Wikibooks:Requests for undeletion/Nikola Tesla

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Nikola Tesla[edit]

I disagree with the decision to delete this wikibook. Yes, on the VfD page there were several votes to kill this wikibook, but there are other considerations to be made. Gentgeen killed this Wikibook less than a day after I posted a vote to keep it, and at the very least some more "cooling off" time should have occured before it was deleted.

I am also coming from the viewpoint of a Wikibookian who doesn't frequent Wikipedia that much (although occasionally for some source material when writing a Wikibook), and not somebody personally involved with the edit wars going on with the w:Nikola Tesla article. I've also asked the community at large through the Staff Lounge on the larger issue of forking content from the Wikipedia to get a more general concensus on this issue.

In short, I don't think strictly because a Wikibook is a fork of content on Wikipedia that it should automatically be deleted. There are a number of considerations that should go into play, and in particular Rule #5 of the Deletion Policy should be followed and unless it is going to cause harm to Wikibooks, or is just blatant vandalism, it shouldn't be deleted. I know I'm sticking my head out for something I didn't even put together, but I think this was not done properly. - Rob Horning 8 July 2005 18:45 (UTC)

  • Undelete - Rob Horning 8 July 2005 18:45 (UTC)
  • Undelete and update the corresponding Wikipedia article to indicate the book is housed here, and all subsequent edits should go there instead of on the Wikipedia article. Then it is not a fork, but an relocation/expansion. If Wikipedia contains a substantial article on a subject, then a policy to delete forks of that article on Wikibooks, combined with a policy to delete articles on Wikibooks which are not as complete as the Wikipedia article, will mean a book can never be written. It will always apply to one of these policies, with the exception of the case where the book doesn't have a corresponding Wikipedia entry, or the very unlikely event that a single user just happens to write a complete and original book from scratch in a very short space of time. This is an insane policy. - Aya 8 July 2005 20:16 (UTC)
  • View - This seems to be contentious, so according to policy I hereby request to view the deleted pages. - Aya 17:44, 14 July 2005 (UTC)
  • Undelete - I'd love to see what this book was like and compare for myself. Biographies are not "fiction, original literature, or original research." Sj 06:04, 14 July 2005 (UTC)
  • Keep deleted - I'd like to know why we'd have to reverse our policies to make this book so worthy of being undeleted. I haven't seen any evidence on how this can be evolved from beyond a macropedia (ie. an in-depth encyclopedia of a certain subject), making this contrary to WB:WIN. Furthermore, I do not consider a biography to be instructional material in and of itself. KelvSYC 06:20, 14 July 2005 (UTC)
    • Firstly, the text on WB:WIN appears to define the term 'macropedia' to mean 'an article suitable for Wikipedia', which this is clearly not, or it would've been kept there. It was moved because Wikipedians felt it was too long for a Wikipedia entry. Secondly, for a site supposedly hosting educational textbooks with the intention of said books being used in educational establishments, I feel that most people would consider a biography of a famous scientist to be far more pertinent than a guide to a computer game or a guide to japanese toys such as Pokemon. Maybe these should be disallowed too. - Aya 11:52, 14 July 2005 (UTC)
  • Keep deleted - I'm perfectly happy with the way it was deleted, because it had been listed for several weeks. (Donovan|Geocachernemesis|Interact) 13:12, 14 July 2005 (UTC)
I am particularly objecting that my final vote to keep this book on Wikibooks was only one day old, with no rebuttal, prior to this Wikibook being deleted. Or the rebuttal was its removal, which seems a little harsh. If there is a sign that discussion is ongoing, action should not IMHO occur right away by admins. At least let the discussion continue a little bit when there are (and were) other wikibooks that clearly needed attention as well. --Rob Horning 23:30, 2 August 2005 (UTC)
  • Undelete I think our policy needs to start recognizing that writing a book is very different than writing an encyclopedic entry. A wikipedia article is describing something objective, so it's very easy for rapid interest and participation to reach the goal. A wikibook, on the other hand, is subjective: there is no single agreed upon way to teach material. We all know about calculus and that the mathematical definitions and truths in it are quite objective. But how to teach calculus is something else: you need to lay out a plan: How will the material be motivated? What previous knowledge is assumed? What order should topics be introduced? What topics should be used over others?
    The wikipedia gets to "punt" a lot of these questions by providing a non-linear sequence of links. But no one in their right mind is going to learn calculus reading the wikipedia: it's a reference, not a tutorial. And that's where wikibooks come in. We need to be linear: the best wikibooks are those you can just print out all of the chapters for (without too much mouse clicking, a couple of clicks per chapter tops) and then read cover to cover, without ever having to follow some link.
    Thus, it's no surprise that some wikibooks seem to be "struggling". Non-linear books like the cookbook are doing very well... but the simple matter is that tutorials take an enormous amount of time to write. Thus, it would be insane to punish books based on their lack of progress. Particularly given that this is a part-time job for everyone. (Even in the open-source world, the contributors are working full time on it-- or at least whatever aspect of the OSS project they are helping is a step on a goal to something they are working on full time. But since writing a wikibook won't really help someone accomplish a primary goal, we don't benefit from that.)
    I've also noticed that big projects work in cycles: it could be once every 4 months that someone gets motivated again to, say, enter in their lecture notes and compose new exposition to make the material sound and consistent with what else has been written. MShonle 23:49, 2 August 2005 (UTC)
I can understand why Robert Horning might feel a bit cheated. I have nothing against allowing people to view the former content. But, I think that we do need to be careful before allowing articles that are started as raw Wikipedia forks, otherwise, we may have all kinds of junk dumped on us, just so that the authors can avoid dispites at Wikipedia. I know that VfD is about books, and not about people, but the editor that started this book is well known over at Wikipedia. They refuse to create a user account, even though they make many major edits (only signing as Anon), and they change their IPs to avoid being blocked (at the time of creation of this article, they were blocked on Wikipedia for breaking the three revert rule again). So, understandably I looked at their contribution a bit more carefully. (Donovan|Geocachernemesis|Interact) 00:34, 3 August 2005 (UTC)
  • Keep deleted - I've now had a look at the deleted content, and the pages listed on its contents page makes its structure virtually identical to the corresponding Wikipedia article at w:Nikola Tesla. It would seem that any article on Wikipedia whose title is the name of a real person is implicitly structured as a biography of that person, thus, as long as this is the case, then Wikipedia must remain the canonical location for all biographies, otherwise we will end up creating two canonical locations for information on the same subject. Consequently biographies will no longer be permitted on Wikibooks, unless we make a formal agreement with Wikipedia that we should host all biographical content. This policy is what we should be discussing, not just an individual instance of it. If everyone is happy with this, then we should update WB:WIN to clearly indicate that biographies are not permitted for the reason I have given above, and not for the reason that they are not instructional, or some other subjective nonsense. I also suspect some of the Undelete votes are just from curious people who wish to see the content before making up their minds. If this is the case, then please change your vote to View, and I shall temporarily undelete the page to let you have a look. - Aya T C 19:06, 3 August 2005 (UTC)
I do think that a larger biography would do justice here on Wikibooks, as is the case of this particular Wikibook. In particular, information was being cut from the Wikipedia article strictly because of length, and the contributors were told to "go away" and not add more content, but instead do it on Wikibooks (like the ongoing discussion I'm having about the Harry Potter book, with similar initial reaction but very different reception here on Wikibooks...slightly different circumstance however on that one). Admittedly it was just a stub, and in terms of content it was identical to Wikipedia with just minor differences. I do support the idea that biographies in general should not be on Wikibooks, but the original policy discussion I had earlier about the justification of a fork from Wikipedia being used as a stub for a much larger work still hasn't been totally hashed out either. If I ever get the time from other projects, perhaps I will make another stab at putting this Wikibook back up but with substantially more content as would befit a Wikibook as opposed to merely a fork of Wikipedia. At this point we will never know what may have happened with this Wikibook had it been left alone instead of deleted. --Rob Horning 19:49, 3 August 2005 (UTC)
Okay. I see your point. I see three possibilites:
  • Just pad out the article on 'pedia, and to hell with with what the other editors think.
  • Delete all biographical data from 'pedia, and have it all here.
  • U-turn our policy on biographies, and allow a full bio here, and a brief bio on 'pedia.
There seems to be a policy conflict between 'books and 'pedia, so I shall make enquiries with members of the Foundation to resolve it. Please don't recreate the book until I've got an official response. This will no doubt become a landmark case for all subsequent 'pedia forks. - Aya T C 21:54, 3 August 2005 (UTC)
BTW Aya, I will not repost as a casual act, and certainly not as a part of an edit war. Tesla is somebody who I've always had a little facination about and I think a more exaustive work about him would be interesting. I will assure you that any reposting of content about Tesla as a biography will be months away, if not more than a year, at least by myself. I got too many other projects on the burner right now to fight this battle. I do think it belongs on Wikibooks however. --Rob Horning 22:27, 4 August 2005 (UTC)
Ok, we need to step back and see what the differences are between wikipedia and wikibooks. One of the fundamental aspects of wikipedia is that everything is from a NPOV. That is not the case for wikibooks! In wikibooks, we are taking up the roles as educators and instructors, not informers. We must necessarily take up our own point of views as to how something is to be taught. Naturally, it's undesirable for a book to be biased or incorrect, but that is not the same as having a point of view. For example, a biography on a vegetarian activist might be much more instructive and interesting if it also maintains a vegetarian point of view. And this basically gets me to my point: for an encyclopedic entry on a person, there is only one objective goal: describe all known and interesting facts on the person. For a biography on a person, there could be many goals, and, indeed, most interesting people have many different biographies. I want to see a wikibook on "Jefferson: The President" and another one on "Jefferson: The Slave Owner" and then another on "Jefferson: The Man." We don't need any coordination with wikipedia here. We're doing completely different things. Get this nonsense about canoncial sources and throw it out of the window. MShonle 23:44, 3 August 2005 (UTC)
Not true. I just chatted about this on IRC with a representative of the Wikimedia Foundation. The NPOV policy is universal (as is GFDL and m:Privacy policy), and thus also applies to this wiki. These are however the only policies we must obey. Everything else is within our autonomy. See also Wikibooks:Policies and guidelines for other important policies. - Aya T C 00:24, 4 August 2005 (UTC)
Not to engage in semantics, but the Computer Science:Algorithms book takes up the Point of View that teaching backtracking (a basic technique, but is inefficient) before teaching dynamic programming and greedy algorithms is more helpful. (The reason for this is that both DP and GA are special cases of BT. And DP is typically not taught well without the BT background.) People might disagree with that POV, but that's how I've decided the Algorithms book should go (but it wasn't my idea, I heard of it first through a very noted professor-- and then it was my duty to "win over" the other Algorithms contributors that this was the way to go, they agreed). So, if anything, the concept of NPOV in the context of a wikibook must be changed.
As I've said before, I think the "Creation Science" folks should be able to write their own self-consistent wikibook, taking up the Creation Science POV. Similarly, the Evolutionists folks should be able to write their own self-consistent wikibook. The two books would disagree with each other, but, well, it's a very, very contested issue right now. And, I think both the Creation Scientists and the Evolutionists would much rather be able to write their books with their best foot forward; mostly because the strength of their teachings would be too watered down making compromises on issues where compromise is politically untenable. (Note that an appendix of the Evolution book could refute the Creation Science book. I've got nothing wrong with discussion.) MShonle 01:19, 4 August 2005 (UTC)

As a follow up: Note another different goal between wikipedia and wikibooks: Links. For a wikipedia entry on a person, the reader is going to want to see a bunch of links and connections to other pieces. For a wikibook, we instead want to take the most relevant information from the links and change the exposition so it is a single, self-contained work. Perhaps a slogan would be better: Wikipedia is for clicking and learning about everything; a Wikibook is for learning about one single thing. We are a book project... we should be heavy on the exposition. We are not a link project: that is the job of wikipedia. So, Aya, I hope in this light perhaps you could see the aesthetic value of overlap between the wikipedia and wikibooks. It's not a crime that both sites might have entries on "Thomas Jefferson". MShonle 23:47, 3 August 2005 (UTC)

That makes sense. Maybe we should U-Turn our policy and allow 'pedia forks providing they have been reformatted as books not encyclopedia articles? - Aya T C 00:24, 4 August 2005 (UTC)
I think a set of pasted in wikipedia articles works as a good "wikibook stub." With a wikipedia stub, it's often just a little information that grows into a lot of information. With a wikibook stub, it's more often already a lot of information that grows into better and better exposition of that information. And, for what it's worth, I think writing that exposition is very time consuming. That is one reason why wikibooks take much longer. MShonle 01:23, 4 August 2005 (UTC)
Okay. I just modified WB:DP to allow for this. If this gets ratified, then this bio will be undeleted. Please cast you votes on its talk page. - Aya T C 02:55, 4 August 2005 (UTC)
Sounds good. (Though I might want to change the wording a little; including what it would mean to reformat as a book.) But on which page do we cast votes for what? MShonle 04:10, 4 August 2005 (UTC)
If you havn't noticed (the section is getting big with the flame war I admit I'm conducting) the VfD discussion on the Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter is largely about this issue as well, with the added fact that I seem to have pissed off an entire community of fans (notably just two editors) over this issue. Both of these editors seem to be Wikipedia regulars, although User:Uncle G has contributed quite a bit to Wikibooks as well. A general policy about how and what can be forked from Wikipedia is going to be needed to settle this argument. --Rob Horning 22:27, 4 August 2005 (UTC)

Undeleted - Looking at Wikibooks:Requests for deletion/Nikola Tesla, there was no clear consensus for deleting this book, and the reasons for deleting it (not being 'instructional material') are subjective nonsense.

The new version of Wikibooks:About should hopefully make this more clear, but in a nutshell, Wikipedia's goals are to write encyclopedia articles, and our goals are to write books. I don't see why there shouldn't be both, providing theirs is formatted as an encyclopedia article, and ours is formatted as a book. It is inevitable that some content will be duplicated, but this is a fundamental problem of scope overlap between the two projects, which should've been thought about before launching the Wikibooks project.

I've also left a note on w:Talk:Nikola Tesla to indicate that any material they need to trim to keep their article to a managable size should be transferred to the Wikibook.

If anyone has any comments about this decision, please make them here. Thankyou. - Aya T C 02:13, 10 August 2005 (UTC)