Some proposals regarding the WikiMaster concept

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  • Is this a reasonable classification of the skills and levels required?

Yes, I think this typology of skills for participation in WikiEd is reasonable.

  • Do we need a system to recognise and acknowledge different skillslevels within our community?

Yes, we do. But we should consider these thoughts:

For me, the wiki way is learning by doing. 

While I practice developing content or participate in discussions, I learn how to do this or to improve my skills. That means, for me active participation is the focus of my interest, and learning editing skills is only a by-product. I had to learn already too much in my life, and if someone comes to me and tells me I have to learn this or that, I easily get aversions. And I’m afraid there are more teachers who feel the same like me. That does not mean I’m unwilling to acquire new skills, it’s the other way round! In fact since I bought my first good computer December last year, my computer skills have expanded enormously (in my view). But I used only my internal motivation.

The alternative for me would be to stimulate the internal motivation of the wiki newbies by asking them about their dreams. Which content would you like to see on the Internet? Let’s say there is a sports teacher who would like to hand out the rules of volleyball to his students. He should start with this, typing it on his user page. But then, he’ll want to create an own page for this, so he has to learn to create a new page and to link it well in WikiEd. And therefore he has to investigate the content structure in WikiEd, and doing this, he’ll discover pages where he likes the layout. He says wow, I also want to have illustrations like photos or drawings! So he is motivated to learn how to do this and then he’ll start imitating the corresponding procedures.

And because he wants it to learn, he’ll learn it, either by doing the corresponding tutorial or by simply puzzling around until he has got it. You understand what I mean? I, personally, I confess that until now I’ve not done even one of the tutorials. I prefer to learn by trial and error. And in school including university studies, what took about 19 years of my precious life, I learned a lot and passed millions of exams, but I estimate that only about 20% of what I learned I can recall actively. So, f. ex. if someone creates once a link to another wiki page, he’ll probably have forgotten how to do this in less than a month. Continuing practice is the only way to acquire skills in a sustainable way.

So my proposal: Let quantity and quality of contributions to WikiEd be the only measure to earn “community kudos”. And there, I would differentiate between content development, participation in community tasks like discussions or giving feedback, and technical development.

If we give kudos for editing skills, we have to call them like that, f. ex. MediaWikiEditingArtisan. This also demonstrates the fact that these skills are applicable in MediaWiki wikis. These technical skills are not sufficient to define a good WikiEducator. But I would be in favor of acknowledging progress in wiki editing skills, because it will be a certain motivation to learn for those, who can be motivated by attaining titles or certificates.

But on the longer run I still think we need a system of financial remuneration for authors. If stakeholders in education departments of governments of CoL member countries get the evidence, that WikiEd really works, they will be able to get funds for paying authors. This should be our aim. As long as we don’t have the possibility to pay the authors, we will get only those who can afford to work without payment. And in so called developing countries, this will be much less than in industrialized nations.

So once again my formula in short words:

1. Yes, we should give titles for MediaWiki editing skills like “MediaWikiEditingArtisan”, and get all other MediaWiki wikis to use the same system.

2. Yes, we should give “community kudos” for participation in discussions and decision taking processes as well as content development. The measure for this should be quantity and quality of contributions. The titles could be called “WikiEducatorKudo bronze”, “WikiEducatorKudo silver” etc.

3. We have to clearly separate these two.

  • How do we "certify" different levels? Do we work on a web-of-trust model (we can always validate based on the wiki history)? or do should we require certification from a trusted member of the community (e.g. someone who has legitimately attained a higher level.)?

1. For the editing skills: How if we use the web-of-trust model? A user who wants to demonstrate his MediaWiki editing progress puts the corresponding label on his user page. He like that announces to the community: Look, I’m able to do all what is required for this level. And if no one objects, he is permitted to use this title.

2. For community kudos: I think it should be the task of the WikiEd board to honor the work of an active user.

Greetings from frosty Bavaria, Günther
--White Eagle 16:41, 21 November 2007 (CET)

White Eagle (talk)04:41, 22 November 2007