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Welcome to the WatchKnowLearn project, contributors!

What do contributors do?
  • add videos and categorize them
  • edit info, especially with the Edit Queue
  • edit the Directory
  • occasionally, discuss issues that come up
How to get started
  1. How do I add videos and generally help build the website?
    Go to Quick Start instructions. For more details, just keep reading.
  2. Does WatchKnowLearn host videos itself?
    No. We only embed videos hosted by other services, and link to webpages with videos (and other watchable media). If you want to make a video for WatchKnowLearn, upload it to one of our supported sources (a list is under the "Add Videos" link at the top of the page) and then embed it here.
  3. How do I make an account?
    Go here. It's quick and easy.
  4. But there are many account types. What are they and what are their rights/permissions?
    • Anonymous users (no account) can rate videos and upload new videos (but they have to be approved before they're displayed on the site).
    • Simple Accounts require just a username and password (no e-mail). Such accounts allow you to track your own contributions to WatchKnowLearn and change their titles, descriptions, and other data. Again, new submissions must be approved before they're displayed.
    • Confirmed Accounts require a confirmed e-mail address, real name, and location. Once activated, such accounts can add videos without approval, edit the information associated with all videos, and edit the Directory.
    • Contest Accounts require address, phone number, minimum age, and agreement. These are like confirmed accounts, but will allow you to enter future contests.
    • Media Review Panelist Accounts are given to specially invited teachers and other education professionals. They are essentially community moderators. They can approve submissions by anonymous users and Simple Accounts, confirm new accounts, and lock videos and categories (which they should do only rarely). Their ratings are weighted more than other accounts.
    • Administrator Accounts can only be so designated by programmers working on the WatchKnowLearn server. They can create Media Review Panelist accounts and have a few more administrative tools.
  5. Which account type should I choose?
    That depends on what you want. If you want to be able to track your activity, you should at least get at least a Simple Account. If you want to edit other people's videos and the Directory, you'll have to get a Confirmed Account. If you want to be able to participate in a (future) contest, get a Contest Account. If you're a teacher, librarian, or other preK-12 education professional, you can request a Media Review Panelist account (see below).
  6. May children create accounts here?
    In accordance with U.S. law, children under 13 may not make accounts without parental permission. Parents or guardians should make accounts for children under that age, or simply create a family account. Do avoid using the real names of any children under 13, and avoid sharing information about the age of children on this website.
  7. How do I discuss WatchKnowLearn with participants?
    If you want to talk about the project, feel free to do so on our e-mail discussion group, WatchKnowLearn-Discuss.
  8. How do I get occasional announcements about the project?
    We have an announcement list. To get on this list, simply go to your account, upgrade to at least a confirmed account (that is selection #2), and select "Yes" where it says, "Receive occasional updates about the project? Not an intrusive, high-volume mailing list." This is our main way of announcing developments about the project. If you're a participant or you're interested in the project, you should join. It is a low-volume announcement list, you can easily unsubscribe anytime, and we will not give your e-mail address to anyone.
  9. How do I get involved with the Media Review Panel?
    Our Media Review Panel is a group of experienced teachers and skilled video makers who rate videos, moderate submissions, and edit the directory. The general public can do these functions as well, but the panel has more authority: they serve together as community co-moderators. Volunteering for this important role takes just an e-mail. If you are an experienced school teacher, or some other sort of education professional (e.g., ed tech person, education professor, or advanced student in related disciplines), please send a short note with information (preferably, a resume) about your relevant experience/training to Joe@watchknow.org. Thanks in advance!
Preliminary questions
  1. I'm thinking of becoming a contributor. Do I have to read this whole FAQ?
    You're a volunteer. You don't have to do anything. But if you do much work here, you'll want to read a lot of this, because it explains all sorts of things in a charming and delightful way. (Well, maybe not charming and delightful. But it does explain things.)
  2. Who can participate?
    Anybody. If you just want to help out by adding a link to an educational video, you won't even have to log in. Just add the embed code or use the bookmarklet. Somebody (another volunteer) will check the video and zap, the video should appear on WatchKnowLearn soon. If you want more of a say in what’s going on, you'll have to make an account.
  3. Can even kids get involved?
    Children 13 or older can create accounts and participate. Children under 13 should have their parents or guardians create accounts for them, or simply create a family account. Do avoid using the real names of any children under 13, and avoid sharing information about the age of children on this website.
  4. How do I get oriented?
    If you want to "take a tour" of the site, then after you make an account, we recommend you click around and explore the Directory (do watch and rate some videos), the My Profile section, the Change Log Log, the Leader Board, and don’t forget to check out our innovative Edit Queue. And remember this FAQ. It is the one-stop shop for all contributor questions about this project. That’s why it’s so huge.
  5. As a contributor, I wonder: what is the point of WatchKnowLearn anyway?
    Isn’t it just a search engine? No, it is a directory of high-quality, free educational videos for kids. Not only do we make videos searchable, we give them consistently useful titles and descriptions, ratings that help compare videos from different websites, and, most importantly, we place like videos together, in a useful, giant directory. We find the best educational videos out there, we edit info about them, and we organize and rate them. In short, we do video collecting for students, parents, and teachers, so they don’t have to. This is bound to be useful to many people.
  6. But why build a Directory? That’s kind of outmoded, isn’t it? Why aren’t we just using tags and folksonomy?
    In our opinion, that doesn’t work very well for YouTube and TeacherTube. The fact is that, for education, we can agree on many different categories for different subjects, and as it turns out, it’s really useful if human beings working together deliberately, instead of a computer algorithm or random/chaotic tagging systems, put videos into those categories. That’s where you come in! That said, we do have a search engine, which indexes all the words in the title and description. It is already pretty handy. Give it a try!
  7. Why add videos by hand?
    Why not just scoop up the content automatically? Have you looked at the categories for the educational offerings of YouTube, TeacherTube, and other sources? There's a lot of great stuff out there, but it is so intermixed with "noise" that it can be hard to find. WatchKnowLearn is different because it finds the "signal"--the educational videos kids can really learn from--and organizes it into one directory that makes it really easy to find.
  8. Why rate and comment on videos?
    They’re already rated elsewhere, right? Right, but WatchKnowLearn provides a single, central location that we can use to find and compare free educational videos from all across the Internet. In time, the ratings here could become more credible here--they're part of a teacher-led, free, non-profit service, devoted to educational excellence.
  9. Throughout the following, you speak of "contests." Is WatchKnowLearn holding any contests now?
    Maybe not; check the front page for lists of any contests.
  10. How do I get a new video source added to WatchKnowLearn?
    For now, just send a mail with the suggestion to Joe Thomas at Joe@watchknow.org and we’ll look into it. We won’t support sources that don’t have many educational videos for children.
How to use the system, in general
  1. How long does it take to import a video?
    It depends on how you do it. If you are looking at a video on YouTube or other supported services, you click the bookmarklet, and you leave all the hard editing work to others, then your part can be done in seconds. But if you take the time to edit the title, description, and other information carefully, and (this part is important) if you find the best category for the video, then it can take as long as watching the video takes—something like three to five minutes, with a little practice.
  2. If I want to rate a video, is it necessary to watch it all the way through?
    In most cases, yes—otherwise your rating may be unfair and your title and description may be wrong or incomplete. Whatever you do, please don't just watch the first few seconds and then decide on the video's quality and description.
  3. What if I find a video that just shouldn't be here?
    Use the "flag as inappropriate" link just below the video. If you have permission in the system, you can use the delete button.
  4. How do I know how many videos I’ve imported? Where can I find a list?
    There are handy, clickable lists and statistics under My Profile.  You might also want to check the Leader Board.
  5. Should I feel criticized or insulted if others edit my title, description, or categories?
    Please don't. This is basically a wiki system, and if other contributors help out this way, you should be grateful and try to work with them.
  6. But what if I disagree with their edits?
    Well, you can discuss this either on the video page or the category page, as the case may be. You can find any replies either by bookmarking the page or looking under Change Log>Lesson Comments or Change Log>Directory Comments. You could also e-mail the person, if you know the person’s e‑mail address. If a dispute seems intractable, the project's director, Joe Thomas, can intervene if necessary.
  7. Can I keep track of how much I have edited WatchKnowLearn?
    In fact, you can!  Go to your "My Profile" pages and click on "Statistics."  Not only does that page tell you how many different videos you have edited, it tells you which fields you have edited (e.g., titles, descriptions, or whatnot), your rank in comparison to other WatchKnowLearn contributors—and it even gives you videos lists for each type of editing you’ve done.
  8. What are the most important things for a contributor to know? Here are several:
    • We're collecting educational videos mainly for kids, not for educator development. Videos describing educational activities are welcome only in the section for teachers and parents.
    • We're non-profit.
    • You can use our bookmarklet.  It small, safe, and really speeds up work.
    • You can use our innovative Edit Queue. The system throws videos at you according to an algorithm that calculates priority importance, and tells you what to do to them!  You can also use it to filter videos by subject, etc.  Check it out.
    • It's important that you edit the title and description of the video, so they're consistently useful to the end-user. Please don't just accept whatever title and description YouTube (etc.) uses.
    • It's also important that you rate videos, so we can compare videos from different sources on the same subject.
    • Teachers and other education professionals can register as Media Review Panelists, which gives them special rights in the system. See above.
    • But there are important things you can do without even logging in.
    • This is a basically a cutting-edge wiki, but of a brand new type. Worth exploring by Web 2.0 geeks!
General project policies
  1. Aren't your ratings harsher than those we might find on, e.g., YouTube?
    Probably. Most of the videos we have here are imported by people who want to use them with kids, not by the creators of the videos. We take a hard-nosed attitude toward quality. Four and five stars should be reserved for really excellent quality. Three stars isn't bad. Two is watchable.
  2. What do the rating stars mean?
    • 5 stars = Exemplary.  Unusually helpful and well produced.  Do not overuse this, please; it is not the standard rating for decent work, as it is elsewhere.
    • 4 stars = Very Good. Very helpful but not among the very best; adequately produced, at least.
    • 3 stars = Usable.  Reasonably helpful, perhaps a bit amateurish in production or has some other problem; there is nothing wrong with a 3-star rating for amateur work!
    • 2 stars = Some Merit.  Not completely worthless or inappropriate; minimally helpful; you can see how it might be useful to some people.
    • 1 star = Not Right for WatchKnowLearn.  Not at all helpful, not educational, poorest quality, etc.; you can’t see it being useful to anyone.
  3. Have you got some guidelines for good videos?
    Yes. While we cannot control how people rate videos, we hope the following will be helpful for video raters and creators.
    A good video needs:

    • Excellent conceptual clarity and helpfulness. The video explains its topic excellently, for its education level. The instructor (if any) successfully follows a method of explaining the topic that is interesting, clear, and effective for the target students.
    • Clear presentation and attractive aesthetics. Instructor speaks clearly and slowly enough to be followed easily, and does not "drone" or talk down to students. Any media (whiteboard, animation, etc.) are used professionally, or at least in a way that actually enhances the overall presentation. Extra "points" may be given here for helpful use of innovative or attractive presentation methods.
    • Adequate standards of technical production. The camera focus, lighting, composition, and sound are all adequate. There is no distracting background noise or distortion.

    To determine a rating, you might weight clarity and helpfulness 50%, presentation and aesthetics 30%, and technical production 20%.
  4. Why don't you include videos for university students?
    Because WatchKnowLearn is for school children. Their requirements are different, and the nature of the community will become different if we make this a community welcoming to material for adults.
  5. But I want to add videos for university students. You mean I can't?
    No, not unless they're also suitable for high school students as well. There is some "advanced high school" material that would certainly be useful to university students taking introductory courses. Please do try to focus on content comprehensible, helpful, and appropriate for school kids (pre-university, up to age 18 or so). If WatchKnowLearn works out well, we may make a version for university students and other adults.
  6. In some categories, there is a lot of advanced secondary-level (i.e., high school) material. Is this intentional?
    Sure—well, somebody intended to put that stuff in!  It's great if we have a lot of more advanced content, but please don't neglect stuff aimed at the earlier levels.  Even toddler, preschool, and kindergarten stuff is OK. Let's be sure to cover the basics for all school age levels, anyway.
  7. Is this an English-only project?  A U.S.-only project?
    English-only yes, U.S-only no.  We want this to be as accessible as possible to all children learning in English. The project is being coded in a way that will make it possible to launch relatively easily in other languages.
  8. But what about the Languages category?
    The Languages category is for English speakers learning those languages.  But we have put an English as a Second Language category there as well.
  9. Do you have something against other languages?
    Of course not, we just have a realistic idea of what we are capable of managing, at this stage. If WatchKnowLearn turns out to be a brilliant success in the English version, we should be set up to launch fairly quickly in other languages too.
Deciding on a topic to search for
  1. Should I have a specific topic idea in mind as I search for videos to add to YouTube?
    Yes.  In our experience, searches for more specific topics tend to have more videos, and more interesting videos, than searches for general topics.
  2. How broad a search topic should I use? As a search topic, would "reading" be all right?
    No, "reading" would be too broad, and if you search our sources for "reading," you’ll get a lot of useless stuff. You need to know what specific reading topics are taught, and search for them. Even "phonics" is too broad. Try things like "silent e." Similarly, "Mathematics" and "Arithmetic" are way too broad. Searching for "counting" and "adding two digit numbers" and even more specific topics will get more relevant, useful results. Again, it's best to consult a textbook or other resources for more specialized topics.
  3. I can’t just randomly browse TeacherTube or the education section in YouTube and find lots of good stuff that way?
    Probably not--we’ve tried that, and it’s extremely inefficient. The problem is, unless you are searching for a fairly specific topic, you’re going to get all sorts of irrelevant and low-quality junk in your search results.
  4. So how do I decide what topics to look for?
    We suggest that, at least at first, you follow whatever areas you know most about. You know your abilities. Also, which areas need the most additional coverage is going to change; we'll appreciate if you fill in the gaps as you see them. If you already have some specific ideas in mind, great! If not, then consult a textbook, encyclopedia article, or some state standards on the subject, to get ideas of subtopics to search for. More specific is usually better.
  5. In October 2009, you already had thousands of topics.  Aren’t you going to run out of suitable topics soon?
    We doubt it.  We believe we have barely scratched the surface.
  6. I am a teacher (or homeschool parent). Is it all right if I find videos on specific topics that I am going to teach?
    Of course! Great idea! Also, please see our Tips for Teachers and Tips for Homeschoolers.
  7. Any other advice?
    Yes:

    • Check the Directory first.  You might be surprised at what we already have in the area you’re interested in.
    • Pick topics you care about, that you know are useful, and build up categories of videos that you can imagine using with your students or kids (or that you can use yourself!).
    • Also, did you know that you can search some of our sources right from WatchKnowLearn? Use our search form and select "YouTube" (or other sources) from the drop-down box below the search form.
    • You might want to sit down and brainstorm a whole bunch of topics to search for, before diving in.
Locating videos and using the bookmarklet
  1. How can I locate suitable videos?
    After choosing a sufficiently narrow topic, try searching for that topic in the sources listed under "Add Video." If you don’t get many good hits, try changing the topic wording a little (or switching websites). As you find some better videos, use the titles, descriptions, and topics from those videos to get ideas for new or better topic wordings.
  2. Do you care which source (YouTube, TeacherTube, etc.) we get videos from?
    Not really. We would prefer that you use a variety of sources and not just YouTube, but at present, YouTube is probably easiest to find good videos on.  National Geographic also has a very high signal-to-noise ratio for our purposes, but we may have already mined them thoroughly already.
  3. How do I add videos to WatchKnowLearn without the bookmarklet? 
    First, find a video you want to add to WatchKnowLearn.  Then simply press the "Add Video" button

    Select Embed Code if you are using one of the sources listed there.  On the page, locate the embed code, copy it (Ctrl-C in Windows) from the source page, and paste it into the box (Ctrl-V) on WatchKnowLearn.  If you are using some other source, all you need to do is select URL and then paste in the URL of the page where the video is best viewed.
  4. Do you recommend using the bookmarklet? Is it very useful?
    We strongly recommend using it.  It’s very useful.
  5. How do I add videos to WatchKnowLearn with the bookmarklet?
    Once you’ve added the bookmarklet (which is easy because it’s a favorites bar link; instructions here), it’s easy. Just go to any page that has a video on it, then press the button to add the video to WatchKnowLearn. Then you'll have the option of going straight to WatchKnowLearn to edit the category, title, description, and other info, or to keep browsing. If you happen to be on a page from a website that we don't support, then we'll just add a link to the video page.  Such links to unembeddable media will let us create a complete directory of all watchable media for kids online!
  6. What happens if I try to import a video that is already in WatchKnowLearn?
    The system won't let you.  If there are duplicates of the same video from multiple sources (which is technically possible), all but one of them will be deleted by hand.  Please flag duplicates.
  7. Do you care if a video seems to be "pirated," i.e., clipped from a commercial program?
    Every commercial video provider knows about YouTube and other Internet video hosts. We figure that if a production company has allowed the video to remain on YouTube, they don’t oppose it being there. So go ahead and scoop up all those Sesame Street, Electric Company, Word World, PBS, and other professionally-produced videos you can find.
  8. Uh, you mean unless the company does oppose it being there...right?
    Of course. If you know that a company has objected to people copying their content on YouTube, it is WatchKnowLearn's policy not to embed copies of that content. We will, of course, remove embeds when requested by the owners.  We should also leave notes about these restrictions in the appropriate category descriptions.
  9. To find more videos, do you recommend we use the "Related Videos" and "More From" features on our source websites?
    Yes! These are a great way to find a lot of similar videos. Our search habits differ, but you might find more videos this way than through straight searching.
  10. Should I (1) import a whole bunch of videos en masse without even watching the videos carefully, and then watch the videos and edit the video pages on WatchKnowLearn later? Or should I (2) view them on YouTube (or wherever) first, import them after I’ve checked them, and make them perfect one at a time on WatchKnowLearn?
    Strategy (2) may be most straightforward for many people. We would prefer (2) out of consideration for your fellow contributors, who are building this database with you. Basically, when you quickly import a whole bunch of videos at once, you're basically asking the other contributors to review videos you haven't reviewed yourself yet. For now, we don't forbid strategy (1), we just ask that you review your recent imports soon--please don't wait for more than a couple hours. You can find a list of all the videos you’ve imported in the handy "Uploads" page in your My Profile space.
  11. How do I upload National Geographic videos with the bookmarklet?  They use a pop-up that annoyingly turns off the favorites bar.
    It just takes another step.  Look near the top of the pop-up window.  You’ll see the URL of the page there.  You can copy that URL and paste it into a new window, one that has the bookmarklet.
How to edit the Directory
  1. What do you mean by "the Directory"?
    It is a large set of categories, as well as the hierarchy we place them in, and the order in which they appear within parent categories.
  2. Can I edit the Directory?
    That depends. If you have a Confirmed account (or better), your account has some rights to edit the Directory. (What power!) If you don't have a Confirmed account, you'll be able to place your videos into categories when you first upload them, but you won't be able to edit the Directory (the categories) itself.
  3. How do I reorder categories in the Directory?  I heard you can drag and drop.  Is that true?
    Yep. To reorder categories, simply pick them up and drop them where you think they should go.  It’s pretty cool!
     Hints:

    • After you "pick up" and start dragging a folder, hover to the right of the category names.  You should see a thin dotted little.  This will indicate where your folder will be set down. (By the way, it does not matter whether the little vertical line on the left side of this dotted line is pointing up or down.)
    • If you drop a folder into another folder, it will become a subfolder.
    • While you are holding a folder, any folder you hover over will first be highlighted, then expand.
    • Just as you would expect, if you move a category with subcategories, the subcategories are moved too.
  4. How do I add a new category?
    Right-click while hovering over an existing category.  Choose a category above or below where you want the new one to go, or, if you want to create a new subcategory, choose the parent category.  If you have permissions, you’ll see a menu pop up.  Choose "Add New Category…"  Type the new category name, and then be sure to choose "Add this category above/below/as a subcategory to".
  5. What’s the category description for, and where is it, anyway?
    Category descriptions help both users and contributors to determine what videos should be in what categories.  Sometimes this is essential for clarifying how we want the Directory to develop.  You can find the category description at the top of any category page, if there is one.  At current writing, most categories do not have descriptions.
  6. How do I rename a category?
    Right-click while hovering over an existing category.  If you have permissions, you’ll see "Rename" as a clickable option.  If you don’t, it will be grayed out.  The place to rename a category is within the Directory itself.
  7. How do I delete a category?
    Right-click while hovering over an existing category.  If you have permissions, you’ll see "Delete" as a clickable option.  If you don’t, it will be grayed out.  After clicking "Delete," you will get an "are you sure?" prompt.  If you confirm, then any videos in the deleted folder will be transferred into a parent folder.  Be careful about deleting, please.  Don’t delete many categories without consulting others first.
Principles behind editing the Directory
  1. Are we locked into the existing category scheme? For example, do we need to keep exactly these categories about History? Can't we change it around a fair bit?
    Generally speaking, we can change things around, but it depends. At this early date, we certainly aren't "locked in." But the more that the categories have been used, the harder it will be to change them, both logistically and socially. We can anticipate that, later, for some categorization issues, we'll have to discuss them before deciding with any finality. Many changes, especially minor and uncontroversial ones, and logical extrapolations of existing categories, can be made without consulting anyone, especially early on in this young project.
  2. What are the principles behind building the Directory?
    Unfortunately, there are a lot of these:

    • Group like subjects, and like videos, together.
    • But don't create idiosyncratic categories that "cut across" other more common categories (people will just have to recategorize the videos you put there).
    • When there are too many like videos in one category (say, 10), create subcategories.
    • We've decided to capitalize category names. Use "Molecular Biology," not "molecular biology or "Molecular biology."
    • Do not create identical category names.  For example, do not use "United States" for both the "U.S. History" and "U.S. Geography" categories; prefer the latter. Do repeat information about the parent category in the names of subcategories, if necessary.  That’s useful redundancy.
    • More generally, choose category names that fully identify their subject.  For example, don’t use "Poetry" as the name of your category, if the subject is writing poetry.
    • In general, don’t create categories devoted to songs, cartoons, or other such video types.  People use a variety of approaches to teach concepts.  We sort them by topic rather than approach.
    • But do create special categories for a single hour-long or longer program that is broken into several parts, such as Carl Sagan’s Cosmos series.
    • The tables of contents of standard texts will often give good ideas about categorization.
    • Generally avoid categories based on grade/education level. (There will be a few exceptions to this rule.)
    • Put specific categories under general categories. We are going from general info to specific info.
    • Choose common category names, not obscure ones. They should be easy to find.
  3. Do you care about the order, within a category, that subcategories are placed in?
    Yes.  Subcategories ordered in sensible and unsurprising ways will make information faster to find, as users scan the Directory.
  4. OK, so what principles should we follow in ordering the subcategories of a category? 
    It depends, first of all, on the category, but we can make some generalizations:

    • Put topics that are taught first, and on which other items rest, go first.  This is true, for example, of Math, Phonics, and Grammar.
    • Put historical periods and events in historical order, of course.
    • When no other sort of order makes sense, put items that are most important, of most interest, or most searched-for first.  This means, for example, that common languages get listed individually, and languages rarely studied by school children in English-speaking countries are listed in an "Other Languages" folder.  This may require value judgments that people will disagree with.  It’s better to use a few sensible judgments that invite a little disagreement than to confuse everybody.
    • When there are long lists of names (for example, lists of authors or of states), those go in alphabetical order.
    • Put things like test skills and other "unusual" items at the ends of lists.
  5. Shouldn’t we just alphabetize all subcategories?
    This option might seem inviting, but please don't alphabetize categories unless there is a really good reason to do so (e.g., the subcategories are all names of people or some lists of states or countries).  Alphabetical order only sometimes makes things easier to find.  There is a good reason not simply to put categories in alphabetical order: paradoxically perhaps, they are less findable that way.  If the user always knew in advance just what categories we would have, perhaps this would make more sense.
  6. Is there an upper number of subcategories to put under any one category?
    It’s hard to put a number on it.  Generally speaking, if there are so many subcategories underneath a given category that it becomes a confusing mess, and if it makes sense to consolidate several of them together, we should consolidate by creating a new subcategory (or several) to hold many other subcategories.  A strict upper numerical limit is 25.
  7. Is there an upper number of videos that should be in any one category, which should trigger the creation of some subcategories?
    Yes!  If there are more than 10 videos or so in any one category, it's probably time to make some subcategories.  The situation is desperate if there are more than 20 or 30 in one category.
  8. So should I create new categories myself?
    Perhaps, if you know enough about the subject, you have an idea of how they are taught, and (this is important) you’ve explored related categories so that you don’t create a duplicate category...and if you aren't too argumentative or dogmatic. After all, this wiki-style site allows others to edit your category scheme! You've got to be OK with that, and in the interest of harmony, occasionally just accept what seems a bit imperfect to you.
  9. What if I'm nervous about getting the categories "wrong"?
    Don’t worry about it. Do your best, and we will edit each other's categories, wiki-style. It's pretty easy to rename and move categories.  Maybe a little too easy!
  10. What if I’m nervous about creating a duplicate category?
    Before you make a new category, please make sure it doesn't exist already. If you need to, you can use the search box; it searches for categories as well as videos.  We’ve encountered many redundancies before, though, and the world hasn’t come to an end.
  11. What is the category description for?  Should I add one?
    Category descriptions help both contributors and users to discover where video should be filed.  So you should especially add such descriptions when one category might seem to overlap with another, or where you want to point the user’s attention to a related category (cross-indexing).  Notice that category descriptions support a small set of HTML markup, so you can link to other categories.
  12. Should I create a set of empty categories, and then start looking for videos to fill them up?
    Whatever you do, please just don’t go creating categories without putting anything in them. It's often better to let the content of the videos determine the categories, rather than making a whole bunch of categories that you might not be able to fill up. This can make the categories more meaningful and helpful to people. We find that a group of videos frequently falls into "natural" subgroupings, if that makes sense. But we can sometimes easily predict categories in advance. Please just keep an open mind and stay flexible and creative.
  13. What if there are a zillion videos on one very specific topic? Won't subcategories become rather ad hoc?
    Not necessarily, but maybe.  As long as the subcategories are at least somewhat useful to users, it's OK if they're a little contrived or artificial.  Such categories are more useful than a zillion videos in one giant category.
  14. You have already worked a fair amount on the Directory.  Have you already settled upon any subject-related rules for the creation of new categories?
    Yes, we have:

    • Put all videos and categories created for teachers and parents in the "For Teachers and Parents" folder.  Please do not create any new categories just for teachers within the rest of the Directory.
    • All painting- and sculpture-related videos go in The Arts. They do not go in the Languages folder, even if national art is studied in foreign language classes.
    • "Educational" song videos can be found throughout the Directory, and preschool children’s songs can be found under Learning to Read.  But singing for upper grades, folk songs, as well as opera, are found under The Arts.
Categorizing videos
  1. How do I put a video into a category?
    There are two ways.  (1) From any category page, or from the video display page, simply click and hold the title of the video, then drag the title into the category where you think the video should go.  The new category assignment is automatically saved.  This is the easy way.  (2) On the video editing page, at the top of the page, simply click on the link just below the word "Category"; they are printed light blue.  A javascript category list will appear.  Simply drill down through the menu to the folder where you think the video should go.  Click on the folder name.  Be sure to press the save button, or your change will not be made.
  2. OK, so how do I decide on a suitable category (or subcategory) for a video?
    Sometimes it’s easy, and sometimes it’s hard and may require research. If you don’t know where to put the video, then use the WatchKnowLearn search form to see if there are any suitable categories already, or to get a rough idea of where your video might go.  It also helps to drill down into the relevant places of the Directory.  Sometimes you may have to create a brand new category for your video.  That’s fine, as long as you’re sure there isn’t a similar category elsewhere already.  Also, if adding a video to a category pushes the number over 10, and you can think of some suitable subcategories, then by all means start subcategories. Do move existing videos from the parent category to the new subcategories, as appropriate.
  3. Should I try to find an appropriate category for a video from among the existing categories, or should I make a new category?
    That depends. We want eventually to have thousands of categories, all usefully organized by the Directory. As we grow, our Directory's list of categories will become both more complete and more specialized. In the  meantime, you'll find that in many cases, there won’t be an appropriate category—they will all be too general. In that case, do make an appropriate subcategory. Of course, if you discover that there is in fact a perfectly appropriate category already there, please use it.
  4. I’ve got a video that seems to go just as well into two different categories.  Can’t I file it under two different categories?
    No, not at present.
  5. Well then, how do I choose?
    A good rule of thumb to follow is: in what subject is this video most likely to be watched as part of a course of study?  Another is: does this type of video already exist in one category rather than another?  But use your best judgment.
  6. What if there is a lot of overlap between two different categories?
    Then make sure you look at—or add!—a category description, which can be seen at the top of a category page, which clarifies the sorts of videos that belong there.  Please feel free to start and edit those category descriptions.  Be bold!  Add cross-links between the two categories (i.e., add HTML links from one to the other and vice-versa).
  7. Oh no...I just put a dozen videos under a category, and then found that a similar or duplicate category already exists. What do I do?
    Not to worry. Simply move the new category so that it is a subcategory of the old category. Then simply delete the new category. This will not delete the videos in the new category, it will transfer them to the old category. By the way, if you think it is better to put the new category where you put it, you could move the older category under the new one.
  8. What if I find a video about, for example, determining trigonometry functions—is it OK if I just put it under Trigonometry, the general category?
    We’d prefer it if you didn’t.  But if that’s all you want to do, that might be better than leaving it entirely unfiled.  But bear in mind that people might not look under a general category for a video on a specific topic, so the video won’t do them any good. But someone else will, hopefully, find or create a more appropriate (precise) category for the video. This site works like a wiki. Thanks for whatever you can do!
Editing titles and descriptions
  1. Can I edit the titles and descriptions of videos?
    It depends on your account type.  If you have no account (if you’re anonymous), you can edit a title and description of a video only when you are submitting it.  If you have a Simple account (one that is not e-mail confirmed), then you can edit the title and description of videos you’ve submitted, but no others.  Note that you can upgrade Simple to Confirmed.  A Confirmed account allows you to edit all titles and descriptions unless the video has been locked.
  2. How do I edit the title and description?
    Simply press the "edit" link next to the video’s title.  Edit them using the form that comes up, then press Save.
  3. Why rewrite the title and description? Why not just use the one that we find on YouTube or wherever?
    Following a consistent and highly descriptive style is one of the "value-added" ways that WatchKnowLearn can best serve the public. One of the things that makes good educational videos hard to find is the lack of a consistently useful way of describing them.
  4. But what's wrong with the title used in the source video?
    Unfortunately, most people title their videos in a way that is too vague, nondescriptive, or idiosyncratic to be most helpful to the user. They often don't convey any clear idea about what the video contains. NOTE: on WatchKnowLearn, the purpose of the title is not to respect the artist's wishes but to give the user, who wants to get down to learning as efficiently as possible, an exact idea of what to expect.  So plan to retitle!
  5. How should I title videos, then?
    • The title should, above all, describe what happens in the video. This is one reason you need actually to watch the video—to make sure it’s titled properly.
    • Just as importantly, the title should distinguish the video from others in the category. As new videos are added to a category, it might be necessary to rewrite older titles.
    • If the video is a song, or takes some other unusual approach, it may help to say so in the title.
  6. What if the source of the video is included?  Should I remove it?
    Yes, please. So: not "Sesame Street - C Is for Cookie" but just "C Is for Cookie" and then put Sesame Street in the Producer field.  This will display Sesame Street just below the title.
  7. I noticed that there are a lot of very similarly-named videos in a category. Is this a problem?
    Yes! People scan the titles of videos on our category pages to find out which videos to watch. It helps them to see titles that clearly distinguish the various videos.  So give more precise names to similarly-named videos, please.
  8. Now about descriptions.  Again, should I simply use whatever description is used in the source video?
    Again, no. Sometimes descriptions are detailed and helpful enough that they require little editing, but usually they require a lot of editing (or writing from scratch). Hint: you can edit the description while watching (or finishing watching) the video.
  9. How should I write the description, then?
    • The purpose of the description is to let the user decide whether to watch the video without actually having to start watching it. The description should also have essential information that will help it be found by our search engine.
    • The description should in most cases two or three sentences long, and at the very least one long sentence. Example of a brief, but helpful description: "A 50 states song, to the tune of ‘Turkey in the Straw,’ with state names and simple state shapes on screen. First at normal speed, then double time."
    • Describe the video's subject matter and give its "plot," if it has one.
    • Use simple language.  Avoid educational jargon and advanced concepts unless necessary.  Don’t talk to teachers, talk to kids. Remember that the primary audience of the descriptions is not teachers but children. The kids that a video is aimed at should be able to understand the description without too much trouble.
    • Describe the main production features of the video. Most people remember to include the video's subject matter in the description, but they often forget to say that it's a cartoon, that it is audio-only with a static image, and so forth.  That’s important info for users too.
    • Don’t write a "teaser," write a full description.  It is usually OK to give away the ending or "punchline" of the video.
    • It is good to add useful reactions to the video, as long as they are not very judgmental. For example: "Very simple video, simply a long shot of James Earl Jones saying the letters of the alphabet very distinctly, along with simple letters on the screen--that's all. A little mesmerizing, perhaps."
    • Just don’t write gushing or personal remarks like "fantastic video" or "rate this highly" or "I loved this!" Don’t let your descriptive language prejudice people’s ratings of the video too much.
  10. Is it OK for me to edit somebody else’s description?
    Yes!  This is basically a wiki.  The video’s finder is not solely responsible for the title and description.  We share responsibility.
  11. Come on, isn’t one sentence for a description enough? Enough for users?
    Not usually. A few videos are very simple to describe, but most have various features that someone wanting to watch the video would appreciate having spelled out in advance. The whole point of having descriptions at all is to give people an idea of what to expect before they watch the video: the exact topics, approach or "plot," type (cartoon? song?), production quality, source, etc. Anything you find unusual, jarring, praiseworthy, or annoying about the video would be helpful and should be noted. To write a really excellent description, you’ll probably have to watch the video all the way through, and then you need to think a moment about what to say. It's a little like writing a factual mini-review.
  12. Can we have some examples of a good title and good description?
    An example of well-titled and well-described video Another example. Notice, these are not too long, but they are high-content and relevant to a user deciding whether to look at the video.
  13. Would you like a long, thoughtful, opinionated "review" in the description area?
    No, please save those for the comments area. The relatively "objective" information, which people with different reactions can collaborate on, goes in the description.
Editing other information about videos
  1. What does Owner mean?
    The owner of a video is the person, company, or other entity that holds the copyright to the video.
  2. How should I identify the Owner?
    Generally, the video’s owner is the same as its producer (maker).  But this can depend on various circumstances, especially whether the video is professionally produced by a company or instead was produced by a private individual for noncommercial reasons.  For professionally produced videos, the owner is often but not always the company whose brand is on the video.  For amateur videos, the owner is almost always the individual (or, sometimes, several individuals) who made it, i.e., Owner and Producer are almost always the same; the source website (like YouTube) often has a web link to the creator’s site.
  3. Who should we say is the Owner of a video that was made by "mashing up" various images and videos (for educational purposes)?
    We can generally say it is the creator, even if the video is "mashed up" by a private individual from a variety of commercial sources, protected either by Fair Use or by the DMCA.  What that person "owns" is the compilation.
  4. What if a person has released the video into the public domain?
    Then, just as you might suspect, we say the video has no owner at all.  You can simply put down "None (public domain)."
  5. Should we go to extraordinary lengths to identify the Owner?
    No.  If you can’t determine the owner from the source website and through a simple Web search, just check the "Could not find Owner" box.
  6. Why keep track of the Owner at all?
    We intend to create contests, and only the Owners of videos will be able to collect prize money.  The Owner of a video also ought to be able to control our information of the video (as long as he or she can agree with the community about how to title and describe the video), and so become its Finder.  As a side-benefit, tracking the Owner information will help keep us honest and in the law.
  7. But Owners do not have to be usernames, do they?
    No, which is why the Owner of those videos that contributors want to enter into contests should match the Finder.
  8. Who is the Finder of a video?
    Unless changed, the Finder is the person who uploaded the video to WatchKnowLearn.
  9. How do I locate the Finder of a video?
    It’s the username you see after "Found by".
  10. What rights do Finders have?
    Videos found with an account are listed on that account.  The Finder is allowed to "lock" information about the Owner and Producer (so other accounts cannot edit this information).  The Finder field should match the Owner field when a video is entered in a contest.
  11. As Owner of a video, can I have Finder rights transferred to me?  How?
    Yes, you can.  First, go to the video display page (not the video editing window).  Below the video, in the Summary tab, look for the "Found by" line.  There, you simply click "Request Finder Rights" and an e-mail will be sent to the current Finder of the video.  The Finder may transfer rights to you.  If he or she does not, bear in mind that an Administrator will see the refusal of your request and will be able to review it.
  12. I would like Finder rights, but the Finder was anonymous, or used a Simple account (and so cannot be contacted by e-mail)? 
    Then an Administrator can transfer Finder rights to you.
  13. If I am the Finder of a video, and I want to transfer Finder rights to someone else, how do I do that? 
    First, go to the video display page (not the video editing window).  Below the video, in the Summary tab, look for the "Found by" line.  There, you simply click "Transfer Finder Rights" and an e-mail will be sent to the person owning the account (it must be an e-mail confirmed account) that you specify.  The person can then accept or reject the Finder rights with a click.
  14. What does Producer mean?
    Essentially, the producer of a video is the entity given credit for creating it.  It can be either an individual, company, or another sort of entity (such as a group of students).  Sometimes, however, we use the name of the series in preference to the name of the company that produces the series (see below).
  15. How is the Producer information used?  Why are you tracking it?
    It is used mainly as a "byline," giving a person or company credit as the source of the video.  If John Doe created a video singlehandedly, "produced by John Doe" appears just below the video title.  If the video is a National Geographic production, "produced by National Geographic" appears (regardless of who created the video for National Geographic).
  16. Isn’t the Producer always the same as the Owner?
    Often, but not always.  Sometimes videos are made (and branded) by one company or person, but then sold to another.  The Producer is the entity publicly credited as the source of the video.
  17. What about movies and television series?  Is the Producer the person credited as producer, or is it the director, or what?
    If a well-recognized series, such as Electric Company or Word World, the series should be credited.  Examples of companies and series, large and small, that we credit as Producers: Sesame Street, Discovery Education, Periodic Table of Videos, Readeez.  Do not use ".com" in the name of the producer, unless this is part of the brand (it rarely is).
  18. What is the License?
    The License for a video is on what terms it is available to the public.  Most videos can be assumed to be proprietary.  Occasionally, however, we will find videos available under more open licenses.  We want to mark the fact that they are available in that way.
  19. Why track the License status?
    WatchKnowLearn supports open content and Creative Commons licensing.  We plan to hold special contests limited to those who license their videos using only particular Creative Commons licenses.
  20. What does Age / Education Level mean?
    It means the ages for which the video is expected to be used, in typical cases.  For example, advanced Calculus videos are probably going to be useful only for ages 17-18 or so, while a video first introducing the simplest shapes might be useful only for ages 3-6.
  21. Why not just talk about grade levels?
    Because WatchKnowLearn is an international project.  It serves many countries which do not have a grade level system like that of the United States.  (For the same reason, references to "first grade" and "high school" and the like are to be avoided in video descriptions, and should be replaced with age information.)
  22. What if I am not sure about the age level of a video?
    Then leave it alone, and do not check the checkbox next to the field.  Someone else can edit it.  If you have a reasonably good idea of the age level, go ahead and put your best guess in, but err on the side of a broader age range.
  23. What if different countries teach a topic at different ages?
    Then, when giving age levels for videos on those topics, err on the side of inclusiveness.  Any typical U.S. or U.K. standards should not be used if similar standards are not used throughout the world.
  24. How is the age level data used?
    The Age Filter (found above the Directory) can be used to filter both the Directory and search results.  When you set the handles to anything other than 3 and 18, only videos that are specifically marked as including one of the ages you have chosen will appear in the Directory or in your search results.  At launch, the number of videos with age level data was very small.  As you navigate the Directory, the numbers in parentheses next to category names will help you locate exactly where the age-appropriate content is.
  25. Let me get this straight: the age data for videos is set by default to 3-18, but videos for which we have neither (a) edited this age data, nor (b) checked the age data, are not found by specific age level searches.  Correct?
    Yes.
  26. So how do we mark the age of those videos (say, in music or art) that are appropriate for all ages, i.e., 3-18?
    You can mark them simply by checking the checkbox next to the age level.  You don’t have to touch the age handles.  Then they will show up in all specific age level searches.
  27. Don’t you need a lot more age level data?
    At present, yes.  We would greatly appreciate it if you would edit this data as you watch videos.  We hope eventually to have age level data for most or all of our offerings.
  28. Do you have any pointers for setting age data?
    • In general, classical music is appropriate for ages 3-18, unless it has other information included, such as advanced text or voice-over.
    • Simple, undescribed art presentations can also be appropriate for ages 3-18, unless they feature suggestive nudity (as in Manet’s Olympia) or horrific violence (as in Goya’s paintings).
    • It is not really possible to give specific age data for Languages.  Some students begin study of language at very early ages.  The fact that in the U.S. foreign languages do not tend to be studied until the student is 14 or so does not mean that language study should be marked that way.
    • More pointers will be posted when we have them.
Using the Edit Queue
  1. What do you mean, "edit WatchKnowLearn"?
    You can edit in many ways: move folders around so that the order makes more sense; clarify titles; expand descriptions; find Owner, Producer, and License information; add age data.  The information in the WatchKnowLearn database is already useful, but it is not complete or perfect.  We rely on you to make it better.  Again, it’s like a wiki.
  2. What is the Edit Queue?
    It’s a list of WatchKnowLearn videos for you to edit.  The videos at the top of the list are "most in need of attention," according to a cleverly-designed computer algorithm.
  3. So, how does the Edit Queue cleverly determine what is most in need of attention?
    It ranks videos according to whether they have been (1) approved for view; (2) "checked" (see below); (3) "double-checked"; (4) rated enough; and also (5) how old they are.  Generally, unapproved videos are displayed first, and then the videos that was uploaded a long time ago, and that has not been checked or rated at all, will be presented next.
  4. Can I filter what the Edit Queue shows me?
    Yes!  Click "+ Show Filtering Options" and you’ll see a bunch of options.  You can use these options to view just videos in a single (top-level) category, or which need rating or checking, etc.  You can also use this to view only your own submissions.
  5. How do I use the Edit Queue?
    We suggest that you start with the first one, edit it (see next item), check off the items you’re reasonably sure are right, and then press "Save & Next in Queue."  Then repeat as much as you can!  The more we all do this, the more useful WatchKnowLearn will become!
  6. But how do I edit a video from the Edit Queue, and what does "editing" involve?
    From the Edit Queue, you click the edit  icon, the one on the left.  The video’s edit window pops up.  Look over and, if necessary, improve all the editable information: category, title, description, owner, producer, license, and age/education level.  Also, supply your own rating, that’s important too.  See below for a bunch of suggestions about how to edit.  It’s mainly a list of common problems that are fixed when we do editing.
  7. What is that "Editing Tasks" area I see?
    This is a sort of "wizard" that guides you through the editing process, step by step:



    1. Approve the video (if you have permission to do so).
    2. Rate the video.
    3. Complete all the information about the video (title, description, etc.) and check it off if you’re reasonably sure it’s right.
    4. Double-check the information (but someone else will have to do that if you have already checked it).

    When this is done the Editing Tasks "wizard" says the work is "DONE!"  At each step, the item you need to do is bolded in the list, and highlighted with yellow.  As you perform each task, it is checked off the list.  Note that you have to save the video in order to see the check mark.
  8. I sometimes see green check marks next to a video title. What does that mean?
    One green check mark means the information about the video has been checked for accuracy.  Two green check marks means it’s been double-checked, i.e., checked by two different people.
  9. Why check at all?
    The checking system serves three purposes.  First, the green check marks are a useful sign to our viewers that the video and the information about it are correct and useful.  Double-checked videos should be especially well described and catalogued.  Second, the lack of a check mark next to a field is a sign to our contributors that a certain information field has not been examined critically, and needs to be checked.  Third, the checked status of a video is used by the Edit Queue.  A video that has not been checked has a "higher priority" than one that has been checked but not double-checked.
  10. How does a video get the green check marks?  How do I check a video?
    Edit the video.  In the edit video window, on the right side, you’ll see a checkbox next to each information field.  If you are fairly sure that that a piece of information is correct and up to WatchKnowLearn standards, then check the box.  You can’t double-check a video after you’ve checked it once.  Only after somebody has checked all the boxes for a video is it up for a double­-check.
  11. Is it possible to un-check an information box if I think it is incorrect?
    It should be possible to uncheck any box that has been double-checked.  But it is not possible to uncheck boxes that have first been checked.
Problems to look for when editing WatchKnowLearn
  1. How should I edit the Directory?
    • If you notice a duplicate category, decide which category we should keep. Then move the other category so that it is an immediate subcategory of the duplicate. Then delete the subcategory. This does not delete the videos in the subcategory; it transfers all the videos from the subcategory to the main category. Note, you may then need to recategorize videos in the main category, because there may be too many videos.  You may also need to edit a few category descriptions so that people don’t repeat the mistake.
    • If a category is misplaced--if it belongs under some other category--then move it, please.
    • If some categories overlap confusingly, then look at the descriptions of each at the top of the category page. If the descriptions clarify which category covers which topics, then there may not be a problem. But if one of the categories is newer and smaller, if the overlap seems to be due to carelessness, then you might want to delete the new category. This might require a fair bit of work, as you move many videos to different categories and create new subcategories, as needed.
    • If you notice a confusing or vague category name, and you are sure that by changing the name you can help people find and categorize videos more easily, then change the name.
    • If people are making duplicate categories, or are likely to do so, please help them out by adding a note to the top of the relevant category page(s). For example, there are multiple places where people might expect "Poetry" and "Environmental Science" and "U.S. Presidents" to go. Add helpful notes to direct people.
    • If you notice category titles written in lower case, write them in Title Case, Like This. (Note, prepositions and articles are not capitalized in title case, but verbs, including variants of "to be" such as "is" and "are," are capitalized.)
  2. How should I edit categories?
    • If there are too many videos in a category, say over 10, then create subcategories and distribute the videos from the main category into subcategories.
    • If you notice a bunch of videos about more specialized topics that are nevertheless placed in a general category, please recategorize them as appropriate. You may need to create some new subcategories.
    • If some videos have simply been miscategorized (placed into the wrong category by mistake), whether according to the instructions at the top of the category page or due to some confusion, please recategorize them as appropriate.
    • If there is long, connected series of videos (over two, say), and they are scattered around the category page, then it is a good idea to create a folder just for those videos. This keeps them together and makes it easier for users to find them and watch them in order.
  3. How should I edit titles?
    • If a title is too vague or general, look at the video and give it a title that more exactly describes the topic.  Please help fix this common problem.
    • If a video’s producer is part of the title—such as a television program, a website that produces educational videos, or educational video company—then delete it from the title and add it to the Producer field.
    • When looking at category pages, if you notice many similarly-named videos, then edit the titles of all of the similarly-named videos and give them names that clearly distinguish the videos and more precisely describe their content or approach.
    • For consistency, replace pipes ( | ) with hyphens ( - ).
  4. How should I edit descriptions?
    • If a description is simply too brief, then expand it.  This is a common problem. Two ways in which very brief descriptions can usually be expanded are to give information about what happens in the video (not just the topic) and also something about the type, production features, or quality of the video (e.g., it’s a cartoon, or the sound quality is poor).
    • If a description is in any way idiosyncratic or odd, make it more standardized and appropriate for WatchKnowLearn.
    • If a description has self-referential material, delete it. But it is OK for a description to give a URL of a source website.
    • If a description is written in first person, put it in third person.
    • If a description has strong judgments, remove them. It is OK to have some relatively uncontroversial useful judgments such as "an amateur production" or "beautifully illustrated," but really sweeping judgments like "Wonderful video" or "Highly recommended" should be deleted. That is what the stars are for.
    • If a description has no age level (if the sliders are set from 3 to 18, and nobody has checked the checkbox indicating this is correct), then please add some.  If there is some age level info in the description that you can express with the sliders, simply move the sliders and delete the info from the description.
Rules About Deletion and Tolerance
  1. Under what circumstances will you delete a video?
    We want to strike the right balance between educational quality and appropriateness for children, on the one hand, and tolerance for diverse views, on the other hand. The Media Review Panel is tasked with resolving any disputes about these issues, either by discussion or, if necessary, by vote.

    There will never be ideological or religious tests for membership in this Panel, and in the interest of tolerance, the Panel should always strive to be broadly inclusive of many points of view.

    Accordingly, we will strive to adhere to the following standards.

    1. Inappropriate content that we will delete
      • We will delete content that contains any
        • nudity with an appeal to a prurient interest
        • unnecessary violence that is extreme or graphic
        • profanity, usually even mild profanity
        • expressions of prejudice against people on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, nationality, gender, or sexual orientation
      • As a rough rule of thumb, we want all our content rated either "G" or "PG".
      • To allow WatchKnowLearn to be used in as many school systems as possible, we have chosen to exclude videos about reproductive health. We have no wish to cause anyone offense in this decision, but we feel certain that including such videos would cause the site to be blacklisted in too many school districts.
    2. Principles of intellectual tolerance we support
      • We will firmly support not only personal tolerance, but also intellectual tolerance.
      • Therefore we are open to, without necessarily condoning, videos that teach
        • from a political point of view; e.g., WatchKnowLearn will permit the teaching of politics and history from both left-wing and right-wing perspectives; however, strongly ideological content will be moved to separate, clearly-labelled folders.
        • religious topics and from a religious point of view; the educational teaching of all government-recognized religions, as well as of atheism and agnosticism, will be tolerated; the educational teaching of science, history, and other topics from a religious point of view will be tolerated; but all such content must be placed in separate, clearly-labelled folders.
        • racial and ethnic pride, as long as there is no suggestion of prejudice against others.
    3. Submissions beyond our scope and mission
      • We also reserve the right to delete submissions that are clearly out of the scope of WatchKnowLearn. This includes:
        • content that clearly lacks any educational value, such as television sit-coms and popular music videos. But note that we specifically do permit videos about hobbies with educational value, such as collecting, sewing, animal husbandry, and model building.
        • content that is too advanced, i.e., accessible only to university students, or clearly pitched at a level beyond the secondary level; this is a website for school children.
        • content that is not "watchable," i.e., is not the kind of media we are collecting. "Watchable media" will include, but is not limited to, videos, slideshows, Flash videos, flash animation, educational flash video games (do not include downloadable video games), and Web presentations similar to these tools. Essays and other written word, sound files, described activities, curricula are out of our scope. In the future we may decide to include such media, but not now.
        • content that is clearly uninformed, or gives objectively incorrect answers. We are committed to accuracy. Examples: a math video that gives the wrong calculation may be deleted, or a history video that makes a claim for which no proper, authoritative source can be found; an extremely poor explanation of economic concepts that is so obviously vague and uninformed as to be much more misleading than helpful. Note that this rule cannot be used to discount the types of information we specifically include under II above. For example, the recounting of a Bible story may not be excluded simply because there is allegedly no historical basis for it.
        • Also, we will delete extra copies or versions of the same video, unless there is a very good reason to retain the duplicates/alternative versions. We will retain the highest-quality copy.
        • Note that submissions that are "on the borderline" of our proper scope and mission should not be deleted. Rather, WatchKnowLearn will allow its rating and commenting processes to work. Content rated below a certain number, to be determined later, may either be automatically deleted or not displayed.
        • Note that, if anyone wishes to use WatchKnowLearn to organize videos about educational methods and the teaching profession, this is acceptable, but we ask that these be moved out of the main sections of the outline, to their own area, For Teachers and Parents. Please bear in mind that WatchKnowLearn is intended first and foremost for student consumption, or online tutoring if you prefer.
  2. What should I do if I see a video that, in my opinion, violates these standards?
    Press the "flag as inappropriate" button.
  3. Who is authorized to delete videos?
    Only members of the Media Review Panel and Administrators can delete videos.
  4. I am a panelist, but I am not sure about what to do in a particular case.  Should I consult with others?
      Yes, in unclear or "borderline" cases, it is better to raise an issue than make a unilateral decision. Unless the issue is especially sensitive, the best place to do this is on the comments page, which will be accessible to your fellow panelists. Borderline cases can also be discussed among panelists on the WatchKnowLearn-Panel mailing list. It is also acceptable to bring the issue to the general contributing public on WatchKnowLearn-L if it has broad-based implications.
Using community and account features
  1. What is the Change Log for?
    Generally, to keep track of the latest changes made to the site. If you’ve ever contributed to Wikipedia, you can think of it as a Recent Changes page.
  2. How do I use the Change Log?
    First, note that it is divided into four parts: Video Changes (selected by default), Category Changes, Video Comments, and Category Comments.  When you do virtually any activity on the site (other than rate videos or leave someone a personal message), it is recorded here.  If you want more details about some specific edit, click "view details."  Panelists and admins can select and undo specific items in the log instantly.
  3. But why would I want to look at the Change Log?
    To help and be helped by others. When somebody adds a new video, you can edit its information.  You can see how someone is changing the categories for a video.  You can also see what new categories are being created, and how they are being moved around.  You can also look for new comments about videos and categories.
  4. What is the Leader Board?
    It is simply a list of all the active contributors, how many videos they have contributed, their most recent posting, and when their most recent post was.
  5. Where does discussion about disputed questions take place?
    General questions are best addressed on the WatchKnowLearn-L mailing list.  Specific questions about individual videos or individual categories might be raised on that mailing list, but then discussion should continue on the page about the video or category.
  6. Is discussion encouraged?
    Yes.  This is basically a wiki—a collaborative community.  If we don’t talk, we will become frustrated from undoing each other’s work.  Let’s make sure we don’t do that.
  7. Do you have any general rules about discussion?
    Yes.  Remember, this site is for children, first and foremost.  Generally, please make your comments on videos positive, and not just negative.  People work hard on educational videos, and we want to encourage them to make more!  Also:

    1. Profanity (curse words), sexually suggestive remarks, and other such obviously inappropriate comments will be deleted immediately, and are grounds for immediate expulsion. Remember, children use this website.
    2. Personal criticism on project forums and in video content is not permitted and will be deleted. Repeated violations of this rule could result in expulsion from the project so please, no insults or other negative personal remarks, no matter how strongly provoked you feel.  Take the high road.
    3. Very harshly-worded criticism of content may also be deleted. Please use your vote to express your harshest feelings.
    4. Instead, keep criticism of content constructive in tone and content. Criticism of videos that merely expresses disapproval or contempt, such as, "This isn't very good," is strongly discouraged.
    5. We encourage praise of good points!
  8. Is it possible to contact someone in the system?  How?
    Yes, if they have enabled their messaging.  If the person has enabled messaging, you click on their name, then click on "Messages."  Click "Post a Message" and when you save your message, then (in many cases) the person should receive an e-mail notification of your message.
  9. What if someone is being completely unresponsive?
    If someone is causing a lot of trouble and is unresponsive, you can write to WatchKnowLearn-L, or to Joe Thomas at Joe@watchknow.org, and he can step in and try to resolve the problem.
  10. There are two sets of personal pages: "My Account" and "My Profile."  What’s the difference?
    The pages in "My Account" concern simply your private account pages (as well as administrative pages, for those who have extra permissions in the system).  There is a lot more information under "My Profile"—a page about you, messages, statistics, your uploads, your viewing and editing history, and preferences.  These pages can all be made public, if you wish.
  11. Will the pages about me be visible to others by default?
    No.  Only your User Page cannot be turned off.  It records your last visit, the number of videos you’ve added, your number of edits, and how many times you were thanked.  As to all the other pages, they become public only if you make them public.  By default, they are not—with the exception of Media Review Panel members, whose "About Me" pages are always readable and should be filled out.  Project management feels that those with extra responsibility should be well-identified.
  12. How can I thank or acknowledge others?
    Go to their User Page (just click on their name wherever you see it), and press the "Anonymously thank this person for good work" button.  If they are accepting Messages, you can also leave them a nice message.
More questions?
  1. Where do I ask questions about how to do this and what our policies are?
    Try the WatchKnowLearn-L mailing list. If the question concerns a category or a video, you can try the discussion page attached to the category or video. You can also ask Dr. Joe Thomas at Joe@watchknow.org. Larry is Executive Director of the WatchKnowLearn project. If the question is simple and brief he should answer quickly, otherwise...maybe not. He is very busy with multiple projects, so the mailing list may be better.