Being critical

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Peter, I stopped being concerned after I learned about the business model of Wikipedia and other of Wales' for profit wikis. I think we should be practical and realize that it's all about money and Jimmy Wales has a lot to lose if he forfeits his control.

Nelliemuller (talk)17:28, 26 March 2010


I agree with your sentiments regarding Wikipedia, Profit and Jimmy Wales. My concern is that I see WikiEducator moving closer to WikiMedia Foundation (and therefore more under Jimmy's control) than away from WikiMedia Foundation. All of this is so much bigger than me... I'd just hope that the WE council stays healthy around critical thinking and putting into place policies and practices that encourage healthy discourse about important issues. I feel the evidence presented from Leigh's blog post is valid, and needs to be considered as WE trends toward WMF.

Sincerely, Peter

Prawstho (talk)18:14, 26 March 2010

Hi Peter,

You know what they say -- DFTT :-)

WikiEducator is an independent community project. It is funded by the OER Foundation, an independent non-profit entity.

Speculation about WikiEducator moving closer to the WikiMedia Foundation and being under the control of Jimbo, WMF or any other organisation is just that -- mere speculation. If folk want to ask a question -- all they need to do is ask, rather than speculate and fuel rumours which have no substance.

The OER Foundation subscribes to Open Philanthropy which means all our planning documentation is developed openly in the wiki -- so that's a good place to start.

WikiEducator has adopted and implemented governance model which is different from WMF and is more aligned with the structures and processes one would expect to find in the formal education sector. WikiEducator is predominantly a project working in the formal education space and this is our particular niche.

WE subscribe to freedom of speech and every member is free to express their opinions. This has contributed to our growth and success.

As a community with significant membership from the formal education sector, we are less tolerant of emotive discourse intended to disrupt and offend individuals when compared to some other communities. This is not a value judgement -- its the way it is in the formal education sector. We value reflective scepticism based on respect for the individuals in our community with a healthy dose of "assume good faith".

From practical experience in teaching and life raising a family -- I have found that its better and more productive to play the ball than the person.

Mackiwg (talk)01:56, 27 March 2010


I am happy to read their is no intention for WE to be moving closer to WMF... Wise. My intention was never to initiate an emotive discourse. And I don't believe I did. I made reference to a very good (and well researched) blog post and subsequent discussion kicked off by one of WE elected council members. My concern is the policies that are forming within the WE council are going to encourage like-mindedness. So there may be freedom to express opinions, yet very little criticalness and "challenges" to the status quo. For those "disruptive" voices are not supported and have met with bureaucratic responses [see discussion on Liquid Threads (LQT)] and eventually withdraw their engagement. I believe strong communities encourage differences and critical discourse, I just want to initiate a dialogue to determine if other council members have a similar concern. Given the silence on this thread I'm beginning to think not.

I agree let's play the ball... Are the forming WE policies encouraging like mindedness and group think?

Be Well...


Prawstho (talk)15:47, 19 April 2010

Hi Peter,

I too support critical dialogue, and WikiEducator has a proven track record of engaging in frank and candid discourse.

The "well researched" blog post to which you refer was lacking in a fundamental principle of good journalism - that is to consult your sources before publishing speculative assertions.

WE respect freedom of choice in our community -- it is a core value. There is a fine line between frank and open discourse and sophisticated trolling.

Let's start with a dose of good faith and focus on our mission to build sustainable OER ecosystems rather than dwell on the political idiosyncrasies of "group think". I don't attach a value judgement to group think one way or another. Reading your post -- I assume that you attach a negative value to "group think". How do you distinguish a consensus opinion from group think in the real world?

I do not concur with your assertions that WE are forming policies that encourage group think --- If you have any issues with the policies being formed -- you have had every opportunity to voice and participate in their development.

I encourage you to initiate open dialogue on these an other matters. Perhaps a community workgroup or postings on the main WikiEducator list is the vehicle to achieve this aim?


Mackiwg (talk)11:04, 25 April 2010

I'm back to this thread of discussion. I really believe we need to think about how WE policy is impacting what WE becomes. I believe we need to think about if WE is a group, a network or a community. And how we define ourselves is implemented as policy to encourage WE to become what we would want. I'm really wanting to avoid group think / like mindedness of the council. I believe this requires some background reading, listening, watching...

I believe we are a network. For that IMHO implies some autonomy and that we cooperate and accept each others views and build them into what we are doing rather than collaborate where we need to some kind of agreement.

Prawstho (talk)03:56, 5 May 2010

Hi Peter,

I think that contemporary pedagogical thinking emerging around networks (particularly since "Connectivism" ( is posited as a learning theory) is very significant for projects like WikiEducator.

Given the nature of the Internet (and connectedness) -- I think you are right, we are a network and there are many examples we can cite to illustrate the networked nature of our work. That said, I don't think this is a binary question, for example: Is WikiEducator a Community or a Network? I think these concepts co-exist.

We are a network in the sense that:

  • Every WikiEducator is a "node" in a complex network, they bring their connections, associations and experience to the table.
  • Their are numerous projects in WikiEducator which are "nodes" in the network as the connect to other projects (both internal and external) to the WikiEducator project.
  • WikiEducator is a "node" in the network as it connects, for instance to other projects in the free culture, projects supported by organizations in the formal education sector, governments etc.

At the same time WikiEducator comprises numerous "communities of practice", which in turn could be labeled as networks. WikiEducator shows numerous traits / Characteristics which would justifiably validate the notion of a community. The point being that being a network, doesn't negate the existence of a community.

So the interesting thing about networks, for me, if we assume that these networks are self organising systems -- what are the minimum requirements (rules for the nodes/switches) in the network for the system to work. What defines a "node" in the system ...

Good post.

Mackiwg (talk)00:49, 6 May 2010