Re: Wikibooks (was Friendliness)

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Re: Wikibooks (was Friendliness)

<WJhonson at> wrote:
> The problem I see with free books is just that you really need something
> that says... this is WHY you, the contributor would put in this amount of
> effort here.

Well, I'd hate to see how things would had ended up if everyone had that
attitude with regards to the idea of creating a free encyclopedia.  However,
I don't disagree that contributing to a book is a much larger endeavor than
contributing to an article.  While this is eased due to the greater freedom
authors have in styling and structuring their books, it still takes patience
and dedication to finish one.  This is evident when one looks at the
progress toward completion of the books at Wikibooks, based on each book's
individual scope.  To help readers find the ones that were more completed, I
went through all 2,300+ books currently started and rated them on a
percentage basis of completion based on stated scope and red links for pages
created in the main contents.  130 are complete, 105 are at 75%, 236 are at
50%, 701 are at 25%, and 1,167 are stubs or single-page "books".  So the
books at Wikibooks are largely abandoned and unfinished; their primary
authors gave up.

<WJhonson at> wrote:
> A book takes an awful lot of effort.  And then I give it away free to the
> world.  Sorry I'm just not seeing that.

Others don't see it either.  The CK-12 Foundation has created quite a few
textbooks using the "FlexBooks" platform.  I acquired PDFs of many of them
for importing into Wikibooks prior to the decision that giving content away
for free under a license that allowed commercial reproduction wasn't
acceptable and went to CC-BY-SA-NC just like WikiHow.

<WJhonson at> wrote:
> So what we should have created it not Wikibooks with which to start, but
> Wiki...How or WikiChapter or something small, that a person could actually

> accomplish.

One of English Wikibooks' featured books, "Social and Cultural Foundations
of American Education" [1], was created by many students at Old Dominion
University with each one working on a specific topic.  It's a fine example
of how a collaboration of individuals working toward a common goal can get
something accomplished.

<WJhonson at> wrote:
> But just the name Wikibooks doesn't sound to me like How To, it sounds
> 150 to 1000 pages on an overarching topic of some kind.

And that is frankly what Wikibooks is.  I know of one editor whose
contributions to the Na'vi language article on Wikipedia were cut down
heavily as being too much for an article.  He went on to create a whole book
on the topic [2] at Wikibooks.  There have been many programming books
started as a result of source code examples being removed from Wikipedia.
And a 1000 page book would not be surprising to me.  "Chess Opening Theory"
already has 965 and it's not yet done [3].

<WJhonson at> wrote:
> So on Wikibooks for example, I could create my own How-To Home Repair, and

> collect *chapters* contributed by a dozen people into a *book*.

It's important to not confuse Wikibooks with Wikipedia Books [4].
Unfortunately the name Wikipedia chose for collections of articles has
already begun to lead to confusion [5].  Books at Wikibooks are absolutely
not collections of standalone articles when done correctly, with knowledge
and concepts built upon as a reader goes through the book.  But this unique
branding may be diluted due to the naming and placement of Wikipedia Books
above Wikibooks books on articles.  It does rule out a past proposal to
rename Wikibooks to Wikipedia Books, though...

<WJhonson at> wrote:
> What is Wikibooks at all?
> The scope, content, purpose were really poorly defined.

This is intentional.  Initially Wikibooks hosted strategy guides, but then
they were deemed to be out of scope and removed.  Organic development is
encouraged.  This can be seen in the definition of what Wikibooks is [6],
where more space is spent on what it *isn't*, as an exhaustive list of the
former would be incredibly large.  With no projects created
post-Wikiversity, some have even pushed to turn Wikibooks into an incubator

<WJhonson at> wrote:
> But heck, if I'm going to go to that much trouble, why not just throw it
> on my own web site?

You could, but that wouldn't provide what Wikibooks helps to provide, "a
world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all
knowledge", without having to pay for web hosting or be restricted by a
platform that doesn't allow anyone else to edit.

- Adrignola

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