User:Leutha/Guidance for the Perplexed/Archive 1:First Community Council Elections, September 2008

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I have asked candidates in the WikiEdukator Council Elections to respond to the following three questions:

Good to see you are standing for the Council. One thing I have noticed is that a lot of the material is incomprehensible to many people who have not really engaged with the project. For example searching for "Open Office" produced nothing. Now Open Office has a redirect page. One of the side-effects of this is that when a friend of mine searched the site for Open Office training material he drew a blank. As I continued my research I found that many editors feel content merely to put initials up, such as CCNC. I have since included the words "Commonwealth Computer Navigator's Certificate" and put a link. I have also created a category for Open Office.

My questions are:

  1. How do you think that being on the Council would help deal with such issues?
  2. How would you encourage editors to be more aware of these issues as they develop their pages?
  3. Do you think it would be useful to create some resources to help editors bear these issues in mind?

If you have time to put your response here, as I am asking all the candidates to respond to this question in order to guide where to place any votes I may care to caste.Leutha 15:11, 3 September 2008 (UTC)


Minhaaj ur Rehman

Extremely important question. Part of the answer for this question is exactly in your question. These are the problems we need to voice in council. Council with the help of community can draw up guidelines for editors or at least help them WE more comprehensible. We can send an email newsletter or something of similar sort to share the best practices of editing. An addition to existing tutorial would be great for newbies too. Being in council gives you the opportunity to voice the concerns of community and points that had been raised and should be prioritized. Although, WE is democratic in nature in itself and google forums are hardly moderated or atleast strictly moderated, council decides on what gets to be done first and what is left for the last. You have seen my list of ideas that i intend to pitch, if i got elected for the council. I hope all candidates have fabulous ideas to make WE an excellent project which it already is. We need your help for that and without you we can't do that.

I hope i have answered your question and i am immediately putting it in my agenda and have made a mental node of it. There sure is a need for simplicity and ease of use in Wiki content but you have to understand that we all are humans and when things expand, there are always problems like that which are not permanent but does take time to fix and needs consistent policy and hardwork. I hope with your help and contributions we will be able to draw up a policy and incorporate it :)

Brent Simpson

Leutha: Wikieducator has experienced some phenomenal growth over the last year, one of the side effects of which is that we have grown somewhat organically rather than methodically. This is often the case in the Wiki environment and may be resolved by the gradual development of users with advanced skills in categorization and organization of the sites content. Wikieducator may also suffer slightly more than other wiki projects in that the site has introduced a considerable amount of new editors into the wiki environment, partly through the Learning4Content initiative, whereas other wiki based OER sites tend to contain a lot more advanced editors who are used to such tasks. I think that we should integrate these issues into things like Learning4Content as well as setting out on creating some more advanced tutorials on how to maintain the wiki so that it maximises its usefulness to people who are browsing for content resources rather than participating as editors. Work has already begun on developing some portal style pages for accessing content (See: Portal:Primary, etc.,). I have in the past also discussed the idea of having a kind of "barnraising" (See: for dealing with the many pages that are uncategorised. Brent Simpson aka Countrymike 23:35, 3 September 2008 (UTC)

Rob Kruhlak

Leutha: Wikieducator is experiencing exponential growth as Brent Simpson mentions above. I am interested in the development of intermediate and advanced to tutorials to deal with issues like the ones you have raised. I also think that the search capability of the wiki needs to be improved. I have been learning how to use automated scripts often called bots to make the manual tweaks like the ones that you have been making. I have created the following users User:KruhlyBot and User:KruhlypyBot while learning about the bot frameworks. Hopefully I will figure out how to automate many of these tasks. Rob Kruhlak aka Kruhly 06:51, 6 September 2008 (UTC)

Victor Mensah

Leutha, the questions you have put forward has been one of interest to me for some time. After running a L4C workshop recently in Zambia, a participant asked me loads of questions of getting materials on maths, specifically of how to embed math equations and symbols, etc. Naturally, I had no specific pages in mind (I am dead when it comes to mathematic! <smile>). The obvious answer was for him to “search” the community. After doing a search myself, it was simply difficult to come up with something meaningful … but there were lots of materials there!

  1. Promoting page “categorization”; using the "MyTitle" template effectively; using clear redirects; using the “collections” tools, etc. can greatly enhance Search results optimization on WE. After promoting the above, the search engine we are currently using can be enhanced to cater for multi-search syntaxes, and employing Boolean operators and SEM effectively. We should raise this issue as a council agenda.
  2. A lot of work has already started to encourage WikiZens to take categorization seriously. By increasing the base of sysops and beaurocrats, the council can have several pages skimmed through to enable more categorizations or to declare other pages “uncategorized”.
  3. A clear integration of this into our WE training programmes is a must. This should be done at both online and F2F levels. I am incorporating this into a F2F L4C workshop I will be facilitating from 10th to 12th September 2008.

Sorry for the long reply. Lets discuss more.

--Victor P. K. Mensah 08:45, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

Steve Foerster

I think there are a few things that might help in these cases. One would be for standard conventions for naming resources to be part of the Style Guide, which as you can see still needs to be developed. Another is that when people happen by a pages that's named with an inscrutable acronym, they can take it upon themselves to do some wikigardening: i.e., move that page to a page with the full name, create appropriate redirects, add categories to pages that lack them -- all the things you're doing already.

I realise that nothing I'm saying refers to action from the Council. That's purposeful -- I don't really envision the Council as a top down body that will legislate policy for the community to follow, I see it as a body that can codify those best practices that come from the community. At the very least, what the Council does must start with discussion with the community, such as through the Google list.


Thanks to all the candidates who took the trouble to respond to the question. The question was also circulated on the discussion list for the 10th Online L4C Workshop, and any further comments can be added below. I intend to draw out some bullet points from this discussion after 20 September.

Good call... The category issue has been kicked around before. I remember bringing it up myself when I first engaged WE. I do know Brent (countrymike) has done some work in the tutorial part of this. The big question for me is the taxonomy surrounding the categories needs to be established before we just start having people create and / or add and keep the categories clean...User:Prawstho