[Foundation-l] Wikikids

Samuel Klein meta.sj at gmail.com
Tue May 29 17:49:11 UTC 2007

There are a few issues here, which should perhaps be addressed by more 
than one project.

1) Simplifying language

Finding a way to provide versions of articles targeted at different 
audiences -- different levels of jargon or language complexity -- would
be a valuable achievement.  Our early effort with Simple-English remains
a hack which needs improvement and localization.

Examples: simple english, simple spanish

2) Writing for children

There is a long tradition of providing children with books about the 
world, including drawings, games, and activities; with a shift in focus, 
layout, and tone from more general encyclopedias.  At the same time, I 
believe that most full-length English encyclopedias have for decades been 
primarily marketed for home use by schoolchildren...

Examples: Andrew Cates' SOS selection of Wikipedia

3) Projects by and for children

There is a need for space for younger authors to develop and share their 
own work.  This may or may not be directly related to one of the above 

Examples:  Few.  UNICEF's Voices of Youth project offers some space for 
this sort of collaboration among their young contributors.

4) Packaging things into books v. ongoing development of articles

This has been a slightly confusing distinction since we started putting 
'books' into digital form, breaking the traditions of bound and printed 
works one by one.  There are useful distinctions b/t wikipedia and 
wikibooks, and likewise between a children's encyclopedia idea and 
wikijunior, but they are as much philosophical as unavoidable.  This
is especially true as books become more and more modular, and parts of
books are used in multiple works.


It would be good to start a discussion and collaboration including 
interested groups... and to seed a children's encyclopedia with some of 
the existing material that is in other formats.

The advantage to 3) over the others is that projects whose primary 
audience can contribute directly to their development have an excellent 
model for sustained growth.


On Mon, 28 May 2007, mathias.damour wrote:

> Hi,
> Robert Horning wrote:
>> Mathias wrote:
>>> Such a wiki has been launched in french (in which I am
> involved) see an english explanation about it:
> http://fr.vikidia.org/index.php/Vikidia:About and in Dutch
> (see
> http://kennisnet.wikia.com/wikikids/wiki/Wikikids:English_explanation
> None of them are Wikimedia project.)
>>> Both have a quite active community and have reached 1000
> articles.
>> (...)
>> And Wikijunior is also quite multilingual, with some sort of
>> Wikijunior project on nearly every language edition of
> Wikibooks,
>> including French, German, Italian, Spanish, Chinese, and
> English.  In
>> many cases these "articles" or "modules" have been translated or
>> rewritten in multiple languages as well, especially the original
>> Wikijunior books of the Solar System and the Big Cats.
>> And Wikijunior is clearly a Wikimedia project in its own
> right, other
>> than it is hosted concurrently with Wikibooks.  Try
>> http://en.wikijunior.org/ to see where the wikijunior domain
> goes.
>> This isn't to say that some effort shouldn't happen to
> perhaps expand
>> the range of this proposal, but it seems like the largest
> problem it has
>> faced is an ever fragmenting community and leaders who
> havn't had the
>> desire to keep the project moving.  Writing literary content for
>> children is not an easy task, and it takes a focused
> community to keep
>> the project growing.
> Wikijunior is clearly a wikibooks project. I mean that it is
> not a Wikipedia-like project, and being hosted on the
> wikibooks wiki makes impossible several feature of Wikipedia.
> For example you can't make easy internal wikilinks : wikilink
> to "Aluminum" is not [[Aluminum]] but [[Wikijunior The
> Elements/Aluminum]]. The "oxygen" page:
> http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Wikijunior_The_Elements/Oxygen
> should only tell about the element, not the dioxygen gas. (it
> does indeed, and doesn't make it clear between one and the
> other) and it doesn't make it easy to create another page
> about the gas, since this wikibooks is about the elements.
> Another point is that Wikijunior "only" aims to produce and
> offer content for children whereas Wikikids.nl and Vikidia
> want children to be involved in building this content. We want
> to let them be active with knowledge for pedagogical interest.
> See this article : http://edutechwiki.unige.ch/en/Writing-to-learn
> I don't think that "fragmenting community and leaders" is a
> real danger now that several Wikipedia have reached such a
> huge size both in articles and in editors.
> Some people have had the idea to make either special articles
> or a special wiki for children of each grade, or even for each
> grade AND each school. (because you would have to explain in a
> different way to a 9 years old child than to a 12 years old)
> see this discusion:
> http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Talk:Wikis_for_children) I feel that
> it would be "fragmenting community" and that one single
> encyclopedic wiki for 8 to 13 year old children and for one
> language is a fair middle.
>> As for the health of Wikijunior books, many of them have reached
>> "featured book" status as some of the "best of..."
> Wikibooks, and on
>> en.wikbooks I would say that you could easily get much more
> than 1000
>> modules that could easily seed an en.wikikids project.  Many
> of these
>> modules could on their own reach featured article status on
>> en.wikipedia, but for the fact they are not on Wikipedia.
> Rather than
>> try to dissect what went wrong with the previous attempt at
> an English
>> language version of this project, I would suggest that you
> try and see
>> what has been done "right" by Wikijunior and its development
> community.
>> And certainly try to pool the efforts of this "Wikikids"
> group and those
>> who are writing "Wikijunior" content.  I have not seen any
> effort to
>> recruit those involved with Wikijunior to help with this
> proposal in any
>> meaningful way.
> Do you tell about this attempt ?
> http://editthis.info/wikikidsen/Main_Page I didn't look at it
> closely, but I am afraid that it wasn't lead in a proper way.
> Another think is that there is "simple english wikipedia",
> whom no other equivalent have been created in any other
> language. I guess that it would make less easy to create a
> wikikids in english, as it would be partly similar to simple,
> and I would also say that the fact that this wiki is not so
> big and hasn't been created in other language may show that
> its aim would not be so clear, mobilizing and justifying.
> The idea to seed from wikijunior could be good, so as the idea
> to create such wiki on the Vikidia and Wikikids.nl model.
> I can't say about Wikikids.nl, but if by chance they would be
> some encyclopedic wikis dedicated to children to open in other
> language, Vikidia (in french) would rather become a wikimedia
> project and work on it together than see them created by
> isolated groups in each language.
> Hope to hear from you,
> Mathias Damour
> Créez votre adresse électronique prenom.nom at laposte.net
> 1 Go d'espace de stockage, anti-spam et anti-virus intégrés.
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> foundation-l at lists.wikimedia.org
> http://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l

More information about the foundation-l mailing list