Wikibooks:Reading room/General

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Welcome to the General reading room. On this page, Wikibookians are free to talk about the Wikibooks project in general. For proposals for improving Wikibooks, see the Proposals reading room.

Accessible editing buttons[edit]

--Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 16:56, 27 July 2017 (UTC)

Sadly, although these sorts of initiatives by the Foundation are evidently intended to be improvements, to me they are mainly rolling dice to see whether the Foundation breaks something they don't care about. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 18:35, 27 July 2017 (UTC)

Use of the Transwiki: namespace[edit]

What is it's use? |Wikibooks=PokestarFan • Talk • Contributions|#default=PokestarFan • Talk • Contributions}} 03:59, 3 August 2017 (UTC)

@PokestarFan: m:Help:Transwiki. This is useful because sometimes there is content on a Wikipedia that is written like a guide and can be imported here. —Justin (koavf)TCM 05:05, 3 August 2017 (UTC)
Importers and Administrators can bring a page in from another Wiki. It is placed by default into the Transwiki namespace where it can be worked on before being moved into the mainspace. QuiteUnusual (discusscontribs) 14:10, 4 August 2017 (UTC)

Is the End of StackOverflow Documentation an opportunity to improve Wikibooks ?[edit]

StackOverflow will "sunset" its Documentation feature on August 8 (Blog post). All contributions to Documentation are licensed under CC-BY-SA licence. Therefore it should be possible to massively import content to Wikibooks and improve some important wikibooks such as R Programming. We just need to find the right way to cite contributions from StackOverflow contributors. Any volunteer ? --PAC2 (discusscontribs) 16:34, 3 August 2017 (UTC)

@PAC2: Good find. Someone (me?) could use wget to download them on the day that they are closed. —Justin (koavf)TCM 08:13, 4 August 2017 (UTC)

Wikibooks's author[edit]

Hello Everyone, I am newbie on wikibooks. So please don't mind. I want to know that what is the policy have on wikibooks about writing a wikibooks's author name. You can see both page European History and High School Mathematics Extensions. They both have author name. Is it right or not. Are there any policy on that. Thanks-Jayprakash12345 (discusscontribs) 17:30, 9 August 2017 (UTC)

@Jayprakash12345: Several of them have it. I personally think it's a bad idea. If you want, you can create a page like Book title/Contributors and move the content there. —Justin (koavf)TCM 18:20, 9 August 2017 (UTC)
@Jayprakash12345: The issue is not settled. On one side, there are wikibookians who think that authorship is against a true spirit of cooperation. On the other side, we think that authorship gives a strong motivation to complete a wikibook and hence could help to make of Wikibooks a great pedagogical library. The issue is not only to sign a wikibook. Everyone agrees that an open list of names of contributors is authorized. But we disagree about the author's right to refuse unwanted modifications. I think that an author can claim such a right. But this issue is not a real problem. Noone never tried to modify my wikibooks against my will.
Welcome to Wikibooks. Remember it' a kind of anarchy. I hope you will enjoy it --TD (discusscontribs) 16:58, 10 August 2017 (UTC)
TD (sorry to be blunt), your outspoken views on authorship — contradicting project policy — are admittedly authoritarian in character, but that does not make the project an anarchy. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 17:31, 10 August 2017 (UTC)
Again you a mixing things. So far no one expressed any concerns about authorship in regards to cooperation. More it would be extremely futile to refute authorship and damaging to the project to object to rightful claims of it. Again no one has raised so far any issue on those points.
The communal objection is for auhorship granting any special administrative regards to the users on wikibooks. Panic (discusscontribs) 17:34, 10 August 2017 (UTC)
@Koavf: Authors are not simple contributors, there are legal and moral considerations involved on the distinction. Authors should not use a page named contributors if they not make there the distinction clear. Most of the negative regard people have to this is due to lack of knowledge and civility that is prone to create a mess of the process. That is why I think those pages should be administratively edit protected. Panic (discusscontribs) 17:34, 10 August 2017 (UTC)
@Panic2k4: I get the distinct impression this claim is BS. Please substantiate. 17:37, 10 August 2017 (UTC)
@Koavf: See w:author as I get the impression you lack the understanding what an author is and what differentiates it from other content contributor (there are contributors that even don't add content, so think also about that). In any case the most pressing distinction is about the legal rights that are attributed to author's (or those that pay for their creative work). This has implications on re-use of content, re-licensing etc and to the individual author, for instance, in capability to claim work done, to be proud to be associated with it, to sign it and demonstrate effort made understanding on a given subject. Panic (discusscontribs) 09:18, 11 August 2017 (UTC)
@Panic2k4: Oh, that's rich. Yes, I know what an "author" is but in a collaborative environment, there is no distinction between an "author" and "another contributor". Who is the author of w:en:Abraham Lincoln? And again, I think these legal distinctions are sheer hokum. There are legal implications for moral rights in the EU--is that what you're talking about? If so, it's irrelevant as this is an American site. —Justin (koavf)TCM 15:47, 11 August 2017 (UTC)
@Koavf: Well I have no intention in having a fight over this so what I said stands. Consider that in my view your "understanding" of what an author is is incorrect, I'll go a bit more into the below as we are on the public forum, but this is it for now, as we don't have the common ground to continue.
As I stated somewhere on this discussion encyclopedic content is not copyrightable so there is no legal author (one that has rights and obligations) and I at least give accolades for those that really do the research and expansion work of content, and this recognition I have for work done is in levels of degree in regard to those efforts, even if ultimately it is all about the team, as in sports not all the players are equal in importance but ultimately its the group effort that wins. This of course can be translated to our projects Wikibooks is not a collection of articles (even if legally it may be considered a collection/aggregate), efforts here are more sub divided and require more and prolonged dedication, so individual action is not only legally more relevant (I have discussed the issue ad infinitum, form legal protection of the work to re-licensing there are a myriad of important benefits in claiming authorship) but morally, civil and ethical. Here on this project the sub-communities that do the different projects most of those do not even have an interest about Wikibooks or Wikimedia at all and see this as a public resource, a tool for public work.
To state that «there is no distinction between an "author" and "another contributor"» is a disservice to all those involved in the creative work, the harder part of the work we all benefit from. Of course we should recognize even the water boy (the bot that runs at nigh) and treat it as any one else on the team but ultimately everyone knows that his contribution is limited by function as many others. On wikibook there are water boys that do more work that many authors and should and are recognized for that in many ways. No dedicated people would have any objection in having other be recognized by their own work here. Panic (discusscontribs) 11:29, 12 August 2017 (UTC)
@Panic2k4: You said there's a legal distinction but cited no laws. That makes me think you are making up stuff. Of course, in a given page or book it's very possible that one person will do most of the writing and another will do virtually nothing original writing-wise but maybe some small formatting. You can call these "authors" and "collaborators" if you want but this is just an arbitrary distinction that you are making. Everyone who contributes to Wikibooks gets credited because page histories are preserved--I don't know what more anyone else needs. Why there has to be some prestige or an ability to veto certain edits is beyond me. I've definitely written things at Wikipedia that got deleted or revised and I wished they weren't but that's the price I pay to work on a collaborative research project. —Justin (koavf)TCM 16:02, 12 August 2017 (UTC)
@Koavf: Well as I said I'm done arguing with you as we don't share a common ground/definition of things we are speaking about, so there is really no point to it beyond preventing confusion on the public forum. Go read about what an author is and a bit about copyright laws to get the legal definition if you still don't understand the differences and implications in comparison with other types of editing. I cringe to think about what type of content contributions you have made to Wikimedia projects as you seem not to be able to understand the different licenses we use and their implications. That or you are just pulling my leg. Morally, ethical and by civility the distinction to me is self evident I can't even empathize with you when you bunch all work as having the same intrinsic characteristics and even the same merit. On my side I do not donate my work to Wikimedia, I license it to the public. I own, protect, am responsible and sign my work.
I gave examples that should show anyone in good faith that all edits aren't the same, even if I do agree that for the good of the projects and to promote participation we should only make it evident on the necessary legal side of things, without making any grand fanfare about the issue. This is important because many Wikimedia users are similar to yourself in their understanding of deeper requirements and implications. Not even considering problems with age etc...
Formatting, spelling and atheistical issues are made by "editors" there are many niches for them (w:Author editing, w:Copy editing and more) not to mention changes done by publishers etc none of this work is copyrightable and they certainly aren't authors.
Regarding the edit histories I could enter in more details but to any proficient Wikimedia contributor and for those that spend some time on wikimedia projects the reliability and certainty of the logging is problematic, even more when it does indeed bunch all sorts of edits together and people point to them as a roster of participation. It is what we have but its utility is more for administrative actions than anything else, it serves Wikipedia well but not WIkibooks and a few other Wikimedia projects.
Again Wikibooks is not Wikipedia, and status of authors and other contributors by the work done is also very distinct. Wikipedia doesn't have authors and most users are at the same level, its for the community to attribute quality and status and base the attribution of rights on the project based on those, I'm not a Wikipedian so I can't comment much on the fairness there, after a few revertions some years ago I only edit talk pages to point or ask stuff (so I can empathize with you there). On Wikibooks things are more insular, each project does indeed have a sub-community that is similar to how Wikipedia operates but in a very smaller scale and in general are abstracted from the rest of the project, any status if any is normally project specific and has very limited distinctions, authorship does not have any specific meaning in this context beyond the authors being the more active contributors and those that stay more consistently with projects (but should, even if not on the level proposed by User:Thierry Dugnolle). Panic (discusscontribs) 17:15, 12 August 2017 (UTC)
@Panic2k4: The burden isn't on me to substantiate your claims that there is some legal distinction between an "author" and a "collaborator". How many kilobytes of a difference does the law say that someone needs to make to graduate to "author"? Laws in which jurisdictions? Again, you're not saying anything meaningful or substantial here. If you personally think there is a distinction, that's fine for you to propose as an idea. To claim that the law says something about this, offer nothing to back up this claim, and then demand that I just do the research is laughable and frankly asinine. The point that I have made and that you seem to miss is that while there certainly are individual edits which are very substantial and others which are more-or-less trivial, there are a lot of edits in between and that's why some distinction between the "primary author" and "secondary collaborators" is useless and will inevitably break down. The longer Wikibooks exist, the less and less that anything you personally have added will continue to be here, so 200 years from now calling you the "author" of the textbook on algebra is just ludicrous since what you did contribute will no longer be in the book itself. I honestly have no clue what the point is of a post that says, "As I said before, I'm done. Also, you do my research because I refuse to cite anything I say. Also, there are problems with edit histories but I will refuse to say what those are as well." What could possibly be the purpose of a post like this? —Justin (koavf)TCM 17:25, 12 August 2017 (UTC)
@Koavf: I did not make any claim, I stated facts that you refused to accept as valid, some should be self evident even so I did go to the trouble of providing examples and link to pages that you could ascertain the validity of what I stated. Even our own license states that the right of attribution is reserved for those that did meaningful contributions, on wikibooks those would be project authors. In any case open any text book you have at home and you will see that the editor and even the publisher aren't included as authors, even a signed article on a newspaper will have only the reporter listed not the people that did the copy edit or the graphic montage.
Any legal consideration has only meaning on the location of the servers that host the projects, my understanding is that under US law (even with some specificity to the state) authorship is determined case by case but there are general rules (even by international protocol). Panic (discusscontribs) 18:06, 12 August 2017 (UTC)
"there are legal... considerations involved on the distinction" What legal considerations? Based on what law? In what jurisdiction? How are they relevant to anything here? If you're not answering these questions, then why are you even writing anything? And yes, a textbook from Houghton-Miflin will not list the editors as authors because they aren't written as wikis. —Justin (koavf)TCM 18:12, 12 August 2017 (UTC)
I have responded above to all those questions (rights, licensing, San Francisco, California, USA), when you wrote «How many kilobytes of a difference does the law say that someone needs to make to graduate to "author"» it at least showed that you understood part of the difference and by participating here you should at least understand the license we work under. The wiki is only a tool it does not change the fabric of reality, it promotes more participation and immediate publication nothing else. --Panic (discusscontribs) 03:20, 13 August 2017 (UTC)
@Panic2k4: No, you haven't. What laws? Name some court decision that relates to the collaborative nature of wikis and legal authorship. You release your work here under a CC license that says that anyone can reuse it in any way as long as he gives you credit--that doesn't have to be as a sole credited author. The standard way of crediting someone is with the footers that display in the print editions of these pages. If some books happen to have subpages of contributors, that's fine but anyone can delete or strip away or write over any of those pages at any time. Additionally, anyone can just undo and rewrite anything you write here making you no longer an "author" of any work. You would still be listed in the page history but in no meaningful (legal, moral) sense would you be the "author". —Justin (koavf)TCM 06:18, 13 August 2017 (UTC)
There was a few years ago a movement (I was told by a older wikibookian than I, so it may be eons ago) a movement to remove the authorship claims form the works but it failed to get communal consensus. Today several works even require a page to state the authors and their copyrights, for example any work that uses content from Wikipedia without a history importation, needs to attribute it.
Just check if your contributions are in fact copyrightable (in size and content in regards to the aggregate of the specific work you want to tag), take other authors' pages as example on how to do it and make clear that you are not a simple contributor, you are claiming rights and responsibility over your work (note also that by norm only the top authors may be named on a final publication in print if the list is too extensive). Panic (discusscontribs) 17:34, 10 August 2017 (UTC)

@Jayprakash12345: You'd never guess this topic can be contentious, would you? (lol) Some books have a page for authors, some don't. Since it's really easy to contribute to a book without adding one's name to that list, I've always felt uncomfortable about it; you certainly can't get complete information from it about who has contributed, and it gives me one more thing to worry about if I'm considering editing, whereas imho there should be no discouragements from contribution; but then again, maybe some people get more of a sense of community from putting their name on such a list. So, feel free to include, or not include, such a page. :-)  -Pi zero (discusscontribs) 18:19, 10 August 2017 (UTC)

@Pi zero: When I wrote that Wikibooks is an anarchy, I thought it was a congratulation. I didn't want to be offensive. All I meant is that there are no chief. Everyone is free to speak her or his mind. Why are my views authoritarian in character ?--TD (discusscontribs) 18:59, 10 August 2017 (UTC)
I probably did take the term "anarchy" more negatively that necessary. Your concept of "owned" books has always seemed basically authoritarian to me, I'm afraid. However, perhaps we can agree that, with one thing and another, this discussion has gone rather off track; Jayprakash12345 just asked about whether to include an authors page, I think, and really the answer is "whichever you feel more comfortable doing". --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 19:24, 10 August 2017 (UTC)
Thanks to you for such an answer. It helps me to love life. (I'm drunk, hence I shouldn't publish, but I did) --TD (discusscontribs) 19:53, 10 August 2017 (UTC)

An author is someone who has contributed major sections to a book. Most books that have one author are usually maintained by that one author. However, if the new content is truthful, or it helps make the guide better, than it should be accepted no matter what. Only if the book is a subject not many people know does the author get to basically make the decisions of what to write. |Wikibooks=PokestarFan • Talk • Contributions|#default=PokestarFan • Talk • Contributions}} 22:19, 10 August 2017 (UTC)

Not exactly that, authorship is ultimately a legal definition and the legal attributes of the creator(s) of a work. On Wikibooks even the most exclusive content is cared over by the community. I expect it to be very hard to find any significant content that hasn't been edited by more than 2-3 people at least.
Wikibooks is more than a guide or a collection of guides, the objective is to create educational textbooks it has distinct authorship requirements from most other project with the exception of Wikisournce. For example in WIkipedia it makes really no sense talking about authors as the content there is mostly not copyrightable (legal protection or rights).
Regarding control sadly you are incorrect, while most of the general Wikibooks community validates book specific sub-communities and lets them have most of the control over their creation, there are no rules of guidelines to prevent a cabal or a click of other wikibookians to form, even without intentional malice (the result will always be negative if outside communities interact too much in sub-community concerns) to derail any creative direction of that sub-community, even able to destroy productive sub-communities in the process. Panic (discusscontribs) 09:18, 11 August 2017 (UTC)
PS: Note that while I defend authorship in general I have a strong dislike for the present copyright laws and how they are enforced. Panic (discusscontribs) 09:22, 11 August 2017 (UTC)

Adding a disclaimer to Template:Cannabis[edit]

While I was archiving RFDs I noticed this template. I think we should put a disclaimer on it, like: "Wikibooks and the Wikimedia Foundation is not responsible for any consequences of using cannabis illegally." There's going to be that one person who sues Wikibooks for it so I am just saying we should put that on the template. |Wikibooks=PokestarFan • Talk • Contributions|#default=PokestarFan • Talk • Contributions}} 14:28, 12 August 2017 (UTC)

Are there other examples of this sort of disclaimer pre-existing on any of our templates? --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 14:41, 12 August 2017 (UTC)
I don't think so. But this is drugs so we should be careful. And maybe one on the suicide manual. |Wikibooks=PokestarFan • Talk • Contributions|#default=PokestarFan • Talk • Contributions}} 14:57, 12 August 2017 (UTC)
In considering such a move I would want to carefully survey how we have handled similar situations in the past. It can sometimes happen, in these sorts of legal concerns, that putting a disclaimer on one thing can increase one's potential legal vulnerability for other things one doesn't similarly disclaim; therefore one should be very sure to consider carefully lest one start down a slippery slope. On the other side of it, there is the matter of disclaimers already inherent in our license etc. I suspect any such disclaimer would be, in effect, a courtesy. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 15:22, 12 August 2017 (UTC)

I don't really think this is necessary: laws are different in different places and I think most anyone who is reading up on recreational drugs probably knows that they are illegal in a lot of places. I mean, can anyone really imagine the scenario where this is the first time someone is learning this information? Additionally, we don't have a similar template for alcohol--why is that? —Justin (koavf)TCM 16:50, 12 August 2017 (UTC)

I agree with Justin. If someone's reading a wikibook related to cannabis, then it's quite reasonable to assume that they're well-versed with the legal implications in their country. What wikibooks would you apply this to in any case? If it's talking about the chemistry of cannabinoids or the medical uses, then I see no need for a disclaimer. (only if the wikibook begins to discuss recreational usage) --George (Talk · Contribs · CentralAuth · Log) 17:21, 12 August 2017 (UTC)