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

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A thought has occurred to me about applying style guidelines to WE pages. I think that we could divide WE pages into three types:

1. Core pages - pages which are part of WE proper - in other words not OER - for example, main page, tutorials and help pages, or workgoups. I would also apply this to some items such as page names or categories, which would affect the site as a whole.

2. Sponsored pages - I am using the word sponsor loosely, meaning associated with a specific school, project, or organization. My reason for considering these separate is that there may be conflicts between WE guidelines and those of the sponsoring group (for example, a country's QF), therefore some flexibility may be required.

3. OER's not in type 2, where more of Wayne's "experimentation and learning" could be done. These may allow opt-out's in whole or in part.

JohnWS 10:05, 17 July 2009 (UTC)

JohnWS (talk)22:05, 17 July 2009

Hi John,

That's a useful classification framework :-) --Appreciate your contribution!

I think were dealing with at least two (possibly more) classification axis on the graph so to speak:

  • Type of WE resource/page -- eg OER (lesson, handout, learning activity etc), project node (eg Country page, research collaboration or sponsored pages etc.)
  • Maturity level of user --- eg 1) Beginner struggling with with wiki syntax 2) Early adopter developing a teaching resource for personal use 3) Mature WE seeking collaboration and community kudos

It seems to me that there are generic and objective guidelines like capitalisation on page new page names that could be applied across the wiki, spelling etc. - irrespective of the type of resource. Punctuation and preferred citation format would also fall into this category. That said do we create a guideline on spelling --- "American English" versus "UK English" etc. Perhaps we accommodate both?

The issue is do we "punish" a beginner for not adhering to objective style conventions by "intruding" on their space in the wiki or do we encourage the wider WikiEducator community to jump in an help out with "objective" style conventions?

There will also be more subjective style conventions, for example hierarchy of learning resources and sub-page structuring etc.

These are exciting times -- were pioneering new futures. A wiki dedicated to educational resources and supporting projects is an order of magnitude more complex than figuring out style guidelines for an encyclopaedia article :-)


Mackiwg (talk)22:56, 17 July 2009


I agree with what you are saying about beginners. I do not think that WE should be aggressive and "punish" beginners or do anything else that causes people to leave WE. Indeed guidelines are just that guidelines - we do not won't a "style police". On the other hand beginner's can use the guideline as "guidance" if they are unsure about an issue. What we need is flexibility.


JohnWS 11:47, 17 July 2009 (UTC)

JohnWS (talk)23:47, 17 July 2009

Well said :-)

What we need is flexibility --- now the challenge is to encapsulate this into our process documentation.


Mackiwg (talk)00:18, 18 July 2009


I'm not sure we should classify by the knowledge/experience level of a user. I think this is too much of a grey continuum, and I'm not sure I would find it empowering, as a new user of WE, so much as a big rubber stamp on my forehead that says, "DOESN'T KNOW WHAT SHE'S DOING". There's really no way we can tell what the maturity level of the user is. He may be an expert at some things, but not do well at others. She may be brand new to WE, but know how to run MediaWiki with nothing but MySQL and php code. I've run my own MW wiki, but there's no WikiArtisan tag on my user page. Do you see what I mean?

I think we should wait to decide what to do with guidelines that don't or only apply to a certain classification until after we've proposed one. I think that's a sort of beast I couldn't predict, but I do think it's possible. I think we can lay the groundwork for it, but working on classifying the basic types of work done here (see my reply to john), and that should be sufficient, otherwise we may be in danger of putting boxes around 3 year olds.

Jesse Groppi (talk)15:14, 19 July 2009

Hi Jesse,

That's a valid point and excellent example :-) This also alludes to a gap we have in the WikiMaster certification typology -- namely a "Recognition of Prior Learning" (RPL) mechanism for new folk joining WE who want to opt in for the community certification typology ;-).

Extending the example - -just for illustration purposes -- we do not know how you feel about WikiArtisan certifications on your user page -- until such time as the user say's --- Yes, I would like to have my skill level "recognised" by a tag on my user page.

I do agree -- we can't decide what to do with guidelines until we've proposed them and thought about their application and implementation.

I sense that we're all on the same page here with regards to respect for individuals and the diversity of their experience. I sense a high level of consensus in that WE should continue to be a welcoming and supportive environment for newbies finding their way with the "complexities" of wiki technology and challenges of developing educational materials.

Lets continue and figure out the best ways to develop and implement style guides for our community :-)

Mackiwg (talk)15:57, 19 July 2009


Core pages: These are pages that are not in the main or user namespace, and at the moment, I can't really think of any instance in which they require more, less or different guidelines.

Sponsored pages and otherwise: I'm not sure this is the way I would want to classify the different sorts of projects going on. If you look at the "Style and content types" conversation on this page, you'll see that I'm thinking of classifications more along the lines of "solo", "private collaboration", and "open collaboration". Private collaboration would be the sorts of things you describe as "sponsored", and then I break down the rest even more into work the author doesn't want any help with, and work the author(s) want everyone's help with.

Now, solo work, and I really don't think I'll change my mind on this, belongs in a subpage of the author's user page. The namespace already holds the meaning that nobody should touch it but the guy whose name is on it. Why not use the assumption as an advantage, instead of other tedious methods of designating the work as solo? The work can still be categorised, and there are lots of tools to deal with the cumbersome titles.

It was that idea that led me to think that we can use other namespaces for the very same advantage. The main namespace already very clearly and traditionally says, "everyone's", so that fulfills the needs of that sort of classification. But, we don't have an "ours" namespace, so I think we should make one. I'm not coming up with any good names for it... any ideas?

Jesse Groppi (talk)14:58, 19 July 2009