[Foundation-l] Reconsidering the policy "one language - one Wikipedia"

Milos Rancic millosh at gmail.com
Thu Jun 24 22:29:27 UTC 2010

On Fri, Jun 25, 2010 at 12:00 AM, Gregory Maxwell <gmaxwell at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Thu, Jun 24, 2010 at 5:17 PM, Benjamin Lees <emufarmers at gmail.com> wrote:
>> On Thu, Jun 24, 2010 at 4:30 PM, Gregory Maxwell <gmaxwell at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> If you don't have a strong background in a field then drinking from
>>> the fire hose of full-complexity concepts is hard no matter if you are
>>> a child or not. If you do have a reasonable background a simplified
>>> article will be patronizing and, worse, not especially useful.
>> I don't think there's anything wrong with making assumptions about what a
>> person of a given age is likely/expected to know: school curricula are based
>> upon such assumptions, after all.  Children who find "kiddie books"
>> patronizing and useless can choose to access the "grownup" versions
>> instead.  It has been ever thus with precocious youth.  But I certainly
>> agree with you that we shouldn't expect kids to know/be able to grasp less
>> about everything; we should expect kids to know more about things that kids
>> tend to know more about.
>> I hope the study that the Board is commissioning consults with educators who
>> teach at any age levels we might think about creating new projects for.
> Why frame a plan around stereotyping and prejudice, even though those
> things may be accurate on average, when the simple mechanism of
> addressing the _need_ exists?
> By stating that the goal is "children" you've not even stated a goal
> at all, except by reference. Every participant will have different,
> and often legitimate, ideas of what those needs are.  Simultaneously,
> other similar needs by people who are not children which could be
> easily included would be excluded (e.g. the 2/3rd of _adult_ Americans
> who can't correctly extract a couple of simple facts out of the middle
> of an article which is only moderately complex:
> http://nces.ed.gov/NAAL/sample_question.asp?NextItem=0&AutoR=2 )

Greg, Benjamin is right. It is fairly predictable that ~80% of
children of age 10 would have some capabilities and not some other.

Our civilization has a problem because it is not able to personalize
many things. Those are problems from the Industrial age. However, for
example and speaking statistically, puberty in the most of the world
will start at age of 10-12 in strong majority of cases. I know for
opposing examples from my childhood, but it doesn't mean that the
theory doesn't fit to the majority.

There are some cognitive differences between children at age 8-10 and
adults. (Sorry for not giving examples, as I would have to find my
faculty book in cognitive development.) Let's say that children are
not capable to understand the theory of relativity in that age
(although it is just an imaginary example). If it is so, it is a
clever decision not to try to present theory of relativity to the
children of that age.

However, there is one thing which we *can* do, unlike regular
educational systems. If we create a good Wikijunior project, we don't
need to fix its courses blindly to some theory. We could make levels
and tests for passing some level: if a child of 7 is able to
understand something which is considered as knowledge for 15 years
old, that child should be able to participate in that course.

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