Andrew Gray wrote:
On 26/01/07, George Herbert
On 1/25/07, David Monniaux
The problem is that complaints about school
articles generate a steady
flow to OTRS, which is picked up by Foundation volunteers. Then, the
decisions of these volunteers are challenged.
There needs to be more visibility into these problems by the community
What can we really do to contact the nebulous "community", though?
David and I and others have been bitching and moaning about this at
the slightest provocation for six months, but the project is big and
you can only chat to so many people. Short of putting out quarterly
Signpost announcements saying "The following seven areas of coverage
are the ones that piss our readers off the most. Please make them less
crap, we'd all live happier lives", I'm not sure we can easily do much
The quarterly notices sound like a good idea, especially if they are
describe in more detail what types of complaints?
Surprisingly often, these are explicit allegations of illegal activity
- "The headmaster is a convicted paedo" and the like - or lots and
lots of junk personally-identifiable vandalism - "Mickey Smith is
Getting rid of this stuff is a no-brainer.
A common but less worrying issue is a simple lack of
context and scale
- many of these articles are seized by one enterprising student or
another to write about the school as they see it; these usually aren't
*so* bad, but they tend to have a very blurred line as to what is and
isn't appropriate material, which then leads into articles that the
school is understandably annoyed by the existence of simply because,
well, they're linked with this amateurish, hit-and-miss, erratically
accurate and conceptually blinkered article. (These are often the
hardest to deal with, in many ways)
A complaint about this from school administrators should be viewed as an
opportunity, or what many educators would call a "teachable moment". A
principal could refer the problem to a trusted student, or make the
article and all its deficiencies an opportunity for a class discussion
or other project.