Mentioning Grades Or Not
-- Milton Bradley (3k* on IGS, officially 1 Dan AGA):
A truly fantastic idea ---- but. Although accepting contributions from any who wish to add to the sum of knowledge is a noble objective, when the contributor is sufficiently weak IMHO that contribution is suspect, to say the least!!
Especially when dealing with a truly difficult subject like play in the Fuseki, I think it important that the information dispensed be at least nominally accurate, and in my opinion no player below perhaps 5 Dan AGA (say, 1d* IGS) is qualified - and that excludes me as well as many, many others. So if you wish to allow such contributions I suggest that you create separate sections - one for "knowledge" or a reasonable facsimile thereof by strong players, and another for the baffled contributions of ordinary players like you and me!
Please - this is NOT a criticism! You guys are making an enormous contribution, and are to be highly commended for it!
The very best.
Actually, we don't claim to have "correct" content in Sensei's Library (SL). Usually contributors sign with their name - if they have a page in SL you can find out their rank as well.
It's the same concept as on rec.games.go or the GoTeachingLadder: stronger players are explaining/helping weaker players. That doesn't make it wrong. Everyone knows that we amateurs actually have no clue about the game. But that doesn't stop us from playing and discussing it, does it?
If you see something on SL you think is obviously wrong, then just press the editpage link and add your thoughts to the page, or correct variations. That way, later visitors can read your opinion (that of a stronger player than the original author) as well. And if ever a 4d* IGS cares to add his thoughts to SL, well, good for us.
- I suggest that you create separate sections - one for "knowledge" or a reasonable facsimile thereof by strong players, and another for the baffled contributions of ordinary players like you and me!
In that case I can reasonably assume that the "knowledge" section will remain empty or very small for years to come. Maybe the name "Sensei's Library" sounds too authorative. Basically, it is a discussion site, which preserves the content therein, and which may be accessed in differnt ways.
I added a warning to the 'about' page (SenseisLibrary) about this being amateur content.
IMHO it would clearly help if each contributor's rating was prominently displayed so that the viewer (and especially those not strong enough to not be able to distinguish the validity of the comments unaided) at least understands the limitations of what is being said!
But even with that it seems to me that weaker player's contributions would be better presented as questions to be answered rather than as statements which give the appearance of "definitive" wisdom. That would in a very real sense follow the example of the GTL especially if the respondents to the questions followed the same sort of protocol of being at least several ranks stronger than the questioner.
- weaker player's contributions would be better presented as questions to be answered rather than as statements which give the appearance of "definitive" wisdom.
There are areas where weaker players can contribute very well, and there are areas (like the ones you mentioned) where weaker players don't have an authorative answer. I'd like to "manage" the SL as little as possible. It is a community site and users should find their own set of rules. If it turns out the way you suggest, ok by me. If it goes the other way, ok by me too.
I respectfully disagree with Milt. I believe that it is very important to think for yourself, in go and in life. Go ranks are good for setting a handicap if you do not know each other, but not worth much else, otherwise.
Besides, even pro opinions have fads, like any opinions. In a magazine article in the 70s MaedaNobuaki 9-dan commented on the popular "next play" problems. While tesuji and life and death problems demonstrably had correct answers, he thought that you could not say that about judgement problems unless at least 25% of the amateur solvers agreed with the "right" answer.
You do not need to know the ranks of, say, AndreEngels, unkx80, or DaveSigaty, to appreciate the thoughtfulness of their contributions. :-) One should not be awed by anyone's superior rank nor discount what a nominally weaker player has to say.
Since BillSpight mentioned me, I might as well add my 2 cents here.
Quoting from BillSpight:
- I believe that it is very important to think for yourself, in go and in life.
- You do not need to know the ranks of, say, AndreEngels, unkx80, or DaveSigaty, to appreciate the thoughtfulness of their contributions. :-) One should not be awed by anyone's superior rank nor discount what a nominally weaker player has to say.
I totally agree with this. And that almost every contributor, whatever the strength, makes mistakes now and then in their contributions. You don't just accept whatever the stronger players say in their entirety. You are always free to criticize/correct/add on/clarify to the existing contributions, and don't be afraid to do so. The same happens over at goproblems.com, where people finds mistakes and ask for clarifications on why a particular variation is "wrong". Even if a particular contribution is incorrect, it might open up interesting discussions. :-)
All said, if you really MUST know their strength, then go to their homepages. But it is really up to them to decide whether they want to state their strength.
This is discussion which Arno and I have had several times over :-)
It sort of, IMHO, boils down to finding a compromise between an easy to edit and contribute interface which will attract people, and verifying/validating the actual contents.
Accepting contributions is more than a noble objevtive :-) It is a necessity for SL to grow. Our hope was that, with all barriers to contribution removed, the site would 'belong' to everyone and be for everyone.
As Arno says, it is a good idea to mark comments/pages with the authors rank. However, it is difficult to implement this consistently and constantly. (I know that I would often forget to metnion my rank.) Having the UserPreferences set and setting your rank on your HomePage helps, but it is maybe not as visible as it should be.
I am glad that you talk to us about this - and we are aware of how 'anarchic' a WikiWikiweb is. I hope that we will not have to sacrifice the benefits of it in order avoid its drawbacks.
Like in rec.games.go, folks who visit SL will learn to value information according to who is saying it. When John Fairbairn (sp?) speaks on the topic of Chinese history I trust him. When Sam Sloan posts something I ignore it.
Kungfu (who happens to be an underrated 7k* on IGS) says:
Although I am barely approaching "dan strength" now, I try to back up everything I say with either an example or a book reference. At least if I am wrong, someone can then look up what I was trying to say :)
MrKoala (French 14k~13k while writing these lines)
- There are areas where weaker players can contribute very well
As a weaker player myself, I agree that I can help SL by sharing my experiences and experiments with other people: stronger player who can advise me, and weaker or same-kyu players who maybe had the same experience as I.
As an example I can talk about learning the everlasting sansan-under-hoshi-recurrent-25-moku-worth-painful-corner-invasion joseki. Someone without learning other possibilities is useless, because there are cases where someone invading at sansan can be killed! (e.g. reduce the eye-space in the corner, giving the invader the possibility to flee to the center where YOUR stones are waiting). But does it mean you don't have to try something else? Share an experiment so it can be discussed, corroborated/refuted by other players that experimeted with the same thing. Say when something works, another one will talk with you about what you have to be aware of when trying that again. Say when something doesn't work, someone may tell you that you went wrong somewhere and it could have worked! Everyone will improve! Everyone will share knowledge !
By the way, there is a problem with setting the rank as a user preference : people improve. Imagine that you write an article as a 15k and you improve dramatically in 2 months up to 2k. Does it mean the article has been written by someone who was 2k ?
Jan: (still 15k for what it's worth) I think one of the best things about this wiki is that everyone can say what they think and can ask about what they don't understand. If a 30 kyu asks a really dumb question on a page marked as 'Advanced' difficulty, so what? The answer and following discussion can be moved to a new (or more appropiate) page, maybe as an example. Speaking from my own experience, some of the stuff I added here while I was a total newbie doesn't make much sense to me nowadays, but those are still legitimate questions. I, for one, don't read the Atari page anymore, but a page about what intermediate players need to know about joseki would be nice - no way I'm going to memorize all the Taisha variations :-)
To sum up, I don't think grades need to be mentioned - the page can always be split if the need arises.
: There are no dumb questions, only dumb answers, anyway :-)