[Textbook-l] Problem with NPOV
jwales at wikia.com
Tue Oct 24 02:32:05 UTC 2006
Brianna Laugher wrote:
> On 11/09/06, Andrew Whitworth <wknight8111 at hotmail.com> wrote:
>> Jimbo: If you want us to use a specific defintion of "textbook" and
>> "accredited institution", then you are going to have to mandate such
>> definitions to us. At the moment we are picking our way through such
>> matters, with varying degrees of success.
> It is my observation that TPTB is very reluctant to offer such
> definitions or mandates, even when requested. "Picking our way through
> such matters with varying degrees of success" -- it seems to be the
> wiki way. Try just making your own definitions (as a project), and I
> guess you'll find out if you've been too WP:BOLD if you notice some
> personal interventions after that. :)
> It doesn't seem ideal, but I guess I can understand why they're
> reluctant to define such things. Then the criticism of such things
> also falls to them. The people who are actually running the project
> should take control of its direction at some stage... although
> mandates would make life so easy.
Brianna has hit the nail on the head. I believe firmly that the
communities are smarter than I am, that I should not be involved to the
level of detail that Andrew is asking for, except in an advisory
capacity more or less like everyone else.
I think that the charter of *what we are looking for* is pretty clear.
Andrew hit the nail on the head when he talked about bogus "accredited"
institutions teaching nonsense that we don't want, and about perfectly
good community centers teaching perfectly sensible stuff without
worrying about being accredited.
That doesn't mean that the "accredited institution" test is useless in
every respect, of course, and I am guessing that he would agree. But it
does mean that we have to dig into more details.
Some of the main points that I think are important...
-- Wikibooks is something we can get very passionate about, but that
passionate vision is marred if we allow it to become a dumping ground
for stuff people don't want in Wikipedia, or a POV haven for nonsense, etc.
-- Wikibooks has a serious possibility to get independent funding, so
long as it remains focussed on its serious mission of textbooks. Such
funding can be used to customize and improve the software for wikibooks,
as well as to *purchase and liberate* textbook works that already exist.
Suffice to say: we can get funding for Wikibooks to radically change the
education world if potential funders come to the project and see a
serious project doing good work. We can not get funding for Wikibooks
if potential funders come to the project and look at it and see a bunch
of nonsense that we did not have the pride to disallow (random crap that
got pushed out of Wikipedia, for example).
Funders are eager to find solutions to important questions facing
education. They are not eager to fund videogame manuals and pokeman
trivia reference books.
-- Wikibooks needs to focus on actual courses because we passionately
care that our work *actually be used in education*. In order to get
textbooks adopted by real schools, they must meet curriculum standards.
It is as simple as that.
I could go on, but I think you begin to see... there are some basic
standards and concepts, but really we need to work together carefully as
a community to build detailed policies to implement these and other
natural and sensible guidelines.
A fair amount of that work is already done, of course, and it will be a
long and ongoing process.
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