Thoughts on related issues -- over & above style guide recommendations ......

"We may need to develop a concise resource on the rationale for guidelines -- eg promoting consistency etc. Perhaps this should be specified as an outcome in the Charter for the workgroup."

This sounds like a good idea to me. I do consider the rationale to be somewhat self-evident, so my suggestion is that we keep it short and sweet, if we want it to actually be read.

*"Personally, I feel that style guidelines should be an incentive rather than a disincentive for collaboration --- We need to think carefully about the processes whereby we implement the style guidelines. Sadly, some wiki projects use style guidelines as a mechanism to reprimand newbies for not adhering to agreed process. I would love to see a wiki that tolerates experimentation and learning. Perhaps we need to think about a mechanism whereby primary authors opt into the style guidelines. For example -- a category or template which says "I want to improve my resource by adhering to style guidelines -- help!" rather than a witch hunt for pages that don't meet style guidelines. Basically if an author doesn't physically request style guideline compliance -- the style guide police should leave the page alone."

I'm not sure how the guidelines could be perceived as an incentive, other than for qualification for QAF awards. I do understand what you're saying about the wrist slapping of newbies, and I like your idea of making a tag available to the authors to self-address a need for help in that area. Even more experienced authors aren't going to know the best way to meet some of the guidelines.
I'm also going to be a little revolutionary, and suggest we purposely omit a reader-posted tag, because I think that deters from collaboration, promotes laziness, and creates a negative tone. What I do suggest is that we create an ongoing project that monitors the RC, part of their responsibilities being to look out for the style guidelines. We can add a caveat to the style guidelines that says, "If you aren't going to fix it yourself, leave it be, or add a note to the RC workgroup's talk page, suggesting the article be looked at." RC workgroup members would change anything they thought necessary, and leave a note on the talk page, saying why the change was made, and the author is welcome to discuss it or refuse it. If they refuse it, we can have a tag for the talk page that highlights the diff of the change that was refused.
I think that leaving it as an opt-in thing takes away from the importance of having the guidelines, and we need to account for the level of ignorance due to authors not wanting to take the time to research all the available guidelines and policies, which is totally understandable.

*"How do we incorporate the style guidelines with the QAF framework as an incentive?"

Personally, I think the style guidelines should be part of the requirements of the QAF award, but because of the subjective nature of some of the guidelines, there should have to be some sort of consensus by the award team that the guidelines have been met.

*"What training materials, resources do we need to support prospective style experts in our community?"

Part of the development of the guidelines should include adding them into the tutorials and skills training materials. Perhaps this should also be one of the outcomes in the charter? For the style experts, part of the writing of the guidelines would include examples of proper usage, and we could probably develop lists of proper language choices for guidelines that would need them.
07:04, 17 July 2009

Hi Jesse

I'm not sure how the guidelines could be perceived as an incentive, other than for qualification for QAF awards.

While somewhat abstract, I think we can develop and promote a WE culture of striving for quality as an incentive. That is, when users are ready to take this step, rather than policing poor "quality" because, for instance, ESL users may not have the language skills to adhere to our language conventions or may not have the technical skills to implement more sophisticated wiki syntax.

I'm also going to be a little revolutionary, and suggest we purposely omit a reader-posted tag, because I think that deters from collaboration, promotes laziness, and creates a negative tone.

I see your point regarding the risks associated with laziness or detering collaboration. Just checking here -- -I don't see this as a "reader-posted" tag but rather a primary author request to move to the next level of improving quality by adhering to style guidelines. Ideally -- this should be a process where authors can opt into improving their work by adhering to style guidelines. I think its better to have a scenario where WikiEducators can ask -- "How can I get my resource to look so good/impressive?" rather than "I'm embarrassed because the style-guideline police are doing a bunch of stuff on my page which I don't know how to implement". Style-guideline gurus could be pro-active and post invitations to assist with improving pages -- but we should allow freedom for users to do their own thing until they are ready for the next level. This is more of a process and implementation issue rather than the detail of the guidelines themselves. Clearly we will need to separate the process from the content of the guidelines as such.
We'll have enough work with folk opting to improvre the quality of their resources --- but I think we need to wait until they're ready for the ride :-)
Personally I don't see the opt-in scenario as taking away the importance of guidelines --- Educator's by nature want to do the right thing. Half our users are over 45 years old and are taking personal "risks", in most cases, publishing to the Internet for the first time in their lives. Having a stranger redirect or moving a page because it doesn't adhere to a style convention for naming pages can be a daunting experience -- particularly when you don't have the requisite wiki skills to understand how this works :-)
I think we need to be smarter than WP and figure out creative solutions regarding how we can deal with this challenge. The OER Foundation is committed to sourcing the funding we may need to implement technical solutions to achieve this aim.
If we do a good job, with corresponding tutorials training etc --- we'll promote the implementation of good style -- prevention is better than cure :-)

Personally, I think the style guidelines should be part of the requirements of the QAF award, but because of the subjective nature of some of the guidelines, there should have to be some sort of consensus by the award team that the guidelines have been met.

Yeah -- it seems that we would need to categorise the guidelines between "objective" & "subjective" guidelines. For example, the guideline on capitalisation for new pages is reasonably objective, whereas a guideline relating to proposed structure for hierarchy may vary according to subject discipline or preferred pedagogical approach. We'll need to think carefully about how we incorporate these requirements into the QAF.

Part of the development of the guidelines should include adding them into the tutorials and skills training materials. Perhaps this should also be one of the outcomes in the charter?

Agreed -- I think this should be specified as one of the outcomes in the charter.

20:44, 17 July 2009

I'm totally agreeing with what you say. What if we come up with a way our "gurus" can point out potential issues to authors?

16:22, 18 July 2009

Yeah --

I think we can come up with a smart way for our gurus to point out and help with potential issues -- eg templates that include links to resources and online training opportunities to improve style guide compliance.

This is coming together rather nicely :-)

17:00, 19 July 2009