Jump to content

Wikikids/Questions and answers

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki

Here are some frequent asked questions or objections that we have been able to collect in the previous discussions about Wikikids and anserw, partly filled out by the experience on Vikidia.


What about sensitive subjects (religion, sex)

It has to be dealt by the community (among which there are some adults), we had very few quarrel about such issues on Vikidia.

Shouldn't we define which subject may be covered before, draw up a selection of articles to do ?

There are some reasons for a school curriculum or for a textbook to trace a definite set of subject. An encyclopedia doesn't have the same role and restraint. Readers expect to get information on as many subjects as possible.

Children need a reviewed and fixed content, shouldn't you set the "approved revisions" of even have a separate wiki to work on and to offer the content?

The wiki way make the content being constantly reviewed. Children are as fond of updated content than anybody else. If being exposed to an inaccuracy were so risky, it would be risky as well to let children hang out and talk with each other, since their language is often inaccurate too !

What about children uploading inappropriate content ?

We delete it and they learn about rules, copyright, etc. By the way, barely anyone uploads pictures of themselves, actually (which, as far as minors are concerned, could be done only with parents permission).

Shouldn't it specifically address the different needs of children in different age groups ?

We may not need to divide the content for age group as restricted as each year of age, following the pattern of school class. We also have to worry not to jeopardize the consistency of the wiki and care about its legibility, in order to allow the users to work in good conditions. Just another level after Wikipedia (which is for the moment widely use by children for lack of anything better) may be a fair middle way.

Kids may have a different feeling for notability, compared to adults?

Yes, sometimes an article might be kept while it doesn't exist or isn't notable enough according to Wikipedia standards.


Will adults be invited to edit the wiki?

Of course, we definitely need them, see Wikikids/For children or by children ?

How could we rely on children as editors, since they are not likely to be able - nor willing - to write good encyclopedic content?

Some of them are willing, probably in a similar or slightly higher proportion as adults that want to edit Wikipedia. They certainly can't write quality content alone and as beginners on a wiki. Nevertheless, their involvement and contribution can really grow the global content and have several benefits for such a wiki. See again Wikikids/For children or by children ?.

Children are most commonly known for vandalism on Wikipedia. Can't we expect that it will be worst on a children wiki ?

It is quite well observed that children, as well as grown-up, behave completely differently whether it deals with a realisation in which they take their part voluntarily or something that neither belong to them nor is for them (or an managerial-type exercise that is imposed on them). There is some vandalism on Vikidia, done by children mostly on a one shot basis, but regular users, be them young themselves, are eager to fix it.

Shouldn't there be special roles and status related to the users real ages ?

Probably not a good idea, see : Wikikids/For children or by children ?#Who should be the editors of a Wikikids ? One would also have to check the real ages of the users. This is a lot of work we could not do properly, and we should not try it because of privacy reasons.

Writing for children is even more difficult than writing for the regular Wikipedia. How could we assume that crowd sourcing could do well in that field?

Still writing for Wikipedia is very difficult when you are used to write other kind of text which don't require neutrality and sourcing for example, but you can learn it. Users on a Wikikids, whatever ages they are, certainly learn and fix their writing style by watching each-other work and correction.

Will there be migration of users from WikiKids to Wikipedia at a certain age?

Yes, this can happen and has already. However, someone who is involved in the wikis as a twelve year old might have other interests when he is twenty.

Would some younger Wikipedians leave Wikipedia for WikiKids?

That's possible and a good thing, if someone moves to a wiki that he feels better suited for his or her age. He may be advised to do so.

Inappropriate behavior

How to deal with fake kids?

It is anyway not the idea to assign special roles depending on the age of an editor. There is no privilege given to editors for their age, so (from the wiki point of view) there is no reason to fake it.

How to deal with paedophiles and the phenomenon of cyber grooming?

It is not possible on Vikidia to send an e-mail to another user (a feature that may be kept on Wikikids). For other cases, there are the same rules for dealing with inappropriate behaviour as in Wikipedia.

What about COPPA related issue about user privacy ? (US Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998)

"The Act applies to websites and online services operated for commercial purposes that are either directed to children under 13 or have actual knowledge that children under 13 are providing information online. Most recognized non-profit organizations are exempt from most of the requirements of COPPA" (en:Children's Online Privacy Protection Act). Moreover, children on Vikidia generally don't display their real names.

Shouldn't there be a special supervision, admins appointed with background checks, reliance on appropriate educational institutions or professionals ?

That's a point of view, that, if followed by Wikipedia, wouldn't have permit its development. In such a project, we should try to communicate with institutions, publicize what we do, share some points of view, competence and so on, but should mainly rely on the wikipedia recipes, slightly adapted.

Doesn't writing for children means taking responsibility for the education of minors? Are we, are ordinary editors entitled to do that ?

There is no law that would forbid anyone to help to built a children oriented resource, neither to interact with minors (moreover in a a fully open ground). The Convention on the Rights of the Child rather insists on the right of the child to have access to information/mass media and to seek information and ideas of all kinds.


In which languages should the new Wikikids exist?

In all languages with enough potential community, the ones in which the WPs are the most developed.