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Major discussion, same old stories [#1060]

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Dieter: Major discussion, same old stories (2007-07-27 13:01) [#3586]

Dieter: I have a few major requests for the site, largely based on (scarce) Wikipedia experience. You can move what you want to Future use of SL

If I, being one of the first to be on board and having made a vast amount of contributions here, at times feel lost in the library, then I can't think how a newcomer must feel. If we want this wiki to have a future (which is not necessarily what I want, I mean, I don't want to be overly romantic about it) then we must think about what has made it a great place and what is putting a burden on it and how to strengthen/remove those.

Domains of application and their success rate

  • Discussion: good. Forums are successful. Parent pages still stimulate discussions in their own. BQM are great.
  • Encyclopedia: moderate.
    • Although we have many starting points and indexes, the general feeling is still one of being lost.
    • Go terms seem to be appreciated, given the rate with which people refer to them at KGS, though the pages still suffer from the linguistic interference (often necessary and appreciated).
    • Technical pages and playing advice are too often in thread mode or are challenged for lack of expert contributions and/or references to accepted articles. Names? are ok.
    • Cultural pages: low. Not many of them and poor quality, often lacking even more expert statements.
    • Computer pages: low. There are many of them, an enormous lot, but their stability is poor, both in life span and relevance.
  • Go Problems: good! Compared to it does a better job listing them but obviously GP has specialized features.
  • Weblogs, social networks and homepages: good/bad. There are many of them. On the upside, SL provides a great way to create your own gospace (I like mine #:-7). A lot of them are instant vanity though and clutter the library, possibly put a heavy weight on the bandwidth and webspace available. Clubs can freely use a page for their own purpose instead of paying for a webpage (same as for individuals) Is Arno still paying all this?

Other observations

  • We seem to lose contributors instead of acquiring them. What do the numbers say?
  • After 8 years, very few experts have joint. It's the same old squad, mostly. Minue gave a sense of what could happen if players of his calibre started posting here (while I appreciate what the rest of you have done). Established writers like Charles and John F. have fled, mostly out of frustration with the debate culture and how the site dealt with it. It feels very awkward for me to be a very moderate player on a moderate server like KGS and being a major contributor here.
  • Experts let alone, only a few people of any strength seem to be motivated to clean up the place and fight the clutter, and then again in waves of courage only. Pointless?


  • Quick buttons for stub, ToBeMasterEdited, (sigh) POV, ...
  • An appreciation button should help us to make stand out the quality pages. Add Index.
  • Index: Pages not edited for a long time
  • Index: Pages not viewed for a long time
  • Index: Pages with many homepage tags on them, which are not Talk pages or discussion subpages
  • Combine keywords in searches is already possible (abolishes BQM vetegory list)
  • Combined indexes
  • Random pages should not yield home pages and forum pages
  • Does Arno have to do this all by himself still?

Librarian work

  • Consensus over what can be cleaned/removed
  • Keywords, keywords keywords!!!!

Other initiatives

  • What kind of people prefer the go pages Wikipedia and why/which?
  • What has gobase to offer that we are duplicating here?
  • How does the go4go forum and Wiki compare?
  • any experiences?
  • see there
  • Where do the Asians discuss there stuff? I'm not talking about unkx80, but about those 1M Koreans who know Baduk. Do they discuss online at all?
  • More ... ?
  • Can we technically combine instead of duplicate? Can we Wikimedia this whole thing?

I'll pause here.

Unkx80: Quick (non-)answers (2007-07-26 23:29) [#3589]

I might respond to the more important issues later in a separate post.

Is Arno still paying all this?


Does Arno have to do this all by himself still?

If the Wiki engine does not support it, then he has to implement it still. It's a pretty old engine to start with.

Where do the Asians discuss there stuff? I'm not talking about unkx80, but about those 1M Koreans who know Baduk. Do they discuss online at all?

Of course the Asians do discuss online, and in massive amounts, and discussion can be found in any place as long as there is a forum that is even remotely related to Go. I rarely visit websites in China no thanks to the Great Firewall of China, so I am not sure which forums are the most active ones.

Bill: Re: Major discussion, same old stories (2007-07-27 07:28) [#3594]

Thanks for reopening this discussion, Dieter. :-)

I have been thinking a little recently about how SL can become a better reference resource for go players. I think that navigation and ease of finding material can be greatly improved. The fact that SL is hypertext allows existing pages to be organized to advantage in a variety of different ways, without duplication or conflict.

Also, an important way in which SL can be authoritative is with problems and exercises. While there are many sites on the Web with problems, I think that the SL format provides a good way to study them.

I also think that scholarship can play an important role on SL. We may not be professional level players, but we can produce meticulous, rigorous, and reliable scholarship.

reply ((no subject)) (2007-07-26 22:52) [#3587]

Bob McGuigan: I agree with many of Dieter's points. In particular I notice that people have trouble finding things. On, where I am just a lurker, I see many questions posted which are answered by a link to an SL page. From this I gather that either the person posing the question couldn't find the desired information, or didn't know about SL. My impressions of are that it is not in competition with SL. is a discussion medium, not a reference source. It is more like a sanitized rgg than like SL. But they have some of the same problems that SL does. There seem to be relatively few people who post there regularly and very few high dan players posting. Weaker players and even beginners seem to feel comfortable posting there. My feeling is that despite the BQM and Quick Question pages some people may feel intimidated by SL. Making it easier to find things would help. has one feature that would be nice to have on SL namely the ability to post an SGF file between tags [SGF] and [/SGF] and be able to play through the game. This feature would be especially useful on the BQM and Quick Question pages and would remove the necessity of postiung historic games in 10 move at a time diagrams.

As for comparison with Wikipedia, the existence of a very large editing population is a benefit for Wikipedia. When people make edits that disrupt a page someone usually fixes it fairly promptly. The go pages on Wikipedia are good, but it is cumbersome to create and edit diagrams. And Wikipedia, though explicitly an encyclopedia, is more oriented toward providing information about the game rather than information aimed at helping active players.

tderz: Re: ((no subject)) (2007-07-27 00:41) [#3591]

I very much agree with Bob in relation to GoDiscussion, SGF-replayer and forum.

Senseis is of high value as Go-encyclopedia, -wikipedia, GoDiscussions can fulfill the forum aspect.

Endless discussions annoy me on either site.

My own (free) time is a bit limited these days as I build a house (another year to go).

I praise Senseis whereever I can,

Thank you Arno & Morten and many others!

ArnoHollosi: Re: posting SGF files (2007-08-01 20:17) [#3668]

I have some SGF code lying around for about 1.5 years now. It is not what you envision, but actually a complete SGF editor based on Javascript. Of course, the code is still alpha quality, so it would need some work before it can be incorporated into SL.

The real problem (apart from my lack of time) is that adding SGF to SL is more than allowing an SGF tag.

It is about copyright. While I understand that asking questions about one's own games would benefit from this, this feature will attract posting professional games to SL within no time. Don't get me wrong, I would like to have a pro game collection on SL. And if I envision the ability to edit, comment, add variations, and hyperlink to a specific move or variation I get dreamy eyes.

But it has to be made sure that people do not copy pro games en masse from (commercial) game collections. How to ensure that?

The copyright question is very important to me and its resolution central to enabling the SGF feature.

xela: Re: posting SGF files (2007-08-02 02:01) [#3671]

The first thing that comes to mind is simply to limit the number of files that can be uploaded. If a user is required to log in before posting an SGF, and if they can't post more than, say, 30 SGFs per calendar month, then copying a collection of 30,000 games just won't be possible.

Is that good enough? Some people might say it limits the usefulness of the feature, but it's better than not doing it at all. Re: posting SGF files (2007-08-02 02:26) [#3673]

Bob McGuigan: I, too, am concerned about copyright, but how is this situation different from copyright of other material? We've had copyrighted material posted and taken off SL before. Xela's solution seems reasonable.

ArnoHollosi: Re: posting SGF files (2007-08-02 07:49) [#3676]

Well, with other material it is easy to see (or at least easy to prove) that it is a copyright violation. With game records it is not that easy.

Ideas I had to mitigate the issue:

  • when uploading all variations and comments are removed
  • game-info (name of players, date, etc.) is removed as well
  • the uploader has to enter the game-info anew. This can also be used for enforcing canonical names on professional players
  • the uploader has to name a source for the game. If the source seems doubtful, the file is deleted
  • special uploads (without restrictions) can be approved by librarians and admins

Most of these restrictions would only be enforced for professional games. If there is an agreement with servers (e.g. KGS, IGS, ...) these restrictions would be bypassed for such games. This would make discussing ones own games easy.

tderz: Re: posting SGF files (2007-08-02 09:26) [#3678]


your suggestion when uploading all variations and comments are removed
would partly diminuish the incentive to place a SGF in the first place.

After all, it's so much easier to produce an SGF with variations
than to comment with words on move numbers using coordinates.

An alternative could be an SGF editor ON Senseis itself
(GoDiscussion doesn't have this feature)
which allows creating a SGF with everything,
but does NOT enable uploading.

Therewith the need of an everage Senseis user would be fulfilled,
people who - for some reason - would like to UPLOAD loads
of (copyright protected?) SGF (collections) are
technically prevented to do so,

and - most important - NO copyright infringement (can) take(s) place,
as the form & presentation changes.

ArnoHollosi: Re: posting SGF files (2007-08-02 11:31) [#3683]

I have also thought about something like this, as I have an SGF editor more or less ready.

But I also understand that it would be nice to upload e.g. your own game from KGS and ask a question. At least for this purpose having an upload would be nice.

For pro games, maybe disabling uploads is really the safest way.

xela: Re: posting SGF files (2007-08-02 10:37) [#3680]

I thought is was fairly well established that posting a single game record isn't going to cause any complaints about copyright--the main issue is "compilation copyright", which only arises if someone is uploading at least several hundred files. Or am I mistaken here?

(Just trying to keep things simple, if such a thing is possible.)

ArnoHollosi: Re: posting SGF files (2007-08-02 11:29) [#3682]

I agree. But imagine 500 people uploading 5-10 SGF files each from collections. That is the problem. SL accumulates over time.

xela: Re: posting SGF files--I see it as an opportunity :-) (2007-08-02 12:23) [#3684]

I don't see that as a copyright violation. Each person chooses those 5 or 10 files according to their own criteria, each has some particular reason for being relevant to SL--the "SL pro games collection" acquires its own character and comprises the original work of a number of individuals. It isn't a wholesale copy of another collection, rather it's a way to create a valuable new resource.

(Also, I think new games are being played, and added to commercial collections, faster than they will accumulate here, so we will never end up with an exact duplicate of a copyrighted collection.)

Unkx80: ((no subject)) (2007-07-27 01:10) [#3590]

As an editor on Sudopedia as well as a lurker on a few other Sudoku forums such as Sudoku Players' Forum, I noticed some parallels between the relationship between Senseis' Library (SL) and GoDiscussions as well as the the relationship between Sudopedia and the other forums. Some similarities are:

  • Despite Sudopedia being much smaller than SL and having well structured indices shown directly on its Main Page, people still have difficulty finding information; it is typical for people to ask questions on Sudoku solving techniques and replies to post links straight into specific Sudopedia pages.
  • Discussions tend to generate traffic rather than what is perceived as static material, so Sudopedia has very few active editors while the forums receive a lot of traffic, particularly the Players' forums. Of course, the Sudoku forums have quite a bit of rgg-style flaming and trolling.

Basically I agree with both Dieter and Bob. Some comments:

  • Navigation. Indices and guided tours help, but there are infinite number of paths one could take in order to understand some concept, so it seems that no amount of such guided tours can satisfy every single individual. Therefore, on top of indices and guided tours, I would advocate an abundance of internal links, which I find somewhat lacking in SL. Even simple "see also" links may suffice. This should help readers to find information, in light of the large number of ways ideas in Go can be expressed.
  • Editing. We agree that articles in document mode is much easier to read than those in thread mode, and WME is the process where thread mode articles are turned into document mode. However, SL has a culture of inserting signed comments directly into the article. This often turns document mode articles into a semi-thread mode, and sometimes occur in a very short span of time. Turning articles to document mode requires significant effort, but since such effort gets repeatedly nullified by people who insert signed comments, eventually editors give up and find it pointless to put in the required effort to clean up the pages. I suggest that as far as possible, we should avoid inserting signed comments into document mode articles. Either be bold and edit the article in prose form, or use the "discuss page" forums to raise comments.
  • Debates. It is unfortunate that some editors with strong opinions prevent certain pages from turning into stable document mode articles. Also, some of these debates seem to discourage new editors from joining SL for the long term. I have no good answer to this, but like Dieter, I prefer to present the reader with a readable summary and then point to places whether further debates take place.
Bill: Re: ((no subject)) (2007-07-27 07:57) [#3595]

Brief comment. The tension between "document" mode and "thread" mode may be alleviated by the use of hypertext capability. Both are products of thinking in terms of linear exposition. Hypertext can free us from this dichotomy.

reply Three quick comments (2007-07-27 04:36) [#3593]

xela forgot to log in...

1. SL is a Good Thing! We mustn't underestimate the "invisible audience" of people who read and learn from SL but don't edit. I still think SL is the best English-language go resource on the web. Certainly we mustn't get complacent--there is always room to improve, and Dieter's suggestions are valuable. But the discussion here seems to be in the tone of "SL is in a slump, what can we do about it?" I don't think it's in a slump at all. Let's keep striving to improve, but let's do it with a positive attitude.

2. SL is not wikipedia, and in my opinion it shouldn't try to be. I like it that SL feels like a friendly community where individual personalities can sometimes stand out. I like the informal feel here. I wouldn't like to see it infected by NPOV-dogma. The balance of order to chaos may be a bit too much on the chaotic side at the moment, but there will always be a balance, it will never be completely orderly.

3. Professionals will never contribute to SL. This is a personal belief that others may not agree with. It's a shame, but I think it's a fact of life, and a property of how professionals (in any field) feel about their work, not a shortcoming of the site. I feel lucky that there are a couple of 5 dans who contribute, and it was great that Minue put in a cameo appearance, but we mustn't expect too much in this regard.

I rememember when I used to be an "advanced student" of music (think amateur 3 dan piano player, if such a thing is meaningful). I spent a fair bit of time reading and posting to music-related newsgroups. It was an asymmetrical relationship--I felt that I was putting in more than I was learning--but there were a couple of people I could engage in meaningful dialogue with, and it was broadly interesting and enjoyable. Now that I am working at a professional level in music, it is not enjoyable at all to go back to the same forums. It's partly that I'm more interested in practising and developing my own skills than in posting online. That's not a matter of selfishness, it's just that without that committment I wouldn't be a professional. I'm sure the same is true of go. Also, if I do feel community-spirited, it is more enjoyable to help someone through a one-on-one lesson, preferably in real life. I'm sure the same is also true of go.

We shouldn't feel that a lack of high-level contributions is a failing on the part of this site, it's just how the world is.

Summary: I agree with Dieter, but in a spirit of making a good thing even better :-)

Dieter: advanced search (2007-07-27 13:06) [#3607]

I rediscovered the advanced findpage. This actually covers many of my requests.

LukeNine45: My one feature request... (2007-07-27 17:56) [#3610]

This is probably not so simple, but I would really like a "search for diagram" feature added to the advance find page. It would make things a lot easier to find; I often remember a shape but not where I saw it here.

If adding signed comments in pages is disruptive (and I think I'm convinced that it is), why not just make a policy of moving such things to the forum/discussion page when people do it? It shouldn't take too long for people to get the hint. The reason it happens in the first place is probably because we didn't always have those features...

xela: Signed comments (2007-07-28 04:35) [#3612]

I wouldn't like to see an effective "ban" on signed comments in main pages. Sometimes it is best to have the comment right next to the thing commented on, especially if an article contains something dubious or possibly misleading.

Unkx80: Re: Signed comments (2007-07-28 18:00) [#3620]

I am not into an outright ban, but discouraging it will do.

LukeNine45: Re: Signed comments (2007-07-30 17:24) [#3642]

I would be cool with this.

Bill: Re: My one feature request... (2007-07-28 05:41) [#3614]

Luke, what do you think of unsigned opinion on main pages? Thanks. :-)

Unkx80: Re: My one feature request... (2007-07-28 17:57) [#3618]

It depends, partially on what you mean by "opinion". If it sounds reasonable and does not significantly impede on the presentation, I think it is okay.

Basically, what I mean is, makes things easy for the reader. However, I am intentionally vague here.

LukeNine45: Re: My one feature request... (2007-07-30 17:23) [#3640]

Unsigned opinion is even worse, of course. Unless it's the opinion of someone "stronger than me"... ;)

xela: Re: My one feature request... (2007-07-28 10:39) [#3615]

Re pattern searching: there was some brief discussion, but not many people responded, so nothing was done. It might be worth raising this again, if it is clear that more than two people are interested.

Unkx80: Re: My one feature request... (2007-07-28 18:02) [#3621]

In an internal communication with Arno, he re-iterated that the issue is server load. Such searches can consume a lot of server resources, unless there is an efficient search algorithm.

xela: Re: My one feature request... (2007-07-29 03:18) [#3622]

Yes, my suggestion was for a method which, although not the most elegant, puts no load on the server. However, there's a shortage of people saying "I want this feature". Re: My one feature request... (2007-07-29 16:37) [#3625]

Bob McGuigan: I understand the issue with server load but it would be wonderful if an efficient search method existed. I can't count how many times the question has come up of how to play after White's 3-3 invasion and Black's response here:


There are at least two pages on SL where this is discussed, one is joseki-related life-and-death example 5, but it seems to be difficult to find this using only text search. A diagram seach capability would really save the day here.

Unkx80: Re: My one feature request... (2007-07-29 17:23) [#3626]

If the server load issue can be resolved, I want it too. =)

One reason is because I often do not remember whether I have posted a particular life-and-death problem or not, because I have posted so many.

Bill: Re: My one feature request... (2007-07-29 18:44) [#3627]

Count me in for diagram search, too.

Hu: Some Quick Thoughts. (2007-08-02 10:16) [#3679]

Sensei's Library

Thanks Dieter for a thoughtful post, and good responses, which I can't give my full attention right now. However, here are some quick thoughts:

  1. Wikipedia provides many excellent lessons. I have been editing there for some time now.
  2. We need a master plan, possibly with some of the elements outlined below. The main element would be that the upper levels of this wiki would be structured, since a Go wiki has to be fundamentally different from an encyclopedia, which is dominated by a lack of structure. Go has at least four hierarchical elements of structure: Learning paths, especially for beginners; References for fuseki, joseki, etc.; Biographies, News and recent developments (news might age out of this section in time into other sections); and Games and Problems.
  3. I suggest a Good Article designation, a tiny one for the articles, and a larger one for the Discussion page.
  4. I suggest a Featured Article for the main page that changes once a week, or on an irregular basis when new ones are completed, along with a list of featured articles.
  5. SL Projects (analogous to Wikipedia Projects) would be a good way to get interested people grouped around certain topics that can benefit from coordinated effort.
  6. There need to be Meta spaces, like Wikipedia: specifically, User Pages and SL policy pages. Currently, user pages are treated as articles, which is bogus, though they do get a little symbol. Pages like Editing Guidelines, Copyright policy, Meta Discussion, Text Formatting Rules, etc. need to be separated from the main body of articles.
  7. The habit of signing edits and signing pages has to stop and be expunged from the wiki. It was started with good intentions, namely that Go rank and recognition of notable contributors would lead credence to the article (see the "novel idea" below for a potential way to handle this issue). It also started because articles did not have Talk (Discussion) pages, but that has been instituted. Currently, many pages are way too chatty and cluttered. Ownership of articles is intimidating to some new editors and not a good idea at all.

A novel idea would be to have some way of slowing down edits to Good Articles or well established articles. If articles have ratings and editors have ratings (as to SL wiki experience, but dan level players would get a bonus rating), then there would be much less risk of good Go knowledge getting corrupted or diluted. Anybody could edit low rated articles, highly rated editors could edit any article, and low rated editors would have their edits to high rated articles go into some kind of limbo where they would be easily visible, but not part of the article, per se. Editor rankings could be notated in the Page History (Info).

Of course the mechanism is the 64,000 dollar question. One way would be for Good Articles to have a closely tied sub-page which would be editable by anybody and high rated editors could transfer material into the actual article. That would lead to a simple two-tiered structure, but what would be ideal would be a multi-tiered system. This is an interesting computer / ontology / user interface / social software problem, and some careful thought on it may lead to a wonderful solution that would have wide application. Perhaps the problem has already been solved or partly solved in the computer science journals.

Anyway, some good thoughts, everyone. We need an organized way forward that does not require commitments from people and that manage the wiki to organically evolve it closer to the ideal (part of the master plan).

-- Hu

Bill: Re: Some Quick Thoughts. (2007-08-02 21:18) [#3691]

Hi, Hu! :-)

A novel idea would be to have some way of slowing down edits to Good Articles or well established articles. If articles have ratings and editors have ratings (as to SL wiki experience, but dan level players would get a bonus rating), then there would be much less risk of good Go knowledge getting corrupted or diluted. Anybody could edit low rated articles, highly rated editors could edit any article, and low rated editors would have their edits to high rated articles go into some kind of limbo where they would be easily visible, but not part of the article, per se. Editor rankings could be notated in the Page History (Info).

Some time ago I suggested in WikiMasterEdit/Discussion that pages that have been WMEd could only be edited by another WME, in which initial edits would be made to a copy, and the WME would be open to community review before replacing the original page.

xela: Re: Some Quick Thoughts. (2007-08-03 01:54) [#3707]

When I have a bit more time, I might start a page called SL is not wikipedia. I'm sure it will controversial, but the discussion should be interesting...

I strongly disagree with Hu's point number 7. SL occupies an ill-defined space somewhere between "encylopedia" and "community". I think the unique character of the site is something valuable, and I'm willing to put up with a certain amount of chaos.

Hu: Re: Some Quick Thoughts. (2007-08-03 12:56) [#3711]

I partly agree. It is certainly true that SL is not Wikipedia. It is also true that SL is a community. I would not put it between community and encyclopedia. Rather I would say that it has both elements. The Discussion pages are a great innovation that Arno has introduced, and greatly exceed Wikipedia's abilities in that area. That innovation does a better job of helping SL be a community, but even Wikipedia is a community. Many of the bloggish journally user pages should be done by Discussion pages. Turning articles into discussions and blogs is misplaced and completely misses the point of having articles.

But there needs to be some sense that knowledge is impersonal and that articles can become steadily improved in a sense of crystallization, but still allowing for new developments and more credible sources. However, edits are personal and thus are identified and tracked. It would be good to have each editor's contributions available in a log in the same way they are on Wikipedia. This helps assess the credibility of an editor.

Knowledge is impersonal. That a certain kind of single eye is killable whereas another larger kind is savable is independent of any single person. Wikipedia has a good rule: No Original Research. However, one of the ways that SL is different is that there are many aspects of Go that are opinion. For example, pros differ on the viability of one joseki versus another. There are differences of style too. But this can be handled by giving relative weight (where it is known) to different moves or ways to deal with a position. A guideline might suggest writing like "Most pros play A in this situation, but younger pros from Korean have been experimenting with B" or "In pro games since 1985, 44% played A, 33% played B and 22% played C". Ideally both of these would be sourced or referenced, but conclusions such as in the first example might be easy for a knowledgeable player to determine and hard to document.

Where knowledge is scarce or has not been well researched, then there should be scope for placing down some kind of ideas on moves or responses on the theory that something is better than nothing, and that articles can be improved.

However, signing directly on pages and owning articles at the bottom are counter-productive in the long run, and SL is already into "the long run".

Bill: Re: Some Quick Thoughts. (2007-08-03 17:47) [#3713]

However, signing directly on pages and owning articles at the bottom are counter-productive in the long run. . . .

That's your opinion, which is shared by a number of people.

I just summoned a random page, Kyu Exercise 60 / Solution. The solution given there is correct and verifiable (knowledge). Tim K affixed his signature to it. How is that counterproductive?

IMO, it is largely neither here nor there, but TimK does get some recognition. I think that's good in terms of community. :)

Knowledge is impersonal.

A philosophical definition of knowledge is true belief. Truth is impersonal, belief is not.

In practice, knowing what is true or not is not so easy. Verifiability is important. Credibility is important. That's one reason for citations. How many citations appear in SL? Not very many, I think. "Straight from the horse's mouth"? What horse?

Also, there is a great deal of opinion on SL. I think that that is unavoidable, given the pedagogical nature of much material here. So much relies upon the judgement of the author. Even if you want to call dan players experts, the experts often disagree. You can't put that into a supposedly impersonal cubbyhole. What horse?

Wikipedia has a good rule: No Original Research.

Why is that a good rule? I first came to SL to present some of my original research. Is that a problem? And I did not stop there. Should I delete all the material that presents my own research? How would that benefit SL?

Aren't unkx80s problems and exercises products of his own research? They are a very valuable contribution to SL.

John Fairbairn does not post here very often, but a lot of what he says represents his own historical and linguistic research. Should we do without those contributions?

tapir: Re: Some Quick Thoughts. (2007-08-03 16:59) [#3716]

Wikipedia has a good rule: No Original Research.

This rule has some bad effects on Wikipedia as well. (In providing a cheap argument in several discussions... thus focussing discussions on the appropriateness of the knowledge to be presented.) I surely don't want this here, it hurts the community sense badly. Please not.

Hu: Re: Some Quick Thoughts. (2007-08-03 23:22) [#3726]

Problem and Solution pages are a social aspect of SL where it does make sense to sign pages or solutions. Similarly unkx80's contributed problems can be signed. They should be in a class of page separate from articles. Like I wrote, SL is not Wikipedia. However, by having an Article class of page, then SL can have a spearate, more encyclopedia-centric policy for articles.

I picked Dosaku semi-randomly, since it was at the top of the Recent Changes. Two people had signed edits there. One signature indicated that the text was copied (copyright violation?). Such a comment should be embedded in a hidden way inside the text or should be indicated on the Discussion page. Another signed edit was a single sentence, a cogent, powerful sentence, but is it really so important that the person get direct upfront in-your-face credit for writing that?

Your master edit of Monkey Jump makes the page look like an article, Bill. Good work! However, the growing number of signatures at the bottom is attention-gathering (though probably not intentionally). If people want to see who deserves credit for editing, they can examine the edit history and the summary comments therein. This is another reason why editor contribution logs are useful. They give people credit for their interests, their large amount of work (or not) and provide a way to get a sense of the credibility of the editor. I have contributed two edits to the Monkey Jump page in the past, but though I haven't signed it, my contribution can be found. On the leaf pages of the Monkey Jump complex there are signed questions and statements which may be appropriate for the time being as SL gropes to a more coherent body of knowledge, but the same fuzzy state of knowledge about those issues could be stated with open questions and attempted answers written in an objective way.

Perhaps there needs to be a hierarchy of articles: Featured, Good, Rough, and Stub: Rough articles could have questions and attempts at answering them. As articles to transit to Good status, signatures would be worked out of them. Thus the Monkey Jump article is very nearly Good, and the leaf articles are Rough.

Verifiability is important. Credibility is important. That's one reason for citations. How many citations appear in SL? Not very many, I think.

I agree. Those are important issues and there need to be more citations. Policy comes first, and then, given time, the articles begin to be perfected toward the ideal that policy directs.

Regarding original research, I wrote that there are plenty of places where it should be allowed. This is especially true since SL is comparatively immature as an encyclopedia. Wikipedia allowed (expected) original research when it was young and only instituted the strong rules after much of the basic knowledge was well covered by articles. As I wrote previously, SL is at a stage where for many articles, some original research is better than nothing.

John Fairbairn's work is careful and thorough. He knows his sources and can provide citations, as he has at times. As a recognized authority in specific areas of interest, we want to give him lots of room to contribute.

If SL were to have a master plan and an ideal to look forward to, then it can evolve in that direction under guidance that doesn't have to be rigorous at this time. Without a plan and with very few policy guidelines, many articles have become messes. We can do better without getting bogged down in wiki-lawyering, though some will occur.

SL is groping to a better future. By supplying ourselves with maps and compasses we can more systematically get there or create that future.

Bill: Re: Some Quick Thoughts. (2007-08-04 17:17) [#3730]

I have some thoughts about community that seem to be developing into a small think piece, but let me make a couple of comments regarding scholarship and opinion.

First, I definitely think that there is a place on SL for what you call articles. I also think that there is a place for opinion pages (not just forums). A good example is High-concept opening myth. As the title indicates, it is an opinion page. Charles Matthews expressed his opinion, and that spawned a good bit of discussion. I think that page is a valuable one for SL. I think opinion pages should be encouraged, not discouraged. (The newspaper analogy is editorials and columns.)

As for my comment on the Dosaku page, even though it is a factual one, it does imply an opinion, that there is a copyright violation. As such, I do not think that it should be hidden, or in the forum. Until the copyright question is resolved, it should be in your face. Once the question is resolved, it should be deleted. As for signing it, it is my opinion. Others may disagree. Others may consider how much weight to give it, depending upon whose opinion it is. What horse?

Now, I could have followed the Wikipedia dictum, Be Bold. If I had I would have deleted the text and left the (then live) link. But I shy away from editing someone else's text based upon my opinion. Even though I believe that I am right in this instance, I think it is bad practice. However, I have observed many unsigned edits on SL over the years that promote the editor's opinion. It seems to me that discouraging signed edits encourages this practice.

One place that I think unsigned articles are appropriate are terminology pages. Unfortunately, those are pages where people have sometimes sought to enshrine their own interpretations and opinions about what terms should be used and how people should use them, and battles have erupted over differing opinions. Despite that history, we still do not have a scholarly approach to those pages on SL, in general. (One bright spot is the recent discussion about Tsumego. People are trying to get it right, not fight.)

Your observation that the recent edits of Monkey Jump make it look more like an article is an interesting one. Andorian deserves the credit. He intended to make subpages, but didn't know how. I made them and moved the material there. I viewed that as an application of hypertext principles. Hypertext pages should generally be short and reasonably self-contained. The fact that the main page ended up looking more like an article is, IMO, a good thing. A good article needs consensus, and that is easier to achieve if it is short. :-)

Bill: Re: Some Quick Thoughts. (2007-08-05 05:19) [#3733]

Lest anyone think that I am pointing fingers when I refer to using terminology cases to press an agenda, I plead guilty to doing so myself. Several years ago I got on a campaign to get people to refer to approach kos as approach kos, not as step kos. I also wanted people to refer to iterated kos as step kos. When I got to SL, I made edits accordingly. Even though I believed I was right, I was wrong, as Andre Engels later pointed out. Yes, ko terminology in English is a mess, but I should not have tried to impose my own solution. Anyway, we finally came to a resolution that relied upon scholarship. Step ko is used ambiguously in the English literature, and therefore we avoid it on SL, prefering approach ko or stage ko as appropriate.

Unkx80: Re: Some Quick Thoughts. (2007-08-04 12:57) [#3729]

Wikipedia and SL serves rather different proposes, and a significant difference is that Wikipedia aims to be general while SL is for a very specialized topic of interest to a somewhat limited number of people. For such specialized wikis, I think that the "no original research" rule will eliminate a significant part of the traffic: it usually isn't feasible for people to publish their ideas, inventions, discoveries, opinions in other reputable publications before putting them here and citing it; also this process takes too long. Instead, we should encourage original research on SL. In fact, quite a few of the original research on SL gets cited in later reputable publications, one example that comes to my mind is Robert Pauli's contribution to the biggest known eye space for which there is a nakade.

Still, I agree with Hu et al. that we should have more pages of article quality and less of thread-mode stuff, especially for well-established topics. As such, I want to encourage people not to insert signed comments when the page is already in article format, and use the discussion forums instead. I believe that in some cases, original research does not contradict the goal of having article quality articles. I think the readability of articles is important.

I shall stop here, I guess I should be putting in more effort in improving articles rather than discussing them...

xela: 200 monkeys at 200 keyboards... (2007-08-05 02:55) [#3731]

Yes, I also want to have more high quality articles--and more importantly, it needs to be easy to find those articles. However, I think this will emerge naturally from a lively community with lots of discusion. If we make firm rules to keep things orderly, then it may dampen down the discussion--the result could be that a larger proportion of the material looks like good articles, but the quantity of material doesn't grow all that much.

What's needed, as I see it, is informal ways of making the good material stand out and of keeping things tidy, but without discouraging new contributions. I think this is already happening, with the recent burst of activity in moving "obsolete" discussion to subpages or forums, and the idea that if someone does insert a signed comment into an article then someone else will come along and deal with it appropriately. Things like guided tours and starting points help to make the good articles stand out, and I think we've generally done a good job of linking in new material where it deserves to be noticed.

Bill: Re: Some Quick Thoughts. (2007-08-05 05:49) [#3735]

I partly agree. It is certainly true that SL is not Wikipedia. It is also true that SL is a community. I would not put it between community and encyclopedia. Rather I would say that it has both elements.

I would not put SL between community and encyclopedia, either. It has elements of both. The main focus seems to me to be pedagogy, which is broader than just providing reference material.

If the metaphor of an encyclopedia is too narrow, what is a good metaphor? One thing that came to mind is a magazine, or journal. But that suggests being current, which is not the focus. Then a metaphor came to me. A library! (Duh!) :-)

Hu: Re: Some Quick Thoughts. (2007-08-06 01:42) [#3741]

I think you are on to something, Bill! Let's call this a Library!

We could have an Encyclopedia (with quality articles on Go Terms, Biographies, History), Dictionaries (of Joseki, Fuseki, Tesuji), Textbooks (Teaching paths), Journals (of research into new josekis, variations of Monkey Jumps, original research welcome), Magazines (with opinion pieces, editorials, life style, blogs = columns), Newspapers (news, current events), Bulletin Boards (like the coffee room, probably best run as discussion pages, maybe even with Buy-Sell), Image, Video, & Audio Collections (linked to by everything else, copyright-respectful), study Carrels (Problems, solutions), and Social areas (Personal pages, games).

Maybe that is the top-level page classification scheme to use. Signing would be encouraged in everything except Encyclopedia, Dictionaries, and Textbooks.

SL is more than just a wiki and more than just an encyclopedia, and more than just a forum.

Bill: Re: Some Quick Thoughts. (2007-08-06 04:28) [#3742]

Sensei's Library -- what a concept!

Your vision of the possibilities for SL is breathtaking. It suggests a useful way of organizing current material and providing new material. Well worth further exploration. :-)

BTW, I would certainly expand teaching paths beyond the idea of textbooks. So much depends upon judgement and interpretation. Several opinion pages belong on teaching paths. Also, dialogue and Q&A are well established pedagogical techniques.

As for encyclopedia and dictionary entries, I reiterate the need for scholarship and citation.

ProtoDeuteric: Re: Some Quick Thoughts. (2007-11-29 12:40) [#4094]

I know that technically what I say is just my opinion, but really, this puts the issue to rest.

Dieter: WME (2007-08-02 19:20) [#3692]
  • so no spelling corrections of a WME before community review?
  • no quick fixes of crappy WME?

We need rankings. Good quality is unlikely to be "fixed" in a major way, unless very good reasons. I am not in favor of restrictions on user level. Just display the user ranking of a page, so that people will have more information to take into account when editing a page.

Bill: Re: WME (2007-08-02 19:46) [#3693]

A WME should have correct spelling. A WME should not be crappy. (I have never seen a WME on SL that I would characterize as such.) Both incorrect spelling and "crappiness" (however defined), result from less than careful or biased editing. The WME process I propose addresses both problems. Because of community review, WMEs should be what Hu calls Good Articles.

tapir: Re: WME (2007-08-03 17:10) [#3718]

There are contributors like myself, whose command of English is far from perfect. Which results in a special sort of crappiness. I wouldn't mind corrections of my writing. But I have never seen this sort of editing work being done here.

Bill: Re: WME (2007-08-03 17:15) [#3719]

I will make spelling corrections and sometimes grammar corrections, but I tag them as minor edits, and they do not show up in Recent Changes. Other people do that, too. I think that there is more of that kind of copy editing going on than meets the eye. :-)

Nachtrabe: ((no subject)) (2007-11-29 00:25) [#4093]

I'd love to see this get more attention. I've felt for a while that there needs to be a culture shift here, and I don't think wikipedia (particularly with its notability requirements) is a good substitute for what SL could be.

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