Wikibooks:Requests for undeletion/FAQ for alt.internet.wireless

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FAQ for alt.internet.wireless[edit]

Portion of deletion log

I was stunned to find that all pages of this book were summarily deleted by Jguk as "not a textbook", apparently without discussion, warning, or notice! I built these pages here after being advised at Wikipedia that this was the appropriate place. They represented a great deal of work which hadn't been saved in any other place. Please at least send me the last content. I'd also like an explanation of the reasoning behind this kind of summary execution, and ask that they be considered for undeletion, since I believe they are valuable resources that reasonably fit the definition of texts. Thank you. --John Navas (User talk:Jnavas) 05:38, 19 May 2006 (UTC)

I have left a note to John to say that I am happy to either email him the content of this book (if he provides an email address), or alternatively to temporarily undelete the book to give him the opportunity to copy it himself. As far as its content was concerned, it seems that unfortunately it is another case of Wikipedia directing non-textbook content to wikibooks as many of its users don't understand what we're about. I wish John every luck in finding a suitable place in wikiworld for his work, Jguk 07:51, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
Precisely where in WikiWorld does one post a technical FAQ? Wikipedia is obviously inappropriate. A technical FAQ is about as close to a text book as I could imagine. It supplies content, facts, and references, but not in the conventional textbook style and format. If you insist that the form of the FAQ follow a textbook style, I can easily rewrite it to resemble a textbook. The content is there.
Hopefully, I read the "not a textbook" to be a complaint about the style and not the content. If there is a problem with the content, and not the style, please indicate exactly which section is the problem. As the content provider for part of the FAQ, I would also like to receive a copy of the entire FAQ as I didn't expect a unilateral deletion without an opertunity to recover many days of work. Email to Jeff Liebermann. Also, I would like to insert a place holder in Wikibooks redirecting the numerous readers of alt.internet.wireless to an "appropriate" replacement location as there are probably hundreds of references in the newsgroups and mailing list to deleted FAQ pages.
Lastly, if you plan to continue unilateral deletions of other peoples work, kindly insert a place holder detailing why it was deleted, how to protest the deletion, and where it may have been moved. This can be boiler plate if necessary. I wasted quite a bit of time trying to figure out what happened assuming that the pages had been vandalized. It never even crossed my mind that it had been unilaterally deleted without notification or comment.
--Jeff Liebermann (User:JeffLiebermann) 09:04, 19 May 2006
I agree with Jeff here. The deletions that have been going on here in Wikibooks are too sudden; too unilateral. We bearly even reach consensus on WB:VFD anymore before someone decides to force an author/editor to leave Wikibooks.
I understand that we are trying to "clean house" here, but this is seriously destroying Wikibook's reputation. I doubt Jeff or any of the other editors who did so much hard work here expected their work to go deleted, especially when the topic is informative and clearly constitutes the "learning" metric on all levels. Heck, as much as I'm against the "Accredited institution" metric, I am positive that a FAQ on wireless internet would pass everything in WB:WIW. I'd seriously like to see the argument against this FAQ to see why it doesn't belong here.
Breaking the Reputation and slapping the editors in the face is the easiest way to destroy the good spirits in this wiki. --Dragontamer 19:19, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
Response to Jguk by Jnavas:
My strongest objection is to the seemingly cavalier and insensitive way in which this deletion was done: summarily and without warning, discussion, voting for deletion, or even notification.
  • This summary deletion seems to me contrary to Deletion policy:Guidelines for admins 1, 4, 5, and 6.
  • I think the action is also contrary to Etiquette:Votes for deletion:
    • "Good faith effort to start something useful" that "might benefit from discussion."
    • "If the author is a registered user, leave a message on the user talk page."
    • "Treat users politely."
  • I don't believe these pages fall under What Wikibooks is not.
  • There would seem to be no other grounds for immediate summary deletion.
  • I think the more appropriate action would have been to list these pages in Votes for deletion, or at least as Speedy deletions.
  • It's important for those responsible for the various Wikimedia projects to be clear and consistent. We contributors shouldn't be caught in the middle.
  • Some consideration should be given to the scale and age of a book when choosing a course of action, and objections should be raised in a timely manner. This material was extensive and several months old.
I also object to the characterization of this material as "not a textbook" because I believe this material does fit within the definition of "instructional resources", which specifically includes "manuals and other texts".
For reference, the deleted pages in this book were:
My immediate questions:
  1. Why weren't primary contributors contacted or notified in advance?
  2. What was the specific objection to this book? Content? Style?
  3. What was the objection to at least using Speedy deletions?
  4. What is the objection now to using Votes for deletion?
  5. Why haven't these pages already been undeleted, as asked, at least temporarily?
  6. Are other pages originated by me also in danger of summary deletion, specifically:
    1. Cingular Wireless FAQ
    2. Cingular Wireless MEdia Configuration
    3. Converting AVI to MPEG-2 with AviSynth and TMPGEnc Xpress
--John Navas 20:20, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
Well, I could answer a few of those. Speedy deletion is used when a user isn't an administrator and is requesting an admin to immediatly delete it. JGuk is an admin here, so he can simply hit delete. Personally speaking, I don't think any of your works should be (or have been) deleted, and vote undelete ASAP. --Dragontamer 02:30, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
  • Comment There may well not be any place for your FAQ for a newsgroup in the 'wikiworld'. As a FAQ for a newsgroup, the document isn't really appropriate here; it's not really a collaborative document that you'd want to invite other users to edit (users outside the newsgroup). The FAQ could be redefined and reworked into a technical HOWTO about wireless networking, and that may well be appropriate. Kellen T 02:39, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
    • Response I take it then that your objection is to style rather than content? It is in fact a "collaborative document" to which anyone is invited to contribute (not just newsgroup participants), and in fact there have been contributions by more than one person, with undoubtedly more to come. Title wording aside, it's actually a FAQ, tutorial, reference text/manual, and/or HOWTO if you prefer, for Wireless Internet in general, not just the newsgroup, which simply serves as a complementary discussion forum. Given all that, what specific redefinition or reworking would satisfy you? --John Navas 05:19, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
      • I haven't read the module, so I can't make suggestions based upon anything except the name, but it seems to me that the content could be rolled into a book about wireless networking generally, removed from the context of the newsgroup. Kellen T 21:38, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
  • Rant A bit of background here. A few of us decided that it was time to draft an FAQ for alt.internet.wireless. I stupidly volunteered to do the task and then procrastinated for months. John Navas thought that things would go better if others were able to contribute freely. Instead of the traditional static FAQ maintained by a cabal, this was going to be an open FAQ maintained by the readers and contributors to alt.internet.wireless. John built the template and I did my best to adapt it for an FAQ. I failed. It turned into a tutorial covering technical topics that often appear as questions. Expected wireless speeds, expected range, path loss calculations, potential interference sources, confusing wireless terms, ad nausium. It's also not organized in the manner of a typical FAQ with it's question and answer style. For example, some of the sections have become large enough to deserve their own pages or chapters. Except for the title, it's not really an FAQ. However, changing the main title is tricky and I didn't think it was really a problem, until now.
In the past, I've acted as a newsgroup and mailing list moderator. I know what's involved in terminating undesireables and censoring content. I've done my share of unilateral deletions and judgement calls. It's not easy, but has to be done. However, I always give the author the oportunity to clean up their postings or modify their actions. I always initiate a dialog informing the author of what I found offensive and what actions are expected. If the author is anonymous, I post a contact request. In other words, I don't pull the plug without recourse. I generally expect the same courtesy from other moderators, something which seems to be lacking here. I can accept this as colateral damage from a necessary cleanup effort. I cannot accept the manner in which it was performed.
Reminder. I would like the contents emailed to me. -Jeff Liebermann
Now emailed to Jeff, along with an explanation of why the deletion was as it was, Jguk 19:00, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
Jguk; I received the web pages in 7 parts. I received nothing that resembled an explanation or responses to any of the many questions that I and others have asked here. I do not consider it proper to post other people email, so I'll summarize. You appologized for not providing a warning or comment. You claim that the cleanup was large and that it was not possible to add explanations to pages deleted. This is not an explanation or even a bad excuse. Kindly find a few minutes and explain why you found the form, content, or authors to be so offensive that common courtesy and established proceedures cannot be followed. Incidentally, searching Wikibooks for "FAQ" results in 399 hits. Are planning to drop all of them? -Jeff Liebermann
Jguk; I'd also like to know why the deletion was as it was. I think an explanation here to the rest of wikibooks would be most useful. You know as much as I do that since Jimbo last visit here, WB:WIW is now on shaky grounds, and I'm one who doesn't see *anything* wrong with a Usenet FAQ on Wikibooks, let alone why it would be so incorrect to bypass the WB:VFD page.--Dragontamer 01:13, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
I emailed Jeff the content when I had a few spare minutes as I felt it was unfair for me not to have made the content available to him earlier. I didn't really have enough time then to offer a fuller explanation - and I really should stop trying to give brief comments to hold an issue at bay, rather than to allow for proper time to write a full response. I now add this by way of explanation.
There are a number of points that need to be noted first as background:
Wikibooks is for textbooks
For historical reasons, Wikibooks has had content that does not fall within the textbook definition
This means that whilst our written policy restricted content here just to textbooks, in practice more was allowed
We are now becoming more focused - this was after Jimbo Wales, the President of the Wikimedia Foundation, which runs Wikibooks, made it clear that we should only be hosting textbooks
This has left us with much content that needs to be removed - some by transferring to another non-WMF wiki beforehand, some not
The aim is for Wikibooks to be an excellent resource for textbooks as quickly as possible
Having noted that, I trust it is clear that as the FAQ were not in the format of a textbook (they are FAQs) they do not meet Wikibooks inclusion criterion. That is why they were removed.
I appreciate that it would have been more courteous to have noted full reasoning for this on the authors' talk pages - perhaps even giving a while for content to be copied directly from Wikibooks before removing it. This, however, would be time consuming - and in many cases somewhat fruitless as the authors have either long since left or have added content from anonymous non-static ips. There would not only be time in doing all this, but also time in maintaining a list of which books are potentially going to be removed after this process. Against this is the time it takes in deleting text that clearly does not comply with our textbook requirement and offering, if the authors so wish, to email copies of the content to them if they do not already have personal copies of their work. I accept the former way is more courteous. I also note that we all have a finite amount of time we can give the project. I do, however, apologise for any offence I may have caused, Jguk 07:18, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
The author is willing to convert this into a classic textbook (maybe not anymore. I know that if I were in his position, I probably wouldn't come back here). If this was noted first in WB:VFD or maybe if the author was contacted before the deletion, he would have converted the text into a textbook. Given the speed in which this undeletion request occured, I'd say that that there was not even an attempt to contact the authors beforehand.
And what is wrong with taking your time on Wikibooks? Finally; while I have not read the page itself; I'd gauge that the judgement was passed purely based on its title. As said before; great textbooks such as "The Little Schemer" and "C++ a Dialoge" are written in a question/answer format, akin to an FAQ. A wireless FAQ easily fits inside the current metric you've been using. (Aka, useable in an accredited institution). It almost seems as if you didn't use the metric now just for this special case, or have stopped using it completely.
You also say it is "Clearly not a textbook", but the only thing that seems to be clear is that this isn't a "clear" issue, given that at least 2 users who've been here for longer than 6 months (Me and Jnavas), are totally confused here. --Dragontamer 08:02, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
Given the title of the module (and again, just by the title) it's not a textbook; it's a technical FAQ for a usenet group. Whether technical FAQs/HOWTOs are acceptable is still a vaguely open question. I think Jguk jumped the gun on this one and the module should probably be undeleted and rolled into a book on wireless networking, rather than being set as a newsgroup FAQ. Kellen T 12:11, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
      • My question is simple: How the heck does this not qualify as a textbook/manual ? I haven't seen the FAQ myself, but it seems like it holds useful information, and I've seen plenty of sucessful textbooks in the question/answer format. (The little schemer, C++ a dialog, etc. etc.) --Dragontamer 15:07, 20 May 2006 (UTC)

Further response to Jguk by Jnavas:

Thank you for your response. Unfortunately, like others that have responded here, I still don't agree that your actions were justified -- I still think they were capricious, unwarranted, and unnecessarily harmful. You also failed to respond to all of my questions, including my request to undelete the book (as you had offered), much less submit the issue to Votes for deletion, which is what you should have done originally. You also failed to address the issue of other Wikibooks I've created. Please do so now. I'm seriously considering a formal complaint to Wikimedia. --John Navas 16:11, 21 May 2006 (UTC)

First I'd like to note that no-one, including me, takes kindly to threats. Additionally I'd like to note that I am certain that if you were to take the issue to WMF they would reaffirm that Wikibooks is for textbooks and not for FAQs and that any FAQ pages should be speedily deleted. Incidentally, if you wish to check this, you're probably most likely to get a response on Jimbo's Wikipedia user talk page (although that cannot be guaranteed). I have, however, acceded to the request to undelete these pages and I have added them to VfD to allow further discussion. Doing this will allow users who are not admins, such as Dragontamer, to see for themselves that this content was not a textbook and so should not be on wikibooks. It will also allow anyone who wishes, not just Jeff, to take a personal copy of the text if they so wish.

It's also relevant that, as early as last November, another admin, Krischik, was warning you on Talk:FAQ for alt.internet.wireless that this content was not appropriate for wikibooks - so my actions, given that the book had clearly not transformed itself into a textbook in the intervening six months, should not be a surprise.

Finally, I would like to note that, although in retrospect I agree that it would have been better to have checked whether the book was active, and if so dropped a note to the main authors before any deletion, I very much acted with Wikibooks' interests in mind. Just because some users disagree with me is not justification to attack me. I hope any discussion on VfD is in the right spirit and discuss the only relevant issue - whether the pages do or ever will constitute a textbook (and so are suitable for retention on wikibooks). I also sincerely hope that you are able to find an alternative wiki that is suitable for the FAQ content, Jguk 17:01, 21 May 2006 (UTC)

Response by Jnavas:
  • What you're calling a "threat" was simply a polite fair warning, a courtesy you didn't extend to those of us working on this book.
  • Issues raised by Admin Krischik (in a timely manner) were promptly addressed, concluding with "that is fine", "your book name is well within the current policy", "OK", and "you indeed seem to have broader aim: so good luck to you".
  • Your immediate summary deletion of this book was contrary to Deletion policy:Guidelines for admins (1, 4, 5, and 6), and Etiquette:Votes for deletion.
  • To be clear, my objection is only to your actions, not you personally. I apologize if it seemed otherwise.
  • I'm still waiting to hear if other Wikibbooks I have originated are in similar danger.
--John Navas 15:48, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
Response by Whiteknight:
I agree with User:Jguk completely on this issue: This page was given fair warning well in advance, it failed to become suitable for wikibooks within a 6 month timeframe, and so it was deleted. The content of WB:WIW is currently undergoing a number of changes, and Jimbo himself has stated that wikibooks should only contain materials that could be taught in an accredited institution. The wikibooks community is working to reach concensus on this matter to determine exactly what metric we should be using in the future, but until we reach such a concensus, the "accredited institution" metric stands as the measuring stick against which all pages are being measured. An FAQ concerning a particular website/newsgroup/knitting circle is not, and can never become a textbook capable of being taught in an accredited institution. So, to answer your earlier question, it is clearly the content of these pages that warrants deletion. the fact that User:Jguk deleted this pages unilaterally is only due to the fact that I, or another admin, did not find this page first. It would be a bad move on your part to lodge such a complaint with the WMF: because of Jimbo's recent statements, WMF is more likely to speedily delete these pages then we are. At least Jguk was kind enough to undelete these pages for you and to start a discussion on VfD to determine the fate of these pages. Jimbo never does the same. --Whiteknight(talk) (projects) 00:38, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
Response to Whiteknight:
  • In fact there was no warning or even notice. Jguk admits that he didn't even check to see that the book was active.
  • Another Admin (Krischik) did find the book first, and issues he raised (in a timely manner) were promptly addressed, concluding with "that is fine", "your book name is well within the current policy", "OK", and "you indeed seem to have broader aim: so good luck to you".
  • This content of this book isn't confined to a newsgroup, which simply serves as a complementary discussion forum -- it's a general reference on Wireless Internet access that falls within "instructional resources", which specifically includes "manuals and other texts".
--John Navas 15:28, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
Comments on use of FAQ in an accredited institution:
  • It would appear from this discussion that there is no place for FAQ's in public instruction. I sent a short email to 4 local college instructors, asking them if they used FAQ's in their classes. Three have so far replied that FAQ's are part of the course and curriculum in technical fields and are used heavily to avoid the chronic repetition of common questions. They have largely replaced the addenda section of most printed textbooks. A quick Google search of any university plus FAQ will yield numerous FAQ's on many varied topics.
  • I find it rather entertaining that the content is what's offensive. I've recently granted permission for a trade skool instructor to use my section on wireless link budget and range calculations for instructional material in his classes. I'll presume that you really mean the form and not the content. Parts of the content are apparently quite suitable for classroom instruction material.
  • I will give the moderators credit for consistency. I pointed out 4 days ago that there were 399 hits for FAQ in the Wikibooks search. Two days later, there were zero. FAQ's are apparently so revolting to Wikibooks that a wholesale deletion is the only way to prevent contamination of the purity of traditional instructional textbooks. Are the various moderators sure that they're doing the right thing? I'm not so sure.
  • Update ...and today, all 399 hits for FAQ are back. Amazing. --Jeff Liebermann 10:19, 24 May 2006 (UTC)
  • The issues for the authors is currently whether the effort of converting the FAQ's into book format is worth the time and effort. It's still being debated as we look for a more liberal home for the FAQ. As I do most such work on weekends, and the following weekend is Memorial Day in the USA, I would appreciate it if you leave the FAQ's in place for at least another 10 to 14 days.
--Jeff Liebermann 6:24, 23 May 2006 (UTC)
And college students may look up information in an encyclopedia, but encyclopedia entries do not belong at wikibooks (see: wikipedia). Wikibooks is for textbooks: we have lost alot of material recently because of this rule, and we will most certainly lose more in the future. A stand-alone FAQ is not a textbook, although an FAQ appendix to an actual textbook would be acceptable. My vote on VfD tells me opinion of this: Merge this FAQ into an appropriate text, or delete it. --Whiteknight(talk) (projects) 18:04, 23 May 2006 (UTC)
With all due respect to Whiteknight (and Jguk):
  • There is no (written) "rule" against FAQ format. Wikibooks currently encompasses "instructional resources," including "manuals and other texts," and there is no exclusion of FAQ format in what Wikibooks is not. If there is to be some narrower definition of permitted Wikibooks that specifically excludes FAQ format, then the written policies should first be updated to make that clear. Otherwise the process is inevitably subjective, unreasonable, and unfair.
  • There is no generally accepted definition of "textbook" that clearly excludes FAQ format, much less FAQ content. Instructional books can and have been written in question and answer (FAQ) format.
--John Navas 18:52, 23 May 2006 (UTC)
  • May I call to the attention of those participating in this discussion that the pages in question are an FAQ in name only. If you would kindly look at the various pages, you will note that they are NOT in the traditional question and answer format considered to be the hallmark of an internet FAQ. I just looked at all the pages and found no questions and answers. Change the title and a few references to alt.internet.wireless, and it could easily be construed as instructional material for a class in wireless internet access.
--Jeff Liebermann 11:35, 23 May 2006 (UTC)
Wouldn't a standalone FAQ then fall under the catagory of stub? --Dragontamer 19:57, 23 May 2006 (UTC)
  • Undelete Is there a reason to delete this that I missed? I think that being in FAQ format is not a sufficient reason for deletion; a textbook can be an FAQ document. It is like stating that Cryptography is not a textbook after looking at several humanities textbooks. Actually, it more like saying that a wiki is not a textbook because textbooks are printed documents. However, I dislike that John Navas originally obtained advice from Wikipedia to put the FAQ here on Wikibooks; Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not a wiki advice service, and many Wikipedians have not much idea about what Wikibooks is for. --Kernigh 18:28, 12 June 2006 (UTC)
  • Thank you for your support, even though it's now too late.
  • Regarding advice:
    1. I didn't seek advice from Wikipedia -- it was simply given to me.
    2. My presumption was that sister projects in Wikimedia should have a fair amount of clue about each other -- do you think that unwarranted, and if so why?
    3. I obtained the blessing of an Admin here shortly after starting, but that wasn't enough to protect my material from summary deletion without warning or notice by a different Admin. How do you feel about that?
--John Navas 07:46, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
  • Undelete - I would have to add my voice in here with this. I totally concurr with Kernigh that many of the people on Wikipedia are clueless over what is happening on the other Wikimedia sister projects, where they consider the Wikiprojects on Wikpedia itself to be the real sister projects and things like Wikibooks are simply alien hangouts. And there have been many visions over what Wikibooks should be and can be.

    The most disturbing thing about this action is that it was deleted under the guise that it was transwikied to another place. Actions like this really need some notification and warning well before it will be deleted. Not some general generic note about non-textbook material on the staff lounge but a notice that a specific Wikibook is going to be deleted. I had briefly considered fighting this by wheel-warring over this issue, but I felt it was better to try and let those who were deleting content to get it out of their system and have flames from other people first.

    I appreciate that Jimbo is trying to "raise the standards" of Wikibooks, but there have been existing structures in place on Wikibooks for removing content that seemed objectionable, and much of that content has been deleted that really doesn't past muster. The objection I seem to be hearing from Jimbo and a few others is that it isn't being removed fast enough. I have repeatedly said that if you are going to admin here on Wikibooks, you need to be very, very patient and let discussions last more than a week. I know that on Wikipedia it seems as though discussions run their course after just a few days, and they are archived after about a week. Discussions here on Wikibooks sometimes have gone on for several months, with meaningful and significant comments added several weeks after the thread was started. I could go on as to why this is the case, but the point is that it takes time for Wikibooks contributors to get into the discussions. This Wikibook in particular did not go through the normal VfD process, and was deleted inappropriately. That two admins are voicing their opinion that it should be undeleted says volumes over the fact that this was not properly done. --Rob Horning 10:35, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

  • Undelete - It's format is close enough to a textbook, if this place keeps on rising standards, it will be a fall of Wikibooks. --Je suis 02:47, 21 June 2006 (UTC)