Wikipedia:Education noticeboard

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This page is for general discussion of items that relate to student assignments and the Wikipedia Education Program. Please feel free to post, whether you're from a class, a potential class, or if you're a Wikipedia editor.

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See also
  • Special:Courses (a list of courses using the Education Program extension)

Noticeboard archives

Revoke course instructor right[edit]

This course has over 100 students, and neither the prof nor the students filled out their course page, so we don't have a list of which articles they have edited. Students were not instructed in talk page use, and article talk pages were not tagged.

This prof took a course in Wikipedia training after initiating a course on Wikipedia

This prof (and apparently her students) learned to edit Wikipedia from the apparently wholly inadequate WP:TWA (will that be discontinued?)

Will this professor be required to fill out the Fall 2014 course page, so we know all articles edited and can review them? Or, alternately, if the professor does not do that, will the Education Program staff be compiling that list by going through the students' contribs?

Will this professor's instructor's rights be removed, or will the course design be modified? Hundreds of students affecting dozens of articles next term should not continue as it did this term. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 05:55, 11 December 2014 (UTC)

Wow. I didn't see that class :-(
And that didn't take long to find. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 06:20, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Unfortunately revoking the right does little but make them harder to track. If action is needed, it's going to either need to be a class massblock or massrollback, but of which I would support if the situation is bad enough. Kevin Gorman (talk) 06:31, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
I'm with User talk:Kevin Gorman on this. They should be treated like any other group to people who're misusing wikipedia for their own ends. Stuartyeates (talk) 06:41, 11 December 2014 (UTC)

What is the position of these

  • User:Psych150wiki adds with quotes in place "Twenty-one men receiving ADT for metastatic prostate cancer underwent a qualitative interview focusing on the adverse effects of ADT and the impact of these symptoms on daily living and coping strategies. Results: The most frequently mentioned adverse effects were hot flashes and night sweats, gynecomastia, cognitive decline, and changes in sexual function. Hot flashes did impact on everyday functioning, and night sweats regularly disturbed sleep patterns and led to participants feeling tired and irritable. Participants reported a lack of control over their hot flashes and night sweats. There was reluctance among our sample to disclose the type of symptoms experienced to others. Conclusion: The occurrence of andropause symptoms, including hot flashes and night sweats, was common among this sample. Participants reported a range of cognitive and behavioral responses to these symptoms."[8]

A bunch of students have done this. User:Moonriddengirl from here Wikipedia:Non-free content I understand this is not allowed. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 06:42, 11 December 2014 (UTC)

  • Hi, User:Doc James. This is a problem, although I personally consider of a different factor than copy-pasting without quotation marks. In this case, we most likely have somebody who is in all good faith intending to do the right thing. Inexperienced writers often do this - instead of paraphrasing content properly and using limited quotations to support their work, they see useful information and copy it from their sources. You see it a lot in lowerclassmen. It is a copyright problem, particularly as it becomes extensive, and people have been blocked for this kind of thing, although I'm happy to say that's pretty rare. Generally, this is a matter of education - I'm fond of this handout from Purdue University and the related handout on paraphrasing. The point to emphasize there is that quotations should be used sparingly; the bulk of our contributions should be in our own words. A lot of naive writers are frustrated by our inability to give them a word count, which is understandable. It would be lovely if we could. :/ Depending on how extensive the issue is, I will sometimes simply flag an article Template:Non-free and explain the problem on the talk page. If a significant portion of the article is made up of such content, reversion or immediate trimming may be best. Rarely, if there is no clean version, pages are blanked with Template:Copyvio. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 11:54, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Doc, with respect to the edit from User:Psych150wiki, quoting extensively from an article abstract is a possible tipoff to a bigger problem. It's possible the student did not have access to the full-text of the journal article, and is inserting text based only on an abstract, which is rarely a good thing. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:32, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
  • I've also noticed edits related to this course that are sloppy to the point of vandalism here [9] and here [10]. It looks to me like they're getting graded based on words changed or something, as one of the students, User:Ziggapedia92, seems to have gone through Neurotransmitter and replaced random words with synonyms from a thesaurus. While most of these edits just make the article unclear, most are far worse, such as replacing the medical condition "depression" with "down in the dumps", changing "certain types of neurotransmitters" to "convinced types of neurotransmitters" (while "convinced" could be a synonym for one meaning of "certain", it's not a synonym for that meaning), changing "little or no effect" to "petite or no end product", and generally making a perfectly good article read like a bad Google Translate translation. -- (talk) 18:21, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Noticed ANI, since sysop actions are not the domain of this board: [11] SandyGeorgia (Talk) 19:31, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
To address the concerns of the community, I apologize for any sloppy edits that were made as my students ended the semester. At this point, the Wikipedia assignment portion of the course has ended. Even with consistent supports put in place via in-class workshops, hand-out's, etc., some of my students veered from the course assignment. They were not graded on word count, nor were they even graded on whether their revisions (coming out of shared, in-class editing documents) "stuck" on Wikipedia. Please be advised that I am working closely with members of the Wiki Education Foundation to amend these issues, but will continue to monitor student pages in an effort to clean-up these problems. As a result of those major issues this semester, I do not plan to teach my course with a Wikipedia assignment in a class of this size and will likely not be using Wikipedia (for coursework) again for another 2 years. On a side note, professors often attend workshops held at the university to support training of new editors on Wikipedia. This is not meant to train us, but to support further development of the online community.Cshanesimpson (talk) 22:53, 11 December 2014 (UTC)

Support rollback[edit]

Based on the evidence I propose we roll back all the edits from this class. There is too much "copy and pasting". I have seen a ton of primary sourced used. There are large quoted blocks of text. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 06:43, 11 December 2014 (UTC)

  • Support mass rollback of all these students edits. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 06:43, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Support mass rollback of all these students edits, since all methods of communication have failed. Stuartyeates (talk) 06:54, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Support mass rollback of all these students edits. please Jytdog (talk) 07:02, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Support rollback. Not seeing any snowball of opposition here. Kingofaces43 (talk) 07:12, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
  • well, yes ... of course, after the Education Program staff goes through the contribs from about 100 students and produces a list of articles affected, since the prof and students never even completed a course page. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:28, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Support The time for half measures has passed. Ban the whole lot. Chris Troutman (talk) 19:03, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Support makes sense to do --In actu (Guerillero) | My Talk 19:13, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Support. That is how Wikipedia works. Make edits that are disputed, and they will likely be reverted. If you want the edits restored, go to talk. If you don't go to talk, the edits will probably not be restored. And reverting the edits is the smart way to do it. Revoking instructor rights or blocking instructors from editing do not accomplish anything good for Wikipedia. That just makes classes harder to keep track of. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:12, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Support. Don't have too much to add but that this should be done quickly. --L235-Talk Ping when replying 00:00, 12 December 2014 (UTC)

Doc James, agree with L235 that this should be done quickly. Who is going to do this rollback across hundreds of accounts and undetermined articles? The Education Program has not produced a list of articles affected. Has the course page been filled in? I think HJ Mitchell has a script or bot that can be used; perhaps he knows how this can be accomplished. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 11:05, 13 December 2014 (UTC)

Hi Sandy - admins have a mass nuke function that rolls back all possible edits from an account, and there is a list of students seemingly at least. It wouldn't get all issues since especially with folks working to correct articles many edits couldn't be simply rolled back, but if this closes as massrollback (which certainly looks likely atm) it would be a good start to the process at least. Kevin Gorman (talk) 11:16, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
Ah, I see the course page has been filled in now. So, should we get on with the rollback? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 11:19, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
Sandy, Kevin, you migt be conusing two different things. There's Special:Nuke, which does what it says on the tin (put a username in an ad it will delete every page created by that account in the last 30 days), and there's a script (User:John254/mass rollback.js), which will allow you to revert every edit made by a given editor that is still the most recent revision—the effect is the same as clicking each individual "rollback" link, but it only takes one click. Best, HJ Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 12:57, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
Oh, there's also a mass block script. I'm more accustomed to using it on sockfarms and serious abusers, but if a mass block was desired here, it would do the job. HJ Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 13:02, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
So, it sounds like unless student edits are the last revision on a given article, we may be too late already for nuking them? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 13:08, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
If somebody else has edited the page since the student, you won't be able to rollback the edit; you'll have to do it the old-fashioned way I'm afraid. HJ Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 13:50, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
Adam, Ian and I (as User:Ragesoss) have been going through all the articles edited by this course and cleaning up problems introduced by the student editors. I think we have about 6 more articles (Neurotransmitter, Egocentrism, Zone of proximal development, Andropause, Substance abuse prevention, and Eating disorder) that we aren't finished checking. I'm guessing we'll finished up with those on Monday.--Sage (Wiki Ed) (talk) 16:34, 13 December 2014 (UTC)


  • Oppose With approx. 5 diffs, I don't think it has been adequately laid out that this is necessary . There are other options to solve the problem. (Tell the students to fix it themselves and tag their copyvios for deletion themselves, for example). You would be reverting many, many good edits.--Melody Lavender 15:41, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
  • The course is over, students are not going to be fixing their edits. In spite of years requesting evidence, there has never yet been presented to me an example of students staying around after term-end. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:43, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
    • I worked with a small group in a class a few years back, and one of them stuck around as an occasional editor for about six months afterwards (in the same account: if they edit logged-out or in a new account, it's impossible to track them).
      Reverting editors (rather than building on their work) and leaving mean notes on their talk pages are proven ways to drive new editors away, so it's not surprising that we don't see many stick around. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:04, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
      • That is a good point WAID. On the other hand, the structure of the situation lends itself to very bad interactions. At the end of the semester, scads of procrastinating students post badly done edits to mainspace as they have grades on the line. WP:NODEADLINE is out the window, on the individual student side, and their COI is front and center. And the editors in the trenches are working like crazy to get bad content out of mainspace, all over the place. Doesn't lend itself to quality edits being made, nor to calm and considered interactions on either side. Jytdog (talk) 16:11, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
      • WAID has her N=1 sample, I have mine (and many many more). That we are chasing them off is one of the PERENNIAL arguments in these discussions. I invite you to peruse klazomania and the ridiculously extensive editing I had to do to salvage something there on an insanely obscure topic about which there are no sources and for an article which gets basically no pageviews[12]-- mentoring, guiding, and talk page interaction between me and the students (on the article talk page and on the student talk pages), resulting in a better than decent article and good interaction with the students ... and show me one of them that has returned ? I have more examples. This argument is not representative of what we deal with or how we deal with student editing, and is a factual distraction. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:33, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
        • The whole point of a mass rollback is that I do not have the time to go through every edit to check it for copyright violations
        • More or less the rest of them should be reverted as they either use large quotes or primary source. Others have broken the references of the pages in question. User talk:Melody Lavender are you offering to fix all these edits? Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 17:07, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
          • As I mentioned on the other thread, Wiki Ed staff is going through these contributions today and cleaning up content, since it's a class we supported. You can watch progress on Ian's and Adam's contributions pages. --LiAnna (Wiki Ed) (talk) 17:18, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
              • Are you fixing refs, capitalization, removing large quotes, and removing primary sources as well? Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 18:03, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
              • What about changes like [13] and [14] that are making the article read like a bad Google Translate translation? -- (talk) 18:21, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
                • Lovely. Poor IP166 and @Seppi333: in there dealing with huge numbers of poor edits from more than half a dozen students, who have them outnumbered, for months (all the way back to October.) As if Seppi has nothing better to do with his/her time. This is classic. Then the article will be fixed, and Melody Lav can say the students could have written it.

                  Wikipedia has always been a train wreck, but the Education Program is making the internet suck even more. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 18:59, 11 December 2014 (UTC)


On a sidenote, a quick spotcheck from me turned up at least one student that has uploaded an improperly licensed photo to the Commons (File:LowT MenAging.jpg), so it's worth being on the lookout for those. ~SuperHamster Talk Contribs 07:19, 11 December 2014 (UTC)

File deleted.  Revi 07:40, 11 December 2014 (UTC)

And another from same prof[edit]

It gets worse; the prof was part of another course (whose course page is also not filled out with students and articles), well before any training:

So, yes, what kinds of processes and controls does the EP have in place even for registered courses? Could we please start seeing some term-end summaries of courses, students, profs and articles? And is anyone on staff actually monitoring any of these courses and profs routinely, or are y'all just waiting until "we" complain and point out the problems? Doc James, copyvio checks needed over there, and the articles aren't even listed. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 18:05, 11 December 2014 (UTC)

Found one article: Now You See It (Cathy Davidson book). Anyone find a Conflict of Interest declaration for that ? There is not one on article talk. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 18:11, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
And that COI article was added with one edit from this sandbox (shall I note that most of those editors have not returned to Wikipedia, in spite of none of the unpleasant interference that is frequently alleged in here? As far as I can tell, no one even pointed out the COI or took them to the COINoticeboard.)
SandyGeorgia (Talk) 18:33, 11 December 2014 (UTC)

Another proposal[edit]

  • @SandyGeorgia: Hi Sandy, read your concerns and I agree with them. I am curious why there is not an edit filter set up to tag edits of course students so that a recent changes filter can be set up like we currently have for new editor edits, IP edits, and new pages at Special:RecentChanges. Wouldn't this go a long way to supervising these edits?--v/r - TP 23:00, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Great suggestion, TParis. Anyone have an answer? Where might we take this query next? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 23:49, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
  • I, too, think that this is an excellent idea. Perhaps it should be proposed at Village Pump, Technical, or perhaps someone from WMF watching here could get it going. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:52, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
  • I am not an EF guru but have played around with the education extension and how students are flagged enough to think this needs code changes. Because students aren't actually assigned to a usergroup (which I think would be a good idea to do for many reasons,) building EF type stuff that targets them is hard currently. Kevin Gorman (talk) 23:57, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Unfortunately, WMF hasn't been able to put development resources into EducationProgram extension for quite some time, so a lot of the things I'd like to see happen with course pages to make it easier to keep track of what student editors are doing haven't gotten past the idea stage yet. In the medium term, Wiki Ed plans to build a better system to replace the EducationProgram extension. For now, unless a volunteer dev writes a patch, we're unlikely to see much improvement to the extension.--Sage (Wiki Ed) (talk) 00:00, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
    • EducationProgram extension wouldn't need a change. Just need to create a new usergroup in the LocalSettings.php.--v/r - TP 00:04, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
    How would this work? Manually assigning all students the "student" usergroup? --L235-Talk Ping when replying 00:07, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
    We already do it for OTRS volunteers. Only until an automatic fix can be engineered when time is available.--v/r - TP 00:19, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
    Maybe it could be done by a bot when the bot adds a student welcome template to their talk page? Stuartyeates (talk) 00:24, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
    Hmm... Maybe simply a new conditional on wg.autopromoteonce. --L235-Talk Ping when replying 00:56, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
    Perhaps Template:Welcome student and Template:Welcome medical student could automatically assign a user category when they are placed on the user's talk page. --Tryptofish (talk) 01:03, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
  • I posted about these various ideas at Wikipedia:Village pump (technical)/Archive 132#Discussion about education program issues. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:47, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
  • One of my main problems with this is that it's not clear how useful this information will even be. I would guess that the low-quality contributions are mostly going to be confined to the topics covered in the class (which, if the class is set up well enough that a bot can tag them as students, it should have the topics covered anyway), since that's where people who may not have any inclination or experience editing Wikipedia would make changes. I don't think there's a rash of students making low-quality extra-curricular edits, and in fact we want these students to stick around and edit other articles, but if they do that, they're flagged "student" until someone bothers to untag them.
Maybe it would be useful to have a bot collect all edits from the students listed in the classes on the articles listed in the class. That way, when the class is over, the students are just like any other new editor on Wikipedia. 0x0077BE (talk · contrib) 00:47, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
If there are any, one or two students who have ever stuck around after term-end, no one has ever produced any evidence of that happening. I mean none at all-- much less in any significant number. There is one post on this page about a student who stuck around briefly after term-end. And the flag can be removed. In the meantime, knowing when a class is editing will be very helpful on patrol. What happens more often in my editing sphere is that I find two or three classes editing an article during the same term! SandyGeorgia (Talk) 00:51, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
I don't think this is something where anecdotal evidence is going to do much good. The fraction of people who edit vs. read Wikipedia is already miniscule. The fraction of people who make a few edits vs. do a lot of high quality work is miniscule as well. Even if participation in WikiEd made people 3x more likely to become long-term editors, I think you'd still expect to have a situation where a room full of people couldn't remember it happening once.
Either way, even if no one sticks around (and you'd have to posit that WikiEd actually makes people less likely to stick around, since by random chance you'd get some long term editors taking Wikipedia-based classes anyway), I can't imagine that we'd be happy enough with that situation that we'd want to design features that reinforce it. 0x0077BE (talk · contrib) 01:04, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Oh and to clarify, I wasn't saying that we shouldn't do anything to try and track students, just that I don't know if flagging their accounts is the best way to go. I'd personally prefer something based on the class structure rather than their account. 0x0077BE (talk · contrib) 01:08, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
  • @0x0077BE: some of the problems that have been cropping up include the non-existence of a course page due to the instructor not working within the program, combined with the difficulties editors can have in finding all the pages where student edits need to be cleaned up. It would be great to have tools that can be used even if there is no available information about the class structure. In fact, classes where there is a course page are generally easier to deal with than are classes where the page does not exist, so cases without an identified class are actually where the need for new tools is the greatest. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:27, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
  • @Tryptofish: Sure, but this proposal doesn't address that, because it pre-supposes that we can identify the students, which means that it pre-supposes a well-populated class page anyway. Are there a large volume of classes where we can identify the students and nothing else about the class, such as its duration or scope? Even then, I'd still say it's important to auto-expire the tags after a certain amount of time. 0x0077BE (talk · contrib) 22:39, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
  • @0x0077BE: In fact, I can give you a very recent example of exactly that. Please see Talk:Depolarization#New class project and Talk:Ion channel linked receptors#Class project. These are both pages where there have been student edits that I'm going to end up having to clean up after. In both cases, the students made the edits at the talk page that you see in my links, but I reformatted them and added the tag after they did. In both cases, the students noted at the talk page so soon before they massively revised the page itself, that there was no time for other editors to interact with them. In both cases, I put Template:Welcome student on their talk pages, but they never returned to Wikipedia to see it, after they edited the pages. And in both cases, they refer to the "user name" of their instructor, even though no such user account exists, and they name their university, even though no current class project exists for that university. (It sounds like the students actually did have some understanding of Wikipedia, more so than the instructor did.) --Tryptofish (talk) 22:53, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
  • If the extension can't be modified to tag student edits, then I'd suggest pushing for a bot tagging of edits, which would have much wider use and so attract more devs. I've started brainstorming on this at Wikipedia:Village pump (idea lab)#Bot tagging of edits, for now I need as much examples of potential uses as possible before making the proposal. (Also, the editnotice on this board is very irritating. I wrapped it in a span id, and it can now be hidden by adding #edn-edu-board { display: none } in one's common.css.) Cenarium (talk) 10:58, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
  • @Cenarium: the reason for the edit notice is that there is a very chronic problem with editors who have zero previous edits showing up here and applying for user rights that are extreme cases of WP:NOTNOW, and it becomes quite a chore for those of us who watch the noticeboard. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:27, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Yeah I understand, I just don't like blinking things and think that it should only be used in exceptional cases, but in this case I can see why it's necessary. Cenarium (talk) 00:15, 15 December 2014 (UTC)

Copy and paste bot going global[edit]

Right now we have a copy and paste detection bot running on only medical and pharmaceutical articles. What has prevented us from launching this globally is we are not sure we have the volunteer capacity to handle the number of flagged edits that may appear. If this had been launched globally it would have caught the above problem much sooner.

I would like to request community support for me hiring someone to review all flagged edits that occur. I plan to look at hiring a university student or two which would work at my office in Cranbrook, British Columbia. This person will also collect data for publication on the size of the issue that we are facing and try to figure out way too prevent it from occurring further.

Because part of the position involves direct editing I wish to determine that the community does not see this as out of line before I do it.Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 07:42, 11 December 2014 (UTC)

By the way we estimate about 3000 edits will need to be checked by the bot per day which will likely result in 375 diffs to be check. These are rough estimates based on a few assumptions. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 08:28, 20 December 2014 (UTC)


  • Support I can help reviewing, though :P  Revi 07:46, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
Of course. Hope many volunteers jump on board. This position will also collect data for publication. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 07:47, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Support Stuartyeates (talk) 07:55, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Support Nice initiative Doc - seems good to me, and will be interesting to see the results of this. I'll be happy to help, too. ~SuperHamster Talk Contribs 08:15, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
Thanks User:SuperHamster. Appreciate the support. I will ping you when it goes global. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 08:20, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Conditional support - OK, as a long time power user on enwiki, I highly doubt you will ever get full support for paid editing, no matter what. I suggest that your paid student good-faith-vandal-fighter does nothing more than set up the needed reverts with an understandable explanation why the revert(s) is/are necessary and then before actually EXECUTING the revert(s), gets the OK from an unpaid Wikipedian. I say this because otherwise your reverter is going to get a whole lot of flack from the community otherwise. The reverter, whoever he/she is, is going to have sleepless nights from personal attacks by student copyvio makers anyway in the beginning, so it would be very helpful for him/her if you set up a support network first of helpful insiders. Jane (talk) 10:13, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
    Taking the last part first, I agree that ensuring the new hire is aware of the risks associated with taking on a higher-profile position like this is very important. In my last decade on Wikipedia, I can say with some relief that most attacks and harassment I've personally encountered as a Wikipedia editor (and administrator) have been confined to the project itself and lasted for relatively short periods of time. Nevertheless, I also know of situations where harassment and doxing have extended to other websites and to the offline world. (Remaining pseudonymous should be carefully considered, though I suspect that some of the more industrious trolls on 'those other websites' will make an effort to pierce this individual's privacy; sadly, trying and failing to remain pseudonymous may end up attracting more unwanted attention than identifying oneself publicly from the outset.)
    If this new hire does not have administrative rights on Wikipedia, s/he may be insulated from some of the abuse, as it will be other Wikipedia editors who actually carry out the blocks and page protections—but that will be an imperfect shield at best.
    On the other hand, I would suggest that the 'administrative overhead' associated with the first part of the suggestion, while well-intended, is wholly unnecessary. Requiring a second person to endorse and carry out each revert of a copy-and-paste doubles the workload involved without actually protecting the project from anything. (Actually, it may make things worse than that—if a copy-and-paste is not remedied quickly, then subsequent edits to the article may make it more difficult to unwind the addition of copied material without losing the benefit of later efforts.) Speaking to paid editing in general, I don't think there should be a problem. Paid editing is seen as problematic when there is a clear conflict of interest in play, and especially where an editor is being paid to advocate for a particular position. In this instance, the editor would be paid to do something which precisely aligns with Wikipedia's interests: remove copyright violations from our articles, with no advocacy component whatsoever.
    It may be helpful to segregate the edits this individual makes as a paid employee (the copyright cleanup stuff) from the edits this individual makes (if any) as a volunteer by using two separate accounts. Especially for the first while, it may be worthwhile to restrict the number of reverts the employee should make with respect to any one instance of copyvio or plagiarism. (That is, refer cases to AN/I or ANEW sooner rather than later, even despite the blanket exception to 3RR provided for reverts of copyvios.) Bank some recognition and goodwill, and get the denizens of AN/I used to seeing your name. The importance of social skills (in addition to technical aptitude and English fluency) cannot be overstated in James' hiring decision. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 15:28, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
  • If James' hires someone, I doubt they'll get much flak for paid editing. I RFA'ed partly on the basis that the toolset would be helpful for my paid position at Berkeley which involves direct editing (although admittedly not as much as I'd like, I had a peripheral aneurysm this semester,) and my RFA ended up closing 88-2 and I'm not sure anyone even mentioned in a negative way the idea that I was engaged in paid editing (really, paid adminship.) I've gotten a few complaints about it, but I'm a generally controversial person and most of the complaints were just someone looking for something to head me over the head with rather than genuine concern. I've taken a couple irregular admin actions to correct problems my students were having (including blocking people who had serious problems with their content and weren't checking their email or going to class with instructions to come see me in office hours,) and have gotten universal support from the people who noticed it. As long as whoever James hires sticks to correcting problems created by education program students on their paid time, I doubt they'll get anything but thanks from the community. Kevin Gorman (talk) 18:56, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Support. A worthwhile initiative. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 15:28, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Support. May require more editor effort upfront but saves it on the backend when problems below the radar are caught more quickly. And support for a paid editor to clean up as well. Calliopejen1 (talk) 18:39, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Support, provided clear and publicly available parameters for the accounts editing activities are in place. Basie (talk) 19:08, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Support --In actu (Guerillero) | My Talk 19:18, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Support. This is a good response to a big aspect of the problem. If problems with using the bot arise, I have a high degree of trust that they will be addressed. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:14, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Support. If I understand correctly most of our paid editing concerns relate to advocacy and bias, which shouldn't be an issue here. --Richard Yin (talk) 15:23, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Support. Copyright violations have been a problem since the very beginning of Wikipedia, with violations sometimes remaining unpatrolled for months. There are benefits for the regular editorship, and there are benefits for the students who need to learn how to write by themselves. JFW | T@lk 21:20, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Support for the most part You may considered a phase deployment, you can get a good cross section of articles at AfC and we've had a lot of trouble keeping a handle on plagarism and copyright at AfC. Gigs (talk) 19:08, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
    • Thanks User:Gigs. Already up and running at AfC here [15]. Here they are running on entire articles rather than on diffs so a slightly different task. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 16:35, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Support I see multiple good reasons to support and perceive the reasons for opposition as fear of exposing existing problems, and not creating new problems. Here are my thoughts:
  1. I have criticized this project a lot in the past and continue to criticize it, but my criticism does not lead me to oppose this going forward and is unrelated to this part of the project.
  2. This proposal is to expose existing copyright violations which would not be found otherwise. Exposing Wikipedia's problems is troublesome because it hurts Wikipedia's reputation in the short term, but in the long term, I think the bigger problem is the fundamental fact that the copyright violations exist at all and that our infrastructure is unable to detect and correct them.
  3. The "paid editors" which James proposes to hire are paid to delete copyright violations, and not to do anything else. A proposal like this has not been made before and I know of no comparable discussion anywhere which argues that a project like this should be prohibited.
  4. I think that Doc James and his paid staff are very likely to fail in correcting the copyright violations that are detected here, just because I think the magnitude of the existing problem is so great that it will not be corrected by a small independent group. When they fail, that is going to place a tremendous burden on the rest of the community, and it will seem like new problems have suddenly appeared. However, these problems are not actually caused by James' proposal detecting the problems; the blame is on the broader infrastructure which leads people to copypaste copyrighted content into Wikipedia.
  5. I do not agree that James, his employee, or any other volunteer has any responsibility to fix problems only because they expose them. It is useful to the community to expose problems even without any intention to fix them. It is generous of James to offer to hire one employee to try to fix the problems as best as one person can, but this generous offer is completely unrelated to anyone's right to make a bot to detect problems and to publish the list of the problems detected.
  6. In my opinion, part of the reason why no one else has been quick to make a bot or process similar to this is because this is an unresolvable problem without hiring paid staff to edit Wikipedia. Fixing these kinds of problems borders on being the least fun kind of volunteering on Wikipedia, and it is my opinion that there will never be enough volunteers to address the problem of copyright violations. The most likely model for correcting this problem is paying people to remove them, because the task is so boring that volunteers cannot do this with current infrastructure. Because neither the Wikimedia community nor the Wikimedia Foundation like talking about hiring paid staff to fix problems, this is a taboo proposal, but in my opinion, this proposal is different from other kinds of "paid staff" proposals because the heart of this proposal is detecting a problem which can only be resolved with paid staff, and actually hiring paid staff or fixing the exposed problems is just a natural thing to do if there is a problem detected.
  7. I agree that the existing of copyright-violating content is a personal problem for me. I personally have a need to edit within Wikipedia articles which are free of copyright violations, and I personally would benefit if someone could make a stronger guarantee that the Wikipedia articles I developed were continually checked to be clean from copyright violations. This copyright violation detection project would personally benefit me.
  8. James is nice to ask for community opinion here, but this proposal is so thoroughly within community guidelines that he need not get community comment to proceed. The biggest potential problem here is a misunderstanding of what he is proposing, and the proposal itself is not controversial. The big point of controversy here is that, in my opinion, his proposal to run the bot is going to surface a lot of problems and the historical tendency has been to put the burden of addressing problems on the Wikimedia community. In surfacing these problems, James is presenting a problem which will for the foreseeable future can only be addressed by having paid staff edit Wikipedia. The paid staff discussions have historically been tainted because they were all connected to the idea of "editing to benefit an organization". In this case, this kind of paid editing has nothing to do with any organization and is merely paid editing for housekeeping, which is something hardly discussed anywhere. I do not think this proposal should be confused with the negative consequences of any other kind of paid editing which has ever been discussed.
Blue Rasberry (talk) 15:55, 18 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Thanks for the comments. We are looking at 375 diffs to review per day from the entire En Wikipedia. That may be possible for the community to handle. We have picked up more than 200 true positive cases of copyright violations on medical articles so far. This proposal involves more than just detecting and fixing copyright violations though. I also want to collect data around the issue in question. This will include testing various templates to see if some have a greater benefit than others in prevention further issues / converting people to productive editors. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 17:32, 18 December 2014 (UTC)
  • @Bluerasberry: In my case, your perception is mistaken. My concern is to prevent the erroneous deletion of non-infringing material, or the wasting of time, due to issues with the paid editor or the robot. I am not trying to prevent the "exposure" of anything. James500 (talk) 08:34, 19 December 2014 (UTC)
James500 I think we have different perceptions of this proposal, because you say "I am not sure we have the volunteer capacity to properly scrutinise the number of paid edits that might appear". This is a proposal to delete content, not add content. In discussions about "paid editing", so far as I know the idea of paying someone to delete copyright violations has never before been proposed. I agree that the Wikimedia community is unlikely to muster volunteer oversight of this paid process, but I doubt that this needs heightened or extra-cautious volunteer oversight because this process seems unlikely to me to cause problems. If it does cause problems, then the problems are trackable. The work process has two parts - the bot flags likely copyright violations with supporting evidence; then the second part is that a paid human deletes content based on that argument. This is already a better process than what typical Wikipedians do, and even if it goes wrong an evidence trail is produced for tracking why it went wrong unlike in the case with typical volunteer checking. In my opinion, this kind of codification and standardization has a lower failure rate than human checking. Why do you feel that the existing process is better for avoiding erroneous deletion and wasting volunteer time? Also, I presume you agree that currently without this bot and paid editor, most copyright violation currently is unexposed, right? Blue Rasberry (talk) 21:40, 19 December 2014 (UTC)
Paid editing is potentially editing on an industrial scale. One thing that concerns me is that if it does go wrong, it might go wrong on a very large scale before it is detected, and take a long time for volunteers to put right, even if there is a paper trail.
I have already explained below why I think a paid editor may be more likely to be slapdash than a volunteer. There is also a discussion below as to whether this robot will be able to cope with topics where (unlike medical articles) public domain sources are extensively used, and whether it might generate a lot of false positives. James500 (talk) 08:10, 20 December 2014 (UTC)
Yes the person in question will be supervised and would likely be working 20 hours per week. Not a huge number of edits. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 08:30, 20 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Support This is a necessary step in the right direction. Chris Troutman (talk) 17:59, 19 December 2014 (UTC)


More planning needed. I'm entering this in the "oppose" column not because I think it's a bad idea overall, but because I think something like this should be planned and communicated a bit more extensively. As many of you know, I have deep and abiding respect for Doc James and his work. I have strong personal trust in his diligence and integrity in carrying out a project like this, and do not worry that the direct output of this project would pose any problems.
However, I think we need to keep in mind that Wikipedia is a project built on principles, not on personal trust. An effort like this would be new and bold, and I think we would be foolish to suppose that it won't be cited as precedent in the future. Viewed from that perspective, we have to anticipate that people who do not have Doc James' background will try to do something similar.
So before this step is taken, I consider it very important to clearly and publicly articulate the nature of work these staff will be expected to do, and how disclosure and accountability and related issues will be handled. I have tried to take on similar issues in my own work, and I hope the statement of ethics I have published might be a useful model. (Careful readers will note that it's published under a "ND" license; I am open to changing that if useful.) -Pete (talk) 20:57, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for the comments Pete. This has of course come about because we are struggling with paid editing. Students are here editing and being "paid" by a mark in school.
Profs of course are editing by proxy through their students. Some have even got their students to write nice articles about them here on Wikipedia. Not sure how many remember this persons class Steve Joordens
Issues have occurred. And we now have at least one paid editor User:Ian_(Wiki_Ed) working to clean up the mess. I think this is good. We should however go one step farther and be proactive rather than retroactive. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 00:55, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
Funny how his run-in with Wikipedia, even with multiple reliable traditional media stories, wasn't mentioned anywhere in the article. Anyone care to add that blurb in? OhanaUnitedTalk page 05:24, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
Doc James I agree, of course -- the whole subject only arises because of "paid editing." That is why I think it is very important that an established and respected Wikipedian like yourself should set a standard that others may follow with confidence and without drama. I'm happy to discuss this stuff in more detail if you like. -Pete (talk) 16:10, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose I think we should try other alternatives first, and certainly not adopt this without a very visible full consensus from including Wikipedians in general, not just those of us with some involvement in the education program. I realize the degree of this problem, and I certainly trust Doc James. but I nonetheless think it a very questionable step, if only because the general trend is apparently in the direction of totally banning paid editing in article space throughout Wikipedia, even if declared. Despite my personal respect for Pete,, I think the involvement of a commercial paid editors in the above discussion indicates the possible dimensions of the problem. (Kevin is a paid WIR, and although this is now an accepted role, even it was initially challenged). DGG ( talk ) 18:22, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
User:DGG we are moving towards banning paid editing were their is a conflict of interest. It is unclear how allowing me to fund someone to remove plagiarism from Wikipedia is a conflict. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 00:16, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
I can think of arguments against paid editing that have nothing to do with conflict of interest. One is that since paid editors are motivated by reward, they may care less about the goals of the project than volunteers, and might be likely to edit in a less diligent and concientious manner than volunteers who are more highly motivated, resulting in edits that are likely to be of inferior quality. IIRC, a book called "Irrationality: The Enemy Within" argues something to the effect that people may perform tasks better when they are not rewarded. James500 (talk) 05:09, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
Yes agree intrinsic motivation is much more powerful than extrinsic motivation especially for highly complicated tasks. Checking for copyright violations and tabulating data around how frequently they occur and what measures could potentially encourage those who make these edits change their ways is; however, fairly monotonous work. I agree there could be issues with quality and that these would need to be looked out for. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 05:16, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose as too early. This proposal isn't complete: for example, if Doc James is killed by a bus, who manages and pays this paid editor? I think a proposal affecting all articles needs more planning followed by a broader discussion and consensus before it's implemented. There isn't much traffic here (even with notices of discussion having been posted) and so I don't think this is the right place to ensure there's consensus for this proposal.
My other main objection us that if the goal of expanding this bot is to address student copyvios in particular, then I think it would be better to try other methods first. For example, since the bot only compares text with searchable online text, it misses text copied from textbooks and some journal articles. Examining student edits before or right after they're posted would catch those copyvios because an experienced editor familiar with textbook and journal writing styles can recognise that kind of copyvio. Ca2james (talk) 06:11, 15 December 2014 (UTC)
Turnitin and thus the bot, examines not just searchable text but a very large range of textbooks, journals and websources. Not sure what "Examining student edits before or right after they're posted" means? Who pays the for this position if I do not? Likely no one. I do not understand how that is an issue. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 00:05, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
In my mind, if you pay the editor then that editor reports to you instead of the community, and I'm a little uncomfortable with that. Also, if you're incapacitated or killed, what happens to that person? With respect to Turnitin, from what I could find online, it doesn't necessarily include all textbooks - am I wrong about that? I'm not sure what the best way to deal with student copyvios. Obviously student work needs to be checked by someone, and I honestly don't know how to do that. One possibility is to make student edits all pending and then they have to be approved, but that's hugely labour intensive. Another might be to run the bot over only the students' contributions. I'm hesitant to support this proposal because I'm not convinced it's the best solution for the problem of student copyvios. I'd like to see more discussion and more proposals on the issue, if possible. Ca2james (talk) 03:45, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
This editor, if hired, can be warned and blocked just like any other. Thus they will definitely be accountable to the community. If I am killed than it is up to my estate to decide if they wish to keep this person employed.
Sure Turnitin just includes a lot of textbooks. It is not perfect but it is much better than nothing and is how we picked up a bunch of these student issues.
We cannot even get the students to join the education program. How will we tell them apart from other editors for "pending changes"? Many classes operate under the radar. And really all editors should be prevented from copyright infringement.
If someone has a better idea would love to hear it. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 04:58, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
If a significant proportion of copyvios are coming from student assignments, why not forbid students from being "rewarded" with grades in the first place? Would that not remove students who do not want to participate in this project (are they given the option of doing alternative assignments?) and any incentive to "cheat" that grades might produce? James500 (talk) 06:20, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
Copyvios occur from none student editors aswell. Both should be dealt with. The issues with students are greater as they were actively encouraged to participate.Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 06:30, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
But would what I suggested reduce the scale of the problem to such an extent that paid editing would be unnecessary? James500 (talk) 02:55, 18 December 2014 (UTC)
If you look at the archives of Eranbot we keep a list of all the issues that have occured. Most have not been due to students. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 17:35, 18 December 2014 (UTC)
I may be misreading this conversation, but I'm puzzled by the whole issue of paid editing. Doc James, would you expect the student you hired to clean up copyvios, or would you be hiring them simply to sort through EranBot's output and separate false positives from true positives? If it's the latter, then they're not editing mainspace at all, are they? Ian (Wiki Ed) (talk) 06:43, 18 December 2014 (UTC)
If they are picking up issues the hope would be to also have them fix them yes. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 17:35, 18 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I am not sure we have the volunteer capacity to properly scrutinise the number of paid edits that might appear, for the purpose of quality control of those edits. James500 (talk) 07:52, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
Students are editors paid by a grade. We now have Wiki Ed staff being paid to clean up after them. So what is proposed is already occurring. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 00:05, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
You propose to hire university students. Does the WikiEducation Foundation hire students? Is there a reason why you could not hire someone who does this sort of thing professionally or has some kind of relevant professional credentials? James500 (talk) 04:07, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
Yes I may not hire a student and this is not a requirement for the position. I was looking at someone part time as I do not have the level of funding that WikiEducation Foundation has. I have no professional qualifications in copyright infringement detection and yet currently I am doing lots of it. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 04:53, 17 December 2014 (UTC)


  • What does the 'Status' column mean? That's unclear. Stuartyeates (talk) 07:55, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
This is the human editor follow up. TP means true positive. Quote means maybe okay. And FP means false positive. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 08:06, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
OK, that makes sence. The terms true positive and false positive aren't going to be widely understood outside those with experience in experimental design. Stuartyeates (talk) 08:09, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
Yes this bot was launched by WP:MED though :-) We can use better terminology. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 08:14, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
How about column name "copyvio?" and Yes/no?  Revi 08:17, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
Sure Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 08:18, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
This is MUCH bigger then the education program, this RFC should be at Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals). — xaosflux Talk 16:37, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
Especially as this is going to involve paid editors. — xaosflux Talk 16:55, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
Thanks User:Xaosflux a RfC is posted at the top and I have also posted over at the policy board. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 17:03, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
@Doc James: Who will be paying these editors, you? Will they be considered your agents as far as edits go? Do we expect them to be eligible to vote/!vote on community issues like RfA's or functionary elections? — xaosflux Talk 17:47, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
The plan would be for me to pay them (but if other organizations are interested in helping I would not complain). If they are a prior editor they will create a new account for this position. This account will just be for reverting "copy violations" and providing feedback on users pages regarding how to avoid further issues in the future. They will not be voting in RfA, or weighting in in other community discussion. They will not be involved with content issues outside of plagiarism. They will produce data for the community at least once a year on the magnitude of the issues detected. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 18:00, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
  • More data We have looked at the volumes of flagged edits that will likely occur on a given day. Looking at En Wikipedia as a whole about 3000 edits are of a size that they may be of concern. If the rate of positive returned by Turnitin is the same as for medical articles we are looking at about 375 edits to review per day. So not an unreasonable number. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 05:49, 17 December 2014 (UTC)

Something that is not much of an issue with medical articles but makes up a large part of for example historical British biographies are PD sources. What do you do about filtering (not flagging as a copyright violation) copies from PD sources? Do you for example ignore the content of the Internet Archive and Wikisource? -- PBS (talk) 11:43, 17 December 2014 (UTC)

We are creating a list of sites that the bot ignores. That list can be seen here and is human built. PD sources can be added. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 16:46, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
Is it possible to exclude those PD books and journals that Turnitin has scanned into its databases directly from printed sources and not from other websites? (I don't understand how printed sources can be excluded by a blacklist of websites). What about sources that are available under a compatible licence? How does the blacklist cope with sites that contain both PD and copyrighted material in large quantities (such as GBooks)? James500 (talk) 02:55, 18 December 2014 (UTC)
One can exclude all books before a certain date of publication I would imagine. The bot can be tweaked further. Right now it is working fairly well on medical articles. But yes hard to say how will it will work for other types of content.
Most cases of plagiarism are fairly obvious. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 03:02, 18 December 2014 (UTC)

Does the bot have access to pay to view sites such as the ODNB? If so can it tell the difference between a copy from the DNB and the ODNB (which can be (but is not always) derived from the DNB)? Does your bot look at talk pages of article to see if there is a {{backwardscopy}} template (see Backwards copying)? -- PBS (talk) 11:55, 17 December 2014 (UTC)

The bot is ONLY looking at edits made in the last few hours. This is how it prevents large numbers of false positives from occurring. Each edit requires human follow up. The bot is NOT making any edits to main space or user talk pages on its own.
With respect to what the bot has access to, it has access to everything that Turnitin dose. Thus greater than 45 billion webpages and greater than 130 million books and journals. Here it says "Turnitin has partnered with leading content publishers, including library databases, text-book publishers, digital reference collections, subscription-based publications, homework helper sites and books. These partnerships have contributed over 130 million additional articles to our databases." [16] Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 16:46, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Question EranBot (the bot in question) is not approved for all of mainspace, so wouldn't the bot need approval before it could be extended? Does the bot need approval to conduct the mainspace tests you're planning? Ca2james (talk) 16:41, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
Yes bot will need approval before it is extended. We are needing further permission from Turnitin and then will apply if it is possible. Will be a few weeks.Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 16:50, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
You've already extended the bot to AfC, though, right? Don't you need approval from the Bot Approvals Group to extend the bot's scope? I have this sense that you're going to just go ahead and do what you want here without going through the formalities. It's unsettling. Ca2james (talk) 17:12, 18 December 2014 (UTC) After a bit of thought, I think I'm focusing too much on process, here, and my interpretations are completely off-base. I know that you want what's best for the project and that you've contributed an amazing amount here. I apologize for suggesting otherwise. Ca2james (talk) 17:30, 18 December 2014 (UTC)
It has been extended to AfC yes. I was not involved with this extension and believe that it was just a test that was requested. I will start the bot approval process for expansion though. I have posted questions here [17] and would appreciate guidance on the correct process. I fully realize that what is proposed is going to take months (maybe 6 or 12 even) to roll out and will occur only if their is community support. If there is support for a paid person to supplement the community involved they will take two to three months to hire. We have meetings with Turnitin next in January and our contact will likely have to discuss with upper management the expanded number of queries we would be sending them. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 17:53, 18 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Question There exists a bot checking all of mainspace for copyrights: CorenSearchBot. I realize that the two bots use some different criteria for copyvio detection but their checks overlap. Wouldn't it make more sense to combine the two bots so that each new edit is checked only once instead of duplicating effort and resources? The backlog for CorenSearchBot is also quite long, so wouldn't it make more sense to have a broader discussion on the best bot and reviewer solutions for dealing with copyright? Pinging the existing bot owner Coren to bring them into this. Ca2james (talk) 16:13, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
No this bot does something different. Coren's bot ONLY checks newly created pages. It does not check all of mainspace. Eranbot checks all new edits over a certain size. User:Coren has been involved in the development of the Eranbot. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 16:52, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
One checks new pages against some criteria and the other checks new changes against Turnitin (and other criteria?). These tasks are just not that different and is splitting them the best choice? I don't think so, because it just adds overhead and is more confusing what with all the report pages and thinking about which bot does what. Ca2james (talk) 17:12, 18 December 2014 (UTC)
Maybe User:Coren can also weigh in. With respect to checking new pages I agree that these two tasks are similar. The checking of new difs is not. This was not an addition that I was personally involved with. Maybe User:Ocaasi can provide more details about the checking of AfC. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 17:39, 18 December 2014 (UTC)
  • More data In the last 6 month the bot has help us clean up more than 200 issues with copyright violations within medical articles. When it flags difs more than half the time there are verified concerns. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 06:23, 18 December 2014 (UTC)
Hi Ca2james, it's my fault if the AfC experiment needed bot approval for expansion. I asked User:EranBot to try adapting the tool to that use case and I didn't realize it needed prior approval. If indeed that's so, we are happy to pause the bot and go get the approval. We have wanted to take a very gradual approach with the rollout of this tool and I didn't mean to subvert any processes in doing so. We really were just testing to see if the bot was functional in another namespace. Best, Jake Ocaasi t | c 19:09, 18 December 2014 (UTC)
It's my understanding that changes in bot scope or bot tasks need to be approved before they're implemented. xaosflux can probably clarify what needs to be done and in what order. Ca2james (talk) 15:52, 19 December 2014 (UTC)
Correct, a recent new bot task request was introduced at Wikipedia:Bots/Requests for approval/EranBot 2. — xaosflux Talk 15:57, 19 December 2014 (UTC)
  • I've made a proposal for bot tagging of edits which may be used for suspected copyvios. Cenarium (talk) 12:50, 19 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Procedural comment I've added this to WP:CENT since it's a substantial proposal. Although it is now too late, I would have strongly suggested to separate this into two proposals (going global on one hand, hired student on the other) (a BRFA will be needed too). Cenarium (talk) 13:06, 19 December 2014 (UTC)
BRFA is done and is here [18] Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 05:48, 20 December 2014 (UTC)
  • I've no objection to this being a paid role, in principle; but I have some questions: Why is this on the education, not a more general noticeboard? What support will be given to new, good-faith editors whose work is reverted? Will the employee's remit include following up question from people whose good-faith edits have been reverted? To what extent? If not, who will undertake that role? How will false positives (copied text from an open-licensed source) be avoided? At the very least, I'd like to see this run for only a short (say two months) trial, then evaluated by the community. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 09:57, 20 December 2014 (UTC)
    • Yes I was looking at a 4 month trial but would also be happy with two months.
    • Yes they will follow up on questions from people who have had their edits revert. Most people (90+ %) never respond to concerns though
    • If you look at the output from EranBot at User:EranBot/Copyright you will notice that it gives the sources of concern. These sources are check to determine if they are public domain or CC BY SA / CC BY before the person is notified.
    • Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 19:58, 20 December 2014 (UTC)

Copy and paste bot going Wiki Ed[edit]

I'm not sure whether I think think making this bot work across all edits is a good idea — I'm mainly worried about the feasibility of managing that backlog of article that need to be checked — but it's definitely something Wiki Ed is interested in for contributions by student editors. We're planning to develop a plagiarism prevention system that will notify the editor directory (as well as their instructor) whenever possible plagiarism is detected. The main idea is to push the first responsibility for removing plagiarism back to the people responsible for adding it. However, that won't be ready in time for the upcoming term. As a short-term solution, we're going to propose setting up an instance of this bot monitor the articles being edited in courses, which Adam and Ian can keep an eye on.

@Doc James, ערן: FYI, I forked the bot and added the option to check articles based on an on-wiki list of links. Thanks again for your work developing this system! I think it'll be a great starting point for where we'd like to go with plagiarism prevention. The plan for the coming term will be to manually query the database (like this) for all the articles touched by student editors, and compile those on a wiki page that the bot can use.--Sage (Wiki Ed) (talk) 20:40, 18 December 2014 (UTC)

The difficulty is that not all classes are part of Wiki Ed and not all plagiarism issues are from students. In fact the majority are not.
Now that we have the rate of false positives down to less than 50% directly notifying people may be reasonable. My concerns is that notifying editors incorrectly could cause issues. I think we need more data before we start directly notifying people
Also would like further details on how Wik Ed plan to use the bot? Are you planning on checking diffs one by one? How quickly after the edits are made do you plan to check them? Is there going to be a public list of concerns found? Have you applied for bot approval yet? Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 21:03, 18 December 2014 (UTC)
We're interested in checking for, and reverting, plagiarism in articles edited by users in our courses, whether or not it is a student editor who made the bad edit. Even if someone else adds plagiarism, that can lead to a student editor's work being lost if they build on someone else's plagiarism and it can't be easily excised. The plan will be to gather all the usernames from Wiki Ed courses, use a database query to find every article that group of users has edited since the start of the term, and use that list (regularly updated) to check recent diffs. Essentially, it would be the same thing EranBot does now with articles that have {{WikiProject Medicine}} on the talk page, but instead doing that for list of pages (both articles and sandboxes) that student editors have touched, and post the results similarly to how EranBot does (maybe at User:RagesossBot/Copyright). I'm about to make the BAG request.--Sage (Wiki Ed) (talk) 21:17, 18 December 2014 (UTC)
This still doesn't address the issue of non students plagiarizing. The proposal is to have the list of flagged diffs searchable by Wikiproject and by if they are associated with the Education Program.
Sage we need to make sure that we work closely together. It would be disrespectful of Turnitin to run the same edits through their API more than once. If you plan to run the bot on all student edits and we are running it on all medical edits, when students edit medical content how will we prevent the same diff being sent twice? Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 21:32, 18 December 2014 (UTC)
To follow up on the live chat we just had... it'd be great to collaborate and fold this into EranBot. We're interested in checking articles touched by student editors next term, even if EranBot isn't running globally yet at that point, but we can probably figure out how to do that soon without duplicating diffs. I've removed my BAG request in the meantime.--Sage (Wiki Ed) (talk) 22:51, 18 December 2014 (UTC)
Thanks User:Sage (Wiki Ed). One bot that does all each of us need IMO is better than multiple bots. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 23:08, 18 December 2014 (UTC)


As I've discussed (at length ... :) on the education incidents noticeboard, there are several accountability and enforcement concerns with respect to the walled garden at WP:ENB and WP:ENI:

  1. By bringing issues to ENI we have shielded the broader community at ANI and other places from the breadth and depth of problems with student editing. ENI has only 68 watchers, and pretty much no admins doing any sort of enforcement, until a few days ago, anyway, where we got one new admin on board. For gosh sakes, my user talk page has 556 watchers: we'd be better off bringing problems there where someone would see them! The problems with student editing have largely been discussed in this walled garden, without awareness being brought forward outside of this walled garden, resulting in escalating issues over the years.
  2. EP staff is unlikely, unwilling, or unable to enforce community norms via, for example, use of sysop tools. Student editing incidents should move to ANI, where admins will a) become aware of the serious issues, and b) take sysop action as they would with any other editor.
  3. Could someone please educate me? What exactly is this "course instructor right", who confers it, how is that done, are sysop tools required to confer it, and how can the status be revoked? In other words, when course instructor rights should be revoked, is that a matter that can go to ANI?

Finally, I propose:

  • EP staff should produce a bi-annual report (December and June, coinciding with term-ends) detailing:
  1. Number of registered courses that term (including name of course), with:
  2. List of instructors and other ambassadors, online assistants, whatever we're calling them these days
  3. List of students enrolled
  4. List of articles affected.

We need some accountability from PAID staff to be able to track the copyvio, plagiarism, original research, poorly or unsourced content, etc. As of now, we have multiple incomplete course pages, where we don't even know what articles are hit, and the paid staff at the Education Program should be tasked with going through contribs and producing bi-annual lists for accountability.

It is time for this program to become accountable to the entire community, stop operating behind closed doors, or shut down.

SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:26, 11 December 2014 (UTC)

I think "List of instructors and other ambassadors, online assistants" can be viewed in Special:Userlist by selecting appropriate userrights.  Revi 15:54, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
More of the walled garden (which is what the EP software accomplishes). These folks should produce a list at the end of each term, so editors actually working in the trenches can review the damage at the article level. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:58, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
I plan to do so. Ian (Wiki Ed) (talk) 16:14, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
Thank you, much appreciated :) And I see the CUNY course page articles are being filled in, via some strange mechanism that I don't understand, meaning that I can't diff now to the course page of yesterday, which included no article links. Meaning also that some of my statements throughout these discussions look wrong, since I can't diff the CUNY course page with no articles listed. More of the walled garden issues with how the EP software is set up ... SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:42, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
I added in the articles this morning because you requested that someone fill it out so any interested editors can take a look at the articles students worked on. My team is working on reviewing and improving those articles today. Jami (Wiki Ed) (talk) 16:54, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
Yes, thank you, and that is appreciated. But since whatever mechanism you use to add them doesn't allow me to link to a diffed course page showing no articles listed as of yesterday, several posts above now have no meaning. These software issues are an example of the EP walled garden, where it operates differently from the rest of wikipedia. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:02, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
I didn't know ENI existed till just now. I agree, WEF needs to get in the game or just close shop. Chris Troutman (talk) 19:33, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
Chris troutman, just to be clear this board is WP:ENB, and ENI (the incident noticeboard) is that away. Although we have pretty much no admin oversight or enforcement in either place, and lots of questions about accountability to community norms and standards, and their enforcement or lack thereof. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 19:43, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
  • The course instructor right allows someone to create and edit a course page, nothing else. There are very few circumstances where it should be revoked; revoking it does very little good in most situations, since it mostly just means that instructors would have a hard time making their courses trackable even if they wanted to. A trackable shitty course is better than an untrackable shitty course. I've taken some administrative action against students, but a majority were my own, and the rest were issues I found and dealt with privately without bringing to EN or ENI. I am fully of the opinion that a strong consensus formed to block a class or to nuke a class's edits on this board is valid, and am willing to act as a closer (and implementer) for any such discussion regarding a class that I haven't been involved with, as long as I haven't formed a personal opinion about the course in question strong enough to interfere with my ability to read consensus. (Sorry all re: my recent absence from this board and email; I had a peripheral aneurysm this semester.) Kevin Gorman (talk) 19:44, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
    • Okay, now I'm really confused. Kevin Gorman, are you saying that only accounts/editors who have some sort of relationship with WikiEd, as you have, are allowed to post here? And only WikiEd sanctioned admins can act? If that's the case, then the walled garden analogy should be extended to walled country and WikiEd should separate from WP and set up their own wiki. Seriously. Victoria (tk) 19:52, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
That's so close to the opposite of what I'm saying that now I'm confused as bloody hell too. Whenever there's an effort to pass a new type of proposal in a new place (or someone uses RfC instead of RM,) there's always debate as to whether or not that consensus is valid and enforceable. All I was saying was that I'm strongly of the opinion that it's valid and enforceable and that I will enforce it - pretty much encouraging people to open broad proposals to block or massrollback classes where they truly feel it's necessary. And I have no idea where you got the idea I was suggesting only editors connected to the education program could post here. Kevin Gorman (talk) 20:00, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
Struck. Victoria (tk) 01:28, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
  • I agree with Kevin that there is rarely a purpose in removing a course page, bad as their work may be--it's the most practical way of keeping track of the material that needs to be dealt with. Indeed some instructors whose courses have run into criticism one year simply do not list them at all with the program in subsequent years in the apparent hope to avoid scrutiny.
More generally, I have no current involvement with the Ed program, though I have in the past and I do know about the problems, so if you're looking for a non-involved admin in some case, I'm available, but I need to be notified. But I think this board and the incidents board are the best places for discussion, though I'd advise notifying the Admin noticeboard if there's something admins in general need to look out for. DGG ( talk ) 19:04, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Thanks DGG. It's helpful to know that non-involved admins are available. I've struck my earlier post. I think I conflated Kevin's post above with an earlier post he made in regards to his RfA being for his paid position, which confounded me (I didn't know we granted tools for general use in the community to editors in paid positions). That I'm confused about the various roles, and I'm a somewhat involved member of the community, does tend to underscore the walled garden analogy. Anyway, I've decided to unwatch (or lurk) for a while and spend some time thinking all of this through. Victoria (tk) 01:28, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
Hi @Victoriaearle: - just for clarity, I work for a university and not for Wiki Ed, and suspect that I am a well enough established member of the community that I would have passed RFA regardless of whether or not I was working for Berkeley, especially with Ed and Keilana conomming me. I didn't run as a single purpose admin, although I did run in part so I could do things like block students and take care of histmerges, deletions, etc as necessary for students, and got at least a few supports on the grounds that I was working for Berkeley. I don't think there's really a limit on who we give tools to if they pass RFA. WMF staff use separate accounts for admin actions related to their work, but at least a few have admin privs gotten through RFA on their personal accounts as well. Probably a more accurate analogy; I know there are at least a couple of paid chapter employees with at least some sort of advanced privileges used for on-wiki work. Kevin Gorman (talk) 01:38, 13 December 2014 (UTC)


The lack of diffs in the EP software is frustrating. Just now, this popped on my watchlist:

  • (Education Program article log); 21:03 . . Prof.Vandegrift (talk | contribs) removed article Posttraumatic stress disorder from MaScott14's list of articles for course Education Program:Drake University/Global Youth Studies (Fall 2014) ‎

But I can't diff that as I normally would by going to that page and looking at its history.[19] However the prof removed the student, finding the diff requires a separate step.

So, that student did work on that article, and by removing the student, the prof leaves us less accountability in terms of reviewing articles that were edited by students, checking for copyvio, and even potentially running stats in the future. So, the software creates another accountability issue, and why did Prof.Vandegrift remove an article from the course page when that student did work on that article? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:24, 15 December 2014 (UTC)

Another incomplete course page[edit]

How can there be any tracking or accountability if course pages are incomplete? No articles listed:

At minimum, can the EP start asking profs to fill in their course pages? This is the course with the copyvio, but we still don't have all the articles filled in. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 22:15, 15 December 2014 (UTC)

Assignment design[edit]

I'd like to break out some of the issues that came up in the discussion of Saguaromelee's rights request, and discuss them more generally.

That assignment plan was created with the Assignment Design Wizard (please try it out!) that Wiki Ed has been working on for the last few months. I still have a bunch of work to do to document how this tool works and what its on-wiki components are, but basically it walks through a series of steps that present best practices for each stage of a Wikipedia assignment, with options for the instructor to customize the details to fit their class, and at the end it uses a set of template on Wikipedia to compose an assignment plan based on their choices and their course timeframe. You can see the building blocks of these assignments here: Category:Assignment Design Wizard output templates.

SandyGeorgia gave a list of specific suggestions for that assignment plan, which are relevant for general best practices of assignment design. I haven't considered each of them in detail yet — and in general, I'm wary about too much detail in terms of how to accomplish the broad goals of figuring out how to contribute effectively, because what is appropriate for one class may not be necessary for another — but these are the kinds of things that can be changed in the wizard and its output template. I've copied those suggestions here so we can discuss them in the general case, and hopefully come to some consensus on specific improvements we can make to the assignment design system.--Sage (Wiki Ed) (talk) 23:08, 11 December 2014 (UTC)

Note: I'm refactoring the suggestions to group them by the main issues, and clarifying some of the details of what happens when in the default timeline.--Sage (Wiki Ed) (talk) 22:35, 12 December 2014 (UTC)

Getting students used to communicating on-wiki and working with other editors[edit]

  • In week two, you have one talk page post. In general, student projects fail because the students never learn to use article talk and user talk to communicate with other editors and reach consensus. Would you be willing to have two full weeks of significant article and talk page engagement? [SandyGeorgia]
    • It's probably worthwhile to go into a little more detail here, about how students can get a fair amount of experience with on-wiki communication and try especially to engage with other editors early on. --Sage (Wiki Ed) (talk)
    • The key components for the 'practice communicating' concept are these:
  • In week four, you have students commenting on existing articles. In general, those kinds of posts are a drain on established editors, as the students rarely have the knowledge so early in the game to be offering any commentary, yet established editors see those posts on their watchlists, which means they have to click to read something that may not be useful. Would you be willing to eliminate that step entirely, and instead, encourage students to spend extra weeks and more posts actually engaging in discussion of proposed sources with established editors on article talk? [SandyGeorgia]
    • In general, this would be a step backwards in terms of engagement with other editors, because in the vast majority of cases they would simply get no response. In most cases, students should be choosing topics that have articles that are really quite bad. The point here is to get these newcomers to think in broad strokes about what good coverage of a topic should look like is a part of. The one thing we could do, though, is to couple this step a little bit more closely to the article choice process, so that they would leave a comment on an article that they think might be the one they would like to work on. That way, it could contribute to the goal of getting them into regular communication with the editors who work in the same area. And maybe we could create a template (or just some boilerplate as an example) so that they will also communicate that they are considering working on the article for their assignment.--Sage (Wiki Ed) (talk) 00:35, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
    • Here's the relevant template that forms that part of the assignment plan:
      • Wikipedia:Education program/Assignment Design Wizard/Evaluate an article
        • This comment, from SandyGeorgia, really hits something on the head for me: "students rarely have the knowledge so early in the game to be offering any commentary". I've also noticed this in the portion of the assignment where they peer review each others' articles, so I'm wondering if there's a list of very concrete questions students could use to both evaluate and article and make more constructive suggestions on the talk page and in the assignment peer review process. For the "evaluate an article" module, is there a checklist of steps and/or standards to which students are pointed? They might need more specific direction here, starting simple with things like "do all citations have full info?" or "is there an appropriate infobox?" to more complex prompts like "are there more recent scholarly sources?" or "does the article follow WP:NPOV?" AmandaRR123 (talk) 23:09, 19 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Then [in week 6] you talk about etiquette? That should have been in week one. Students should learn about plagiarism, copyvio, edit warring, how to sign their talk page posts ... all in the first weeks. [SandyGeorgia]
    • The idea here is not to talk about etiquette, or these other issues, for the first time — it is covered in the training, and is also something that generally comes up in the early in class discussions (although we could make some of that more explicit by adding detail about what to talk about in class, in the intro to Wikipedia and Editing basics segments). Instead the idea is to cover these *again* right at the time when students are likely to beginning engaging more heavily with other editors as they start to get inolved in mainspace. Frontloading all of the training and howto information isn't going to be as effective as revisiting important topics (with different levels of detail) over time.--Sage (Wiki Ed) (talk) 00:35, 16 December 2014 (UTC)

Choosing articles & sources, and communicating with editors of those articles[edit]

  • In week [four, due week 5], you have students choosing articles [that they will consider working on]. In general, student editing fails because of poor article choice, and no notification to established editors or discussion with established editors of proposed sources. Would you be willing to alter your design to have at least two weeks of students engaging on article talk, with at least five posts discussing sources, before deciding on a topic? [SandyGeorgia]
    • Article choice is indeed one of the key areas for improvement. Note that this first step is not about making the final decision of which article to work on, but about exploring Wikipedia and finding some likely candidates... which then go through some feedback and vetting before settling on the one to work on. In general, though, posting on talk pages is not a good solution for that problem. The pages where there are a lot of active editors are ones that are likely more mature articles than students should be editing anyway... and even then, more often than not there will be little or no response to the students that comes in time for them to usefully incorporate into their decisions. What we're working on instead is to improve that vetting process, with Wiki Ed staff providing help to create lists of appropriate articles for students to choose from and/or vet students' choices.--Sage (Wiki Ed) (talk) 00:37, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
    • Here's the template for that segment:
  • In week five, you have students selecting an article, but you do not have them posting notification to that article talk page (or alternately, a Wikiproject page for a new article). So, many students find their work reverted because of poor article choice. [SandyGeorgia]
    • This is fixed in the Assignment Design Wizard now, with instructions for students to put the {{course assignment}} template (with a link to their course) on the talk page, immediately after finalizing their article choice. That was just something I'd forgotten to implement until two weeks ago, since the old format of standard course pages had those instructions outside of the timeline itself (which also has probably been part of many student editors miss that step). (Down the road, probably by the Fall 2015 term, I think we will automate this, so that an appropriate message shows up on the talk page immediately when a student editor gets assigned an article. We'll also be working toward a system that encourages courses to get their assigned articles listed, with reminders if they neglect that.)--Sage (Wiki Ed) (talk) 00:37, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
  • In week [five, due week 6], you have students compiling sources. That should have been done before they selected an article, and in consultation with other editors on article talk. Many problems can be avoided if students choose adequate sources before locking in on a subject. Would you be willing to alter the order in your course design? [SandyGeorgia]
    • I think this gets things a little backwards. The important thing is to choose a topic for which good sources exist. That's not really dependent on the student exploring the sources ahead of time. This is the part where we want to tap into the expertise of the instructor, because they will generally have a working knowledge of the literature in their field... so they'll know which topics do have good sources available (even if they don't know specifically which sources will be most useful).--Sage (Wiki Ed) (talk) 00:37, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
      • I'm new to working with classes online, but I've had thoughts similar to SandyGeorgia's on the timing of student research. With my most authoritarian hat on: students should be forced to do a mini-literature review while choosing a topic. My thinking is: they have to come up to speed on the state of a field before knowing if there's anything new to contribute. In addition, I think more guides to subject-specific editing are helpful, again with a focus on the research problems specific to each discipline. In medicine, you might want to emphasize Cochrane-type reviews; in history (where I've been working the most), you might need to emphasize primary vs. secondary literature, as defined in the historical disciplines rather than the medical. So maybe Week 2 also includes an introduction to "good research" in that discipline. I'm already noticing, with the class I helped last semester, that even though I felt like I stressed good research in class, that was the weakest point of several articles, so I'm thinking about how to make that a more organic part of the process. As SandyGeorgia mentions elsewhere, what students can really bring to Wikipedia is access to paywalled sources other folks don't have, so the assignment could encourage students to focus on that high-quality research as early as possible. AmandaRR123 (talk) 16:38, 19 December 2014 (UTC)

Use of sandboxes, and moving out of them[edit]

  • Then you have articles moving out of sandbox. Only if the sandbox is first posted to talk, or to a relevant WikiProject, and based on discussion with other editors. Would you be willing to agree that your students will not move articles out of sandbox without first posting to article talk? [SandyGeorgia]
Something that stands out to me right away is the last bullet point, about sandboxes. An awful lot of the recent discussions, as well as an awful lot of the problematic edits that I personally have seen lately, have arisen from students putting large amounts of text into main space without any prior interaction with editors, and then leaving. Consequently, I strongly support Sandy's idea about about requiring a post to article or project talk before moving the material out of the sandbox, and I would add that it needs to be far enough ahead of time, at least a few days and probably a lot more than a few, to allow editors to respond. I point that out because it's very actionable here. It's something that holds true for any kind of class structure that employs sandboxes, and it can be incorporated into the training materials as something that is required for all such classes. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:16, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
I had one students do this. I provided a number of things that required fixing. She did not bother to address them and just dropped the content into main space anyway. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 00:52, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
It will inevitably be a problem here that anyone dissatisfied with the criticism can always go directly into main space, just as they can with WP:AFC. This is not solvable, as it's a firm principle that only the general community can ultimately decide on an article. It may be possible to find some way of providing notification in at lease some cases. DGG ( talk ) 19:09, 12 December 2014 (UTC)

Well, Sage (Wiki Ed), I see my suggestions made quite a splash ... folks are falling all over themselves to comment :) :) SandyGeorgia (Talk) 19:06, 14 December 2014 (UTC)

SandyGeorgia: Face-smile.svg--Sage (Wiki Ed) (talk) 00:42, 16 December 2014 (UTC)


FYI, I've just made these revisions, to reflect recently raised concerns: [20], [21], [22], and [23]. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:36, 13 December 2014 (UTC)

Also – just asking as a preliminary feeler about the sentiment locally at this noticeboard – are we getting to the point where we should consider elevating WP:Student assignments to being a guideline? --Tryptofish (talk) 00:03, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
YES. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 00:13, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
In light of the recent issues, I suggest we guide instructors towards sandboxes as the PRIMARY means of issuing assignments. — xaosflux Talk 01:45, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
To the point of even just having work be at User:Instructor/sandbox/Article_a, etc - which is a copy/paste re-write DRAFT of existing articles or a Draft space for a new article; have the END of the assignment be posting to the Talk: of the real article (or submitting the draft to AFC). Any feelings on this? — xaosflux Talk 01:47, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
I disagree with this idea, for numerous reasons. Amongst which, that this hardly encourages students to interact with the community; and yet (as SandyGeorgia repeatedly and correctly notes), one of the main ways in which student projects on Wikipedia can go wrong is where there is little to no interaction. --jbmurray (talkcontribs) 05:58, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
I agree with Jb on this one. One of the rather large benefits of a Wikipedia-based assignment executed correctly is that it allows undergrads to participate in a community of practice, a staple of all level of academia beyond undergrad but something undergrads rarely get to do. I fully support taking further actions to stem the flow of bad content - and honestly am geting pretty pessimistic about the idea of any class creating a large amount of high quality content unless they have an experienced Wikipedian in the classroom for more hours than most volunteers can manage, be it their professor, a TA, or hired help - but don't think this is the way to go. Kevin Gorman (talk) 06:23, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
Agree, sandboxes are not a/the solution. Redesigning courses to encourage early and much user and article talk interaction is. I am actually enjoying at the moment working with the UCLA course (the faulty GA group) because They Are Talking on user and article pages (hallelujah!). The horrid courses are the ones where the students work in sandbox, never engage the community, don't know sourcing or writing or style, and then try to drop their content in the day before they are graded, but have never found a talk page. I have never thought sandboxes are a good solution: engaging the community early and frequently is. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 11:39, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
Agree there--the biggest problem is the "drop their content" part---if the assignment will use a draft/sandbox it needs to not include a requirement to slam it in to an article, suggest replacing removing any such requirements in favor of posting their suggest to merge in on the article talk. For assignments that use incremental editing over time this isn't needed-, but end-of-semester dumps need to stop. — xaosflux Talk 16:19, 14 December 2014 (UTC)

Another revision, following the issues that have been coming up: [24]. And let me ask again whether there are any editors here who would see problems with proposing upgrading it to a guideline. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:55, 15 December 2014 (UTC)

As a veteran AFC reviewer I'd stronly advise against requiring student drafts goung through AFC. AFC is in a permanent state of severe backlog, there is absolutely no guarantee that a draft submitted there will be reviewed before the end of the semester. Student work should be graded in draft/sandbox. There is no guarantee that students' work will make it into mainspace at all or if it does, that it will remain untouched there long enough to be graded. Surviving mainspace should never be part of the grading criteria. Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 06:32, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
The section at WP:INSTRUCTORS already says just that. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:17, 16 December 2014 (UTC)

Transitioning students to WP specifically with regard to WP:OWN[edit]

Question. Context first. This arises from the stuff discussed over at ENI about course encouraging students to go after GA status. I've been working with a student editor, Leslierrn‎ who got channeled into the GA process for an article to which she added a lot of material. We had a bit of a death slog interaction yesterday concerning changes to the article, Sleep hygiene. From my perspective, I couldn't figure out what was driving her to be so, so intense about preserving every bit of her contribution. I reflected on that last night and this morning, and I ~think~ some of it, is the difficulty of transitioning from school "head" to Wikipedia "head". At school, when you create work, it darn well better be your OWN, and you hand it in, and get graded, and this becomes part of your "permanent record". Right? As you all know, WP is nothing like that, at all, and WP:OWN is a bad bad thing here. Scholarly integrity is super-important - those values translate directly, but not the OWN piece of that. It is kind of subtle but absolutely essential. And i have to say that in most of my interactions with students, this OWN thing has been one of the most difficult aspects of the interaction, because the student has no idea that the framework they are applying to the interaction is just not appropriate.

It seems to me that channeling students into GA makes the transition to the world of WP much, much harder and confusing, because it continues the model where their work gets graded. That is a little bit beside the point. It made me wonder, and here is the question - how much do course instructors and ambassadors explicitly talk about the dramatic difference between academic work product and WP work product, specifically with regard to OWN? It is funky, because we want everyone (student editors included) to bring high scholarly values (no plagiarism, use great sources, reflect them accurately in content, etc) but not OWN. ( I searched the archives for discussion of this, and found little. maybe i missed it.. and sorry if I did.) Thanks in advance. Jytdog (talk) 17:08, 14 December 2014 (UTC)

Hi everyone! Just to clarify, there were no hopes of preserving every bit of my content. Yesterday the main concern was that chunks of content were being deleted by other editors, without recommended revisions. I have already clarified to Jytdog that I am not approaching revisions with an WP:OWN head. I think there IS room for clarification to students about how to be prepared to deal with responses from the Wikipedia community and what to expect. That is where I was caught off guard, but I have been learning, and have a better understanding of the process. I think everyone wants to be respected, and collaborative feedback will facilitate the learning process. Leslierrn (talk) 17:45, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
Leslie this is not about our interaction, specifically. It is a general question for the EP and this is not the place to work out the issues on Sleep hygiene. Thanks. Jytdog (talk) 17:52, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
I'm not seeing the interaction with Leslierrn on that article as symptomatic so much of OWN, as one of the unfortunate GA situation she was thrust into. I think it might be best to let go of the meta-issues on this one :) The real (problematic) example of student OWNerhip was over at Eating disorder not otherwise specified, where the student edit warred to revert eight times, and never engaged talk until after the article was protected. And that sort of thing is addressed by teaching students early on to engage article and user talk. In general, though, talking meta-issues with someone who was thrust into a weird situation as Leslie was might be better after the article issues have settled. I suspect you two, in very good faith, are talking past each other a bit :) I think we're getting there !!!

On the broader questions you raise, again, we aren't usually dealing with students who operate on the level that Leslie is operating (responsible discussion, concern for the article content, and concern that seems to extend beyond just getting a grade); normally, student OWNership issues result from the student wanting their edits to stick so they can get a grade, and they don't care that much about article quality, and they don't even know how to use talk pages. And I don't think that's fixable, other than the same ... get students to engage article talk sooner in the game. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 18:25, 14 December 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Thanks Sandy this is indeed not about the specific interaction with Leslie; it is something I have been thinking about for a long time now that was just crystallized by that interaction. I do hear you that this might be too advanced and we wish that much more basic stuff was understood and most importantly enacted by student editors. And as you say this does play into larger issues of students dealing with the wider WP world and not just their bubble. But I would like to hear from the EP folks - how much do course instructors and ambassadors explicitly talk about the dramatic difference between academic work product and WP work product, specifically with regard to OWN? Thanks! Jytdog (talk) 18:28, 14 December 2014 (UTC)

This discussion reminded me of an observation that I made a few years ago, when I came across some student edits from a high school class. Let me underline from the start that these were younger students than those in the other class projects we have been discussing here, and I recognize the difference in age and maturity. They apparently had been assigned to make some talk page suggestions on a page that was semi-protected, so they couldn't edit it directly. They didn't know to sign their comments, so I had auto-signed them using the unsigned2 template. So far, so good. But one student came back and kept trying to change the timestamp on his signature. I realized that he had left his comment after the class deadline, and was trying, after the fact, to coverup the evidence that he had been late. It's kind of funny, but I think it shows that students start out here with a focus on what the instructor wants, not on what other editors here might think. I think that's what is often in the "head", as opposed to OWN per se. Most students don't really care about OWNing the pages, but they do worry that other editors may alter their work in a way that will adversely affect their grades. Instructors need to configure their class projects so that this won't be an issue (a good reason why GA for grades is a terrible idea). Paradoxically, a lot of experienced editors, acting entirely out of good faith, enact a kind of reverse-OWNership when they are afraid to revert student edits because they are afraid of adversely affecting the student's grades (or maybe hurting their feelings). Editors should always understand that grades are not Wikipedia's responsibility, and WP:BITE only gives student editors the same consideration as all other new editors, and nothing more. --Tryptofish (talk) 18:45, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
thanks, trypto. i agree with all that - the instrinsic COI for students becomes really clear with regard to NODEADLINE and OWN for their specific edits and comments, and is a yet deeper underlying issue. Jytdog (talk) 18:59, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
What this shows is that instructors (and students) who use Wikipedia need to rethink the very basis of assignments, grades, and so on. Problems arise when they do not do so. Again, the conclusion is not that Wikipedia processes shouldn't feed into grades. The conclusion is that you can't treat a Wikipedia assignment like any other. And that, in my view, is a good thing. But if you are against that (and each to his or her own), then you shouldn't be here in the first place. --jbmurray (talkcontribs) 20:09, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
Jbmurray (sorry for the ping, not sure if you are watching this or not) - you lost me on the last sentence. I am afraid to ask, but what/who are you referring to with "you" and "here" in that sentence? Thanks. Jytdog (talk) 20:16, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
Sorry. I mean, if you are an instructor who doesn't want to rethink the way in which your assignments and grading practices are handled (and I can understand and sympathize, if not necessarily agree, with that), then you shouldn't be here, on Wikipedia, setting your students assignments in this collaborative space. --jbmurray (talkcontribs) 20:22, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
thank you for clarifying Jytdog (talk) 20:42, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
jbmurray i was just reading your great essay about your Madness course. I loved the whole thing but especially this bit - it speaks directly to what I was trying to raise in this thread: "(I should note that I was not much concerned if the final product of the students' assignment was not "all their own work"; I considered that persuading others to work with them, and working well with others, was an integral part of the operation....)" Thanks! Jytdog (talk) 21:35, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
Exactly. This is my point. I'm glad we're on the same page.  :) --jbmurray (talkcontribs) 21:39, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
I looked in that essay for how you actually graded them. the essay says that the grade was dependent on reaching FA (A+) or GA (A). And you had the blessed help of the FA team for free TA-ing. Lucky! What about grades for work on articles that didn't reach GA, and importantly, did you build in points/grading for "playing nicely" or ding students for bad behavior (edit warring, commenting on contributor, etc)? I am really intrigued by the idea of building in grading for process, not just product. This would also mean eyeballs by somebody on the instructor side on a more day-to-day basis..... Jytdog (talk) 21:46, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
Well, I wouldn't (and haven't) done things exactly that way again. But: 1) the grade wasn't dependent on reading FA or GA. I merely said that if a team got an FA they'd get an A+. They could have got an A+ without getting an FA, however. And likewise with the GA. In other words, they wouldn't have to have hit those milestones to get those grades, but if they did, that's what they'd get. NB of course this wasn't the overall class grade. The Wikipedia assignment was one out of many. 2) We were very lucky to run into the FA-Team, but we weren't counting on it. But what was important about the FA-Team was not that they gave the students an easy ride. Far from it: they were constantly pushing them to do better. And the students on the whole took up that challenge. 3) No, I hadn't built in grades for "playing nicely," but that could be a factor. The thing is that you don't know what kinds of interactions they'll have, or indeed whether there will be interactions at all. So it's hard to do that kind of thing formally. But put it this way: students who interact well do better, full stop. Which is why it's worth teaching them to communicate, to seek out people who can help, and so on. 4) Finally, yes, absolutely, this approach requires a lot of work from the instructor, on a day-to-day basis at the very least. We see that very rarely these days. --jbmurray (talkcontribs) 23:11, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
thanks that is a thorough answer. i hear you on the "don't know who you'll run into" piece of that. Jytdog (talk) 23:34, 14 December 2014 (UTC)

Can someone please contact this professor about the proper use of Wikipedia?[edit]

Late last month we began noticing a flood of articles about exporting agricultural products and technology to or from Nepal, apparently written from a Canadian point of view. They looked like research reports or student essays, featuring sections like "Benefits for Nepal" and "Benefits for Canada"; some of them promoted commercial products; they were not at all suitable as encyclopedia articles. I asked at this board if anyone knew of such a student project, but no-one did. A partial list of articles (namely the ones we found) and their current status at Wikipedia is here: User:MelanieN/Nepal-Canada articles.

We finally learned, from one of the students,[25] that this is in fact a student project, from the University of Guelph in Ontario. They said the project is run by Manish Raizada, a Plant Agriculture Professor and Plant Geneticist. "For more information you can contact him". Can someone approach this professor, find out what the assignment actually was and what he hoped to accomplish, and maybe talk to him about appropriate ways of using Wikipedia? This mass uploading of student essays has taken a lot of editor time to track them down and deal with them, and the result is likely to be that almost all of them will wind up either deleted or gutted. --MelanieN (talk) 21:40, 14 December 2014 (UTC)

See also this: User talk:MelanieN/Nepal-Canada articles. --MelanieN (talk) 23:14, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
@MelanieN: Thanks for the head's up and investigative work. :) I have contacted the professor to get a look at his current syllabus and help make recommendations and get the students to use our training materials in the future. He has already agreed to do the assignment with more transparency and visibility, so we will take a look at the current work and see where the problems are stemming from. Do you have any specific advice you'd like me to pass on, or can you point me to some of the articles the students edited? Thanks! Jami (Wiki Ed) (talk) 18:38, 15 December 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for getting in touch with him, Jami! I'm sure he meant well and will appreciate some guidance. (It's too bad our school-support systems are not more widely known.) Here is a list of the articles that I and others have found: User:MelanieN/Nepal-Canada articles. Pretty much all of them are getting deleted, redirected, or severely trimmed. This is because they consist primarily of analysis, recommendations, and other synthesis/original research. Perfectly appropriate for a student term paper; inappropriate for an encyclopedia article. A compliment to pass along: the students had clearly been very well trained in Wikipedia formatting and such. --MelanieN (talk) 19:00, 15 December 2014 (UTC)
Some suggestions on areas where they could use more training: Although they all cited references, for the most part good Reliable Sources (which we appreciate), their method of citation was not consistent. The best used Wikipedia citation formats including url links where appropriate; some used an academic citation format without links; I saw at least one that simply listed the references without citing them in the text. Also, only one student seemed aware of the existence and use of talk pages. --MelanieN (talk) 19:18, 15 December 2014 (UTC)

Using Word[edit]

Hi, I am following the Wiki template on a word document but am lost in terms of what the font size should be for headings. Is there a template I can use with word? If not, how can I find out what font size I should use and/or what font? Thanks.Ftj123 (talk) 00:02, 15 December 2014 (UTC)

Word is the wrong tool for the job. You should be using the edit box and preview button. MER-C 03:50, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
Using a userspace draft is much preferred over using an external word processor. Instead of word-processor-type styling, Wikipedia (and wikis in general) uses specialized markup, so none of your Word formatting - text size, links, etc. - will be preserved when you move it to the wiki (and yes, I tried it with VisualEditor). Plus, if you keep the work online, it will be preserved should your computer get lost or broken somehow! ansh666 01:40, 17 December 2014 (UTC)

Need Help Setting Up A Course Page[edit]

I'm trying to incorporate a Wikipedia assignment into a course that I'm teaching 2015 Q1 and need help establishing a course page and getting in touch with an ambassador. I spent over an hour with the Meta:Training for Educators page yesterday, but couldn't make any headway with this particular aspect.

Here, some information about the course: It will be a small course (only 3 students and me)--it's just a chance to experiment small-scale with Wikipedia assignments, before trying them out in larger classes, if I have success with them. The topic is on German emigrants in North America in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Thank you for your help.DerrickRMiller (talk) 14:31, 16 December 2014 (UTC)

@DerrickRMiller: I will email you with information about the Wiki Education Foundation's resources with links and instructions for setting up your course page. Thanks. Helaine (Wiki Ed) (talk) 18:45, 16 December 2014 (UTC)

Update from Wiki Ed, 16 December[edit]

In an effort to be more transparent about what Wiki Ed staff is doing, here's a status update.

Our staff is still going through student edits from this term, and removing bad content as needed. This is obviously an ongoing process, and we're looking through not only specific things posted here, but also contributions of all students in classes where we've seen several problems. We've created a list here, and if you come across articles that you'd like to have staff attention to fixing, please add it to the list: User:Adam (Wiki Ed)/Dashboard

A bigger question is how to prevent these problems in the future. I see several things we'd like to do differently next term:

  • Better enforcement of our guidelines (e.g., make sure all students are enrolled on course pages, make sure all students have articles listed on course pages, make sure we discourage large classes from participating, make sure all students have completed the online training, etc.) — these guidelines exist for a reason, but weren't strictly enforced this term, and that was our mistake.
  • Rethinking our support structure so it's more easily visible how an experienced editor who wants to help with a minor task (such as helping a student identify whether a source fits WP:MEDRS or not) can be involved.
  • Better internal processes so Wiki Ed staff can catch and address problems (including plagiarism) without taking up community time, and better communication practices so we can clarify what we're doing to address problems when they do slip through our net.
  • More staff attention to medical articles in particular.

The big question is obviously how we'll accomplish those. My team will be working on determining action plans for these in the coming weeks, and I commit to posting regular updates here on our progress toward determining how we'll effect those changes for next term. --LiAnna (Wiki Ed) (talk) 01:18, 17 December 2014 (UTC)

Sounds good :-) Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 01:49, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
This all looks very good, except one note: "More staff attention to medical articles in particular". It's not just medical. It's content that is health-related or biomedical. The worst problems come from the psych courses, where they frequently make health-related or mental-health related claims based on primary studies. The impression students have is that because they can find a study in a peer-reviewed journal, that is a good source. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:29, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
Great catch, SandyGeorgia; by "medical", I mean those topics where students need to use WP:MEDRS, including psych, health, biomed, etc. --LiAnna (Wiki Ed) (talk) 16:53, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
Hey, SandyGeorgia, we're workshopping ways to communicate that exact thought to prospective instructors. The concern is that MEDRS covers a range of disciplines, from sociology to psychology to human biology, etc. We don't want to steer courses toward these articles but we don't want to proscribe topics like biology or educational psychology because some topic areas may cause problems for the community and student editors. I think we need a good, succinct way to convey what sort of content would be "health-related or biomedical" to an instructor not familiar with WikiProject Medicine. Protonk (talk) Adam (Wiki Ed) (talk) 16:51, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
Thanks, Protonk. One psych student pointed me at File:Editing Wikipedia articles on psychology.pdf, which looks fine, and then proceeded to explain why his/her primary sources were acceptable according to that handout :) :) SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:01, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
No problem. The above was me signed into the wrong account. But either way we're looking at it closely this week. Adam (Wiki Ed) (talk) 17:05, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
I want to say a big thank you to LiAnna and the WikiEd people for being genuinely responsive to the needs that exist. It's a pleasure to see such a responsive update, something that does not always happen when editors have concerns about WMF matters. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:37, 17 December 2014 (UTC)

First update, 18 December: Change in volunteer role[edit]

Hi all, as I mentioned above, we're changing things for Spring 2015 in hopes that we can head off some of the problems this term. Here's the announcement of the first thing we're changing: Rather than having individual volunteers ("Ambassadors") assigned to each course — which worked well in a few cases, but certainly not all last term, as you saw from some of the incidents — we want to provide staff support upfront to ensure Wiki Ed staff is onboarding each instructor. We'll be checking course design to make sure it meets our best practices, and we can make sure students are connected to the most up-to-date help resources we have. We hope that by making more checks at the beginning of the term, we'll be able to head off large classes (which we know don't work) before they begin editing, poorly designed assignments, or other things we know that will likely result in classes that don't improve Wikipedia content. We are also then in contact with each instructor, so we can follow up if course pages don't list student usernames or articles, or be the liaison between the instructor and the community if there's an incident in the class that needs immediate attention.

We also want to make it clearer how any community member who wants to help out with student articles can provide input on the tasks they're interested in. Our goal is to tag student work with specific suggestions for how to improve them. If you enjoy copyediting or wikifying articles, you'll find find pages to copyedit or wikify. If you want to provide feedback on a draft, you can find student drafts awaiting feedback. If you like finding freely licensed images for articles, you can see student articles that would benefit from images. If you want to evaluate whether sources on med-related articles meet WP:MEDRS, those will be tagged as well. For an example of the new system, check out our central portal for tagged articles: Wikipedia:Education program/Tasks

So we can be sure to recognize volunteers who continue to go above and beyond, we've created a self-report form for volunteers to track their time. The self-report form will help Wiki Ed write letters of recommendation for volunteers. We will also be using data reported in this form to prioritize passionate volunteers for Wiki Ed scholarships to events like WikiConference USA. You can find the form here.

One last practical note: This means we'll no longer be commenting on "Ambassador" applications here; this has always been a community process, and continues to be so, but Wiki Ed won't be promoting the Ambassador program as connected to our organization or granting "online volunteer" or "campus volunteer" user rights anymore.

Overall, the Wiki Ed team believes this change puts more burden on staff rather than volunteers, which we think is appropriate, and frees up any editors who want to support student editors to find specific tasks they are interested in, rather than the one-size-fits-all approach that was the Ambassador role previously. I'm happy to answer any questions. --LiAnna (Wiki Ed) (talk) 19:29, 18 December 2014 (UTC)

A few things:
  1. Is it possible to get a list of all the classes working on articles that are part of WP:MED?
  2. What is the definition of a "large class"?
  3. You mention "sources on med-related articles meet WP:MEDRS, those will be tagged as well". How will these be tagged? We had discussed a bot that would list whether or not articles are "reviews" based on pubmed. Is this what you propose? It would definately speed our follow up and hopefully help guide the students. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 20:09, 18 December 2014 (UTC)
  1. Re: list of all the classes, we are asking that specific question in the Assignment Design Wizard (you can see it in action at; by onboarding all classes through us, we can make sure all the instructors go through the wizard, providing us that list because they've indicated whether or not their students will be working on med-related articles in the wizard.
  2. Re: definition: Jami and Helaine are evaluating what has worked and what hasn't over the last several terms to come up with a number, and we'll post those guidelines here once we have that in place.
  3. At Wikipedia:Education program/Tasks, you can see the category; our Wikipedia Content Experts (Ian and Adam) will be closely working to tag our students' work, but I am open to ideas for bots to do this as well.
Thanks for the questions. --LiAnna (Wiki Ed) (talk) 20:34, 18 December 2014 (UTC)
How is it determined which articles need to be checked for MEDRS sources? Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 21:11, 18 December 2014 (UTC)
Doc James: In particular, you can keep an eye on these to categories to see any assignments where the instructor indicated they will or might work on medical topics: Category:Wiki Ed-supported courses that will work on medical topics and Category:Wiki Ed-supported courses that might work on medical topics. (None so far.)--Sage (Wiki Ed) (talk) 20:47, 18 December 2014 (UTC)
User:Sage (Wiki Ed) why are there none listed? Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 21:09, 18 December 2014 (UTC)
User:Doc James Nobody has used the Assignment Design Wizard since User:Sage (Wiki Ed) enabled that feature. User:Helaine (Wiki Ed) and I will be following up with the current classes to find that out and add the categories manually. Jami (Wiki Ed) (talk) 22:26, 18 December 2014 (UTC)

I drew positive attention to this at User talk:Jimbo Wales#Credit where credit is due. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:41, 18 December 2014 (UTC)

Query: useful update[edit]

Thanks for all that you are trying to do. But one thing that would significantly make things less miserable in here would be to find a way to get students to understand how to find the right sources early on. That would save us time, and result in a better experience for them.

Parent management training is a topic that affects the lives of children at risk (and one that I've encountered many times in my Tourette syndrome writing-- I'm glad we've now got a decent article on the topic, from Education Program:University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)/Psychology 220A (Fall, 2014)  supported by Wiki Ed).

Here is the version edited by the student. On this topic, there are FIVE recent secondary reviews:

  1. PMID 23877886 Furlong 2013
  2. PMID 23595362 Maliken 2013 (for neutrality, this content should probably be reflected)
  3. PMID 23420407. Michelson 2013
  4. PMID 22161373 Zwi 2011
  5. PMID 23994367 Menting 2013

The student had used, quite briefly, only two of them, and most of the article was cited to outdated and primary sources, creating a POV that affects children at risk (implied efficacy in areas where none is demonstrated to my knowledge). I have worked through a lot of the article, yesterday got my hands on the five reviews, and will continue updating the article over the next few weeks.

Now, I don't have access to a University library, and students do. How can we convince them and train them to go out and find the most recent sources, so others don't have to basically rewrite articles? This student did a competent job on the article, but was using poor sources. Getting students better trained up in how to find the best sources would be a huge help! Will staff contact the profs who are working on health and biomed topics to emphasize to them how to search PubMed, for example? Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2008-06-30/Dispatches. Because another issue in that article is the use of books by authors who have a vested commercial interest in selling a specific PMT program. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:20, 19 December 2014 (UTC)

Intriguing idea, SandyGeorgia. I think that's definitely something we can highlight with instructors. What are good practices beyond looking for the most recent review articles on PubMed? Not having access either, is there a flag in PubMed where you can limit the search to secondary sources or to a certain time period? Is there a general cut-off we should suggest (last 2 years? 5 years?)? I'm definitely willing to get this information to instructors, just want to hear from med-topic editors what the specific guidelines should be around the *best* MEDRS-compliant sources. --LiAnna (Wiki Ed) (talk) 22:52, 19 December 2014 (UTC)
@LiAnna (Wiki Ed):. Yes, Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2008-06-30/Dispatches explains it all (I hope :). There is a flag in the PubMed search engine, where you can restrict the search to "review" articles only. And if there are a ton of reviews, you can further restrict them to "free full text"-- getting only freely available reviews. That's what makes it so frustrating that students aren't doing this! We don't really have to suggest a cutoff to them, if we can get them to use PubMed, because PubMed coughs up abstracts chronologically newest to oldest-- so they would have to go out of their way to get the old ones :) The Dispatch I linked above explains how to use the PubMed search engine, but for you to give it a try just to see how easy this is:
  • Go to the pubmed search engine.
  • Type in, for example, Tourette, and then click on Search
  • You'll see 4,180 article abstracts, and scanning down them, you will occasionally see the words Free PMC Article (that means you can access the full text, not just the abstract)
  • Now look up at the left top corner, you will see "Article type", and click on "review". Now you have restricted to Tourette reviews, 810 articles.
  • Now look at the second box in the left top corner, for text availability, and click on "Free full text"; that gives you 81 free full text reviews.
  • And finally, there is a date restriction box as well. Click on Publication dates, 5 years, and you now have 35 recent reviews that are freely available.
Now, since students have access to a University library, they need not restrict their searches to only those freely available; they should be able to access many of the recent reviews through a university database (which I can't always do-- I have to call in favors).

Click on any article and go to the bottom left corner, Publication Type, click to expand, and you will see if "Review" is indicated.

See also that there is a PubMed identifier (PMID) on every article. If students would use PubMed, and give PMIDs in their citations, our work would be WORLDS easier, because we can simply click the PMID link and discover if the article is a primary study or a secondary review. Including a PMID is as simple as typing PMID followed by the number, which generates a wikilink, like this: PMID 25295029. If we could get students to do this, it would make a world of difference.

At Parent management training, even though the student did competent work and the sources look decent on the surface, s/he actually used a lot of books written by authors who have a "brand-name" program for sale, so using independent, third-party journal reviews would be preferable. S/he wrote a decent article that I'm having to almost re-write. Wouldn't it be great if we could have harnessed that student to work together, rather than me having to re-do good work? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 23:11, 19 December 2014 (UTC)

Super useful, thank you so much, Sandy! We'll definitely work on getting this in front of students and instructors editing medical-related topics next term. --LiAnna (Wiki Ed) (talk) 23:37, 19 December 2014 (UTC)

Followup on PMID issues[edit]

Another course page not filled in

From the useful link in the Update above, I have bookmarked Wikipedia:Education program/Tasks, where my first stop was Bacteriovorax stolpii.

This example highlights why it would be helpful to a) get a hold of these profs early on, b) get course pages filled out, and c) get students engaged sooner in the editing process. The two students involved in this article did all of their work in about a month, and haven't (yet) returned to Wikipedia. And Wikipedia has missed a chance to get important info from the students, who have the sources. Since this course has run for several semesters, it seems the prof would have/could have communicated certain info to the students by now.

See my edit. The students didn't include PMIDs or free full-text links when available. It could be such a simple thing to communicate this info to courses on biomedical topics.

But much more importantly, the students did not include page numbers on book sources, so we are missing an important piece of info needed for verifiability, and who knows who will ever provide that. That is info that we shoulda/coulda gotten from them while they were actively editing; this is a missed opportunity, and the prof could be/should be explaining to students how to correctly cite info. (I can make no comment on the content of the article, other than saying that I find it basically indecipherable.)

If we can intervene sooner with profs, we will lose less opportunities to get good citation info. Could someone contact this prof? Since the course has run for several semesters, either s/he should be teaching the students correct citation, or s/he should be cleaning up these articles. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:02, 20 December 2014 (UTC)

Sasata on the job! Several fixed; having the Wiki Ed task link is grand. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:55, 20 December 2014 (UTC)

Request for course instructor right: DerrickRMiller (talk) (course page draft)[edit]


Derrick R. Miller


University of North Carolina Wilmington

Course title and description

German Diasporas is a course for advanced undergraduates that covers German-speaking emigrants moving from areas in which they were members of the language majority to areas in which they are in the language minority. Wikipedia assignments--improving existing articles and creating new ones--will accompany their reading all semester and form part of their final research project.

Number of students


Start and end dates

12 Jan 2015 - 9 May, 2015

@OhanaUnited, Neelix, Helaine (Wiki Ed), Pharos, Pongr: @Sleuthwood, Etlib, Biosthmors, Kayz911: @Jami (Wiki Ed), Rjensen, Bluerasberry, Kevin Gorman: --DerrickRMiller (talk) 14:57, 17 December 2014 (UTC)

DerrickRMiller, are you aware (and will you make your students aware) that when translating, copyright still has to be respected? That is, direct translations are copyvio, and when translating sources, we still have to rephrase in our own words. Also, will you make your students aware of WP:NONENG so that sufficient notes will be left in the citations ?

Next, you have never edited an article on; how do you propose to instruct students to use a website you have never used? Will you be logging on daily or weekly, reviewing your students' work, engaging the encyclopedia yourself? I raise this query because absent profs, unknowledgeable in Wikipedia policies and guidelines, have historically been a recipe for failure. Would you consider engaging the encyclopedia yourself, to learn more about the editing environment and polices and guidelines here? Also, your course design indicates 3 students: is that accurate? And will your students be working in sandbox (drafts), or directly in article space ? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:34, 17 December 2014 (UTC)

@DerrickRMiller: I'm happy to see you've looked into the secondary literature that's available, as that can otherwise get students into some trouble when trying to find enough reliable sources to use during their research. I'm also very happy your students will be required to complete the online training. We'll have some tools that will make it easy for you to track whether they completed that. Looks like you have a good plan so far—I'll let you answer the other questions that have been raised, and then you should receive some links to training materials from User:Helaine (Wiki Ed). Thanks. Jami (Wiki Ed) (talk) 16:55, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
I have already gotten in touch with DerrickRMiller to tell him about all of Wiki Ed's resources including the educator and student trainings. Helaine (Wiki Ed) (talk) 17:31, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
Hi SandyGeorgia, while you raise a valid concern about translations still being under copyright, I can't find anything on the course page that indicates the students will be translating from German. Can you help point me to where your concern arose from? Helaine (Wiki Ed) (talk) 17:37, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
@SandyGeorgia:, First, despite the "German" prefix, this course is taught in English and relies on English-language sources. However, thanks for the WP:NONENG information. I'll mention it to students. Second, I have spent the past several days working on creating an article in my own sandbox, which I submitted for review and requested for creation today. However, I see the process is severely backlogged and could take months to appear. I am new to contributing to Wikipedia and am taking this opportunity to learning about it myself slightly ahead of, and together with my students---hence, my reading of the Wikipedia Education resources, my completion of the training modules, my communication with Helaine (Wiki Ed), and my own experimentation in my sandbox. It is indeed a group of three students and we will be working closely together all semester long. The students will begin working in sandbox (drafts) before editing live.DerrickRMiller (talk) 17:43, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for the ping DerrickRMiller. Even though the course is taught in English, the possibility arises that some of the best-available sources will be in German, so I wanted to be sure you would point out translation copyvio issues to students (in my Spanish-language source reviewing, I've become aware that many editors don't realize that translation can be copyvio). I would offer to review your sandbox and move it to mainspace, but I see a good deal of the sourcing is German. If you give me permission to edit your sandbox, I'll add whatever I can in terms of cleanup, etc, but I'm afraid I can't offer to move it into mainspace without being able to access sources. Best, SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:56, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
@DerrickRMiller: I have granted you course instructor rights, and went ahead and created your course page. I also added you as the instructor on the page. Please let me know if you have any further questions. Thanks! Helaine (Wiki Ed) (talk) 20:42, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
  • @DerrickRMiller: Great article. I'll AGF on the sourcing. Article looks good and I've moved it to Alexander Volck.--v/r - TP 21:07, 18 December 2014 (UTC)

Request for course instructor right: ProfGray (talk) (course page draft)[edit]


ProfGray, a new account. Under my personal account, I have 6,000+ edits, 57 articles created, some XfD and maintenance experience, and in-depth mediation.


Miami University of Ohio

Course title and description
Religions of the Hebrew Bible (REL 314) is an introductory survey class, requiring no prior knowledge of the Bible. In this class, students will examine selected texts from the Hebrew Bible, using tools of critical biblical scholarship, such as biblical archaeology, literary analysis, source criticism, feminist theory, socio-historical criticism. Students will be exposed to Mesopotamian myths and archaeological data that form the background to the composition of the Bible. With collaborative assignments on Wikipedia, students will cultivate key skills in unbiased writing about controversial religious scriptures (i.e., primary sources) as well as scholarly debates (i.e., secondary sources).
As an initial benchmark and a final reflection, students will write brief, original essays about two of our soceity's major document collections: the Hebrew Bible and Wikipedia. For instance, students might compare editing methods, key principles, POVs, textual inconsistencies, and communal rituals. Thus, the Wikipedia process may deepen their insight and appreciation for how the Bible was composed and was shaping religious cultures.
The WP assignments will be incremental, starting with the art of Talk page conversations, followed by sentence-level edits with citations, then paragraph-level work, and finally to more challenging paraphrases of a scholarly debate. I will select most articles for student editing in advance. Although I've taught the off-line course twice, I'm still wondering how much content to leave aside for the WP work. Almost certainly this draft will be revised to cut down the substantive readings (e.g., for weeks 6 & 9) and the pace of assignments.
To make oversight manageable for me, students will hopefully work in pairs and then teams of ~4 students. I have been in touch with a few editors and would welcome more support.
Number of students

11 to 15 undergraduates, mostly upperclassmen

Start and end dates
Our semester beings January 26th and the Wikipedia training would begin Feb. 2nd.

@OhanaUnited, Neelix, Helaine (Wiki Ed), Pharos, Pongr: @Sleuthwood, Etlib, Biosthmors, Kayz911: @Jami (Wiki Ed), Rjensen, Bluerasberry, Kevin Gorman: Thanks very much! --ProfGray (talk) 04:50, 19 December 2014 (UTC)

@ProfGray: are you willing to identify your alternate account (perhaps by e-mail)? — xaosflux Talk 14:51, 19 December 2014 (UTC)
I'm willing to validate with you by email (I'll send a random string to each account's email and you can post them combined here), or you could engage a checkuser or arbcom for increased secrecy. — xaosflux Talk 14:59, 19 December 2014 (UTC)
This is not required for you to proceed, but may speed things up. — xaosflux Talk 14:59, 19 December 2014 (UTC)
Yes, I'm happy to confirm, xaosflux Talk. The other account is known to at least 1 Wiki Ed staff person, via email. Would it be sufficient to inform one member of ArbCom? (A couple of them may remember me from my mediation role, though that was years ago.) Btw, I've noted the situation with a multiple account user box. Also, I will use the same computer(s) for both accounts, so isn't it traceable if I run amok? Thanks! ProfGray (talk) 15:05, 19 December 2014 (UTC)
The existing WikiEd person should be fine, they can come action your request. Unless you plan on running for RfA or the like you are not required to disclose; checkusers can correlate, but only if there is a specific issue. I'm marking your account confirmed for now so you can avoid captcha's in the meantime. — xaosflux Talk 15:12, 19 December 2014 (UTC)
Thanks very much. Don't hesitate to ask if you have any questions or concerns about this. ProfGray (talk) 15:26, 19 December 2014 (UTC)
That Wiki Ed person would be me. Granting the user right now.--Sage (Wiki Ed) (talk) 15:40, 19 December 2014 (UTC)

Request for course instructor right: ShaneGero (talk) (course page draft)[edit]


Shane Gero


Education Committee Chair - Society for Marine Mammalogy Post-doctoral Researcher, Aarhus University, Denmark

Course title and description

The Marine Mammal WikiSprint (we call it a sprint because its short and has a directed goal) is an intense 1 week crash course in getting expert members of the international society for marine mammalogy involved in editing and adding content and references to Wikipedia. This is the first of several short, pulse-like, initiatives, which will hopefully bring our membership up to speed and get academics using wikipedia in their classrooms. Most of the enrolled users will be experts in the field of marine mammalogy: researchers, professors, public sector managers, grad students, but we will also include undergrad students and enthusiats. The key goal is to get all the marine mammal related content updated and on the watchlists for many experts in the community. We will be linking with the WikiOceans project and working to WikiEducation Foundation to move forward. I have spoken with Jami Mathewson at Wiki Education about our initiative.

Number of students

we are hoping for the initial class to be around 40-50 individuals, and to grow this for the subsequent "Sprint" in the late spring/summer.

Start and end dates

The first wikisprint will be Jan 18 - 25.

@OhanaUnited, Neelix, Helaine (Wiki Ed), Pharos, Pongr: @Sleuthwood, Etlib, Biosthmors, Kayz911: @Jami (Wiki Ed), Rjensen, Bluerasberry, Kevin Gorman: --ShaneGero (talk) 11:49, 19 December 2014 (UTC)

Online Ambassador application: Bishalbaishya2012[edit]


Bishalbaishya2012 (talk · contribs)

  1. Why do you want to be a Wikipedia Ambassador?
    To help the unfortunate ones by providing them wih rich verified konwledge and for my own experience too.
  2. In three sentences or less, summarize your involvement with Wikimedia projects.
  3. Please indicate a few articles to which you have made significant content contributions. (e.g. DYK, GA, FA, major revisions/expansions/copyedits).
    SEDS-APSN, Anini,etc available in my contributions page
  4. How have you been involved with welcoming and helping new users on Wikipedia?
  5. What do you see as the most important ways we could welcome newcomers or help new users become active contributors?
    By promoting creativity and self respect cum reliance
  6. Have you had major conflicts with other editors? Blocks or bans? Involvement in arbitration? Feel free to offer context, if necessary.
    Not yet, but the most major conflict was, when I made an article on 'Theory of everything (physics)' that was deleted but I didnot protest for it had valid reason.
  7. How often do you edit Wikipedia and check in on ongoing discussions? Will you be available regularly for at least two hours per week, in your role as a mentor?
    When I am subscribed to internet usage whice i don't get often for my financial status.
  8. How would you make sure your students were not violating copyright laws?
    using plagiarism checkers and verifing myself. Moreover I will promote self reliance and creativity to reduce this in long term if I am given a chance
  9. If one of your students had an issue with copyright violation how would you resolve it?
    Proper counselling and taking stern steps of deleting their contribution if required.
  10. In your _own_ words describe what copyright violation is.
    Coping someone elses work without any consent according to me is copyright violation whic also include coping elses work though the author has not given right to do so.
  11. What else should we know about you that is relevant to being a Wikipedia Ambassador?
    I am a writer in many sites even as a ghostwriter

Bishal Baishya 14:13, 19 December 2014 (UTC)


(Two endorsements are needed for online ambassador approval.)

I'd say no to this application, as a lack of experience. Less than 200 contribs doesn't seem enough for me. — Revi 14:22, 19 December 2014 (UTC)
WP:NOTNOW. --Tryptofish (talk) 00:13, 20 December 2014 (UTC)