WikiConference UK 2012/Elections/Questions/Alison Fayers-Kerr

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  1. The first communities I am a member of are my family and the local community where I live. Every day is a personal struggle to live authentically and with good principles. My four children and I have slowly evolved into a socio-economic micro-community and yet are independent of one another with our own professional spheres and our own circle of friends and cultural interests. Sounds easy doesn't it! We sponsor Greenpeace, Amnesty International, Save the Children and we have Stephen Covey diaries. One son is a physicist in the Christopher Hitchens camp, one daughter a bio-chemist who studies Rumi and another is a medical anthropologist with a lawyer's mind so our family principles are kept high on the agenda. One of my sons has decided to go for his Yachtmaster's ticket (momentous decisions currently taking place at home!). I am in daily contact with communities of young people from a range of backgrounds. In the wider community I am pro-active in local affairs. I try to avoid groups and organisations that use mass marketing techniques thus finding myself in a narrow field. There is some objection on my part to any movement which is brought about by the mere click of a button. I like my information to arrive at the click of a button though. My dalliance with social networks was shortlived and void of meaning and content. Oddly enough I believe in the Big Society and I also buy and believe in the Big Issue which keeps me in touch with the homeless and the disadvantaged. Humans have been as destructive as they have been creative but we are the best and only resource to make things happen if the well-being of our planet should ever get to be top of the agenda. For this we need to work within our personal circle of influence, then we should network to link up with existing groups and communities so they may benefit by taking the message into their own set-ups.
  2. Wikipedia parent is worth standing for and needs publicity, credibility and dynamic growth so I thought I would be a suitable member of a mediating team involved in precisely this. Beyond the statement I have already made and including this list of answers, I am a potentially catalystic force which might be put to good use within the actual body of members and trustees and I look forward to offering a creative and new perspecitve to the operation...
  3. There is great danger in creating splinter groups (you say sister group) because they undermine the main purpose of the greater Wikipedia and also potentially destabilise the foundations of the Wikimedia Foundation. Greed for the whole market comes to mind although I judge myself unable to pass a truly well-informed opinion on the matter of Wikiversity's potential. At a glance thousands of sites can be found, all jostling for position in the race to promote education; often involving the self-interest of academics or their institutions. Wikipedia is and will remain the best gift one can offer to people and individuals both inside and outside the educational frameworks; everyone is free to use and add to the matrix unfettered and I'm all for keeping it that way. It would be interesting to reflect upon the the questioner's own answer to this question in the light of this statement. It is my opinion that Wikimedia UK would have a better long-term, sustainable function as i) promoter of Wikipedia and ii) networker between universities encouraging more participation in Wikimedia events. May I add that I certainly favour a platform upon which university knowledge can be pooled but I question (and would like to know more about) the way this is currently being done; there are so many publications in this area that the body of work is ridiculously vast, international and riddled with copyright/plagiarism issues with overly-complex and multiply-referenced systems.  
    What the world needs is open access to the information emerging from the university databases. How many PhDs are relevant?  It is not possible to answer this question but much research is driven by the endless need 'to publish' with a view to gaining 'funding'. Much publication overlaps, is duplicated, refuted, out-dated ….and exactly how much of this process needs to be stored and how?
    The objective is for universities to elevate their notions about Wikipedia and to contribute to the universal body of knowledge, brought about by collaboration with Wikiversity internationally.  WikiUK should concentrate on the UK Universities by physically linking them and encouraging debate and input about how this higher knowledge can be made available to the general public. In such a process, the body of higher knowledge will preserve itself and be permanently available to be upgraded, amended and added to for future generations stored in Wikipedia when it becomes historical solidified.
    Approximately a million editors are required! The human resources are there; sometimes at the pinnacles of our institutions and sometimes in unexpected fields.
    This is a tricky debate and I hope I have made myself clear whilst not necessarily understanding the status quo. I apologise if I am underestimating people's endeavours and results.
  4. WMUK needs to reach the heart of the nation and to encourage prolific interest in Wikipedia with commensurate generosity from users and contributors. WMUK needs to collaborate actively and imaginatively with other international Wikimedia groups.
    “Wikipedia” operates in a unique dimension; the enormous significance of this still has not percolated though to everyone, but it must. No commercial marketing, no government control, no bossy power base. The seeds of knowledge have been sown; let them be watered in the form of small, frequent and widespread spontaneous donations by ordinary users; may knowledge, truth and enlightenment continue to stream in from contributors: this is WKUK's brief.
    There needs to be a series of short, medium and long term schemes to ensure correct logistical and financial administration, legal copyrights, libel protection, protocol in referencing sources at Wikimedia UK etc and widespread technical support (anti-viral for example). With all this in place, the true success of WMUK will be the measure of natural growth and proliferation from these seeds. Like the allegorical story of the grain of rice on the chess board, which doubles with every square, exceeding all measure of business planning.
  5. Wikimedia UK is an enlightened organisation yet still in formation as an established charitable institution. There will be wrangles and attacks which must be dealt with openly and honestly because the overall set-up will not be affected. If Wikimedia UK continues to grow as a charity then its own dynamic patterns of growth will compensate for any artificial or extraneous bad press..
  6. Inaccurate or incomplete information can be presented in a way that enables it to be amended; if it is interpreted in a falsely positive light then this will presumably counterbalance the occasions when the reverse is the case until such time as the final 'version' of the truth is established and widely agreed to be a fair representation of the facts.
  7. I will have by the 12th May. I am busy whittling down my own projects and manoeuvring myself into a safe spot with enough to license my victuals over the next few years.
  8. This is an important question. Even as a risk taker and courageous I daren't answer your question today. However, there could be some in-house insurance in place by way of protection for individual volunteers in the face of unforseen hardship, if indeed as you suggest this might be a contingent issue? The same could apply if the action base of an individual volunteer grows beyond all proportion and needs sustaining in the form of renting/running premises, using exisitng networks whereever possible.
  9. The battle here is one of material security versus creative edge. I could only answer after further investigation into several prototypical examples. I thought that WMUK was set up to create financial and technical (etc) systems so as to underpin international success for Wikipedia with clear emphasis on Wikipedia UK and with geographical exercises to promote awareness and funds within the UK itself. Now it is being suggested that volunteers are paid. Clearly for the logistical and administrative/legal/technical staff a salary is a pre-requisite.
  10. Dear Harry, I don't have the expertise to answer this question informatively but Andrew Marr's eclectic guests on Monday's Start the Week (broadcast 30th April BBC/Radio4) were a complete set-up for you. I am absolutely positive if you were to email his guests with such a question they would provide the best possible answer.
  11. This is very important and applies to a range of other personages (nations/races/groups/illiterate people or those unable to represent themselves) and not only those who are alive but those who have gone before. In the case of living individuals I believe they have the right to contribute to their own pages and there could be a safety net in place by way of provision of a service for their prior notification. Wikipedia is not about opinions or people's feelings but about factual information. Is it not the case that normal laws of libel and slander are en rigor?
  12. It is a good idea to install this option to protect users from unsuitable images. Words can be offensive but at least they need to be actively read in a sequence, unlike images which can flash before you synoptically and can amount to a virus infection of the mind. With today's technology an image can be flashed to thousands of viewers at the push of a button, even to those who have not chosen to receive it. The rationale of this argument might be clarified by consideration of this scenario: you READ (or start reading) that Mr.Y is having and affair with Ms. X …...... you SEE an image of Mr.Y and Ms X in flagrante. Being informed of 'the affair' through the medium of words or through an image/images has differing neurological implications. Certainly images are most explicity interpreted in a split second by one's mind, before one can wilfully click an escape button on the keyboard thus inflicting a visual image into one's memory in ways which can be painfully difficult to eradicate and may have long-lasting effects beyond one's conscious control. To me this is an intrusive and dangerous graphic medium which should be carefully monitored.
  13. I would need to consult experts on this matter and take a back seat but clearly certain filters need to be put into place in schools. 'There is no doubt that the truth must out' is not a bad mantra for Wiki to fall back on but, as one who engages with masses of pupils taking GCSEs and A levels I have ceased to be astonished by the swathes of young people who struggle to even form the 26 letters of the alphabet correctly and whose basic spelling and expression is atrocious yet the same individuals are dexterous in entering realms of 'adult' material that would probably make the rest of us recoil! It's 'the press of the button' that concerns me; if Wiki provides a platform where unsuitable and uncensored material thereby becomes available, mesmerising children who respond to passive and shocking visual stimuli, then thumbs down for Wiki. To balance the viewpoint, it really might be best just to print the truth and not to elaborate or sensationalise. Images would be need to be justifiably included (criteria required). A written account would be available to anyone who willfully chooses to be informed of the truth, however unappetising it might 'appear'.
  14. In the same vein as the former response, I might suggest that institutions and/or members of the general public are engaged in surveys at regular intervals in order for the administrators to accumulate a body of statistical evidence as to the damage to/effects/inappropriateness of images at given points, in given areas and at different levels. Wikimedia UK should definitely be engaged in these assessments and procedures.