Here's the editor's analysis: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Colin/Introduction_to_Psyc...
I see 16 cited cases of supposed plagiarism. How did we go from 16 cases to claiming 85% of people in a 1700 student class are plagiarizing? No offense to the submitter, but I feel these kinds of things are best submitted after someone reasonably objective distills and summarizes the issue. Devoted wikipedia editors can be somewhat dramatic about things, so in cases like this I prefer to see other points of view.
In fact, they mention near the end of the post that they should lock the discussion before media outlets pick this up and blow it out of proportion.
Too late now! lol
If you'd prefer the world's most popular anonymously-editable website to be a carefully-curated collection of articles written largely by experienced editors (which a lot of the experienced editors evidently do) then you'd wouldn't want this class anywhere near it. But I think Wikipedia has bigger problems to fix.
It stretches credulity to suggest it's akin to vandalism.
The only thing these students are guilty of is bad citation form.
I know this is beating a dead horse, but I get really sick of hearing about abuse from Wikipedia editors who have gone power-mad. Edit-wars, blacklisting, and more is an ongoing state of affairs on the site. The fact that they are considering blocking the campus and a large chunk of the surrounding area from editing wikipedia in order to punish the professor is just stupid.
I understand that editors put a lot of time in cleaning up wikipedia, and that is great. But wikipedia is a system designed for public use, and that use includes editing and updating articles.
The problem that they have found themselves in now is that articles slowly evolve their own individual bias based on the managing editors point of view. New users and counter arguments are lost, as it's rare to find someone to edit an article that has the patience to start an edit war with a moderator who has babysat an article for years.
That was from last year.
This year there was no notice because apparently he decided to not publicly announce he was doing it again this year and it took them some time before they realized what happened. It seemed that he didn't like the fact that people were pointing.
I can't read through everything so I may have not been following everything correctly. This is what I've extracted about the situation by gleaning information off the various pages talking about this.
My impression after perusing a fair bit of it is almost completely opposite of what you're claiming here.
textbook copyright owner notices + sues wikipedia
This instance is a bit different. WP recognises the importance of student editors, even as part of student course work. There's an established program to welcome students and their teachers; to introduce WP to them; and to help them through the baffling bureaucracy.
This professor was invited to that program. They declined.
If you read through the information, the story appears to be : prof assigned wiki edits to class, wiki find the class do more harm than good and ask prof to stop, prof does it again the next year anyway.
Basically this is a 'friends don't let friends assign their students wikipedia editing'!
Seriously tho created an account because I never had anything to post to Hacker News before and for the title I just copied the title on the Wikipedia page and cut it down to eighty characters as required by hacker news
Here is a previous assignment
Here is the 2013 assignment
The idea that it's a fantastic thing that a large class of students are invited to participate in Wikipedia occurs to only one admin, while the general reaction is to call the professor, his boss or to create a bot to stop this happening. It's knee jerk, petty and power crazed. Read elsewhere and see their instinct to block, their lack of knowledge about basics like Twitter and HN (perhaps they could look it up), and general juvenile behaviour.
And the accusation of 85% plagiarism stands essentially uncontested.
The Wikipedia editors have utterly destroyed the pleasure of creation that Wikipedia used to give us all. Their own biased perspectives and petty games risk destroying the usefulness of Wikipedia itself. Outsiders are treated like enemies, and extrapolating all of this leads to a desperate ending.
Leadership is required.
A professor giving a list of students' names to the public would be illegal in the US. I'd expect that to be true in Canada as well.
I can't give information that would identify a student or allow someone to make direct contact without the student's prior consent.
It's very strange, and there is a lot of mis-information perpetrated upon us in our annual FERPA training sessions. College Administration provide no useful guidance either, other than hiring a person to come and hyperventilate on stage for us at our annual faculty convocation. But, one thing that is pretty clear is that I may not reveal my class rolls to the public. Examples cited are abusive ex-spouses / intimates stalking students by learning their schedules and following them home to learn their new address, attack them, or both.
If a professor has 1700 students start editing Wikipedia and 85% of them are plagiarizing, that's a huge burden to place on the Wikipedia volunteer community to clean up. There are a limited number of volunteers who handle copyright and plagiarism issues and it is unfair for a professor to increase their workload without giving them information about which users are making changes that need to be scrutinized.
The problem here is that the professor has refused to engage the Wikipedia community and has, in his own words, gone underground.
"If a professor has 1700 students start editing Wikipedia and 85% of them are plagiarizing"
This is still a number pulled from the air.
I don't think it wise or fair to extort their consent.
I shudder to think of what the Wikipedia-editing analogue of a global DDOS attack would be.
I'd see natural disasters possibly false positiving compared with turf wars between groups/countries after a flare up being the main reason you'd do it.
I think professors asking students to edit would be rare enough not to make it worth while.
> The idea behind the Wikipedia Education Program is simple: Professors around the world assign their students to contribute to Wikipedia for class assignments.
> Wikipedia is being used as a teaching tool in education around the world (see a list of programs). The Wikimedia Foundation currently runs four programs: Brazil, Canada, Egypt, and the United States.
> In each country, volunteer Wikipedia Ambassadors assist professors as they assign their students to contribute to Wikipedia on course-related topics. The Wikimedia Foundation started the program in the United States in 2010, Canada in 2011, and Brazil and Egypt in 2012. More than 3,500 students have participated in the Wikipedia Education Program around the world, adding the equivalent of 20,000 printed pages of quality content to more than 6,000 Wikipedia articles in multiple languages.
Basically look for any name in red, which is a high signal for a new editor who hasn't put in much time, and look at the revert edit above it, then click on the "prev" link to see what edit a Wikieditor reverted.
Essentially a lot of stuff the students are putting in are probably facts and may be true. However the Professor has essentially failed to teach the students how to put these "facts" in Wikipedia.
The problem here is much more insidious: hundreds of articles are being edited. Furthermore, though the edits are of low quality and often plagiarized, they are not so obviously vandalism that bots or editors can instantly revert them.
"...the new course called Wiki Scholar, designed by psychology professor Steve Joordens, who believes that by learning to write and rewrite research until it makes sense to the wider Wiki world, students are forced to grasp ideas more deeply — and produce research that is useful..."
"Cognitive psychologist Steve Joordens, from the University of Toronto Scarborough in Canada, believes the APSWI provides students with effective practice for solving real-world problems. 'You can do it in any class,' he said. 'It’s really a good thing to enhance deep learning skills and another tool we can use to keep our students in the mental gym.'"
"Using Wikipedia in a Mega Classroom: A 1,700 Student Case Study
Steve Joordens, University of Toronto Scarborough, Canada
Students in our Introductory Psychology mega-class could earn bonus marks by signing up to the APS Wikipedia Initiative and making minor edits to two psychology-related Wikipedia entries. We describe our implementation of such a large scale assignment and report data depicting the rate of participation, the quality of the edits, and the larger impact on both students and Wikipedia Psychology content. We also highlight some of the difficulties we initially encountered and our attempts to minimize them in efforts to hone the 'many small edits' approach to answering the APS Wikipedia Initiative."
If people aren't literate enough to understand text well-enough to restate it in their own words, do you really want them adding that text to WP? It may be obviously wrong, it may be misleading, it may be off-topic or not fit logically into the surrounding text, etc. A copy-pasted "encyclopedia" would be an ugly mess. I frequently find a sentence or paragraph just tipped in somewhere that's in the wrong place. That's a collage, not an article.