[Foundation-l] Wikiversity

Erik Moeller eloquence at gmail.com
Wed Aug 16 09:28:32 UTC 2006

On 8/16/06, Cormac Lawler <cormaggio at gmail.com> wrote:

> We could orchestrate, for example, a policy that says "Wikiversity
> will not host materials that endorse a particular world-view". But
> then, we are excluding all religious material (and not all religious
> material is bad). It could well be argued that much of what most
> people consider to be appropriate educational material espouses a
> particular world-view, such as that of free-market economics,
> feminism, whatever.

I don't understand why a course about feminism needs to advocate
feminism, or why a course about free market economics needs to present
it as uncontroversial.  I don't see why religion cannot be discussed
neutrally. Really, for educational content in WV, I don't believe the
issue is much bigger than it is for Wikipedia. I would think that the
educational component of Wikiversity is about new structure,
presentation, methodology and interaction, but not about abandoning

Of course we might want to import resources that are clearly POV. They
can then be labeled as such in the same way it is done on Wikipedia.
POV can be viewed as a deficiency, rather than an attribute of the
content we have to accept.

The Encyclopaedia Britannica takes positions on many issues where we
strive for NPOV. For instance, it still describes male neonatal
circumcision as an important hygienic procedure, while the practice is
today extremely controversial. Many would find the Britannica article
preferable because it endorses their position. That does not mean it
is the right approach for us to take.

The _topic_  defines the scope. Free market economics doesn't need to
include a discussion of socialism, but it should include socialist
views _about_ free market economics. The most knowledgeable voices
about a topic should always be the ones that are the most
prominent--regardless of what they have to say. Defining
"knowledgeable" will be an interesting challenge, of course.

I don't think original research can be NPOV, but it can be
consensus-oriented and collaborative.


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