Proposal talk:Wiki for ratings of professors
|Thread title||Replies||Last modified|
|Bad idea||6||21:37, 4 May 2012|
We already have Wikipedia articles on many notable Professors. If anyone added this sort of info to them we would and should treat this sort of information as unsourced BLP violations.
How could we operate a sister project to such a lower ethical standard?
You are confused about the difference between an ethical standard and an editorial standard. There is nothing unethical about allowing individuals to express their opinions about other individuals. The Wikipedia BLP standard is an editorial standard under which the original research, private opinions, and general impressions of contributors are not unethical but rather editorially unacceptable. The reason is that an encyclopedia stops being an encyclopedia when it stops insisting on publicly vetted reliable sources. Reliable sources themselves report what persons of unknown reliability say every day. That's because newspapers, for example, are not encyclopedias -- and neither are college guides nor professor-rating wikis.
Of course an individual may make a dishonest evaluation of a professor which we would agree would be unethical, but a professor-rating wiki should and would make it clear to contributors that accounts of a professor must be factual and opinions be based on explicit facts — as illustrated by an anecdote, perhaps. (I would suggest it be a rule that only first-person accounts are acceptable, no hearsay, and that it be made clear that potentially slanderous material cannot be posted except with reliable-source backing.) Of course nothing prevents the initial posting of unethical comments but that's true of Wikipedia as well, and the solution — eternal vigilance by other editors — is well known.
I like this proposal because teaching ability and performance varies widely even at the most prestigious schools but typically one must be plugged into the social networks at a school to get the information on what other students think about each professor. An open forum, where multiple viewpoints may be heard, is far more ethical than the random snatches of opinion one would get from the campus underground — and it would be available to all interested parties. Besides teaching ability and performance I think we should also know if professors are fair (treating relevantly like cases alike) and whether they have an irrelevant ideological or other axe to grind. Many schools routinely collect their students' opinions of their teachers, and who finds that unethical?
I think this is an interesting idea, at least as a social experiment unfortunately I don't think it is practical.
Professors/Researchers are already ranked intrinsically, using accepted criteria used in academia this is refered to as publish or perish. This would require development of bibliometric tools and access to academic data. On the other hand rank proper based on student opinion would require a system of checks and balances to make it a serious venture. You would need to check and verify which student took which courses by which professor, their grades and their votes. This looks like a place which would encourage antisocial/unethical behaviour that could hurt the reputation of professors, especially ones who like to take a controversial stands.
If you believe a professor could win a revert vendetta you have not edited Wikipedia. I think that if I was a respected professor in my field and some one tarnished my reputation on a money rich web site I would sue for damages under libel law and I would probably win.
In my humble opinion the place for doing this type of project would be within the Universities Courseware Website under the auspices of the University's student body.
I've seldom seen anyone miss the point so completely as to say "Professors/Researchers are already ranked intrinsically, using accepted criteria used in academia". That obviously (or at least I would have thought it was blindingly obvious) has no relevance to this idea. Michael Hardy 20:08, 14 October 2011 (UTC)
Did you mean "the university's courseware website"? Or is there something called the "Universities [plural, capitalized initial letter "U"] Courseware [capital "C"] Website [capital "W"]"? Michael Hardy 20:09, 14 October 2011 (UTC)
First of all that is because students are not consumers. They are supposed to be co-producers. The idea that students are consumers harms the students most profoundly. No one who does not take responsibility for their own education can learn. In addition the model of students as narrow consumers is part of the ideology that has led to the massive dis-investment in education, and the corresponding creation of debt. If you intend to reify that on wikipedia, at least do not do it in a vacuum of ignorance. Second, and speaking of vacuums of ignorance, it is a bad idea because of the very well- documented biases against women and men of color in evaluations. I am assuming that the person suggesting this is SomeDude whose life experience is being a white guy in CS. Perhaps googling gender bias would help. In general, wikipedia has not been a particularly hostile place to women. Of course, adding this would open that to change for female academics. Third, rate my professor obviously already exists. In addition universities offer internal ratings in which the ratings are provided, by people WHO HAVE ACTUALLY TAKEN A COURSE. Fourth, teachers and instructors who teach in contested areas would be downrated by ideologues, e.g. I am sure gender studies will become a pastime for MRAs. It is a deeply political choice that will have little valid output, provide a platform for ideological culture war venom, further reify the idea that an education is something that is passively consumed, and create a duplicate platform where there already exists superior ones. I will endeavor to think of one good thing, and if I do I assure you I will return to post it.