[Textbook-l] Game Guides

Jimmy Wales jwales at wikia.com
Wed Jun 14 13:35:18 UTC 2006

Lord Voldemort wrote:
> 1. What was the original purpose of Wikibooks?

To create and distribute a full set of textbooks to support education
from the Kindergarten through the University level, in all the languages
of the world.  I view this as an integral part of making real our
mission to deliver a free encyclopedia to every single person on the
planet, because we also want to give them all the curriculum materials
they would need in order to get an education to the point where an
encyclopedia would be useful.

> 2. Is the current purpose the same?

100% the same.

> 3. Who has control over the overall content of Wikibooks? The
> Wikimedia Foundation, the WMF Board, the community of Wikibookians?

The ultimate control over all the projects is in the hands of the
Wikimedia Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization with a specific charter
and mission.  The Foundation is controlled by the board of the foundation.

> 4a. Some time ago now, you declared that game guides did not fit with
> the intent of WB.  Were you speaking on behalf of the Wikimedia
> Foundation?  Were you speaking just as Jimbo?

I was speaking as President of the Wikimedia Foundation, and as Jimbo. :)

> 4b. Who decided all of a sudden to rid Wikibooks of game guides?  Was
> there recent discussion on Meta?  Between the Board?  If so, is there
> a record of this discussion?

There was no sudden decision.  The process has been going on for a very
long time now.

> 5. Why specifically do game guides not fit in Wikibooks?  Are there
> possible tax-exemption implications with having these here?  If so,
> where is the information regarding this?

I believe that there are serious implications, yes, but not just for
tax-exemption.  Wikibooks seeks to become a high quality resource for
education, not a dumping ground for stuff that doesn't belong in
Wikipedia, not a general place for people to write whatever they like.
It is for textbooks, broadly defined, for actual courses taught in
actual institutions.

> 6. If the community of Wikibookians disagrees with the decision, and
> consensus is formed against it, can the community disregard the
> pronouncement?

This strikes me as a wildly hypothetical question.  If the community of
Wikibookians decides that they do NOT want to write textbooks, that they
want to write something else, then the situation is the same as if they
would like to turn Wikipedia from being NPOV into something else, or
whatever.  It just isn't going to happen.

To my knowledge, there has been no "pronouncement".  The community
process is working perfectly well, and the game guides are going away in
an orderly fashion.

> 7. If the community rejects the pronouncement and decides they want
> game guides included, what steps would need to be taken to ensure
> there place at WB?  Would the WMF bylaws need to be changed? If so,
> how would they go about doing that?

I would recommend that people who want to do things which are
inconsistent with the mission of Wikibooks to do so.  It's a free world.
 I think game guides are great.  I think video game walkthroughs are
great.  I think political tracts are great.  I think web comics are
great.  None of them belong in Wikibooks, though.

> 8. Can video games be an acceptable textbook subject?  If so, what are
> the requirements?  Is a simple walkthrough constitute a textbook?

The requirement is simple: is there a course taught in some legitimate
institution which would use this work _as a textbook_?  I think that a
simple walkthrough is probably not a textbook, no.

> 9. If video game guides are to be gotten rid of, what about board game guides?

They are the same.  This is not about video games, it is not about
games.  It is about defining what it means to be a textbook.

> 10. There is talk of a "Accredited Institution" metric.  If one small
> institution somewhere develops a class on a topic, does that warrant
> that topic's textbook on WB?  What about  if three institutions have
> the class?  Should links to some number of courses be provided to show
> the suitability for WB? If so, how many?

I would personally say that 1 is enough.  Many wikibookians would no
doubt seek to set a higher threshold, and that would be fine with me too.

> 11. Do classes that you do not earn credit for (either
> extra-curricular or within school, but not for credit) count as
> classes under the Accredited Institution metric?  For example, clubs
> used to educate someone on a topic not otherwise found in class.

I don't know.

> 12. If the removal of video game guides also results in the leaving of
> many prolific and trusted WB editors, does the WMF consider this okay?

I do not consider it OK, but neither do I consider it OK for a minority
of people who are not supportive of the mission of Wikibooks to hijack
it for their own entertainment purposes.  What I would hope is that
people would recognize the value of the mission, and accept that not
every part of human life has to go on under the Wikimedia Foundation

> 13. Any other comments on these issues?

There seems to be a mistaken view by some that I have done something
drastic, when I have not.


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