Talk:Science Wiki User Group

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A User group for STEM or Science Wikimedians[edit]

Note:Discussion initiated at en.wikipedia wikiproject biology

There are many disparate communities of scientists across Wikimedia projects. This fractured landscape can hinder communication, collaboration, and networking. There are also many great projects and collaborations being done, but often it is hard to come across them. At least in English Wikipedia, the sciences split across dozens of WikiProjects in the early days, in expectation of larger editor numbers.


A User Group that can foster communication, collaboration, and networking:

  1. cross-wiki (wikipedia, commons, wikidata, wikisource etc)
  2. cross-language (en, de, it etc)
  3. cross-subject (biology, physics, chemistry, maths etc)
  4. global (as opposed to location-based groups)

The STEM community across wikimedia shares a lot of the same challenges and opportunities. Many of the ideas and initiatives in one area could be expanded or adapted to others. The medical community has a unified presence via the Wiki Project Med Foundation. Similarly so do classics, libraries, education. A STEM or Science equivalent could do something similar

Some questions

What are people's overall impressions? What is the ideal breadth of scope (STEM, science, other)? What would be needed to maximise success? What other User Groups would be good models? T.Shafee(Evo﹠Evo)talk 01:41, 25 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The MEd group could be a good model too, but at the same time there will be some difference.--Alexmar983 (talk) 01:43, 25 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, the medical wiki community seems to have found a sweet spot, and we should try to learn from that. I could see merit in both having a narrow focus like science (enwiki entry) and in going for a broader one like STEM (enwiki) or broader yet, closer to the notion of Wissenschaft in German (for which enwiki has a separate article), which encompasses all fields of systematic enquiry (i.e. including classics, medicine, economics etc.) as well as the corresponding institutions. If we go for the broader scope, we should use a broader term to describe it. In English, scholar, research or academic are all broader in this sense, but they come with additional notions (e.g. the expectation of affiliation with some academic or research institution), so we should also consider using a term like Wissenschaft or its similarly broad equivalents in other Eurasian languages — think nauka (pl and several other Slavic languages), alim (ar and other Middle Eastern languages) or simply things like sayansi (Swahili), which would add an international notion (which I have also added above as global in the listing of the User Group's dimensions). -- Daniel Mietchen (talk) 09:58, 26 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In that case, unless anyone objects, I'll move this page to Science Wiki User Group for now. It can also be returned or further moved late. Even with a STEM scope, the term "STEM" doesn't translate well into all languages, whereas "Science" easily does. T.Shafee(Evo﹠Evo)talk 12:46, 10 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]


One of the reason I did not rush in creating this page was the logo. It is used for the International Wikipedia Scientific Conference, something that I could not really grasp when I discovered it. I had the feeling it was much more informaticians than scientists... so just in case I wanted to be sure not to use their logo untill we discussed about it and we understood what the IWSC is. Still, we need more options in general. it's a fitting logo but it's not something we should use directly like this. I had some ideas but as i told you, it's not the best season.--Alexmar983 (talk) 01:40, 25 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Alexmar983: good point. A logo can be sorted out through discussion as the idea progresses. (for record, the logo mentioned above is File:Wiki_science_conference.svg). T.Shafee(Evo﹠Evo)talk 01:43, 25 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes I have some idea and the discussion of the logo on WikiClassics is an example. It takes 2 months when you do it properly. Plus, UG require a logo ready for their application so we should be really sure about it. Handle with care. You can start to make a gallery of useful svg files you would like to use.--Alexmar983 (talk) 01:50, 25 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'd like to propose taking the Voyager Golden Record as a starting point for inspiration and discussion, perhaps together with the Nebra Sky disc (which is as much science/ STEM as it is Classics). -- Daniel Mietchen (talk) 09:58, 26 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

yes, those would be good ideas--Ozzie10aaaa (talk) 17:52, 26 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm a bit flat-out for the next month, but can start drafting a few alternatives in July! No huge rush on it, but it'll be nice to have some options to choose between. T.Shafee(Evo﹠Evo)talk 12:41, 10 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Scope--Which sciences (and also scientific topic) should be included?[edit]

Looking at the table you have included, I see what I would consider 'natural' sciences only. My university has a College of Natural and Applied Sciences (CNAS) which includes those groups but excludes humanistic or 'soft' sciences like sociology, psychology, and economics. Many universities do that and I think that such a division would be fine. However, your current draft excludes applied sciences as well--agriculture, engineering, and so on. Take a look at this list on enwiki for a list of applied sciences--do any of these belong? If any, I'd imagine we would include WP:Engineering.

We also have an earth sciences department within CNAS. I think that WP:Geology should absolutely be added, and perhaps WP:Geography as well. Geology is especially important because it actually takes into account regional differences. I am not entirely decided on the latter but I would class GIS and even remote sensing under geography. However, geography projects likely get treated in every language as 'map-stuff,' so perhaps we should hold off on that one.

WP:Astronomy might be classed under Physics, but I would not be surprised if it is common across several languages. It probably deserves its own category.

Finally, I would consider adding WP:History of science and WP:Academic Journals, and perhaps WP:Science. It might be good to know if each language has a hub project to coordinate and represent their entire wiki. A bit daunting, but I think it would make coordination much easier. Prometheus720 (talk) 02:44, 25 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree that a broad STEM scope (including Maths, Engineering, HoS). Having thought about it, I actually think a name like 'Science Wiki User Group' works better than 'STEM Wiki User Group', since the STEM acronym is much harder to translate and is less commonly understood than 'Science'. I've moved the page for now, but we can definitely move it back, or to something different as discussion progresses. T.Shafee(Evo﹠Evo)talk 00:30, 26 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I should think you're right about the translatability of 'Science' above 'STEM'. Chiswick Chap (talk) 13:41, 26 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I once came across a Geman meme making fun of STEM students, but they of course use a different acronym. It was extremely difficult to figure it out and I ended up just having to ask people in a forum until someone answered me. I can't for the life of me remember what the acronym is but anyway, this is a very good point. Tom, you said you moved the page? I'm a little confused. What page did you move and to where? Prometheus720 (talk) 19:04, 26 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Prometheus720: I guess MINT is what you were after. -- Daniel Mietchen (talk) 00:05, 28 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ja, genau! Es war über MINTlers. Schön Danke! Prometheus720 (talk) 16:31, 28 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Not everyone agrees that science and engineering are the same thing, so if you want to include engineering you had better name it explicitly, e.g., "Science & Engineering". See, e.g., a couple of articles by Mark Staples in Synthese:
  • Mark Staples (2014). Critical rationalism and engineering: ontology. Synthese, 191(10), 2255–2279. "Engineering is often said to be 'scientific', but the nature of knowledge in engineering is different to science. Engineering has a different ontological basis—its theories address different entities and are judged by different criteria...."
  • Mark Staples (2015). Critical rationalism and engineering: methodology. Synthese, 192(1), 337–362. "Engineering deals with different problem situations than science, and theories in engineering are different to theories in science. So, the growth of knowledge in engineering is also different to that in science. Nonetheless, methodological issues in engineering epistemology can be explored by adapting frameworks already established in the philosophy of science...."
Biogeographist (talk) 16:37, 26 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Those are fair points, Biogeographist. Perhaps we shouldn't include applied sciences at all, then? No ag, no engineering, no forensics, etc. We should stick to natural and formal sciences, right? Prometheus720 (talk) 19:04, 26 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Biogeographist: I see what you're saying. It's possible to just create it as the natural sciences and wider wikiprojects can join per their own preferences? I think it's less of an ontological question and more of a practical one: Would it be useful to members of those communities to collaborate on organisation, outreach, partnerships etc. T.Shafee(Evo﹠Evo)talk 01:05, 27 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Scope--Which languages need to be on the table initially, and which do we prioritize?[edit]

Based solely on what I understand about academic publishing, the list you placed on the table looks perfect. Those seem like the big publishing languages. I would consider adding French, though.

I think that these languages would be the best to start with. They also represent some of the biggest Wikipedias by number of articles, which is another bonus. I think that eventually the scope should include all languages, but this should be enough for our application, surely.

If we can reach a little consensus here and on the other topic I started (what sciences to include), I'd be happy to start digging to see if I can find those projects in other wikis. I could probably get around de pretty easily and even communicate a bit, and with a little bit of Google Translate I could get through es and fr as well. jp and ru would be challenging for me so I'd prefer to let someone else do those. Prometheus720 (talk) 02:52, 25 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

UpdateI have discovered that clicking on another language for a Wikiproject will actually bring you to the closest approximation of that Wikiproject in the other language. I tried it on WP:BIOL, my homebase on enwiki, and lo and behold I found the German version: Redaktion Biologie. I am most experienced in German and so I find it unlikely that I will have such a simple time finding projects in other languages. I am willing to try Spanish and French in the coming weeks, but as a general rule anything I can't type with my keyboard is going to be too complex for me. I might be able to swing Italian--I have decent Latin. Dutch might also work, due to the German. That's my absolute limit though. We will have to find some proper bilingual users for the others. We should probably put out a call on Wikiproject:Science for multilingual users to help us with this, especially for zh, ru, jp, and others. Prometheus720 (talk) 01:17, 27 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Excellent. I tried posting a notice on the relevant German wikiproject talk-pages. My german is pretty poor, so I cross-checked with google translate. T.Shafee(Evo﹠Evo)talk 05:25, 27 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I have been looking for an excuse to get back into studying German--maybe this is just the kick in the rear I needed! I'll see if I can do some initial digging for es tomorrow. By the way, I certainly don't promise I caught everything in German. They have a nice little directory but I really have never done much work in de and I'm pretty unfamiliar with the lay of the land. Hopefully someone you contacted will be able to fill in any gaps. Prometheus720 (talk) 07:16, 27 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In case you weren't sure, it's not automatically the most closely-related project. It's the project that some user in that language manually linked to the other projects in other languages. Pbroks13 (talk) 14:00, 28 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Interwiki of these non-sn0 pages is quite messy. But I scroll them all for WSC2017 so it's not complicated, we will get there, don't worry. I will refine it if something is missing.--Alexmar983 (talk) 14:09, 28 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I speak all those major languages and I have visited many of those talks, if you can wait few weeks I can update you the table. I can aslo find you a little bit easier. It's not complicated. Why do we have su much rush now?--Alexmar983 (talk) 12:15, 28 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Alexmar983: The initial flurry of activity was because, by coincidence, a conversation started up over at en:wp:WP:WikiProject Biology, however I think you're right that focussing on reaching out multilingually will be the more effective starting strategy now that there's a function draft page. T.Shafee(Evo﹠Evo)talk 12:50, 10 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
T.Shafee(Evo﹠Evo) donì't worry I will start as soon as I am back home. Actually in these last weeks I did ask one pt user to inform pt wiki (a language I don't speak) but he also has his backlog so you still don't see the effect. I was also in Zuerich will inform dewiki right after a meeting in Schaffahausen in two weeks, I though it was nice to bring news frontally before writing on the platform. And I will be In Germany in early July again to spread the news.--Alexmar983 (talk) 14:38, 10 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Going abroad[edit]

In a way, as I imagined, the success of the initiative "STEM UG" will be related partially also to an effort of literacy of meta and cross wiki activities of en-N users who rarely saw those wikiworlds outside of enwikipedia. It's actually surprising we started this way, if you see WikiClassics, the en-N users arrived later because it was much easier to work with other users who are more accustomed to the multilanguage dimensions. Of course they know commons or wikidata (but US users have a lower presence on wikidata too) but maybe many of those users might be even basically unaware about meta. It's no big deal but in a future UG that dimension is crucial. this could be estimated by how many welcome templates I will have put by the end of this process. Also wikidata has science project as well, example d:Wikidata:WikiProject Astronomy, but don't worry we will get there.--Alexmar983 (talk) 18:25, 28 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Table design[edit]

WikiClassics_User_Group#WikiProjects has a division in its table. I think we would benefit from having a division like this for every main scientific discipline, ie maths, biology/life sciences, chemistry, physics, and earth sciences. I set up the table to facilitate this, also. I ordered all of the sciences in that fashion so that we can try it out. Prometheus720 (talk) 18:04, 27 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I should also add that the es Biology project is a little different. I think they have done something similar to enwiki, which has WP:BIOL and WP:Tree of Life technically underneath it. WP:BIOL really only covers aspects of biology outside of taxonomy, chiefly molecular and cell biology. However, they have them totally separated. In practice that isn't very different from what we do in enwiki, but some people might disagree with me placing them in the biology slot. I need to brush up on my Spanish and go over there and have a chat.
At this point I'm not so much trying to make a table for publishing as I am trying to make a draft table which will help us actually go in and have conversations with all of these groups so that we can make the final table. I'll be working on French next. Prometheus720 (talk) 18:13, 27 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Added section[edit]

Guys I told you I had something on a file so I put stuff here and there. Don't overanalyze it.--Alexmar983 (talk) 12:34, 28 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Alexmar983: No problem. I've added the main bits I wanted to have there and I like the elements you're adding. I'll wait until you've integrated the stuff you had on file than go through and make some nice formatting. I'll hold off posting additional notifications in other languages' wikiprojects until you're ready if you like. T.Shafee(Evo﹠Evo)talk 03:10, 29 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
For the notfication User:Evolution_and_evolvability ready=2nd/3rd week of June. It's a differetn strategy, I would have informed projects when the draft was solid but in this scenario we need to inform the "good" users that have an idea how to "build" this page. So not the purely content-oriented users first but those with coordination skills. The first group will be more diffuclt to engage, it will be much easier when real content perspectives and proposals are finally there. So the message is a little bit different.--Alexmar983 (talk) 09:30, 29 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Alexmar983: No problem at all. You've got more experience in these sorts of UGs, so happy to follow your advice on this point. T.Shafee(Evo﹠Evo)talk

edit a thon[edit]

Guys, I will make a test. I will create a cross platform edit a thon directly here. It's going to be a lot for work starting from zero but itìs the sort of seed I need to plant. So we can put it the timeline as an evolutionary step. I did actually have this request since a while and we are doing it in other areas. It's time to risk.--Alexmar983 (talk) 12:38, 28 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Recognition of Math UG and our name[edit]

The birth of Wikimedia Community User Group Math makes me think we need to change our name to Wikimedia Community User Group STEM for our proposal.--Alexmar983 (talk) 10:34, 18 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Though I'm not hard against the use of STEM in the name, I've a few reservations (partly discussed in earlier section):
  1. translatability - STEM may be harder to translate
  2. recognisability - When reading the name in English, I suspect that more people would recognise 'science', but not necessarily 'STEM'
  3. length - in general I'd have thought that that the shorter Wiki XYZ User Group is more memorable and usable than the longer 'Wikimedia Community User Group XYZ'
However being clear in scope and proposed activities will probably be more important than the name. T.Shafee(Evo﹠Evo)talk 04:12, 19 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Look with AffCom just be prepared. For example WikiClassics was asked to have at least 10 users whent ehy were eight and the minimu is three, the Math group is much lower and was approved. And maybe feel they did not even discuss the logo. So this discussion will make us much more preared later for the best possible scenario and requests. However, I don't like STEM as well but whatever. in any case I think ou scope is quite solid. It's a problem to get more people but I hope WSC will speed up the process. It's summer now, many are on holidays.--Alexmar983 (talk) 12:27, 19 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]