For a while I thought that the Wiki had plateaued, and that all of Davis had been successfully documented. "Nonsense!" I screamed before punching myself in the face, there's plenty of room to grow. What follows are some areas that I've noticed are not on the Wiki, and how to go about fixing this.
The UC Davis Campus is home to a ridiculous amount of amazing and interesting research going on all the time. While most labs have individual webpages, these, for the most part, suck ass. However, Davis Wiki has a significant advantage in that it is mind-bogglingly easy to create good looking webpages. The problem is outreach and marketing? How does a userbase of primarily undergraduates reach out the campus research community.
- As far as getting undergraduates into the research community, the UC does that. A lot of the undergrads work in labs on campus. - RohiniJasavala
- Yes, I know, but that's not my point. It's easy enough to browse jobs.ucdavis, but you don't really know much about the lab, or what they do when applying for a job. Having labs on the wiki would allow students to find labs that specialize in their areas of interest. Lab pages would also provide for massive amounts of interesting reading material making the research part of campus more accessable to the campus community. - ArlenAbraham
Lets face it, whether we like it or not, UCD is going to be a Division I athletics school. However, there is very little on UCD's sports teams. Most of this information comes from here, but we can do better. These are student athletes.
- I don't see why it matters that they are students. This is the Davis wiki, not the UCD wiki. - KenjiYamada
We've got a few lifers on here, but the majority of users are UG's with a few graduate students interspersed. We're not the best ones to tell the history of Davis. For example, my bosses both grew up in Davis and are incredible resources for the history of the music scene and the town's history as well. How do we convince people in this demographic (35+) that it's worth their time to tell their stories?
- Both Shields Library and the Davis Branch Library have microfiche of the Enterprise going back to the beginning.
- That seems like a bit of a project for someone to tackle. Knowledge is always better first hand, especially when it's the sort of thing you can't find in a newspaper. For example, one of my bosses was telling me about this guy who ran a downtown music venue out of his house, right where Shuz of Davis is now. That sort of thing isn't what you'd find in the Sac Bee. - ArlenAbraham
- The framework is now in place to make gathering more historical information easier. If you go to the year pages 1943, 1927, 1985 you will now find a place to branch off from and add smaller but more informative historical entries rather than the Davis Timeline, which was, due to size, more selective about what was listed.
Is introducing school children to the wiki an incredibly good idea, or an incredibly bad one? Valuable teaching tool or grounds to piss off a lot of parents?
- Clean up the language and some of the content and it should be a good tool. Good tools aren't always used. — JasonAller
- I think this is a perfect too to teach kids about the internet. Wikipedia too. If we want teachers to use this, we'd need to sit down with them, explain why it's an excellent tool. The internet isn't clean, and neither is the wiki. I'm just afraid of what happens when parents (i hear Davis parents can be pretty rabid) find out that their kids are using a website that talks about Drinking Games and Weed. I don't doubt that parents will flip out and try and get wiki removed from the curriculum. However, that stuff should not be deleted in the interest of free speech. Yeah, middleschoolers can find out about drinking games by just Googling it, but by presenting it as classwork, it makes it more accessible. That being said, would anyone be interested in contacting schools (perhaps in the fall?) and making some presentations? - ArlenAbraham
- I'd suggest some sort of Guide for Parents and Teachers, explaining what the wiki is, how it is useful, and what kind of objectionable content may be found. I honestly doubt that schools will use it much - local stuff doesn't tend to be a big part of public education, as far as I've seen. Homeschooling families, on the other hand, might be more likely to. Two other possibilities - make sure that everything linked from the front page (or a special kid-safe start page) is reasonably kid-safe, and have the option to enable kid-safe viewing, combined with a kid-safe tag (either added optionally, or perhaps automatically if certain keywords are included in the page) which would prevent the display of non kid-safe pages if the mode was enabled. That said, I think kid-proofing the wiki to an extent that is going to be acceptable to the parents who are likely to throw a fit about it is going to be difficult, if not impossible (is a page about queer organizations kid-safe? AGASA?) —a rabid Davis parent
- You have got to be kidding me! Did you really just say that AGASA is not a kid safe organization? I don't want o jump to conclusions or anything because I might be misunderstanding what you wrote, but did you really just say that? -GeorgeLewis
- I certainly have no problem with it. I'm trying to point out the difficulty of "kid-safing" the wiki. There are plenty of (primarily fundamentalist) parents who would find AGASA terribly objectionable. Personally, by the time my kid is old enough to use the wiki (and the internet in general) unsupervised, I wouldn't worry about any of the content. This is why my first suggestion is an information page to parents, and I'm ambivalent about my other suggestions (technical possibilities, but I'm not sure they'd be helpful). —JessicaLuedtke
- Even if there were an option to only view pages considered 'kid-safe', any of those kids could easily just check stuff at home without the kid-safe option. You can be sure kids would, and it's just as likely that the parents will notice, complain, and it's back to the same problem.
- Obviously what makes a site "kid-safe" is in the mind of the beholder. A page about AGASA and gays may offend certain "fundamentalists", but I have seen Christian sites which I would consider far more offensive -and dangerous-. Trying to sterilize knowledge so as not to offend even those we imagine might be offended is the lowest we as culture stoop to. A related point is what we learned from the USSR about censorship: It wasn't what was actually censored, it was the fear of being censored which made people pull back from discussing anything they felt anybody might object to. —SteveDavison
- I think the general culture's perception of what is safe for children is really screwed up. Curse words are okay for adults, but not for children. Of course it's okay have some rules that apply only to childen, such as inability to drive a car, but most of the time it is a double standard. Children aren't told anything to help them prepare for sexuality — other than having traditional gender roles constantly reinforced. Children aren't allowed to drink alcohol at a young age, but in countries where it is allowed alcoholism is less of a problem. We have created a two-tier society, and we wonder why teenagers are so disillusioned and disheartened by their society. Sure teens are annoying a lot of the time, but sometimes they actually have something important to say. It shouldn't always fall on deaf ears. I swear, IHTFP. —BrentLaabs
- I've always wondered what we thought was so "bad/evil" about sex. I suppose we think sex on television is innapropriate for children because they might be inclined to go give it a try without being safe? Isn't that just a problem with our educational system not tackling sex? I mean, dwarf hamsters mate within a few days of birth... and they seem to be doing alright. They're also fuzzy and cute. J/K... Sex is evil. We all know that. ;) — MichaelGiardina
- I think it probably dates back to like the very beginning, when there were no contraceptives, so if kids learned about it they might try it without knowing the consequences. Then there was the whole fornication is bad thing and the issue of paternal certainty. So if you didn't know about sex or thought of it as a bad thing, you wouldn't do it. And that mind set just stayed with us, so we don't really question it anymore. VivianPham
- To a certain extent, it is to maintain making love as a special act for adults to express their love. If that sounds old fashioned, perhaps it is. But the value of sex is still seen as more than a simple genital sneeze by some and is generally not taught to children until they are old enough to understand the social and relationship ramifications. This is distinct from the fact that sex exists, which is generally taught young as a simple biological fact. There's a difference between teaching children what adults use their penis and vaginas for and teaching children how to practice suspension fisting or that certain types of sex are "right" or "wrong". There are plenty of fundamentalists who will tell you gay sex is wrong... and there are also plenty of feminists who will tell you that BDSM is abuse. Everybody has different value judgements. Unless you think you have the One True Vision that should be enforced and taught to all children over the objections of their parents, the current method (wait until they are old enough to understand the nuances of the issue) seems to be working fairly well. And if you think you have the One True Vision regarding sex, please stay the hell out of my bedroom, thank you. — JabberWokky
- Abuse? Not if the woman has the whip. Big Brother has the one true vision — and is watching you in bed.
- My real argument was not that we tell children every little detail, but that we don't punish children when they're acting like adults. And no, they may not have the maturity to do everything the right way, but blanket prohibitions on cursing or sexual activity just serve to create more societal discontent. Case in point: ever see a movie called A Christmas Story? We all know where Ralph learned that word. —BrentLaabs
I'm not sure where you get the idea that curse words are okay for adults. Outside of 17 to 24 year olds, if somebody is using curse words in normal conversation (i.e., not having just been dumped, sued, drunk off their ass, etc), they are simply uncouth, and it tends to be an indicator of other, less savory aspects of their personality or simply poor manners. I like the way NPR handles it (note that NPR, not being commercial, could use any words they like on-air): they do not allow swearing in their stories unless they are newsworthy quotes, and then they prefer not to censor anything, playing the sound clip or reading the quote directly. Thus, they were the only source for the whole Tyson "I'm gonna f- you in the ass, you f-ing n-" clip. That format would make sense for the wiki.
Personally, I avoid people who swear casually in public. I also avoid people who slap me on the arm, who belch loudly after eating in a nice restaurant, who pick their teeth in public with their thumbnail, who pick their nose in public... i.e., people who don't know how to behave in a civilized manner. That said, I like art (poetry, movies and books) that use all those things, as they are being used to convey aspects of society or desperation that aren't civilized. There's no contradiction; I like reading Exquisite Corpse, but I don't want to hang around serial killers who rape and eat dead bodies. During a performance of Rocky Horror, I yell more curse words than some people hear in a lifetime and make horribly raunchy jokes. But when the show ends, and the cast goes to a diner, I am with friends rather than characters and I don't swear at all.
Fundamentally, it is an issue of "time and place". An entry in the wiki about bad service in a restaurant shouldn't have cursing, IMO. If a Mayor Pro Tem made a comment in public about "The f-ing bad job the police are doing", I think it should be quoted word for word, no censorship. The Wiki isn't a work of art; it is a work of reference. — JabberWokky
- To counter JW, I see nothing wrong with swearing in casual conversation on occasion, and I don't generally enjoy artistic (or realistic) depictions of gore and violence. But I do believe that there's ample room in civilized society and the Davis Wiki for people with conflicting and varied points of view on such matters. In the event that an individual or interest group comes along and wants to censor content on the Davis Wiki, I suspect those of us who champion free speech will have no trouble keeping the Wiki open much as it is now. With regard to parental concerns, a responsible parent will help their child to think and decide for him/herself when faced with objectionable or unconventional information. As with so many aspects of parenting, that process begins with a lot hand-holding and evolves into mature, respectful peer-to-peer conversations. Somewhere in that process, the student of life must experience the good *and* the bad. Barring massive unchecked pornographic wiki spamming, the potentially objectionable contents of the Davis Wiki pale in comparison to much of the web (and the broadcast television lineup) with regard to potentially objectionable material. In fact, the process behind and substance of the Davis Wiki could be considered a model for what the web should be. Basically, it ain't broke, so let's not fix it. —GrahamFreeman
- Oh, don't get me wrong — I think that the various curse words should be used on the wiki. I just am advocating the NPR usage: when it is an intrinsic part of what is being discussed rather than simply casual usage. If a critic calls a local band "The best f-ing band in California", it should be quoted verbatim (unlike how I just bowdlerized it). But casual use of such words all over the wiki is simply bad writing. My stance is simply that there is ample room for the defense of good writing while also maintaining an accurate record of what the shit dripping cunts said. Not because I advocate censorship, but simply because the causal use of profanity is distracting and seldom good writing, even if it is used to make a point. —jw
- Personally, I think that even just introducing the wiki to high school students was a bad move. I am a high school student, and I am actively involved in the wiki. So is AlexNorris. Some others are partially involved, and have contributed a little bit; IsaacHamlen-Gomez, NoraSandstedt, AubreyJohnson. But there are some high school students who are not involved at all, but use the wiki as a means to link to other websites; SamanthaSpada. I don't mean to be rude, but most high school students don't see the wiki as a davis resource, but as an alternative to MySpace. I've even encountered from high school students an argument that the Wiki is exactly the same as MySpace, which is toatally incorrect. What I'm trying to say is that high school students aren't even fit to use the wiki without trying to make it something else or contributing useless information.
It all depends. Lately I've done shit on the wiki, nothing important or useful. It's a little annoying when someone first gets on the wiki and does nothing but myspace it up, but I think
everyonemost people have a place on the wiki and something to contribute. So some of your friends aren't doing anything, give them time, they'll only get bored and leave or actually start to do something. —MLA
- I agree. There are a few stupid people in every group and so they can only be dealt with individually. You say "Personally, I think that even just introducing the wiki to high school students was a bad move." What are you? -NickSchmalenberger
- It is true that I am a high school student, but I think high school students for the most part don't contribute to the wiki. A lot of Davinci High School students use it because it is not blocked on their school computers. For some, it's the next best thing to using MySpace. I've noticed that most of them have just left. I see the wiki expanding, which is good, and most of it is not by high-schoolers. —JohnDudek
While there are a few pages for individual departments (see Colleges) people ought to start reviewing courses! Taken a class? Check if the department has a page. If not, just make it then throw a review of the class you took up!
- There are websites much better equipped for this task...
- In terms of professor reviews, I mostly agree. However, information on courses seems different than information on professors..
- What I mean is, the wiki is for content that is continually updated, but if a page just becomes a collection of opinions, it's an unreadable mess that no one can ever change. You can't integrate opinions into the greater text because the opinion itself is what's of value, but the opinion would be better served in a database for these sort of things rather than being shoehorned into a wiki context. Maybe I'm being too philosophical about it, though, and this is an issue that is relevent in most other areas of the wiki. I think it's perfectly reasonable for people to put up facts about their courses, what topics are covered et cetera, but for a lot of courses the content varies so much by professor that it basically is a professor review. So umm. Yeah. I don't know.
- I just added reviews for the Computer Science courses I've taken. I think this is a good idea.. I'd like to see what to expect from classes I'm going to be taking. — GiladGurantz
- When I have some free time, I'll do Atmospheric Science courses. I've running out of courses to take in my department, so I've probably taken just about all of them. —BrentLaabs
Businesses you didn't know about
There are plenty of important businesses in Davis that you don't know about because they're not the sort of place that has a store front. However, these businesses are still important to davis. Like http://www.rabbitsemiconductor.com/.
Wiki Network Visualization
If you all remeber, Facebook would allow you to visualize your friends. I think it would be cool to have that for wiki pages. just for S+G and also editing purposes. You could get an idea of where your page stands and also if its and orphan or links to some unusable pages. Just an idea — Ericwu
some groups seem underrepresented on the wiki: Wiki Community/Women, Townies, Kids (see above). It seems like we need to get more of these groups involved, and a lot of that comes down to personal outreach and friendships.