User:SB Johnny/Sandbox 2
One of the greatest things about Wikibooks is that our textbooks can contain the sorts of thing you "can't learn from a textbook". I think this could be especially true about "trades", as opposed to the more academic fields. So I'm interested in what people think about constructing invitation letters that Wikibookians could hand off to people they encounter in day-to-day living. There's a right way and a wrong way to do just about everything, including: trash collection, rebuilding a transmission, fixing a leaky roof, repairing guard rails, sexing chickens, dredging ports, etc.
On our part, we'd need to make some efforts at making the bookshelves user-friendly, and perhaps even have a separate "entry page" for these contributors (this might also help the Main Page debackle too). I'd also strongly argue that the "How-tos" category and bookshelf be abolished, and replaced with "Trades and Vocations", "Hobbies and Avocations", and "Life Skills and Self-Help". As a tradesman myself, I think I might speak for more than a few who would feel that classifying trades and vocations with "how-tos" (side by side with "Shaving" and "How to Tie a Tie") is rather insulting and dismissive of our fields of specialty.
User:Bastique (one of our faithful stewards) has been "talking us up" on both IRC and various lists and projects as well, and is particularly interested in "recruiting" retirees through a partnership with the AARP. Regardless of whether this is successful, it does make me think about perhaps getting in touch with labor unions and trade associations, government agencies such as agricultural extension services, museums and schools, and even web forums, mailing lists, religious institutions, or local clubs.
For AARP contributors in particular, we might even set up a new css "skin", based on monobook but with larger fonts for the edit window in particular (I personally wouldn't mind a larger font either... as much as I like the "unix-terminal" quality of the edit window, it's really not very user friendly for those with older eyes!), but also for image captions and even the main text of modules. Coming up with a more helpful "Help:" namespace would go very far too.
Within Wikimedia, 2 of our "sisters" are quite interested in us. Wikiversity's experimental style has in at least a couple cases led to the creation of very good book stubs, and their learning projects should ideally use our textbooks for reading material. Commons of course serves all projects, but the difference between the needs of Wikibooks projects and those of the Wikipedias has been a topic of many discussions lately.
As far as our relations with en.Wikiversity goes, I think we only need to ask for import to be enabled, so that we can copy over textbook-like learning projects and hope that the Wikibooks versions will continue to grow. For the commoners (commonists, commonsians, etc.), organizing "illustration projects" could both generate more interest and give image contributors a better idea of what kinds of images we need (Wikijunior, in particular, needs very different genres than does Wikipedia).
Last but not least, we need to attract Wikipedians. They know how to edit, and we might be able to identify those who are experts. Wikipedia is spotty and patchy, but there are subjects where it's very well developed because people with expertise have contributed. The problem is, no-one is an expert on everything, and the expert eventually runs out of new things to write and/or gets frustrated with the wikipedian problems of vandals, spammers, POV-pushers, and trolls.
On that, I think we've got a strong "selling point". Over the past 6 months or so, vandalism and spamming has been rather tightly controlled here thanks in large part to two of our most active administrators. We're not as strong on POV-pushing and trolling, but an influx of "angry Wikipedians" might tip the balance there. For the Wikipedians we also need to provide clear guidelines on "maintenance tasks" such as categorizing, RC patrolling, orphan pages, etc.