User:Robert Horning/New Policies
|This is an historical essay that is somewhat dated, but I think it still conveys some ideas about Wikibooks from what I thought about this project a couple of years ago. It has been read by many Wikibookians since this time. While it may have had an influence on the direction of Wikibooks, this project has moved on and changed quite a bit since this was originally written. My opinions on this topic have changed slightly since I originally wrote this, and I expect that they may change some in the future. --Rob Horning 23:39, 4 July 2007 (UTC)|
There are a few absolutely hard "facts" about Wikibooks that need to be enforced, or the nature of Wikibooks is going to substantially change from what it currently is:
- All material on Wikibooks should be non-fiction in nature.
- Original research is not appropriate to be placed on Wikibooks. A very clear definition of original research needs to be made, but it should include things like laboratory notes, engineering tests, and interesting but new concepts like Neo (which is currently up on a VfD discussion)
- Material that is encyclopedic in nature ought to be placed on Wikipedia. If it is organization of Wikipedia material (Unicyclopedia pushes this line very hard) it should instead be a Wikipedia Wikiproject, again not something that should be here. Small articles about a particular subject are encouraged to be developed on Wikipedia first.
- Material that clearly belongs on a Wikimedia sister projects, such as original text source, image collections, dictionary/glossary collections, or original news reporting should be started or moved to those respective projects (Wikisource, Wikicommons, Wiktionary, Wikinews, and any other future projects that the Wikimedia Foundations comes up with).
- (This is a new change) Forking of Wikipedia content can and should happen on Wikibooks, but the article on Wikipedia should be rather mature in nature and generally should be rather long as well (with a rule of thumb being that it is hitting the 32K article limit on Wikipedia, and no realistic way to break into multiple articles for Wikipedia.) Keep in mind that the content should be an independent book, and that major rewriting of the material might be in order. The Wikipedia fork is only an initial stub that substantially large quantities of new information can be added to. (More exactly policies should be added to this point.)
- Wikibooks should be organized into "book-like" formats. It should include chapters, appendicies, bibliographies, and other features commonly found in books. Random articles that, while related to the subject of the Wikibook, should be added to Wikipedia instead unless it can be worked into the content of the Wikibook. Each Wikibook is not a subject-based "mini Wikipedia", although there is a tendancy for this to happen on Wikibooks.
- Wikibooks should be placed on a bookshelf for organizational purposes. It may be moved to a more "appropriate place", but shelving a book is a good way to start a Wikibook stub. Wikibooks material that is not on a bookshelf (or without links anywhere in Wikibooks) may be subject to deletion. Good-faith efforts of new users should be guided, and perhaps a diligant Wikibookian who wants to help out can "place" a "loose" wikibook on a bookshelf if it is not on one in the first place. Generally this matieral is either going to be new user experiments or a violation of Wikibooks policies for other reasons, including link spamming and blatant vandalism or even offensive material with strong POV issues.
- A wikibook stub can be started, and it doesn't necessarily have to be completed by the person who started it. A good point of debate, however, should be when a Wikibook stub is left alone for a long time (several months or years) and no new material is added, should it be deleted simply because it is a stub? Certainly it could be removed from bookshelves and "archived" in a collection of stubs to be used/ignored by future Wikibookians. A formal "what constitutes a Wikibook stub" policy should also be created.
- New Wikimedia project concepts are also inappropriate to be placed in Wikibooks. (Wikijunior is a major exception here, but that is a seperate issue.) If you need some server space to try out the concept, it can be done on a *very* limited basis on Meta, or if you think you have a larger community for the concept try it out on Wikicities first. The Wikimedia Foundation is particularly hostile to new major projects ideas, but Wikibooks is not the appropriate place to fight against that hostility.
Up to this point I havn't even covered the instructional "textbook" material vs. "non-textbook". It is on this more fine point of what constitutes instructional material that is for me a major sticking point on Wikibooks, and needs to be reexamined. It is also an issue with the other Wikimedia projects, and when material shows up on the sister projects that is book length in nature, the natural tendancy is to transwiki the material over to Wikibooks, regardless if it fits Wikibooks policies. Perhaps the "textbook" nature needs to be adapted or changed? Does a whole new Wikimedia project need to be developed that makes clear distinctions between these two categories of non-fiction books?