[Foundation-l] Wikiversity

Ray Saintonge saintonge at telus.net
Thu Aug 17 18:15:06 UTC 2006

Michael R. Irwin wrote:

>I favor sticking with the 
>current definition of NPOV which has evolved and stabilized at Wikipedia 
>to avoid confusion for experienced Wikimedians and simply title other 
>specific policies appropriately.  
That would be wrong.  Wikiversity will develop its own community, and a 
manner of applying NPOV that will be all its own.  The underlying 
principle must still stand.  The collective wisdom that went into the 
development of the concept at Wikipedia certainly involves people who no 
longer participate.  Can we say with confidence that they forsaw how 
NPOV might be applied in a wikiversity.  On the other hand, Wikiversity 
will draw its own followers, just as have the other sister projects.  
Many of them will not have been a part of the development of Wikipedia.  
Should that be a basis for not hearing their voices in a menaingful 

One could look at the sister projects collectively as a successful 
exercise in keeping forks under the Wikimedia umbrella.  Established 
communities tend to protect what they have done, even if it's wrong.  
Revitalization and renewal when properly implemented leave room for new 
and often heretical ideas.  New ideas often need to face overwhelming 
inertia before they can be applied.  If you are concerned about stacked 
boards  you should also be concerned about stacked policies.

>>Wikversity should have goals. They should be measurable. The project  
>>needs to meet the minimum standards of the Wikimedia Foundation;  
>>fundamental in this is a commitment to avoiding support of any one  
>>POV, to be verifiable (where this is an option) and to be free.
>For this to be possible the Foundation must define its specific minimum 
>We are clearly striving to meet the Foundation's minimum specific 
>pitch.   Paraphrased personally as:  Help provide all free human 
>knowledge freely to all humans who wish it.
Let's not limit ourselves to what is free now.  In the simplest example, 
the work of some authors who died in 1936 is not free now, but it will 
go into the public domain at the end of this year and become free.  
Lessig's goal of making all human knowledge universally available makes 
sense to me.  I'm sure that he, as much as any other among us, 
recognizes that much of it is not yet free, but that should not detract 
from the goal, nor should it be taken as a green light to act stupidly.

>So entropy 
>cannot always increase in the closed tree system therefor thermodynamics 
>is all wrong, a miracle is required and engineers who believe in 
>thermdynamics rather than God creating miracles as required are all 
>wrong or congenital idiots.     
The problem with congenital idiots is that they interfere with the flow 
of discourse, not by their own intention, but because some amateur 
psychiatrist has chosen to indicate their presence.

>It is 
>difficult for me to understand how one would truly study Christiananity 
>via NPOV.   You either reach the point of understanding Christ's answer 
>to the politicians inquiring about the really real answers to life, the 
>universe, and everything paraphrased (rather than the existing 6 or 7 
>hundred commandments) concisely as:
>1. Love God completely with all your heart.
>2. Love others as you love yourself.
>and begin to see how to integrate your other knowledge and worldviews 
>with ever more complex integrations of these two rules or you do not 
>truly understand "Christianity".
>How could an atheist "NPOV" the two rules above to effectively teach 
>Christianity to others?   We would be quibbling about shifting words, 
>language, historical shading, cultural biases, etc. until the cows come 
>To an atheist "God" is a non sequitor or zero.
>1. Love nothing with all your heart.
>2. Love your neighbors as you love yourself.
>Instead of an expanding set of useful self consistent beliefs/equations 
>provided by the historical genius/messiah Jesus Christ or the Son of God 
>himself (God himself if you purchase the trinity theory) you get a 
>shrinking personal universe of:  Love nothing, not even yourself.
>To an agnostic a big unknown.
>1.  Love big X with all your heart.
>2.  Love your neighbors as yourself.
This is a very interesting example because you give two premises for 
Christian thought.  One is clearly debatable by atheists and agnostics; 
the other could have developed as easily in a humanistic context.  
Consensus is achieved by stressing what we have in common rather than 
what divides us.  Why insert doubts by needlessly changing "others" to 
"your neighbors"?  Perhaps that common view could be used to attain a 
mutual respect regarding the other premise.

>>Throwing crap at a wall until some of it sticks means you deal with a  
>>lot of crap. Let's be a bit more discerning than that, please.
>Actually very few of our other participants actually simply throw crap 
>at the wall.   I guess I am a bit unique in that regard.  One of the 
>policies up for vote and doing fairly well if I recall correctly  (3/3 
>for) is "Edit boldly."  I always personally add   "....  serene in the 
>knowledge that another wiklar (one contraction among many proposed I 
>will leave you in suspense regarding who devised it from "wiki scholar") 
>will correct any errors identified boldly.   This is pretty clearly a 
>cheap trick based upon past successful en.wikipedia tactics to get some 
>material started  (crap tossed) to encourage additional participation 
>via further bold editing.
It strikes me as unfortunate that this should have so quickly descended 
into a voting process.  What makes voting so evil is that by putting the 
issue into a strictly black and white framework it excludes possibly 
better other options that are never put on the table.

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