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Copy of email sent to Gil

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Gil asked me to clarify a few issues around academic wikis and also whether more experiences from users reporting on drug treatment for their condition would be helpful.

This is what I wrote.

Well Gil!

I think the first thing we would like is to be seperated out from the other wikia, with a different look and, branded as an academic enterprise. I see this along the lines of a seperate imprint from Wikia as a publisher. I think you could be clearer about how you fill the publishing role, but at no cost to either readers or contributors. If marketed properly this is a genius arrangement, but without marketing it looks cheap and people are not sure if we are a wiki clone of WP, scamming the adverts.

For example at the minute the cheatbase message just is not helpful to our credibility, and the new advertising that isnt psychology related is inappropriate.

The rules and culture of an academic wiki require an evolutionary change towards an acceptance of the need to protect pages: Firstly in terms of agreeing approved versions of pages periodically so they can be accepted as an approved reference souce within the academic community. Secondly where people put up academic papers on to the site, people would not expect them to be editable. For example we have a number of experts in their field writing papers specially for the wiki and they will be protected from editing. Thirdly we have peoples accounts of their own contact with services and these too need to be protected to maintain the integrity of the personal experience. These require a cultural shift on the part of Wikia admins to support this stance. As I understand it the existing protection on pages is adequate for our needs.. In the longer run it may be that there will be pressure to restrict editing privileges to qualified psychologists and people on approved courses. This is all to do with academic concerns about the quality of the information. but we can look at that issue when the time comes, but that again would require a cultural shift in the wiki community.

I think if we could move forward on these point, particularly the academic imprint and seperate branding, with proper communication to journals and heads of departments and learned societies, we could advance our cause considerably. You could promote us as a model for the way forward.

On the other point. as a psychology wiki we are not directly concerned with drug treatments, that are the preserve of psychiatry. But we think there is a lot of mileage in giving people a voice to provide feedback on the help that they have received, be it psychological therapy and/or drug treatment. MostlyZens work on managing peoples accounts I think is a good model that the Healthwiki could amend to their own needs.

A couple of points. We wouldnt want it to be much more prominent on the Psychology Wiki as a primarily academic site. And its important to understand that many other established sites are already fulfilling this function, with forums and message boards etc that it is unlikely that a newcomer to the market would make much headway. Our pitch is that because its an academic site they can help researchers and clinicans improve services by providing feedback. This is different from sites that foster mutual support and advice giving. The latter of which strikes me as dodgy from a legal point of view.

Well you did ask! Hope this clarifies things further. Do come back to me again with your further thoughts. Best wishes Joe

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