Requests for comment/Shut down Wikiversity

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The following request for comments is closed. See the "Closing comments" section below for comments
--A. B. (talk) 14:27, 5 May 2010 (UTC)

We, the undersigned, believe that Wikiversity has no clearly defined mission[1]; that Wikiversity has become a haven for users banned from other Wikimedia projects; and that recent behavior emanating from that project has damaged the credibility of other Wikimedia wikis. We believe that the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees should shut down Wikiversity.

Signatories

  1. It is long past time to shut it down. Raul654 23:14, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
  2. Sure, I'm not sure if it's useful, anyway. Kayau 10:40, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
  3. They need a workable mission and they don;t have one. They're talking about research without even getting to the stage where they can educate. Perhaps something in the way of a distributed reference desk/mentor system with links to learning resources could be made to work but they've just got communal chat rooms. Dmcq 13:03, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
  4. The users of Wikiversity (and its admins) have shown time and again that they do not take the educational goals of the project seriously. Writing a new mission statement won't solve that. It has become a haven for trolls and users expelled from other projects. Even the "legitimate content" of the project seems to be limited to half-implemented ideas, content dumps, bizarre pet projects, and navel gazing. Kaldari 14:22, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
  5. This is not the first time Wikiversity has been used to try to do an end-run round foundational goals, and it has become a happy home for grudge-bearing and self-referential "research" into supposed Wikipedia abuses. Most Wikipedians barely know the place exists so the result can be very heavily skewed. In the absence of a tangible commitment to pursuing proper standards of academic rigour, as the name implies, I think it is a net detriment to the goals of the Foundation. I would be very happy if they were able to clean up their act and engage in something rather closer to the goal as I originally understood it, which was to pursue original and reputable academic research in a collaborative environment. JzG 16:33, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
    Vote Newlyexist26 21:27, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
    The above entry was from a user who made it on his first edit anywhere on an WMF project and appears to be a test edit. Ottava Rima (talk) 01:19, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
    Oddly enough, I just came here to denounce "Wikimedia Ethics". I don't know this place well enough to propose an AfD, but even as (as you know) an unrepentant inclusionist, I don't see the use of most of the stuff in that article - though certainly it should be possible for a teacher in the field to come up with some sort of useful lecture about Wikimedia ethics, I don't think this article as presented is seriously worthy of study. But if you give up on making this project fix the problem, would any successor? Should Wikimedia just give up on applying its resources to education in the public interest? Wnt 18:39, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
  6. Whatever Wikiversity's original aims were, it seems to have failed them. It doesn't serve an obvious purpose, and doesn't have a sufficiently unique scope that would distinguish it from other, better WikiMedia projects. Given the general low value of much of its content and the potential it provides for disruption and unethical behaviour, I think we'd overall be better off without it. Robofish 17:25, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
    Wikiversity should provide a sequence of learning carefully graded from introductory to more advanced topics, unlike Wikipedia which unabashedly (and correctly) will throw quantum physics and number theory at you until you crawl away in abject humility. Wikiversity should provide tests to allow users to self-rate their knowledge, and concise study guides to allow them to run through their knowledge and "cram" it in so that they can answer such questions. It should provide estimates of the amount of classroom time needed to cover a section. It should recommend other free resources and even (carefully) consider advising readers about the copyrighted books and other paid resources that are popular with educators or students. It should include laboratory exercises and lists for field study. It should include ways for student end-users to get their questions and confusions all the way back to the guy writing the textbook, so he can make it better. And that's just what I thought of in ten minutes. Wnt 18:39, 3 May 2010 (UTC)

Un-signatories

  1. A poorly written mission statement isn't a legitimate reason for shutting down a project. Neither is being a haven for banned users from other Wikimedia projects (thank you, Simple English Wikipedia). Further, I don't believe there's a large amount of credibility in other Wikimedia wikis, so it would be pretty difficult, if not possible, to damage it. --MZMcBride 00:20, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
  2. Haven of banned users? It`s solved by the maintenance work, as in all projects. The credibility of the wiki will not increase for closing a project. Finally, the only motivation that I addressed is the lack of criteria and tools developed to make possible the growth of Wikiversity: it is much easier for a volunteer to create or improve an encyclopedia article that develop a learning project. But the solution is to look for these criteria and tools, not to close the shutter.--User:Antur - Talk/Discusión 00:51, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
    What do you mean "It`s solved by the maintenance work"? Wikiversity seems to be run by people who have no interest in legitimate educational goals. What does maintenance work have to do with it? Kaldari 14:34, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
    I think I was clear: I was referring to the banned users, not on disagreement over the criteria of admins, as seems to be your opinion, not mine.--Antur - Talk/Discusión 16:20, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
    What kind of "maintenance work" are you talking about? Everyone knows who the "banned users" are, but there is no effort to limit their activities on Wikiversity. Indeed, they often end up being admins there. Kaldari 18:31, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
  3. Wikiversity probably does need to develop a better vision statement and mission plan, but that doesn't mean that it should be shut down. As pointed out above, all of the wiki projects have serious operational, administrative, and ethical issues, including en.Wikipedia with things like cabalism, BLP issues, reliability, problematic vested contributors, due process, treatment of whistleblowers, etc. If Wikiversity helps develop some solutions to these issues, which it has the potential to do, then it will have added value to the enterprise. Cla68 01:08, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
  4. This is not going to solve any problems. Just because one project is a bad apple doesn't mean the whole basket of fruit is rotten. We have many good projects, like the bloom clock, several university courses and a potential partnership with PlanetMath in the works. Please, Raul, withdraw this petition. Geoff Plourde 01:09, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
  5. It cannot be discussed seriously. Mere allegations. At all it is not necessary to waste time for discussion. If wish to discuss - present the high-grade analysis and the argument. SergeyJ 01:59, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
  6. Good Lord. Don't delete. It will become a needed item as schools and students can't afford textbooks and curriculum. Seriously, we absolutely need wikiversity. 02:09, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
    Wikibooks is for textbooks. As far as curriculum, I would be quite embarrassed if a school took a look at Wikiversity's "curriculums". Perhaps they could have classes on how to become Wikipedia trolls. Kaldari 14:50, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
  7. I speak as a banned person from Wikipedia in English and Spanish and Commons. This user is just speaking because no one really cares about him. In addition that that's not a valid reason to shut down a whole project. --MisterWiki 02:18, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
  8. No legitimate reason has been given. Everyking 03:53, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
  9. No valid reason... I don't see it as a haven for banned users. Pmlineditor  07:21, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
  10. Request for everyone to ignore this proposal which is only going to create more drama. Raul, this is really not helpful. Wikiversity is currently going through a difficult phase and is taking practical measures to address the kinds of problems you are concerned about. As you should know, drama is not conducive to practical work. Cormaggio @ 07:49, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
  11. No valid reason. Jan Luca 08:24, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
  12. Per Geoff Plourde. And well, Czech Wikiversity doesn't have such "bad" projects.--Juan de Vojníkov 10:03, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
  13. Besides above arguments: What would you tell then to the eductors/teachers/professors/students/other learners who use Wikiversity to go, when Wikiversity is closed? Please see: betawikiversity:Brick and mortar collaboration, ----Erkan Yilmaz 11:14, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
  14. Wikiversity, or more specifically, the English Wikiversity, has had its fair share of problems and so I don't think it is unreasonable for Raul654 or others to have concerns. It would though be reasonable for those concerns to be brought to the attention of the community so attempts can be made to try to address them rather than simply proposing the project is shut down. Raul has noted on his talk page here that Moulton, a banned user on enwv, has been active. Attempts have now, and will continue to be made to prevent this. If Raul would bring issues like those to the attention of the community on WV then we might be able to deal with them and try to provide reassurance that we want to act responsibly. Adambro 12:15, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
  15. Wikiversity should be fixed, not destroyed. --Pharos 14:40, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
  16. Troll petition. German Wikiversity is at least so useful like German Wikinews. If you want to shut down something: try Wikinews --Histo 15:41, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
  17. Strongly Oppose Oppose. Vapmachado 18:19, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
  18. Bad idea. I like the thought of wikiversity providing tools for educational environments. Per Erkan Yilmaz and Pharos. Ks0stm (TCG) 01:42, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
  19. I agree with Pharos –BruTe talk 08:47, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
  20. No valid reason is given, even if there were valid reasons to shut down English Wikiversity, it hasn't to mean the other language versions should be shut down altogether: Wikimedia project isn't only for English speaking world. --Aphaia 11:38, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
  21. Oppose Oppose Needs work... that's all. - Theornamentalist 21:35, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
  22. strong Oppose Oppose I post very infrequently on en wv but I can create educational materials there that can't be hosted anywhere else. I dream of having someday an immersive environment for learners of minority (or other) languages, and the Wikiversity platform is the only game in town for that among the WMF projects. How many other such projects do people dream of that could come to fruition there one day, if given the chance? Right now our materials may be sparse and in embryonic form, but why not support and foster them instead of petitioning to close the only space that can house them? -- ArielGlenn 23:19, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
  23. Strong Oppose which seems to be very much the majority opinion anyway. For just a few of Wikiversity's better moments, see v:Topic:Agape World Fellowship, whose courses I might even take when they're completed, or v:Introduction to Computer Science. This is such a promising site and a few changes to policy, better recruitment of editors and a couple more resources might be all it needs. --AFriedman 05:34, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
  24. Oh dear. User:MZMcBride said it very nicely; we don't need to burn down the house to just catch a flea. --Kjoonlee 12:10, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
  25. Please don't shut http://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Category:Quizzes down! It's likely going to be used by multiple Google Summer of Code 2010 projects. 99.25.114.26 21:17, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
  26. Oppose Oppose I have been too busy recently to expand the learning materials I started some time ago, but WV is a valuable place to do that and work through new modes of learning. However, I suspect that my problem is others also. There is too much unfinished material. Perhaps we need to flag "work in progress". If there are problems here I think they are largely in the part of WV that is about research. If it is to do research, then it needs to monitor the research better. Like all universities, it needs to have "Ethics Guidelines" and an "Ethics Committee" to approve research that involves possible ethics issues. Again, if it is to do research, then I see that doing research on how wikipedia works, how it is used, and how it could be improved, would be valuable, and a special role for WV. However, we need to have processes in place so wikipedians do not rush over here yelling "trolling" and so on, every time such research is started. Wikiversity has enormous potential and the idea of just closing it down is, frankly, idiotic. --Bduke 22:29, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
  27. Oppose Oppose: Shutting down Wikiversity seems extreme. Improve it instead. --Smoggyrob 04:39, 8 April 2010 (UTC)
  28. Oppose Oppose. Could use some work, but it does indeed seem to be a project that has a good deal of value. -- Cirt (talk) 20:55, 8 April 2010 (UTC)
  29. I can’t talk for the english sepaking wikiversity but the french one has no problem so Oppose Oppose (and veto if possible for the french projetc). Cdlt, VIGNERON * discut. 10:29, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
  30. Oppose Oppose All wikis have issues, but it's not a reason to close them down. NativeForeigner 18:46, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
  31. Oppose Oppose Wikivercities' purpose is clear: Educating people. Wikipedia exists for accessing knowledge, Wikiversity exists for learning it. The existence of (severe or not) problems in english wikiversity, isn't a reason for shuting down all wikiversities! —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Περίεργος (talk)
  32. Oppose Oppose--Senpai 07:20, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
  33. Oppose Oppose Wikiversity needs work, that's clear. But shutting it down, or threatening to shut it down, is not the way to get that work done. I'm just learning my way around WV, but it seems to be more a collection of seminars, than a set of textbooks, which will often be, in early stages, pretty primitive. Give it time. After all, it's a wiki. --Abd 01:40, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
  34. Oppose Oppose - Globalphilosophy 04:13, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
  35. Oppose Oppose - in case some project is not developed enough is definitely not a reason for its closure --Gbaor 18:52, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
  36. Wikiversity's purpose is unclear, and its scope is poorly defined. On the English Wikiversity, as Kaldari and KillerChihuahua have noted, there is far too much troubled content. However, I do not support shutting the project down at this time; instead, I support allowing its editors to improve it. A Stop at Willoughby 19:14, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
  37. Oppose Oppose. - Stanqo 02:27, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
  38. Oppose Oppose. Within the Open Educational Resources world, Wikiversity is a unique place as it is the only one with as strong a foundation as Wikimedia. It represents a unique opportunity for research like the kind I began but, have been poor on following through with so far. That said, look at my talk page to see the amount of support I quickly received for my venture as a sign of the strength of the community.--Charles Jeffrey Danoff 00:22, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
  39. Oppose Oppose. The structure is more than the content, it disrupts the spontaneous growth. We need to deconstruct the structure, finishing with departments and courses without content. The focus should be the lesson. Because a lesson is a product of the maximum granularity in a university. Pietro Roveri 13:52, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
  40. Oppose Oppose Shutting WV down would not restore credibility to the WM Foundation - it would damage it immensely by telling me that I can't trust my projects to WMF. I have been contributing to a research project hosted there for the past three years. I was thinking of expanding the Bloom Clock to include the animal kingdom as well, starting with reptiles and amphibians. A proposal like this certainly gives me pause, and makes me think I should look for a new home for my non-WV WM projects. I have been quietly contributing an successfully ignoring the drama. But if ignoring the drama is no longer an option, what am I supposed to do? --Jomegat 00:15, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
  41. Strongly Oppose Oppose. English Wikiversity has come into its own within the past year, with a far greater maintenance staff, better organization, and a wider variety of projects, and many Wikiversities in other languages reached that point a long time ago. Every wiki needs time to grow, and shutting down WV now would only shatter my trust in the Wikimedia foundation, not to mention throw the hours I have spent on my projects into the garbage. I can't say I'd be very keen to support any Wikimedia project if this action goes through. --Trinity507 03:04, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
  42. Oppose Oppose Because as a beginner, I'm learning Computer Science and related issues right now and I need the course to stay online to learn. If there's a problem, fix it. That's what Wiki's have always done.
  43. Oppose Oppose Ditto above. The only request I have is that the project have more diligent measures for editing of content. Though creation of articals should be left open.
  44. Oppose Oppose Please take into account the other languages, AFAIK, the WV in french is far different from the WV english. Cdang 08:28, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
  45. Oppose Oppose Absence of a mission and a clearcut plan seems to be the main problem. Why not to start a page for Vision, Mission, Goals, Strategies,Tactics, operational plans etc.? Let the community develop and modify everything it needs to sustain and survive. We have the best brains contributing their skills in wiki projects, let great managers also come forward. If nobody can do it, let me do it alone using this as a project for my students and ex students, even my PG students should love to contribute and sharpen their skills and every thing will be in order soon??? Pl. do comment --Prof. Vivek Sharma 06:23, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
  46. Oppose Oppose per above. Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. NERDYSCIENCEDUDE (✉ msgchanges) 13:26, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
  47. Oppose Oppose. As an user of the french wv, I can say that it's a good project which help me to (re-)learn things. As a wv contributor, I can tell you it's the perfect place to rewrite courses I follow to share knowledge with the rest of the (francophone) world. Shuting it all wv just because there are some problems on the english version would be a shame. --Psychoslave 15:07, 1 May 2010 (UTC)
  48. Oppose Oppose. A simple look at the featured content should remind us this project can be useful. Though I haven't had much to do with Wikiversity, I believe it has great potential, provided that you can arrange liasons with real teachers in real classrooms to use certain very carefully certified and edit-protected (for this use) copies of your best resources in order to get feedback from the students. Arrange a trial use somewhere in the world and get all hands on deck to make it happen. The site should also integrate itself as fully as possible with MIT OpenCourseWare [1]. In the future it is worth considering that rival versions might be tested on different classrooms to obtain quantitative evidence of which works better. No one can be a teacher without a student; thus Wikiversity needs classroom application to survive. Wnt 18:14, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
  49. Oppose Oppose - PB1DS 11:10, 4 May 2010 (UTC) Wikiversity is the best project what I ever seen. You can't delete it. His design is very great, and it is very rich of content.
  50. Oppose Oppose. Wikiversity may be redundant to a few other wikimedia projects, and it may have trouble with a proper definition of scope. This form of issue can be easily handled directly by clarifying the scope and purpose, and by providing a template on how given learning resources should be created on the series of sites. --Sigma 7 14:01, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
  51. Oppose Oppose. If you have no use for Wikiversity, stop looking at it. Sounds like a most unWikiesque proposal I have ever heard - re: old vaudeville joke - Doc it hurts when I do this. So stop doing it!

Discussion

Does this proposal refer to all language Wikiversities and also betaversity? -- Jtneill - Talk 00:37, 5 April 2010 (UTC)

Is this a petition to shut down Wikiversity in all languages or English Wikiversity in particular? If this is about English Wikiversity in particular, Wikiversity has Wikiversity:What is Wikiversity? Before criticizing Wikiversity for lack of a clear mission statement you may want to consider reading what Wikipedia:Mission[2] has to say on the subject. --darklama 00:39, 5 April 2010 (UTC)

Is this a petition to shut down Wikiversity in all languages or English Wikiversity in particular - I'm don't know if all of them are as dysfunctional as the english Wikiversity. If they are, then yes, this petition is for them too. But that's ultimately a decision for the board.
As for pointing out that Wikipedia:Mission doesn't exist, that's a trite response. Wikipedia's mission is spelled out at the top of every page - it is a free encyclopedia project. To wit: Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia and, as a means to that end, an online community of people interested in building a high-quality encyclopedia in a spirit of mutual respect. In addition to that clear and concise definition, Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not goes on to list 45 similar things that Wikipedia does not do, including dictionary entries, original research, opinion pieces, and memorials. In short, Wikipedia does a very good job of defining what it does do, and what it does not do. By contrast, Wikiversity:Wikiversity:What Wikiversity is not is 240 words long, and lists exactly 5 things, including true-but-unhelpful statements like "What Wikiversity is not a degree-granting institution," "What Wikiversity is not a post-secondary institution," and the almost-vacuous "Wikiversity is not a static project." Really, the only useful item listed at Wikiversity:Wikiversity:What Wikiversity is not is "Other Wikimedia projects" - so Wikiversity is essentially defining itself by doing anything that other WMF projects don't -- which covers a lot of ground. Raul654 01:12, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
That covering-a-lot-of-ground can be either a strength or weakness. One should look at the outcome of the project to decide which it is.  — mikelifeguard@meta:~$  01:27, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
Using Wikiversity as a launch-pad for vandalizing other wikis is hardly an outcome conducive to keeping it open. Raul654 04:25, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
Raul, what is your evidence and reasoning to support your thesis that Wikiversity is being used "as a launch-pad for vandalizing other wikis"? Can you give any specific examples where it was used in that manner? —Moulton 06:13, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
Evidence besides the how-to guide to sockpuppeting that was posted there and the "research project" into "ethical breaching experiments"? Raul654 06:18, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
I deleted the "how-to" guide 42 minutes after it was posted following a note in the Wikiversity IRC room and discussing the matter with multiple Stewards. The how-to guide was based on the guide put together by MzMcBride and was mentioned in an ArbCom case that concluded prior to Privatemusings's posting. He was warned not to post anything similar to it again. I offered my resignation to the WMF board if they felt that I did not delete the material fast enough or that they felt that me merely warning and not blocking was not a strong enough response. Ottava Rima (talk) 15:38, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
I think an encyclopedia is obviously not a dictionary or a textbook, but none the less Wikipedia felt a need to spell it out. I imagine there is some historical reasons why such obvious statements are in place. There are reasons why obvious statements are in place in what Wikiversity is not too. Schools, colleges, universities, they all cover a lot of ground too. Wikiversity defines itself by what it is more than by what it is not. --darklama 01:43, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Note - Learning materials cannot apply to Wikipedia as that is only for encyclopedic content and does not allow for original research, thus "learning" cannot happen (as learning is an active process). Wikisource is for GFDL allowable printed material that was published already, and does not encompass what can be learning material. Wikibooks only allows for the creation of books, whereas most learning material is not such. Jimbo has already stated that Wikiversity has the potential to be the strongest project because of its connection to learning and education. We already have many projects run by dozens of teachers that not only have online classes but also bring their real life students into the Wiki environment, allowing for a cross relationship between WMF and universities. Ottava Rima (talk) 01:34, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
    I am pretty sure that Wikibooks would like people reading its textbooks to learn something and would consider good textbooks to be "learning materials". The real distinction is that Wikibooks teaches through textbooks while Wikiversity teaches through classes (as well as permitting original research). And I've learned several things from Wikipedia as well. I think the other projects would be well offended at the implication that they don't offer learning opportunities. And yet "learning materials" is in the mission statement for Wikiversity. I don't agree with the proposal to close Wikiversity, but I do agree that the mission statement needs to be less ambiguous. -- Adrignola 15:00, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
    A text book outside of a classroom is just a reference book. "Learning" is a process that requires interaction by definition. Ottava Rima (talk) 15:20, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
  • I would also like to ask that any Wikiversity users please not enter into hostilities regarding this matter, turn this into a dispute, or anything else that is similar. Ottava Rima (talk) 01:44, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
    • Too late for that. It appears that darklama has blocked me from Wikiversity for having the gall to criticize it. Kaldari 18:33, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Wouldn't it be more productive to just block/ban the people who aren't "playing well with other children"? We wouldn't shut a library just because some of the staff were incompetent or wasting resources. Fire them, and move on. They'll raise a private stink, which everyone can happily ignore, much like we do the stink raised by the people banned from Wikipedia. Don't cut off the face to spite the nose, is all I'm saying. Discriminate response required. (I'm here from the mailing list notice, and am only passingly acquainted with the problematic issue itself.) Quiddity 19:01, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
    The problem, in this case, is that the inmates are running the asylum. None of the admins on Wikiversity is willing to stick their neck out and clean up the place. Indeed, many of them are the most vocal supporters of the editors who are disrupting other projects. Kaldari 20:02, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
    Wikiversity is likely to listen if shown some empirical data. Anecdotal evidence isn't enough. If the editors are blocked from other projects as has been said how can they still be disrupting the other projects? Any support is due to lack of empirical data. Speculation does not demonstrate a correlation. Interpretation does not demonstrate a correlation. Where's the proof? --darklama 20:29, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
    (Moving my comments out of #unsignatories section, as I don't have time to investigate anywhere near thoroughly enough). Well, as a suggestion, with no pussyfooting, anyone who consistently supports blatant crap. E.g. I'm baffled as to how Wikiversity:Wikiversity:RFD#Russian Roulette (Drinking Game) resulted in no consensus.
    Regarding "the issue" itself, the whole thing is bizarre. Of course an open-wiki can be vandalized, with subtlety. Structuring it as an "ethical investigation" seems like a really feeble attempt at pretending that it's not directly counter to the principles of "don't game the system" and "don't make a mess in order to prove a point".
    Now, I can't read it, so don't know exact details (no, please don't point me to an offsite mirror), but it smells distinctly like young philosophy students who "mean well", but are trying to achieve an end (something-BLP-something-something at Wikipedia) by any means possible. (Yay! Ethics!). No.
    Quiddity 00:53, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
    You can see from the discussion that I wanted the page deleted. I also deleted Privatemusing's "how to" page which was the only page that promoted cross wiki socking. I immediately warned him about it here. I have blocked people who have crossed the line, I have chastised people who have acted out, and I have made it clear when things get too far out of hand. Ottava Rima (talk) 01:18, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
    The "ethical investigation" structure you speak of is one of many possible interpretations. Some people have said they believe the project was about breaking ethics rather than an ethical investigation. Some people have said they believe the project was about a means for achieving some end. Some people have said they believe the work was philosophical. Some people have said the project means well and is not about achieving some end. Some people have said the project was a thought experiment. Some people have said the work is about researching any means that is ethical. There is simply not enough empirical data for Wikiversity to conclude a line was crossed. Additionally the author of the work has shown a willingness to accept whatever line in the sand Wikiversity decides to make, which means a block is not needed for prevention. --darklama 01:51, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
    So if some people have said all kinds of things, why did you block Kaldari for trolling while defending people that encourage it? If you can't be objective, don't try. Keegan 03:19, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
    Are you suggesting people who encourage trolling should be blocked as well? Making a call on whether person A encouraged person B is even less objective. Wikiversity wanting empirical data is not the same as defending people. A jury can say a person is not guilty due to reasonable doubt while still believing that the person committed the crime, because the burden of proof and evidence was not enough to remove all doubt. --darklama 13:04, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
    Raul654's post below mine is adequate, but I should reply to you anyway. Yes, people that encourage trolling should be blocked. What it trolling? It is intentional disruption within the confines of process with malicious intent. This is what makes trolling different from criticism.
    Kaldari was providing constructive criticism, even if it means that xyer opinion is to take the project out back and shoot it. This is not a blockable offense especially considering it was a rational consideration about the WMF hosting content that intends to disrupt.
    I notice a minority of WV contributors participating in this discussion, and it would be quite pleasant to get non-objective eyes from that project engaged here. Darklama, your block was unjustified, your reasons are unfounded and rely on weasel words like "empirical" (when that's not a proven concept in social media) to put aside the naysayers. And you block naysayers. Step away from the keyboard and think about the social construct the the WV environment has built, and how it has lead you to do things like block a good faith contributor. Keegan 20:55, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
    I do not agree. Person A should only be blocked if and when they troll, and not because person B trolled. Person B is not Person A's responsibility. How pray tell, do you tell when someone has a malicious intent? How do yo tell when disruption is intentional? How do you tell the difference between constructive criticism and trolling? If I was blocking people just for being naysayers a lot more people would be blocked. Empirical data is an important concept in academics, Wikiversity is about academics, and Wikiversity consists of mostly academics. Even if I step back some by saying that objective reasoning is required there is still problems because its about interpreting facts. There has been no proof to backup people's interpretations of the facts. I believe I know already what has lead to an environment where blocking of potentially good faith contributors takes place, the introduction of the trolling concept into an academic environment where it probably does not make sense objectively. If WV administrators are told to not put up with trolling than the potential loss of good faith contributors seems unavoidable. I have only blocked twice for trolling, both are very recent developments I might add. --darklama 21:59, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
    I'll bite, this is an interesting discourse.
    First off, you have failed to justify your block of Kaldari based on "empirical evidence".
    Second, the world of science runs on empirical evidence. The world of the arts does not, it is solely based on intellectual reason. Your excuse of an academic community is the cause for this rift fails with that point.
    Third, if WV can construct itself with an outlined mission statement that can convince academics to work together (something that the sciences encourage, the arts don't) then we can start a debate about the merits of an academic environment and how to properly shape and format it.
    You made a bad block, I don't hate you for it, I would just like to see WV administrators (custodians) bite the bullet and admit there are problems and work to fix them. Simple as that. OTOH, academics (and yes, I know more than a bit about the internal aspects of academia while not participating myself) have trouble doing this. WV must find the medium, or it's doomed to become troll heaven. I don't think you want that, and I don't think blocking Kaldari as a troll is constructive to the end which you wish to achieve. Keegan 03:13, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
    I wasn't trying to bait you, I'm glad you find it an interesting discourse.
    Wikiversity custodians (sysops) are more or less expected to act impartial when making decisions that involve the us of the tools separate from any personal opinions they might have. I think acting on empirical evidence is a good idea, but that isn't what custodians were told to do. I think you could call it a conflict or a dilemma right now because Wikiversity expects custodians to do one thing and other people are expecting custodians to do something else.
    I think WV does already convinces academics to work together, even if it isn't exactly in the current mission statement WV tries to work that way and encourages it. You can see a list of brick and motor universities collaborations aka real universities that have contribute to the various language editions of Wikiversity on Beta. Art vs science maybe that is where the rift in this discourse resides?
    Of course there are problems, including an inability to always agree on what the problems are. I blocked Kaldari for 24 hours, that block has already expired. I agree that blocking people for trolling in general is not constructive to Wikiversity's goals as a community that attracts academics. I am just trying to deal with the cards that has been dealt to us as best I can, and I hope that either clarification can happen or people can respect that blocking for trolling is not conductive for Wikiversity. There has to be a happy medium (I hope) that allows Wikiversity to continue to work with a "prevention through education" model of dealing with problems, over taking a "prevention through blocking" model whenever possible. Recent events have contributed to a conflict between those two models of prevention, and Wikiversity participants are not happy about it. --darklama 04:18, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
    You can put your hands over your ears and shout "NA NA NA YOUR EVIDENCE IS ANECDOTAL SO I CAN'T HEAR YOU" as loud as you want It's not a particularly effective argument, nor does it at all rebut the mountain of evidence that WV is a failed project and a haven for banned users. I count at least five(!) users banned from other wikis involved in the current goings on: Privatemusings, who started the breaching experiments project, Ottava who tried to deal with it; Jon Awbry, who signed the letter; Moulton, who has already edited this petition; and MisterWiki, who was banned from no less than three projects for uploading copyvios and sockpuppetry).
    If the editors are blocked from other projects as has been said how can they still be disrupting the other projects? - gee, perhaps people are upset with Wikiversity because Wikiverity tolerates banned users who go there to start projects that involve vandalizing other wikis? Worse, the WV community actively protest that the Foundation had to clean up the mess they created. Are you getting it yet? Raul654 05:30, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
    "Wikiversity is likely to listen if shown some empirical data. ... Any support is due to lack of empirical data." - see my comment above, re: putting your hands in your ears and shouting that you can't hear anyone. Your whole response here - essentially, to deny that there's a problem when anyone with two eyes can see otherwise (and, at the same time, your abusive 24 hour block of Kaldari) - is yet more evidence for why WV should be shuttered. The inmates have clearly taken over the asylum. Raul654 05:30, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
    For those who have asked how it came to be that Jimbo site-banned me, Jimbo gave his reasons here. —Moulton 06:13, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
    How mature of you to compare people that don't share your POV to immature children. How is such a comparison an effective argument? Are you trying to be effective by encouraging an emotional response? What is the mountain of evidence that you keep speaking of? --darklama 13:04, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
    "How mature of you to compare people that don't share your POV to immature children" - I wasn't comparing all the people who I disagree wtih to children. I was comparing you, Darklama, personally, to children who do that, owing to your repeated posts here wherein you blithely dismiss all the evidence because you think it is anecdotal. It's not, and your repeated insistence of such simply proves that your comments here cannot be taken seriously.
    How is such a comparison an effective argument? - ironically, that's *exactly* the point I was making. Dismissing the evidence against WV because you incorrectly claim it anecodatal is not a defense of WV. It is simply an argument that serves to waste everyone's time.
    Are you trying to be effective by encouraging an emotional response? - I am pointing out the gaping holes in your argument by aptly comparing them to the immature "I CAN'T HEAR YOU" sort that children use.
    What is the mountain of evidence that you keep speaking of? - let's see: (A) the numerous banned users involved in this current episode (stated above) (B) WV's lack of any mission or project goals (stated above) (C) the near-complete lack of any meaningful content on WV (stated by others here) (D) The use of WV as a launchpad for damaging other Wikis (stated above) (E) The intransigence of the WV community when confronted with these realities (ala, the petition and the comments here) while simultaneously decrying Foundation-level "interference." Raul654 21:16, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
    I was not dismissing reasons people have mentioned here as anecdotal. I am saying that the reasons people gave at Wikiversity for supporting the deletion of the ethics project was considered anecdotal by the Wikiversity community, an interpretation of the events there. I may be blind, but I am not deaf. It is not about dismissing or refusing to see it, I just do not see a problem where other people do. The problems others see is not obvious to me. I think this is also true for many of the people coming from Wikiversity. If I had a problem with acknowledging that other people see a problem where I see none, I would not be here scratching my head, I would just ignore it.
    A) How is numerous banned users involvement a problem? B) As I said before Wikiversity does have a mission. Wikiversity's mission can be found at Wikiversity:What is Wikiversity. I have not noticed any further response to that. C) You can find a lot of meaningful content on WV. Try going through Wikiversity:Browse. I can agree that finding the good stuff is hard, but that does not mean it doesn't exist. As I have said in Talk:Requests for comment/Improve Wikiversity, Wikiversity does need to improve how it organizes things. D) I haven't seen a convincing argument or proof for that yet. E) There hasn't been any offers to compromise on anyone's part yet, because nobody has made it clear that there is any room for compromise. So for the situation has more or less been "this is the way it must be". I think Requests for comment/Improve Wikiversity probably shows that there may be room for compromise. I think the letter was an attempt to get clarification, because compromise thus far has looked like an impossibility. If you hadn't noticed I don't support the open letter. Even this RFC makes compromise look like an impossibility. --darklama 22:28, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
  • After reviewing some content on the discussed website, using the random page approach, i have to agree that some of the material needs supervision, there is questionable material, and for a site that advertises it is a resource for learning, and may, in particular attract children, which need reliable information or else the learning process is undermined. Such pages are: http://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/3.0_Neural_networks , http://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Gospel_of_John_%28CBS%29/Week_3 , http://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/David_Generelo_Miranda , http://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Empathy_Model/Predatory_economics , as well as many unfinished pages. There are useful pages, but considering the amount of non useful pages i have to agree that something must be done. While i will not support shutting down the wiki at this time, there has to some sort of supervision of this wiki. For instance many pages consist of outside links http://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Genetics . P.S I used 25 random pages, about 5 were questionable and 3 were stubs/templates. 124.182.239.232 08:45, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
  • After some more searches i came on a wealth of information about nonkilling, written by the the school of nonkilling studies (http://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/School:Nonkilling_studies). Apparently Leo tolstoy or Martin luther king support this concept, and there are articles suggesting so. There are also hundreds of Cristian articles, although the muslim pages can be counted on one hand. Buddism is nonpresent, surprisingly no nonkilling supporter thought to give buddha credit for that as well. There is a nonkilling and voodoo page, though. The article http://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Chronic_Disease_Self-Management points out that "80% of heart disease, stroke and Type II diabetes would be prevented and 40% of cancer would be prevented if risk factors were reduced. Ultimately, we have control over chronic disease. If someone engages in risk factors like smoking, not wearing sunscreen, eating too much junk food, not exercising, and drinking too much alcohol, he or she will greatly increase the risk of chronic disease." well, obviously it is too late. And the school of nonkilling studies logo appears on the wikipedia page nonkilling[2]. I am a bit suspicious of that image.
    I don´t actively participate in Wikiversity because my native language is not English: However, this page's proposal seems to involve all the languages in which the project is developed. I don´t understand the meaning of the statistics that the IP develops above. This project is not a corporate or commercial product whose viability can be analyzed based on the quality of certain pages or articles, but a project developed by a community of volunteers. If entries remain wrong, that only proves that still no one with enough will or commitment has found it and corrected. What has this to do with closing Wikiversity?.--Antur - Talk/Discusión 14:53, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
This petition refers to the english version.
I don't know where the "risk factors" come in to this, but it is worth noting (w:sunscreen controversy) that sunscreen does not protect against the hardest UV radiation and so can lull the user into catching a melanoma. Likewise "fat but fit" people have no reduction in lifespan, and moderate drinking actually reduces the yearly risk of death substantially in older people. So if any of this is related to ethics (or wikiversity) consider what side you may be on. Wnt 18:22, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
  • If banned users from other projects with a low edit count and a high drama ratio are not being dealt with appropriately on Wikiversity, it would seem to make a hell of a lot more sense to deal with the users involved than treat the project as failed and try to have it shut down. The notion of global WM blocks should probably be more utilised than it is to deal with such things - applying as it would to probably half a dozen individuals at most. Orderinchaos 02:43, 5 May 2010 (UTC)


Alternate Suggestion

Probationary status. As Wikiversity has welcomed and enabled trolls, vandals, and ethically questionable practices - as someone said above, "the inmates are running the asylum" - perhaps a top-down approach is necessary to reinvent the community, with a strong emphasis on ethics and focused projects. Currently many, if not most, of the projects seem to fall into one of three categories: inactive or nearly so; Random bs from someone who has done little or no serious research (also Pushing Pet Fringe Views); and ill-conceived and unethical projects such as the one which led to Moulton's banning and the one which led to this Rfc, which are nothing more than stirring up trouble and causing problems under a very thin and implausible veneer of "study". I can poke sticks at small children and call it "study", too, but that doesn't make it a legitimate field nor an ethical approach. Under the probation, all current admins' status will be revoked without prejudice; a committee of probationary admins would be installed by the Wikimedia Foundation (details of selection to be discussed) and consensus would be secondary to the rulings of the committee. KillerChihuahua 15:28, 6 April 2010 (UTC)

In that case, it would be a *very* good idea to explicitly prohibit WV projects involving the WMF and WMF-run projects. That might make WV a less-suitable environment for trolls who want to rehash the reasons they got booted. Raul654 21:20, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
I've refrained from getting involved in the hope that people would see the absurdity of this proposal and let it die. I understand your frustrations about the way Wikiversity works, but neither project termination or probation will solve the issues. We are a community of academics who try to solve our problems through careful reasoned discussion. I've heard many cries for reform and change, but no one has provided us with concrete examples of things to work on. Don't just tell us it's broken, help us fix it by providing clear examples and proposals. You may think we're a bunch of trolls, or children, or idiots, but we actually will listen to your concerns. We see the humanity and value of all human beings, and respect your opinions for the insights they provide, even if we don't always see eye to eye.
I am respectfully urging you to end this talk of closure or probation, and instead provide us with a list of things that you would like to see fixed. This will go a long way towards towards allowing us to see where the problems are specifically, allowing us to change them. Geoff Plourde 03:44, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
You state "probation will [not] solve the issues" and then ask, what are the issues? I presume no comment is needed fro me regarding the absurdity of that.
You state "We are a community of academics..." I beg to differ. You may be largely a community of academics. But I know of no such community where a scheme to intentionally disrupt and vandalize and cause problems at a sister project, one run by the same foundation, would not have been shot down in flames well before it reached planning states. At least some of your "academics" are ethically challenged - and your admins and "leaders" are proving ineffectual in curbing this kind of behavior. This is not the first problem. This is merely the last straw for many. You assert that you'll fix it - why haven't you fixed it already? I suspect it is because you either do not see the problems or you do not care. KillerChihuahua 11:47, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
Killer Chihuahua, one of the problems we have run into is that we keep hearing cries for change, but no one will provide us with suggestions as to specific actions we can take to remediate the problems. Instead of simply saying we have problems, provide us with suggestions on how to fix it. With regards to the ethical breaching project, I think the magnitude's been highly exaggerated. A custodian deleted it shortly after it became a problem, and matters were well under control. I remain confident that we can all work for a permanent resolution of the issues. Geoff Plourde 18:33, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
Geoff:
1) After I pointed out your apparent conflict of interest at en:Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Agape World Fellowship, you told me that you were "a leader and former board member for the organization". That seems troublesome.
2) the page you built at wikiversity:Topic:Agape World Fellowship, links to "Rights and Rules - AWF official rules that all visitors and members must abide by". So, anyone interested in your course has to agree to Agape World Fellowship's user policies? That seems troublesome.
3) the page you built at wikiversity:Mere Christianity (CBL) links to what appear to be copyright violations, as its primary Resources. That seems troublesome.
4) I don't even know where to begin with wikiversity:Topic:North American History/Intro and wikiversity:Gospel of John (CBS)/Week 10/Essay.
So, to be discourteously blunt, I'd say one of the problems (theEnglish) Wikiversity has, is teenagers trying to be university professors.
I don't know why you turned up to play mediator on March 20, after a 6 month absence from Wikiversity.
Way back in 2006 I suggested to you that trying to assume positions of authority without knowing the ins-and-outs of a community, wasn't a good idea; it still isn't. [Plus, How is your time not already all taken up by being an admin at Conservapedia??] You surely mean well, but I strongly believe that neither pages you create at Wikiversity, nor your input in this rfc process, is actually very helpful. Quiddity 13:37, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
I'm sorry to hear that you feel this way. I'm not sure how (1) is applicable here, so I'll address the other points you made. I've gone ahead and more clearly defined the annotation for Rights and Rules (2). No one is required to use the virtual world, which will be addressed on each course page. Some websites (3) get special permission to use copies of Christian books. I don't see a specific statement either way so I've removed it while I email the site that's hosting it. If you don't like the pages in (4), you are free to edit the page or start a post on the talk page. Please keep in mind that I am working with a religious school, not Oxford. I am at a loss how this would make me a university professor. Any problems with the courses I create will be addressed during the upcoming review and approval process. I also don't have or want any positions of authority at Wikiversity. I simply want to see peace, rather than strife. Geoff Plourde 18:33, 7 April 2010 (UTC)

Notes

  1. Wikiversity's nebulous mission statement, "the creation and use of free learning materials and activities", could apply to almost any other Wikimedia project, including Wikipedia, Wikisource, and Wikibooks. Even more telling, it includes a plea for editors to "help Wikiversity by adding your ideas about what Wikiversity should become, or what it should do." That this plea is necessary on a project that has existed for 4 years speaks volumes about the project's lack of mission.
  2. Wikipedia doesn't have a mission statement either. There is WP:MISSION though which says to avoid mission statements.

Areas for Improvements

Please post the problems you see on Wikiversity and suggestions for improvement below. Geoff Plourde 03:50, 7 April 2010 (UTC)

Wikiversity is not English Wikiversity

It would be dangerous precedent if griefing on one language could shut down all other languages in a project. This is something Raul654 should address head-on, rather than passing the ball to the foundation to decide how far to raze, if it does decide to do so.

I can tell quite affirmatively for instance that the Finnish Wikiversity has an impressive list of institutes of higher learning who have opted in to work within it, perhaps most notably the high visibility Aalto-instituutti, which is branding itself as "Educational Institution 2.0". Kudos for this, I think, goes to Wikimedia Foundation Advisory Board Member Teemu Leinonen.

Personally I would have preferred to ignore the closure petition, but it is important to note that as it stands, its scope is hugely overblown. -- Cimon Avaro 01:15, 8 April 2010 (UTC)


Key en.wikiversity statistics

I have complied a page of en.wikiversity statistics at User:A. B./Sandbox 1 (permanent link)

This includes:

  • List of 418 accounts active in the last 30 days
  • List of active en.wikiversity editors that have blocks recorded on en.wikipedia
  • List of en.wikiversity custodians (admins) and bureaucrats and their en.wikipedia records
  • Total en.wikiversity pages, revisions to date
  • Daily number of en.wikiversity revisions
  • Most heavily edited en.wikiversity content pages (i.e., articles)

Disclaimer: I have an account on en.wikiversity as part of my cross-wiki spam cleanup.
--A. B. (talk) 19:47, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

I have moved this information to a subpage of its own for this discussion:
--A. B. (talk) 01:46, 5 May 2010 (UTC)

RfC closure

Comments are beginning to taper off. I intend to close and archive this discussion in 7 days unless I see a compelling consensus to keep it open or I see a sudden flood of useful comments. --A. B. (talk) 16:23, 27 April 2010 (UTC)

Closing comments

This Request for comment ("RfC") is now closed as unsuccessful. The discussion has been winding down and it is time to close it. Comments:

  1. Opposition to closing Wikiversity has been overwhelming. After an initial handful of support comments in the first several days, no additional support has been given for closing this project.
  2. As noted in the discussion, there are multiple Wikiversities, not just the English language version which appears to have been the primary focus of this RfC’s supporters.
  3. Wikiversity’s overall mission and structure are different from those of Wikipedia; for instance “What Wikiversity is Not”, cited in this discussion, does not play the same important role on Wikiversity that is does on Wikipedia. Compare, for instance, the English Wikipedia’s ”What Wikipedia is Not” policy vs. the proposed policy of the English Wikiversity, "What Wikiversity is not". On the English language Wikiversity, the foundation board’s approved Wikiversity project proposal and the project’s "What is Wikiversity?" policy are more important governing documents.
  4. Multiple comments were made about possible improvements to Wikiversity as an alternative to shutting down this (or these) project(s).
    1. Another RfC is presently open at Requests for comment/Improve Wikiversity
    2. A community review of the “ethical breaching experiment” on the English language Wikiversity is underway (but apparently winding down) on that Wikiversity at v:en:Wikiversity:Community Review/Wikimedia Ethics:Ethical Breaching Experiments.
    3. Suggestions for improvements to individual projects can be made at the appropriate fora at those Wikiversity projects.
    4. For discussion of Wikiversities in general, see Wikiversity Beta at betawikiversity:Main Page. Wikiversity Beta is defined as “a multilingual hub for the coordination of Wikiversity projects in different languages, to further our mission as in the Wikiversity project proposal.”
  5. An RfC on Meta is not the appropriate place to propose the actual closure of a project but it was better to let this this discussion run its course than to aggravate an already controversial situation by subjecting it to needless red tape. For future reference:
    1. Meta has an existing venue for project closure proposals; in the future, use Proposals for closing projects, not an RfC.
    2. Given the overwhelming opposition to closing this project, this matter can be considered closed for the foreseeable future and another proposal to close active Wikiversity projects will probably be speedily closed unless some change has occurred or a number of months have elapsed. A change might include a change in Wikimedia Foundation mission and strategy, which is presently under review and revision (see Strategic Plan/Movement Priorities). There is a specific section for Wikiversity at strategy:Wikiversity
    3. Proposals to close Wikimedia projects are done on a project-by-project basis (i.e., language-by-language, not entire categories such as Wikiversity or Wikipedia).
  6. A final note: processes on Meta-Wiki are more informal than those on Wikipedia — see Requests for comment and Proposals for closing projects.

--A. B. (talk) 14:18, 5 May 2010 (UTC)

See also