greater use/uptake from less technically inclined, less likely to investigate the complexity (current watchlist functionality does as I said before confuse a lot of people) of the watchlist or the mediawiki software. Almost all other technologies that have emerged around teaching/learning online have some kind of 'push' aspect (usually just email) built in to keep pace and interest going in a project. I fear that while Wikiversity has the 'brand' and the proximity of a large community, it may still languish technically which ultimately may favour another system, another wiki that can adapt. Countrymike 21:21, 4 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I just discovered this: Countrymike 22:30, 4 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Click image to enlarge.
I very much take Countrymike's point - that Wikiversity may end up suffering in terms of participation when other wikis will be offering such functionality. But how about other avenues - such as RSS? I know there has been some work on that in the past, but is it easy enough to set up? Cormaggio talk 12:24, 8 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Every Wikiversity "history" page has a RSS and Atom feeds. I suspect more people use email than use a feed reader. --JWS 13:54, 8 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The RSS/Atom feeds are pretty awful from what I remember; they tend to bring along all the cryptic diff stuff with them. It's really the 'push' aspect of email that I think WV is missing ... the kind of near instant notification that something in a learning project of which you're actively a part of has changed and by whom. This is entirely different than what is required of in Wikipedia, where for the most part users are consumers of information that they're either actively seeking or just browsing for -- shouldn't WV be actively encouraging participation, debate, comment rather than the consumption of texts? WV is about projects, which to me implies some kind of sustained participation and activity within a communty of users. I feel that in the long run the stuggle of WV may actually be to differentiate itself technically from its parents. Countrymike 22:54, 8 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm in favor of requesting email notifications, but in my experience they are very similar to using the RSS feeds. I use Bloglines to monitor the RSS feeds and it is fairly painless. --JWSchmidt 03:15, 9 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It is possible to set up some public list, and every two or three hours send a robot to scan it and then, should there be a chanage, send a personal electronic mail to every watcher. The list should be kept concise. The reading part can be done right away with the pywikipedia framework. And python does support Simple Mail Transport Protocol (SMTP) and Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP); I have not learnt it, but interested participants may read Martelli's book Python in a Nutshell, p.503 for details. Hillgentleman|Talk 22:27, 19 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

And see also Hillgentleman|Talk 22:31, 19 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Public/Private Key Instructure

I wonder if it is time for us to consider participating in one of these public/private key projects[1] or establish our own web of trustw:Public_key_infrastructure using free/open software tools and standards so that people who wish to participate publicly and use their earned life expertise and credentials as part of the reputation/trust web can do so reliably? My understanding as of a couple of years ago is that the overlapping circles of peer certification while not fool proof do provide a substantial amount of confidence that the encryption keys are actually in use by known individuals with legal identities and responsibilities. Discussion at regarding PKI[2]. Should be fairly easy via wikimania to propagate a dense web of trust verification around the globe. For example, groups of engineers can know and certify each others encryption keys and then when someone receives confirmation a safety review has been passed it can be double checked with relatively secure communications. In other words, a kid cannot simply tell his guardian or mentor or teacher or sponser that his model rocket passed while never sending it in for inspection. The enrollment process is setup with secure handshake requirements such that an uninspected model rocket will not be allowed on the firing range. Indeed, steps might be taken to shutdown a child's project by confiscating all tools, data, computers, etc. if they attempt to forge documents or break contracts and launch uninspected models in violation of fire safety requirements. Perhaps interaction online with children responsibly is a bit tough chunk to big to worry about now ... it would help Lunar Boom Town to succeed as a project if anyone claiming to be an experienced engineer or astronaut had sufficient interaction with the public key infrastructure that we have a high (not perfect) level of confidence in their assessments and judgement. Otherwise we are reduced to continually rechecking each others basic facts. Now this is an educational process for all involved and will encourage much mutual tutoring but it can be a bit boring trying to get something fun, exciting, and motivational completed to maintain and accelerate appropriate momentum vectors. Still we can live without it if necessary at this time, some nices thing about virtual components and tasks they can be managed by contraction or expansion of appropriate blackboxs to meet individual needs with a fair amount of forethought, planning, and simple cut and paste and tailoring in recycled materials. Mirwin 10:30, 25 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

We could set up a project for experiments with a "Web of Trust", but a fundamental reality is that Wikimedia Foundation wiki communities rely almost entirely on one measure of trust: a user's history of edits. Wikiversity wants to find ways to encourage participation by experts, but there is no proven way to extrapolate from expertise in non-wiki-based activities to the status of "trusted wiki editor". I think we can encourage wiki editors to keep "portfolios", summaries of their wiki-related activities that are guides to their edit histories. Wiki communities also find it useful to keep public records of reviews of the behavior of performed by other editors. It can take a long time to review someone's edit history. I think it would be great if we had a standard format for reviews of edit histories that could efficiently generate concise and trusted summaries of someone's edit history. Such a system of edit history reviews would provide a useful tool for expanding webs of trust in wiki communities. Many people with expertise "in the real world" may not like the idea that they cannot "automatically" convert that expertise into trust within a wiki-based community at a place like Wikiversity. Maybe we need a learning project that explains to experts the fact that they are welcome at Wikiversity, but they have to earn trust here by creating a history of good edits. I think the other side of the equation for getting experts to participate is that a wiki needs to have a workable system that prevents the good editing of experts from being destroyed. The "any one can edit and vandalize any page" approach developed at Wikipedia does not work and Wikiversity needs to find an alternative approach. --JWSchmidt 15:33, 25 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes I agree substantially with most of your reasoning. I think as we expand and morph discrete yet interconnecting pieces of Lunar Boom Town we will start to get tentative schedules and configurations that we will protect at a specific version number after consensus of a formal design review or audit. That way other related data objects may be updated and we will get a real world configuration management process where different teams are using different versions and configuration and yet must coordinate work and agree how to merge at routine update milestones. Mirwin 17:54, 25 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]


A similar project is run by a separate organization Connexions. Their modules in CC. Anyone seen that already? Are there ways to cooperate? Dedalus 14:27, 23 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Nice find Dedalus! I will try to look it over a bit. It seems to me that one of the easiest ways to cooperate is to link to their material whenever it is useful. For example: If you are trying to explain electron cloud theory in chemical bonds to a grade school level chemistry student you probably want to use simple explanations and examples. However, for precosius students you may provide a link to the detailed information available there. This may also help the parents of a student who have forgotten their high school or college level chemistry and just want to help their child complete a one page report for the class on "Chemistry". Most web sites hate to provide links to alternatives but we are not a commercial organization and do not really need to worry if a learner wanders off as long as they eventually remember to come back. It can be a bit irritating for computer novices who have not discovered how to use the back page button in their browser but they will eventually either discover it or memorize and learn to use the search function or directory structure find the location from which they departed via the web link. Mirwin 02:37, 24 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've been in Rice University and met with the people at Connexions - it sparked a potential Wikiversity and Connexions collaboration but nothing has come of it to date. However, I still would very much like to get it going again. Cormaggio talk 16:47, 27 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Proposed new hierarchical structure

I propose a new hierarchical structure for editing personnel that will not only allow for a much more rapid addition of content, but will also maintain a high standard of page editing due to the invisible hand of human pride. As far as I am aware, there are two types of personnel currently - editors and administrators.

I suggest that, because this is a university, we should have structures in place to achieve the highest possible learning potential for visitors to this site. I propose that school structure can only be edited by those people with at least a professor status. The professors will guide the writing of the editors who will oversee and educate the editing of newcomers or "students" everyone else should be considered visitors. The ladder should be very accessible to talented individuals and the administrators should oversee school structure to ensure none are falling behind. Please read my Proposal and let me know what you think. DónalMcK 16:28, 23 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think people should have maximum freedom to use the facilities in any way they choose as long as we play safe and repair any damage done to others. I counter propose (without reading your detailed proposal) that you ask an admin to fork/duplicate the entire existing structure and then tweak the forked copy to your top down hiearchy. That way we can have chaotic random jottings for the lazy creative types like me as well as good top down structured materials for people seeking guidance. I will attempt to look over your detailed proposal soon but right now I am in middle of a severe brainstorm and I need to collect my thoughts while it is raining. 13:13, 24 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thank you for responding. Please do read it. You will see that it still provides for the random jottings that a lot of people enjoy, however, the only privelege you will lose is the ability to edit "school:" and "topic:" pages. I believe that the "trunk" of the knowledge tree should be structured by those people dedicated to a spcific area of study. I agree that random jotters should enjoy the freedom of editing any article, but not school homepages. Also, admins are very busy people. If we know that someone is dedicated to a specific school, rather than monitoring the actions of editors in all areas, the top-down guidance system might even work a little better. Please come back to me. DónalMcK 13:28, 24 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I persnally think this is a bad idea... for one thing we'd need to go around verifying expertise (a lot of work), and second it's sort of missing the point of using the distributed expertise model of wikis.
Administrators (called Custodians on Wikiversity) do tend to be generalists, but some can also be dedicated to specific areas of study as well. However, I can't really imagine a case where it would be appropriate for Custodians to be steering content using sysop tools. --SB_Johnny | talk 14:33, 24 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Verification is a problem, I admit. How is verification of admin expertise currently done? Could we not use the same system? I see that the proposal in its entirety is unfavourable. Can members display their feelings on the theory of providing protection for all "school:" and "topic:" pages? DónalMcK 14:54, 24 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I am against protection of the above mentioned pages. There are different kinds of protection, with different reasons why something should be protected. But the question would be, why should school or topic pages be protected (besides e.g. protecting against - for only a certain period of time) ? Any of the above protections limits access to that page for certain groups. We are also a wiki - and one of our strengths lies in the freedom that everyone can contribute to enlarge the learning benefit. Everyone (see also here) should be given the chance to participate to increase the learning. If access is given to some pages to only to some groups they e.g. need to be asked, when changes are needed. Imagine one of them is ill or has a not harmonizing timezone, the user wanting a change has to wait and can not immediately continue her idea and is interrupted in her flow of (creative) thinking/editing. Another problem may be, that limited access also limits the direction a certain page goes. With input from different persons/fields there can be awaken new impulses - what might seem from ones perspective a bad idea, another person can use to improve a topic. I am not sure if rebuilding hierarchical structures from real world may not throw obstacles in the learning (by doing). I mean we all probably come from a background where we got "normal" education from institutions. Who knows in the future children go to the virtual wikiversity school (see also Wikiversity:Pre-tertiary portal)? If we start protecting certain pages now, then in the future we will find another thing to protect and surely step by step the freedom might get lost ?
Custodian expertise: am not sure what you mean with this, but custodians have mentors before being appointed. Also anytime their edits can be checked. Custodians are - and this is important - just normal users with access to tools. They - as any human - can make mistakes - and hopefully they learn over time from them to increase their expertise.
Wikiversity counts on trust - imagine we are guest friendly: we let our doors open, even when we go to bed. ----Erkan Yilmaz (Wikiversity:Chat, wiki blog) 15:30, 24 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
My goodness. Protect 2 entire namespaces? DónalMcK, please just hang around for a while and see how things work: these proposals are really contrary to the spirit of our endeavors here. --SB_Johnny | talk 17:10, 24 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Just to try to be clear. Custodians are not require to have expertise in anything, so there is no need for a verification system. --dark lama 17:19, 24 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Duely noted; proposal withdrawn. Thank you everyone for your thoughts, i've learned a lot about the culture here DónalMcK 01:14, 25 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

That was quick - I didn't even have a chance to comment. :-) Dónal, while I agree with arguments above that the proposal is flawed, I hope that one of the things you've learned isn't that you can't submit proposals for comment. :-) It's often in these kinds of fresh-eyed proposals that we discover who we are - so keep the ideas coming... Cormaggio talk 17:11, 27 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

why should we try to divertified our thoughts about humans as a jewel on earth

i always thought of human why they are being sent to earth or from they are till what time they would stay on earth orfor whatpurpose the are there to whom they are being sent and to whom they have to obey "are they really independent in their decessions (yesor not) you are invited to discuss i will show my thoughts later when i will think that some one is there to think about ?????/

bestregards keep thinking

I wonder if we should divert this discussion to some philosophy forum via a link? Personally, I believe in Jesus Christ who when asked for the secret of the universe by hostile religious establishment in attempt to trap him told them to 1. Love god (god<-->universe) 2. love others as self. I believe if one unravels the levels and layers of interlinked systems of equations it implies that if god exists then lucifer is a reliable first officer while if god is somehow absent we intend to create him appropriately so we win the ongoing evolutionary battles. In other words our species has taken conscious control of our own evolution and we intend to rig the universe to our satisfaction and benefit. Mirwin 10:11, 25 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
We have a page which deals with free will from a philosophical perspective - we also have a theology school. It depends on what exactly you want to explore as to where you might want to start, but either of those two areas seem relevant for now. If you want to set up a learning project, you can think of a suitable name for it, create a page by that name and start editing it. (If you need help with this, see here or in more detail, here.) Cormaggio talk 17:28, 27 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Recommented format

Hi all, I am trying to put together a few lessons on Ship strength ( but the more I write the more I get the feeling I should put this in WikiBooks instead of here.... Could someone point out an exemplary page and even put it at the front page, so that it is clear how it should look? Keep in mind that teaching someone how to use a piece of software is not the same as teaching something more abstract. A million thanks for any help. Dpservis 10:52, 24 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It isn't clear how (ie the way) something should look in Wikiversity, because there are many different ways of producing and formatting educational materials. If you get the feeling that it should be in a book format, then perhaps it should be, as you say, on Wikibooks. Some materials on Wikiversity are more interactive, or use graphics (eg Filmmaking basics course, and some are much more text-oriented - there just aren't any hard and fast rules. We have Wikiversity:Featured which gives some sense of materials here (and which is linked from the main page), but it does need updating (as does the main page), and any help/feedback would be appreciated. Cormaggio talk 17:03, 27 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hi Cormaggio and thanks for the reply. I really wonder how this should be structured in order to be more helpful and interesting for someone. Naturally there would be two ways to do it: one would be to keep all the textbook information along with the lessons and exercises and the other one to move textbooks to wikibooks, and keep here only essential information, links and exercises. So this boils down: what's the purpose, give people links, info and exercises? Or the whole package? I do not have an answer myself and wonder what would be interesting and intuitive. I tend to think that the two should be separated: there are people that prefer to read first a lot on the subject and then exercise and people that first want to exercise and then tackle theoretical issues. But even in that case, should something like a textbook be here or wikibooks?Thanks a lot.Dpservis 22:49, 27 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thanks Dpservis, it's never been the intention of Wikiversity to overstep into Wikibooks' domain, so a textbook should clearly be on Wikibooks. However, content that might have been made into a textbook could just as easily be presented as a series of 'lessons' (for example), which is the format that the filmmaking course takes. And of course, there could be both textbook and lessons&exercises (or whatever you want to call them). But the issue here is not necessarily for you to decide definitively where this all should be - content can easily be created in Wikiversity/Wikibooks, and moved afterwards when it is realised that some or all of it would actually be better off in the other project. Both projects work together pretty closely, so this needn't be an either/or question. However, Wikiversity is probably looser in structure than Wikibooks, and might be easier to develop an intuitive structure, which, if it turns out to resemble a textbook, can be simply moved. Cormaggio talk 13:09, 28 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yup. Import is enabled from wikiversity to wikibooks now, so no problem writing here, there, or both --user:SB_Johnny 14:27, 28 November 2007 (UTC) (logged in using alternate acct)Reply[reply]

Ah, great, thanks. Good to know info. Therefore I assume that it's OK to go on with my deployment of the subject and arrange it as it goes on provided that people have interest in that and give some feedback.Dpservis 22:47, 28 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Can we get a diploma at the wikiuniversity ?

--Jonano 12:31, 25 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

No, please see Wikiversity:Scope#Earning_Degrees, Wikiversity:What Wikiversity is not, Wikiversity:Colloquium/archives/January_2007#High_School_Diplomas. What is the reason that you want to get diplomas ? ----Erkan Yilmaz (Wikiversity:Chat, wiki blog) 12:37, 25 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

That would be fun to get a graduate diploma, with exams from a university, I have only a high school diploma with some course in college. --Jonano 13:01, 25 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Fun is important at Wikiversity. A basic source of fun is participation in learning communities. If we can start a good collection of learning resources with fun "learn by doing" activities then it should be possible to grow communities of learners who are interested in exploring many different topics. --JWSchmidt 15:43, 25 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

More recent discussion of this topic: User_talk:JWSchmidt#Diploma, [[User_talk:Robert_Elliott#diplomas]
--JWS] 15:49, 30 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Structured Semantic Wikis

A query to get some thinking going. Namely, has anyone designed and constructed a structured semantic wiki? One that to some degree combines features of a structured and a semantic wiki. What features would you include? Which would be effectively redundent? How would those elements exclusive to structured wikis be changed or eliminated by the semantic aspects. How would those elements exclusive to semantic wikis be changed or eliminated by the structured elements. Would it be best to merge the two types together, or to design a unique structure using elements made for use in structured semantic wikis?

Additional questions regarding this subject are most welcome, as are proposed solutions. The goal being to provide a basic structure that is sturdy, easy to learn, and easy to implement. That can also be expanded upon depending on how much the SSW (Structured Semantic Wiki) is being called upon to do. So ask, suggest, propose, brainstorm, confab, hypothesize, theorize, and/or speculate.

Mythusmage 12:46, 24 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Can you provide any links to overviews of what makes up a "semantic wiki" or "semantic web"? Are you talking about meta information (information about the information) of some kind. Is this some kind of adaptive interface that tracks the user and preemptively modifies the content or menu structure like some advanced software packages do? Mirwin 19:05, 24 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Do you mean ? Hillgentleman|Talk 21:18, 24 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, Semantic MediaWiki (at that link from Hillgentleman) is a great initiative, and one we might consider adopting for use in Wikiversity. There's a page for brainstorming metadata system for Wikiversity at Wikiversity:Metadata - please contribute ideas there (or continue discussion here). Cormaggio talk 17:17, 27 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
See also : mw:extension:data. Hillgentleman|Talk 05:33, 7 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Wikipedia article about Wikiversity (not notable)

Someone placed this tag on the w:wikiversity article.

The content of this article may not satisfy the notability guideline for web content. If you are familiar with the subject matter, please expand or rewrite the article to establish its notability. The best way to address this concern is to reference published, third-party sources about the subject. If notability cannot be established, the article is more likely to be considered for deletion, per Wikipedia:Guide to deletion.

--mikeu 20:05, 19 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thanks for the notice. I removed the template. There are many editors at Wikipedia who are not aware of the Wikimedia Foundation and its goals. --JWSchmidt 21:19, 19 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The tag is back with the edit note "(undid bad faith edit. The article does not assert why it is notable in the lede section, nor are reliable sources referenced.)" I think it would help to cite third-party refs in the article, and have been searching for some.--mikeu 19:08, 20 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've never entirely been able to understand what does and doesn't pass as an acceptable reference to wikipedians. Would this news article pass muster? Or does it have to be a book or other non-internet source? --Luai lashire 21:45, 20 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, that piece is a good source. In fact, there is already a link in the article. --mikeu 22:00, 20 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In a way the guy is right... the article is not notable, in fact it kind of sucks. I suggest that we use Edit Wikipedia Week as an excuse to rally the troops around improving this article! Countrymike 04:33, 22 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I like the idea of such a week.--Daanschr 09:41, 22 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
We should start collecting references to wikiversity in a page like w:Wikipedia:Wikipedia in the media The current article could use some external references.--mikeu 15:26, 23 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
We have Wikiversity:Wikiversity in the media, as well as a confusingly similarly titled learning project Wikiversity in the media - both of which need work (particularly the latter). Cormaggio talk 17:35, 27 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The references section of the w:Wikiversity article has now been tagged with "This article or section needs sources or references that appear in reliable, third-party publications." and an edit summary of "Primary sources are not sufficient per w:WP:CITE" --mikeu 22:30, 8 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Interactive quiz

Is there a way to setup interactive quizes for language study ? That is to say showing a word in a language and asking the corresponding form in English and the way reverse. Eg. English form : To be | Breton form : ?? (Hidden answer : Bezañ)

Ideally, this would be sort of table format with two columns and a third element which would be a colour scheme red/green (or green good tick symbol / red bad tick symbol) changed if the answer is good or bad.--Luzmael 08:38, 30 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Take a look at Test and Quiz for some options. --JWS 15:46, 30 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks for the answer. It's a set of tools I will use !
Now, I wonder if there could be an input box to enter the answer ?
More precisely, this would look as follows :
  • Question (eg. "Enter the Breton equivalent of the English words")
  • Challenges : A list of English words
  • Answers : Input boxes for each challenge
  • Result : Green = Right ; Red = Wrong
I don't know if that's technically possible !--Luzmael 16:18, 30 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, the examples show how to do it !--Luzmael 16:26, 30 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply] This utility might be worth evaluating. Take note of their cautions regarding creative commons license and others work. Please report back any insight gained here. Thanks! Mirwin 18:54, 16 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Request Programming Assistance

Lunar Boom Town project needs a chaotic budgeting budget to simulate real world issues venture entrepreneurs and engineers face during budget, technical, and schedule planning and review processes. I would like to initialize the "budget" with NASAs actual current planned budget for the next 20 years. Then have the participants at the policy discussionsPublic_Policy_Debate add or subtract chunks of money as they reach consensus on what NASA and U.S.G. space policy should be or what they think it will be, etc. This policy discussion is a different project than Lunar Boom Town so using this result of political discussions as input to the planning cycle for the budding venture teams will hopefully simulate real world conditions and allow useful application of systems engineering tailoring techniques. If somebody knows a way to implement this in a web page via script or html I would appreciate the insight or programming. Could this be done with fancy html table so we simply add a line to log of changes each time a consensus of a person or subgroup or group is reached to change the projected budget profile? If so, if someone could provide a link the Wikipedia article where something simular is used or a place in the editing manuals .... never mind I will check those. Anyone have thoughts on good way to use results of political discussions as the budget input for Lunar Boom Town to work against? Maybe it will be easier to designate indidators from Aerospace Behomeths and space agencies worldwide to forecast spending, then revise the data annually as it is available. What I am trying to trigger is a planning cycle and a revision cycle that is subject to external chaotic inputs where everything sort of impacts everything else and effective entrepreneurs and engineers must simply revise best they can as fast as they can before conditions changes again. Anyone else's thought would be potentially highly stimulating. Thanks!

—The preceding unsigned comment was added by Mirwin (talkcontribs) 01:26, 25 November 2007 (UTC)