[Foundation-l] Wikiversity

Michael R. Irwin michael_irwin at verizon.net
Thu Aug 17 07:06:09 UTC 2006

Cormac Lawler wrote:

>On 8/16/06, Jimmy Wales <jwales at wikia.com> wrote:

>>>This is a difficult issue that we can't simply dismiss out of hand.
>>Certainly, we do need to discuss it in detail.  But I think it would be
>>a tragic mistake to dismiss NPOV out of hand based on arguments which
>>fail to draw on our deep experience with how it works and what it means.
>I think part of my reaction to the word "neutral" in this discussion
>is due to the fact that I don't really know what it means :-). Joseph
>Reagle, in fact, gave an interesting presentation on the word/concept
>of "neutrality" at Wikimania (see:
><http://reagle.org/joseph/2005/06/neutrality.html>). This was, in
>fact, straight after your insightful comment about NPOV being a "work
>of art, which we fill with meaning" (I hope I've quoted you correctly
>there). Both of these have brought me to a better understanding than
>what we have at [[WP:NPOV]] - but still, I have my doubts :-)
>You're right, of course - we deal with these complexities on a daily
>basis - and we constantly strive to develop ways of going beyond
>academic or political bottlenecks in areas which cause far more strife
>outside than they ever will inside Wikipedia. And yes, we have a role
>to play in educating the world about how to go about doing that. We
>can create material on Wikiversity which does this - just as we have
>done on Wikipedia - and that should obviously be our aim.
>But I just can't get away from the fact (and, again, Birgitte has
>pointed this out) that we are dealing with a model of education in
>Wikiversity that is more than simply providing dynamic material. We
>are also attempting to provide for a community of learners. While this
>community learns, I think we need to be flexible enough to allow for
>open and critical thinking - providing thought-provoking, sometimes
>POV, material - and simply asking "what do you think?"
>So, if there's a conclusion to this mail, it would be: I'm not arguing
>for a simple dismissal about all we know and have learned about NPOV.
>I'm simply saying that it will not _always_ be a useful policy to
>impose throughout the process of learning. I'm yearning for a better
>concept - or perhaps we simply have to invest NPOV with new meaning in
>order to tailor it to Wikiversity's particular identity.
Excellent!  I agree with you both.   NPOV or "objective" reasoning and 
materials will obviously be quite valuable and useful as long as it is 
not used as an extreme bludgeon to delete all other notes, data, honest 
advocacy, etc. necessary to reasoned lines of discourse and learning at 
Wikiversity.   Not to mention our raw data.   Wikiversity is intended as 
learning processes and learning materials, not a concise summary of humn 

Probably this discussion should be on the Wikiversity mailing list since 
the majority of the foundation membership probably has little interest 
in nitty gritty Wikiversity policy and procedures.


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