Wikipedia:Education noticeboard/Incidents

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Welcome to the Education Program Incidents page.

This page is for reporting and discussing specific incidents related to student editing and/or the Education Program on the English Wikipedia that require the intervention of experienced editors and/or administrators.

Topics may include:

  • Content issues created by real or potential student assignments
  • Unresponsive classrooms or those editing with poorly managed or structured courses
  • Classrooms editing without a course page or with an ambiguous page
  • And any other issue that might relate to student assignments

Of course, we should remain civil towards all participants and assume good faith.

  • Before posting a grievance about a user here, please discuss the issue with them on their user talk page.
  • You should generally notify any user who is the subject of a discussion. You may use {{ping}} or {{tiny ping}} to do so, or simply link their username when you post your comment. It is not required to contact students when their edits are only being discussed in the context of a class-wide problem.
  • Please include diffs to help us find the problem you are reporting.
  • Please sign all contributions, using four tilde characters "~~~~".
  • Threads are automatically archived after 7 days of inactivity.

Where possible and relevant, please include the following information with any report: Article(s), Course, Instructor, Online volunteers, and Student.

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

Copyvio checks needed[edit]

  • I am the professor, Joan Strassmann — Preceding unsigned comment added by Agelaia (talkcontribs) 01:12, 22 December 2014 (UTC)
Note that half of the student grade in this course is their Wikipedia work, prof is not identified on the course page, and they are assessing their own articles (rather than waiting for independent assesssment). Also, students are identified by full real name on the course page (making copyvio reports a serious matter).

Working through the Wikipedia:Education program/Tasks, I found this on the first source I checked

Source: [1]

  • younger workers perform within-nest tasks such as brood care, whereas older females perform higher risk tasks such as nest defense and foraging


  • While younger workers perform within-nest tasks such as brood care, older females perform riskier tasks such as nest defense and foraging.


  • accelerates the onset of guarding behavior, an age-correlated task, and increases the number of foraging females; and we demonstrate that JH titers correlate with both ovarian development of queens and task differentiation in workers


  • accelerate the onset of guarding behavior, an age-correlated worker task, but also increases the number of foraging females. Thus, the juvenile hormone levels correlate with both the ovarian development of queens and task differentiation in workers


Copyvio concerns are also raised on course talk.

So, a closer look at this course work is warranted (that article text suggests more of same will be found) It would also be helpful if they would add PMIDs or DOIs on their sources, making them easier to find. And they should not be assessing their own articles.[2]

Could someone please G12- speedy delete Polistes canadensis? It is not a valuable use of editor time to chase down other copyvio when one is found on the first source checked.

Doc James could the copyvio bot go through all of the articles from this course? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 22:55, 21 December 2014 (UTC)

More from Strassmann University St Louis course[edit]


  • Ecologically, P. versicolor is similar to temperate-zone species such as Polistes fuscatus or Polistes dominulus rather than other tropical species such as Polistes canadensis because although seasonal conditions are not drastic in terms of temperature, in southeast Brazil, there is a pronounced dry season


  • Ecologically, the yellow paper wasp lives in conditions similar to those of other temperate zone species, such as Polistes fascatus (a derivate Fuscopolistes) and Polistes canadensis (also in the Aphanilopterus subgenus). While the seasonal conditions are not drastic in terms of temperature, these species do share a pronounced dry season.


  • females ... the differences found here were exclusively size-related


  • The differences between females are exclusively size-related


  • In aggregations, new queens are indisputably the larger females among the females compositing an aggregation. After new nests are founded, the first emerged females are the smallest individuals.


  • Within an aggregation of yellow paper wasps, the queens are the indisputably the largest females and newly emerged females are the smallest.


  • colony size varies from seven (foundress associations) to nearly 100 females (mature colonies).


  • Colony size can vary from seven females (foundress associations) to nearly 100 females (mature colonies).

SandyGeorgia (Talk) 23:39, 21 December 2014 (UTC)

@SandyGeorgia: the listed instructors for that course are: @Abenaa07: and @Verniercass:, I retrieved this from the course information summary box (search the page for "Instructors"). — xaosflux Talk 00:04, 22 December 2014 (UTC)
I'm striking out on that search, Xaosflux? I see Verniercass as a TA, and her userpage says someone else is the instructor? User:Verniercass. Someone needs to know they shouldn't be assessing their own articles, and we need copyvio checking. Here are the sum total of article contribs to Wikipedia for Verniercass, and here are the article contribs for Abenaa07 (possible COI edits). SandyGeorgia (Talk) 00:30, 22 December 2014 (UTC)
They are listed on Education Program:Washington University in St. Louis/Behavioral Ecology (Fall 2014)  supported by Wiki Ed -- now this only means they are set up that way on enwiki, can't be sure one of them is really the instructor (It does look like Verniercass is a TA). That course also has a WikiEd volunteer, @Ian (Wiki Ed): and an on-campus volunteer as well @Rulew:xaosflux Talk 00:44, 22 December 2014 (UTC)
Ack, I finally found that box (why is it near the bottom of the page, instead of top like other courses? I don't know why my ctrl-f search didn't find it). Is it unreasonable to think this program could be more successful with online volunteers and instructors who are active and experienced editors? Shouldn't the instructors have been checking for copyvio before grading (which is presumably already done by now)? 00:53, 22 December 2014 (UTC)
The course professor is @Agelaia:. User:Verniercass(Talk)

We seem to have everyone on board now. This class worked on dozens of articles; will the prof and TAs be checking all of the articles for plagiarism and copyvio? Also, could you please request that students add PubMed identifiers (PMIDs) or DOIs to citations, as that makes it easier to locate sources ? Also, who is the St. Louis University IP who has been doing assessments? Assessments should be independent, and two articles with copyvio were assessed as B-class. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 01:38, 22 December 2014 (UTC)

I have all the references the students used and all the contributions. I will work through all the articles in the next few weeks, simply fixing things. I wrote many of the research articles and know the field well. The students were told exactly what plagiarism is, in the syllabus and on the Wikipedia assignment.
Here is what the syllabus says:
Plagiarism occurs when someone takes the ideas, words, or sentences of another and passes it off as their own. It can be avoided by never using the exact or general structure of someone else, and by citing references when another’s ideas are used. Be vigilant and avoid plagiarism, and point it out if you see it in a paper draft. We will talk more about this later. It will not be allowed in any form.
Here is what the Wikipedia assignments say:
Can I copy information that I find from another source? No, that would be plagiarism. You can neither copy content entirely, nor just change the words around while keeping the general structure and ideas of another person. If you do this, the penalty will be severe, in accord with Wash U rules. If you detect plagiarism in any work already up on Wikipedia, or by a classmate, let the honor council for your section know, or you can tell me or a TA.
Other students and the teaching assistants have worked through all the articles several times already. Agelaia (talk) 01:56, 22 December 2014 (UTC)
If you are saying the other students and TAs evaluated the articles for plagiarism and copyvio, it is apparent that they did not.

Anyway, this is getting more and more awkward, since Joan E. Strassmann was taken mostly verbatim from University sources, and additionally had self-cited (rather than third-party sources) claims. Wikipedia can't copy from UStL without permission (via OTRS, for example) from them, so I've reduced that article to a stub and will let someone else rewrite it.

I regret having found these issues because I was testing the Education Program's new Wikipedia:Education program/Tasks, and I hope someone else will take over and clean up these problems. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 02:16, 22 December 2014 (UTC)

Unless you put quotes around it, it is attempting to pass it off as your own even if references.
Here is our policy around quotes Wikipedia:Non-free_content Best Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 10:04, 22 December 2014 (UTC)
Verniercass, Agelaia, please become familiar with the information contained in the helpful posts here from Choess and Moonriddengirl. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:06, 22 December 2014 (UTC)

The problems propogated by this program just get deeper and deeper. Here we have a course TA (Verniercass, who now has all of five edits to wikipedia article space) evidencing a lack of understanding of numerous Wikipedia basic practices, guidelines, and policies, including but not limited to COI, external jumps in text, citations that do not verify text, incorrect footnote placement relative to punctuation, incomplete citations, puffery sourced to self, uncited information and incorrect formatting on children, and more.[3] Could someone without a COI and knowledgeable of Wiki editing please go clean up the article Joan Strassmann? If that is editing from the TA in this course, how can we expect more from the students, and who can we expect to clean up all the articles? (And again, including PMIDs or DOIs on journal articles would be helpful. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:07, 22 December 2014 (UTC)

Hold on, am I getting this right. This professor's TA is writing her Wikipedia article, and is also participating in the Education Program?! --jbmurray (talkcontribs) 18:38, 22 December 2014 (UTC)
As far as I can tell, and possibly more. But the bigger concern is a lack of understanding of plagiarism, copyvio, et al, and who will clean up those articles ?? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 18:40, 22 December 2014 (UTC)
And this is another instructor with essentially no edits to Wikipedia articles. Indeed, the article she has edited most is the one on her husband. When we have instructors and TAs who clearly do not know the basics of Wikipedia policies, no wonder there's trouble. --jbmurray (talkcontribs) 18:45, 22 December 2014 (UTC)

I'd been meaning to check this class out later as they appear to editing mostly entomology articles, but I didn't realize the problems were this bad. A part of assignment descriptions that bothered me was also this[4]:

What if other Wikipedians have taken down or totally changed my entry? Look at why they did this. If it is because there were serious problems with it, fix them. If it is because the others felt the material did not fit, and you disagree, argue with them. Get help from others in the class to participate. Do your best to keep your material up there, even if modified. Try to understand what is going on. Ask us. You can also work on modifying and expanding what others have put up. I do not think this will be a big problem if you have worked on an animal for which there is little information and done it properly.

That's some very blatant canvassing there. The general argue with them bit isn't helpful at all, but following with get others to help and keep it the material up there as best they can is not advice that should be given to new editors. I'm going to go through many of the articles and review them for general cleanup since the class is done, but I probably won't get around to pressing things like copyright issues very soon. Kingofaces43 (talk) 18:49, 22 December 2014 (UTC)

Echoing the obvious statement that "Get help from others in the class to participate" is very much inappropriate. Additionally, the overall tone of 'try to get the content to stay there' is really very unhelpful - I'd wager that this led to much more harm than good. I don't know much about the education program but am becoming interested; are these assignment descriptions vetted by experienced Wikipedians or is it left entirely to the course instructor? Sam Walton (talk) 18:57, 22 December 2014 (UTC)

And the other long-standing problem promoted by the Education Program is the COI in inherent in paid-editing-for-a-grade (the grading rubric for this particular course is too highly weighted to Wiki Work), whereby they may be advancing the prof's research agenda, since many of these articles highly cite Prof and her spouse.

The potential for COI is too high here. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:04, 22 December 2014 (UTC)

A third instance[edit]

A third here, from this source. This editor has numerous other edits, so perhaps a CCI is needed. Of concern is that the issues here extend beyond the articles listed on the course page. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 01:13, 23 December 2014 (UTC)

User-space contributions for possible informal and/or unregistered class project back in 2008?[edit]

Hi all,
I'm on CSD patrol this pleasant summer evening AEST, and in the morning UTC, and I've come across the contributions of WeepingBritney (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · logs · edit filter log · block user · block log) They are all in user-space. They are all up for [[WP:U5] deletion. I can't identify the class project or the class's professor. There seems to me to be some value in WeepingBritney's contributions. Should they be deleted?
I would appreciate your thoughts about this. (PS: I incorrectly identified WB's contributions as recent, and sent them a message. I'm kind of bad with dates, and numbers in general. I'm not going to link "Dyscalculia" again, as it already links to far too many of my comments instead of the article itself.)
Pete AU aka --Shirt58 (talk) 09:46, 22 December 2014 (UTC)

I would decline a CSD on these; however they are very stale and if the editor is gone placing all of Special:PrefixIndex/User:WeepingBritney up for MfD would likely result in removal. — xaosflux Talk 16:47, 22 December 2014 (UTC)

Race, feminism, representation issues[edit]

Just noting that there was a potentially problematic course page brought up at AN. Here is the link Wikipedia:Administrators'_noticeboard#University_class. Cheers, NativeForeigner Talk 04:18, 25 December 2014 (UTC)

Course needing attention[edit]

Education Program:University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill/PSYC500 - Developmental Psychopathology (Fall 2014)  supported by Wiki Ed is an example of a course that caused significantly more work than benefit this term. The good news is they at least have a course page, and some of their work is confined to sandbox; the bad news is this course has hit numerous articles with content that isn't salvageable. Could someone from Wiki Ed contact the prof, Eyoungstrom, and help get them better versed in WP:MEDRS, WP:MEDMOS, encyclopedic writing and tone, and work on adding content in the right place? They seem to have no knowledge of MEDRS or any basics of writing medical content on Wikipedia. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 10:15, 8 January 2015 (UTC)