Wikipedia isn't just a good idea - it's compulsory

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Re: Wikipedia isn't just a good idea - it's compulsory

Phil Nash-2
geni wrote:

>> 2009/3/25 Durova <[hidden email]>:
>>> Getting back to the original post.
>>>
>>> How's Wikipedia's coverage of history, compared to the average
>>> British school textbook?
>>>
>>> -Durova
>>
>> Probably more comprehensive in that no one has yet worked out how to
>> make a text book 30 foot thick. On the other hand in say the case of
>> WW1 wikipedia tends to focus on the battles, the tactics, the weapons
>> and to an extent the politics rather than what life was like for the
>> average solider.
>>
>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trench_warfare#Life_in_the_trenches
>>
>> probably comes closest.
>>
>> Compare that with the length of:
>>
>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Chamond_(tank)

I don't see much of a problem with this, as a comparison implies some sort
of value-judgement. The former section could benefit from better sourcing,
whereas the latter equipment is probably better documented. It comes down to
interests of editors, since nobody is forced to edit topics they aren't
interested in (although, if paid, I will happily do that). A comparison may
be drawn between the frankly appallingly-written articles about some recent
musical groups, as against conscientious and detailed articles about bands
such as [[The Beatles]], [[The Who]] and [[Led Zeppelin]]. This doesn't
immunise those articles against vandalism, fancruft and other nonsense, but
at least it means there is a cadre of commited editors who will strive to
maintain encyclopedic standards.



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Re: Wikipedia isn't just a good idea - it's compulsory

Thomas Dalton
2009/3/25 Phil Nash <[hidden email]>:
> I don't see much of a problem with this, as a comparison implies some sort
> of value-judgement.

UK primary school history does tend to focus on people a lot, rather
than details of historical events.

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Re: Wikipedia isn't just a good idea - it's compulsory

David Gerard-2
In reply to this post by Phil Nash-2
2009/3/25 Phil Nash <[hidden email]>:

> Not so much that the whole encyclopedia was blocked, more that the
> collateral effect as a result of blocking vandalism was that a bottleneck
> handful of re-routed proxy IP addresses was blocked; however, there was no
> block on the image page itself, and anyone who knows the basics of the http:
> protocol could work round it; and, of course, it only applied to en:wiki.


Yes, it was rather special that they (a) blocked encyclopedia text (b)
failed to block the actual image they were intending to lblock.

Usually our press is sweetness and neutral light. This time we were
angry and made it known. I think this was a completely sccessful
approach. When used very sparingly indeed.


-d .

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Re: Wikipedia isn't just a good idea - it's compulsory

Phil Nash-2
In reply to this post by Thomas Dalton
Thomas Dalton wrote:
>> 2009/3/25 Phil Nash <[hidden email]>:
>>> I don't see much of a problem with this, as a comparison implies
>>> some sort of value-judgement.
>>
>> UK primary school history does tend to focus on people a lot, rather
>> than details of historical events.

Probably more recent than my 1950s primary school history, which IIRC, was
more about dates and events rather than people, and my 1960s history
education was more about politics than anything else. Social history might
just as well have been a foreign language when I was taught. Let's just say
it didn't relate to my experience of life, and thus failed to light my fire.



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Re: Wikipedia isn't just a good idea - it's compulsory

Phil Nash-2
In reply to this post by David Gerard-2
David Gerard wrote:

>> 2009/3/25 Phil Nash <[hidden email]>:
>>
>>> Not so much that the whole encyclopedia was blocked, more that the
>>> collateral effect as a result of blocking vandalism was that a
>>> bottleneck handful of re-routed proxy IP addresses was blocked;
>>> however, there was no block on the image page itself, and anyone
>>> who knows the basics of the http: protocol could work round it;
>>> and, of course, it only applied to en:wiki.
>>
>>
>> Yes, it was rather special that they (a) blocked encyclopedia text
>> (b) failed to block the actual image they were intending to lblock.
>>
>> Usually our press is sweetness and neutral light. This time we were
>> angry and made it known. I think this was a completely sccessful
>> approach. When used very sparingly indeed.

I think we came out of it not covered in excrement: result! I think we got
our response exactly right, despite the difficulties of explaining the
technicalities to a non-technical audience.



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Re: Wikipedia isn't just a good idea - it's compulsory

David Gerard-2
2009/3/25 Phil Nash <[hidden email]>:

> I think we came out of it not covered in excrement: result! I think we got
> our response exactly right, despite the difficulties of explaining the
> technicalities to a non-technical audience.


"These idiots are breaking the web for you, and you never knew they
were nanny-stating you." Simple and clear story.


- d.

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Re: Wikipedia isn't just a good idea - it's compulsory

geni
In reply to this post by Phil Nash-2
2009/3/25 Phil Nash <[hidden email]>:

> geni wrote:
>>> 2009/3/25 Durova <[hidden email]>:
>>>> Getting back to the original post.
>>>>
>>>> How's Wikipedia's coverage of history, compared to the average
>>>> British school textbook?
>>>>
>>>> -Durova
>>>
>>> Probably more comprehensive in that no one has yet worked out how to
>>> make a text book 30 foot thick. On the other hand in say the case of
>>> WW1 wikipedia tends to focus on the battles, the tactics, the weapons
>>> and to an extent the politics rather than what life was like for the
>>> average solider.
>>>
>>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trench_warfare#Life_in_the_trenches
>>>
>>> probably comes closest.
>>>
>>> Compare that with the length of:
>>>
>>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Chamond_(tank)
>
> I don't see much of a problem with this, as a comparison implies some sort
> of value-judgement.

Currently UK school history likes to focus on life for the individual
during certian events and some of the politics rather than wikipedia's
focus on battles and dates. The reasons for this difference are
complicated but it's hardly un-sterotypical for geeks to be interested
in gadgets.

> The former section could benefit from better sourcing,
> whereas the latter equipment is probably better documented.

These days general trench life is probably better documented than the
unfortunate history of the St Chamond.

--
geni

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Re: Wikipedia isn't just a good idea - it's compulsory

Thomas Dalton
In reply to this post by Phil Nash-2
2009/3/25 Phil Nash <[hidden email]>:

> Thomas Dalton wrote:
>>> 2009/3/25 Phil Nash <[hidden email]>:
>>>> I don't see much of a problem with this, as a comparison implies
>>>> some sort of value-judgement.
>>>
>>> UK primary school history does tend to focus on people a lot, rather
>>> than details of historical events.
>
> Probably more recent than my 1950s primary school history, which IIRC, was
> more about dates and events rather than people, and my 1960s history
> education was more about politics than anything else. Social history might
> just as well have been a foreign language when I was taught. Let's just say
> it didn't relate to my experience of life, and thus failed to light my fire.

Indeed, history education has changed a lot since then! When I was in
primary school (10+ years ago) we hardly learned any dates, it was all
about what life was like during that period.

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Re: Wikipedia isn't just a good idea - it's compulsory

Durova
This discussion of World War I social issues is irresistible.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oh!_How_I_Hate_to_Get_Up_in_the_Morning

-Durova

P.S. Shameless plug for an article I wrote.  The audio file is a featured
sound.

On Wed, Mar 25, 2009 at 5:09 PM, Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]>wrote:

> 2009/3/25 Phil Nash <[hidden email]>:
> > Thomas Dalton wrote:
> >>> 2009/3/25 Phil Nash <[hidden email]>:
> >>>> I don't see much of a problem with this, as a comparison implies
> >>>> some sort of value-judgement.
> >>>
> >>> UK primary school history does tend to focus on people a lot, rather
> >>> than details of historical events.
> >
> > Probably more recent than my 1950s primary school history, which IIRC,
> was
> > more about dates and events rather than people, and my 1960s history
> > education was more about politics than anything else. Social history
> might
> > just as well have been a foreign language when I was taught. Let's just
> say
> > it didn't relate to my experience of life, and thus failed to light my
> fire.
>
> Indeed, history education has changed a lot since then! When I was in
> primary school (10+ years ago) we hardly learned any dates, it was all
> about what life was like during that period.
>
> _______________________________________________
> WikiEN-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
>



--
http://durova.blogspot.com/
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Re: Wikipedia isn't just a good idea - it's compulsory

Phil Nash-2
In reply to this post by Thomas Dalton
Thomas Dalton wrote:

>> 2009/3/25 Phil Nash <[hidden email]>:
>>> Thomas Dalton wrote:
>>>>> 2009/3/25 Phil Nash <[hidden email]>:
>>>>>> I don't see much of a problem with this, as a comparison implies
>>>>>> some sort of value-judgement.
>>>>>
>>>>> UK primary school history does tend to focus on people a lot,
>>>>> rather than details of historical events.
>>>
>>> Probably more recent than my 1950s primary school history, which
>>> IIRC, was more about dates and events rather than people, and my
>>> 1960s history education was more about politics than anything else.
>>> Social history might just as well have been a foreign language when
>>> I was taught. Let's just say it didn't relate to my experience of
>>> life, and thus failed to light my fire.
>>
>> Indeed, history education has changed a lot since then! When I was in
>> primary school (10+ years ago) we hardly learned any dates, it was
>> all about what life was like during that period.

That brings it down to a level one can relate to, but it has to be within
the wider context. That may come later, but if the initial teaching does not
make that magic happen, students can be lost for ever. Starting from a
personal account relating to say, the [[English Civil War]] makes the
effects of the political machinations very real. The same applies to the
personal accounts of the American Civil War, which bring home to a student
the practical effects of political decisions; this contextual teaching may
be somewhat modern, but to my mind it is somewhat more useful than its
predecessors.



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Re: Wikipedia isn't just a good idea - it's compulsory

Phil Nash-2
In reply to this post by Durova
Durova wrote:
>> This discussion of World War I social issues is irresistible.
>>
>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oh!_How_I_Hate_to_Get_Up_in_the_Morning
>>
>> -Durova
>>
>> P.S. Shameless plug for an article I wrote.  The audio file is a
>> featured sound.

Actually, Lise, as an owl rather than a lark, I'm already way ahead of you
on that, politics apart.




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Re: Wikipedia isn't just a good idea - it's compulsory

Carcharoth
In reply to this post by Thomas Dalton
On Wed, Mar 25, 2009 at 11:39 PM, Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]> wrote:
> 2009/3/25 Phil Nash <[hidden email]>:
>> I don't see much of a problem with this, as a comparison implies some sort
>> of value-judgement.
>
> UK primary school history does tend to focus on people a lot, rather
> than details of historical events.

Maybe I went to the wrong sort of primary school (this was over 20
years ago now - <me looks shocked>) but we learnt about history by
drawing pretty pictures and writing very short, childish essays and
having them stuck on the wall for parents to read. The age range for
the school was 4-11, which I think is still typical for UK primary
school education (even if the teaching methods may have changed).

Remembering *what* I learnt is a bit harder!

Nelson and the Battle of Trafalgar is the only history I remember
learning about, though there was more, I'm sure. But most lessons were
on maths and English. The lessons that really stick in the mind are
cookery lessons, art and pottery lessons, and PE and sports. All the
hands on stuff. I guess everything else was boring at that age!

Once in secondary school, there were regular history lessons and a
curriculum. Battle of Hastings, WW1, WW2, that sort of stuff. Then I
never really looked at history again until university, and that was
only briefly.

Really, Wikipedia re-awakened an interest in history for me.

But I am surprised that someone thought primary school kids would
benefit from Wikipedia. The younger pupils will still be learning to
read, and even the older pupils would probably benefit more from texts
aimed at their level. I would have thought the first few years at
secondary school (ages 11 to 13) would be more useful for Wikipedia to
be used as background reading. By the time you get to GCSE and
A-level, you would want students to be aware of how to use sources
properly (and how to use Wikipedia properly, though that should still
be taught from an early age).

And blogging and Twitter? Primary school education certainly has changed! :-)

Ah: "Every child would learn two key periods of British history" -
that sounds about right.

"Of course pupils in primary school will learn about major periods
including the Romans, the Tudors and the Victorians and will be taught
to understand a broad chronology of major events in this country and
the wider world." - that is an improvement on 20 years ago. I am
almost certain I left primary school not knowing anything about the
Romans, Victorians or Tudors. Actually, I left secondary school
knowing nothing of British history between 1066 and 1900, but that is
a different story.

The strange thing is, I picked up knowledge about the Romans and
Victorians from *somewhere*. Maybe it was a form of osmosis from
popular culture and museums and references in other books and from TV?

Carcharoth

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Re: Wikipedia isn't just a good idea - it's compulsory

Carcharoth
On Thu, Mar 26, 2009 at 5:55 AM, Carcharoth <[hidden email]> wrote:

<snip>

> The strange thing is, I picked up knowledge about the Romans and
> Victorians from *somewhere*. Maybe it was a form of osmosis from
> popular culture and museums and references in other books and from TV?

Doh! I studied Latin (and "Classical civilisation") at school! That
explains it! :-)

And some of the memories of Victorian stuff from primary school,
including learning about Florence Nightingale and Elizabeth Fry, are
starting to resurface. OK, Fry (and Nelson) aren't exactly Victorian
era, but it's close enough. And it seems that the focus was on people
and events rather than broad eras and dates.

Carcharoth

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Re: Wikipedia isn't just a good idea - it's compulsory

Jay Litwyn-2
In reply to this post by David Gerard-2
I had a hard time learning to eliminate warnings from Grammatik. RTFM. I
ignored the rule on sentence length like I ignore the rule on sentence
fragments, today.
The hardest rule is activation, where you might need to insert pronouns
like:
The donkey was kicked.
Someone kicked the donkey.

Wikis might be a nice trick for a teacher. She could mark grammar and
spelling by correcting it. The student would see a diff. OR, she could get
peers from the next grade or two to do that. Just call a geek to install a
server. Then there is still penmanship, Matters of Content, and Matters of
Organization (and probably matters of style) for the accepted and understood
revisions. Three fifths of the mark on an essay are not mechanical.

"David Gerard" <[hidden email]> wrote in message
news:[hidden email]...

> http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/7962912.stm
>
> " Primary school pupils should learn how to blog and use internet
> sites like Twitter and Wikipedia and spend less time studying history,
> it is claimed. A review of the primary school curriculum in England
> will be published in a final report next month. "
>
> (from WMUK list via Thomas Dalton)
>
>
> - d.
>
> _______________________________________________
> WikiEN-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
>




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Re: Wikipedia isn't just a good idea - it's compulsory

Jay Litwyn-2
In reply to this post by Durova
I hate this damn machine.
Why don't I sell it.
It does not what I want it to,
but rather what I tell it.

Clicked on play button. Buffer got up to 62%, then stalled and started over
according to the numbers. Pressed the stop button...kept playing a little
bit more, then a little bit more. It should hav stopped when I pressed the
more button to download it, and it did not. I pressed the more button to get
the download link. Still playing bits. Started download. Download completes
in record time. Downloaded five seconds of it according to winamp. Delete
file. Start download again. That five second bit in the cache, so the
download is at 1000kbps, and I am not on broadband. Dropped the whole page
to stop it from playing bits. Called it up again. Pressed title bar to get
full description page. 89%, 9:04.

"Durova" <[hidden email]> wrote in message
news:[hidden email]...

> This discussion of World War I social issues is irresistible.
>
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oh!_How_I_Hate_to_Get_Up_in_the_Morning
>
> -Durova
>
> P.S. Shameless plug for an article I wrote.  The audio file is a featured
> sound.
>
> On Wed, Mar 25, 2009 at 5:09 PM, Thomas Dalton
> <[hidden email]>wrote:
>
>> 2009/3/25 Phil Nash <[hidden email]>:
>> > Thomas Dalton wrote:
>> >>> 2009/3/25 Phil Nash <[hidden email]>:
>> >>>> I don't see much of a problem with this, as a comparison implies
>> >>>> some sort of value-judgement.
>> >>>
>> >>> UK primary school history does tend to focus on people a lot, rather
>> >>> than details of historical events.
>> >
>> > Probably more recent than my 1950s primary school history, which IIRC,
>> was
>> > more about dates and events rather than people, and my 1960s history
>> > education was more about politics than anything else. Social history
>> might
>> > just as well have been a foreign language when I was taught. Let's just
>> say
>> > it didn't relate to my experience of life, and thus failed to light my
>> fire.
>>
>> Indeed, history education has changed a lot since then! When I was in
>> primary school (10+ years ago) we hardly learned any dates, it was all
>> about what life was like during that period.
>>
>> _______________________________________________
>> WikiEN-l mailing list
>> [hidden email]
>> To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
>> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
>>
>
>
>
> --
> http://durova.blogspot.com/
> _______________________________________________
> WikiEN-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
>




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Re: Wikipedia isn't just a good idea - it's compulsory

Doc glasgow
In reply to this post by Carcharoth
Wikipedia in the school curriculum?

For me, the idea simply proves that Jimmy Wales was, as usual,
far-sighted in his vision and judgement. I think I shall now follow his
lead.


Time to home-school the kids.

Scott

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Re: Wikipedia isn't just a good idea - it's compulsory

Sam Korn
On Thu, Mar 26, 2009 at 4:07 PM, doc <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Wikipedia in the school curriculum?
>
> For me, the idea simply proves that Jimmy Wales was, as usual,
> far-sighted in his vision and judgement. I think I shall now follow his
> lead.
>
> Time to home-school the kids.

:-)

When I was in the sixth form a couple of years ago, we had a piece of
research on some aspect of seventeenth century English history for
prep.  All 12 members of the class used Wikipedia, including myself.
Being intimately familiar with Wikipedia's inherent unreliability, I
also checked the source of the WP article and was saved from an
embarrassing error that the other 11 members of the class regurgitated
intact.

If the lesson is "don't trust Wikipedia" or "use Wikipedia with
_extreme_ caution", then it is a worthwhile lesson.

--
Sam
PGP public key: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Sam_Korn/public_key

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Re: Wikipedia isn't just a good idea - it's compulsory

Doc glasgow
I note that Sir Jim Rose, who came up with this lunatic idea, lacks a
wikibio. Maybe he should have one so he can see how (cough) educational
the wikiexperience is?

Personally, I think this is just a cunning plan to get hundreds of
thousands of young Brits trained to use wikipedia, so we can control the
right articles and edit the Empire back in. Two clicks and 1776 becomes
a minor crushed uprising. The world map will be pink once again
(virtually).

Maybe the "End of History" after all?

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Re: Wikipedia isn't just a good idea - it's compulsory

Durova
From across The Pond there's a wonderful book that came out in the mid-1990s
about how dreadful the teaching of history is at the secondary school level.
 The gap between high school and undergraduate instruction is greater for
history than for any other subject.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lies_My_Teacher_Told_Me

Wikipedia opens new possibilities for correcting that problem.

Over here it went something like this:

*When we had our revolution we got help from France.

*Then we bought the Louisiana Purchase from France, which doubled the size
of our country.  Gee, thanks.

*Then we had the War of 1812, which didn't really happen in 1812, and we
teamed up with France again.

Somewhere in there was 'Let them eat cake', a guillotine, Napoleon, and
Waterloo.  But that was all on another continent and unimportant.  As long
as we could be buddies with France whenever necessary, everything went fine.

-Durova
On Thu, Mar 26, 2009 at 9:37 AM, doc <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I note that Sir Jim Rose, who came up with this lunatic idea, lacks a
> wikibio. Maybe he should have one so he can see how (cough) educational
> the wikiexperience is?
>
> Personally, I think this is just a cunning plan to get hundreds of
> thousands of young Brits trained to use wikipedia, so we can control the
> right articles and edit the Empire back in. Two clicks and 1776 becomes
> a minor crushed uprising. The world map will be pink once again
> (virtually).
>
> Maybe the "End of History" after all?
>
> _______________________________________________
> WikiEN-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
>



--
http://durova.blogspot.com/
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Re: Wikipedia isn't just a good idea - it's compulsory

Phil Nash-2
Durova wrote:

>> From across The Pond there's a wonderful book that came out in the
>> mid-1990s about how dreadful the teaching of history is at the
>> secondary school level. The gap between high school and
>> undergraduate instruction is greater for history than for any other
>> subject.
>>
>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lies_My_Teacher_Told_Me
>>
>> Wikipedia opens new possibilities for correcting that problem.
>>
>> Over here it went something like this:
>>
>> *When we had our revolution we got help from France.
>>
>> *Then we bought the Louisiana Purchase from France, which doubled
>> the size of our country.  Gee, thanks.
>>
>> *Then we had the War of 1812, which didn't really happen in 1812,
>> and we teamed up with France again.
>>
>> Somewhere in there was 'Let them eat cake', a guillotine, Napoleon,
>> and Waterloo.  But that was all on another continent and
>> unimportant.  As long as we could be buddies with France whenever
>> necessary, everything went fine.
>>
>> -Durova

A much more accurate account of world history can be found at
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1066_and_all_that



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