My user page at the English language Wikiversity.
14 August 2006 instructions from the BoardEdit
(source, by Board member Anthere)
"..... guidelines should be developped, *in particular* with regards to collaborative research. We would hope that these guidelines are as much as possible developped on the beta site (in particular collaborative research), so that all languages share a common goal and a few common non negociable rules."
I'm glad that the Board decided that there should be a central multi-lingual hub for Wikiversity. As an institution, the Wikimedia Foundation has learned the importance of not allowing English speaking participants to exclude others from community decision making.
What does Wikiversity Beta offer over Meta?Edit
All Wikimedia Foundation activities could be carried out on a single wiki website. However, Mediawiki organizes a wiki around a project namespace. If there is a distinct project then there should be a distinct wiki website for that project. Each Wikimedia sister project must actually be a family of wiki websites. Each project like Wikiversity has multiple wiki websites for different languages. Wikiversity could have an Embassy at the Wikimedia meta-wiki, but a better alternative is to have beta.wikiversity.org.
The only potential problem with beta.wikiversity.org is that its name seems to imply that it is a website for use only during the six month Wikiversity beta period. The Wikiversity project should always have a central hub for dealing with project-wide issues such as the development of global Wikiversity policy and the development of new Wikiversity websites for specific languages.
Why do we need a Wikiversity Beta instead of using the Wikimedia IncubatorEdit
The incubator at the Wikimedia meta-wiki should be for new projects, not new language-specific branches of Wikiversity. Yes, all meta-level project development work could be done at the Wikimedia meta-wiki, but it is better to have development of new language-specific branches of Wikiversity at beta.wikiversity.org. It is not a matter of "need"; rather it is a matter of planning what is best for the future.
Some people seem to fear that due to the proliferation of websites, Wikimedia projects are in danger of competing with each other. Jimmy Wales recently said, "I think we should run small experiments, tests, see what works, what doesn't, and be prepared to be flexible and change, and not be too locked into stone about how things should work." I think the spirit of that comment can be applied to the family of Wikimedia websites. Institutions die by sticking with systems that seem to work good enough. Institutions survive by finding ways to try new ideas and develop new and improved systems for accomplishing tasks. In the "market place for ideas", I think there is more danger from avoiding competition than from making opportunities for competition.
What about non-English pages of Wikiversity projects that are currently on Wikibooks?Edit
I'm in favor of launching new language-specific Wikiversities as quickly as possible. If there are 10 people ready to start a Wikiversity in a particular language, then it is a "go". Smaller communities should start using beta.wikiversity.org as an incubator.
Was it right for the Board to create beta.wikiversity.orgEdit
Does it really make sense to suggest that there should have been community discussion about creation of beta.wikiversity.org? I think it was obvious to the Board that a multi-lingual Wikiversity hub is a good idea. Yes, it is not obvious to everyone that beta.wikiversity.org is a good idea, but the question becomes this: would it be worth while for the Board to allow debate about beta.wikiversity.org? I suspect that this is a case where the Board felt so strongly about creating beta.wikiversity.org that they would have ordained its creation even if community-wide discussion reached consensus that there should not be a beta.wikiversity.org. So why bother having a discussion?
Does this mean that beta.wikiversity.org is a "pet project" of one or a few Board members? No. The decision to create beta.wikiversity.org just reflects the wisdom of the Board to do what is best to help launch and develop a Wikimedia sister project that was approved by community consensus.
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