Sunday, August 26, 2007

Algebra I in Simple English

A bit of a discussion has arisen around the en.wikibooks book [[Algebra I in Simple English]]. This book was originally created on en.wikibooks as a simplified version of the [[Algebra]] textbook. There are a whole host of other issues relating to the algebra textbook that will have to be addressed in a different post.

The "Algebra I in Simple English" book was imported onto the simple.wikibooks project, and tagged as a speedy delete on en.wikibooks. One admin had already started on page deletions (although luckily didnt get too far) before complaints were raised and the issue was changed from a speedy delete to a VfD discussion.

On the VfD, the majority of en.wikibookians appear to be in favor of keeping the book, even if it's forked to another project. Of the votes cast by simple.wikibookians, they seem to be in favor of either deleting the book or else protecting it. Here are some comments posted by simple.wikibookians:

  1. "There are very few active contributers to this book and forking it into two projects will only harm the progress of the book." I would say in retort that there are very few members total at simple.wikibooks, and that the long-term prospects for any book are better at en instead of simple because of our higher reader and contributor volume. If the book doesn't have any contributors currently, it's likely a matter of bad timing.
  2. "There can always be a link on the Math bookshelf to the version on SE Wikibooks." We have a mechanism that we already use to create interwiki links. If anything, we should add a [[Simple:Algebra I in Simple English]] iw link to our copy of the book. en.wikibooks bookshelves are used to organize our books, and are not used as a general directory for wikimedia resources from other projects. We don't list on our math bookshelf all the mathematics books that are on en.wikisource or all the math-based courses that en.wikiversity has either.
  3. "...protecting the page from editing to encourage only one active version of the book" It's simply not our policy not to encourage people to contribute to a book. Wikibooks, in any language, doesnt just host pre-written books, we provide for people to create new content. If we are going to host a copy of the book at all, we are going to enable people to contribute to it. Beyond that, we have a policy against internal forks of material, but we have no policy on en.wikibooks against forks to an external project. En.wikibooks has only one version of this book, and we intend to encourage participation in it.
What other projects do or do not do, and what kinds of materials other projects host really can't be a factor in the decisions that we make. Collaboration between projects is fine and should be encouraged, but when it comes to deleting large volumes of content because another project might be trying to host a version of it, a certain amount of caution should be exercised.

1 comment:

  1. "There are very few active contributers to this book and forking it into two projects will only harm the progress of the book."

    This sounds like an argument against the whole Simple English quasilanguage :)

    I would expect an interwikilink from [[simple:Algebra I in Simple English]] to take me to [[en:Algebra I]] though.