Sometimes you're tricked into starting a discussion with people who are no longer active on this Wiki, but still have their AncientGraffiti
all over it. It makes you feel silly.
No reason to feel silly.
You and I have received knowledge and skills that have been passed down to us. Some of them have been continuously passed down for millennia.
Is there any way we can "pay back" all the hard work the originator put into developing language, writing, geometry, agriculture, metal-working, etc., and other people (all long since dead) put into refining it and preserving it? Not directly. However ...
All too often, interesting conversations in the real world are interrupted for one reason or another. On this wiki, the same process occurs at high speed [Note 1].
Perhaps some of the attitudes and techniques that work really well on wiki would also work well (slowed down appropriately) in the real world.
These techniques have to work in the face of the fact that I'm responding (in the majority of cases) to "ghosts", and I in turn may be a "ghost" by the time someone gets around to responding to me.
Some of the techniques that work surprisingly well on wiki, and have inspired me to try them more often in the real world:
I find it fascinating that we can get some useful, relevant text from people who may only show up and actively edit wiki for a week or so. Conversations of a sort are still possible. When two people disagree on something, then one of them drops out of wiki, often there is someone else that has the same viewpoint (or someone who enjoys playing SaintsAdvocate
) that can continue the conversation. (Quite often I find a ThreadMode
conversation that reads like a coherent conversation going back and forth between two people. But when I look at the signatures, I am amazed to see a dozen different names.)
This helps focus the conversation on ideas (which are immortal) rather than people (who may no longer be here on wiki in a year -- or who may have already left wiki, never to read what I am about to type). Many people consider focusing on ideas, rather than people, a good thing.
"Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people"
-- Eleanor Roosevelt
-- David Cary
Other wiki techniques that might be useful to apply more often in the real world:
- DeleteInsults and watch their restoration, Delete again and you will invite an endless cycle, however:
- Add, Correct, Explain, Discuss, IgnoreInsults, Promote PositiveDialogue, and watch understanding and knowledge grow.
: Interesting conversations with people are often interrupted. Phone calls, previous engagements, simple need for sleep. People move to a different city, or have the audacity to die, when we haven't quite gotten around to saying all we wish we had said, or heard all we had wished to hear from them.
On this wiki, the same process occurs at high speed. Here's an analogy:
- Lifetime of as much as 122 years (or perhaps living in one city for a few decades) --> period of wiki activity, as much as 10 years (WikiHistory began in 1995), but often (I suspect) less than 1 year for many people.
- conversation of 30 minutes or so, much of which involves body language, analyzing clothing styles, warming up with small talk and a joke, etc. --> jumping right to the heart of the argument (OpeningStatement on top), and reading it in less than 5 minutes.
- Entire kingdoms and other political systems start with a germ of an idea, rise to power, undergo often violent change, then fade from view, typically (or so I hear) in around 200 years or so --> WikiPages are created with a brainstorming thought, grow, are re-factored in ways the originator often finds surprising, then eventually fade out of the attention of RecentChangesJunkies, all (or so I hear) in the course of a week or so.
- Ideas can be proposed, discussed, and improved by calling upon interested parties to collaborate. Should the developed ideas be great, they will outlast the media and mechanism upon which they were generated. IdeasAreTimeless and this Wiki is said to exist in a WikiNow which ignores transiency of RecentChanges and a NotInventedHere mentality.
- What's all this obsession with arguing, winning, conquering, and destroying (deleting). The Wiki is not a Video Game where the characters, weapons and actions are not real. Here real people, real ideas, real intentions and actions are the order of the day. It is not a place where one should act as though what is said doesn't matter. It does. When you insult, delete, get angry, and so on, you are doing if for real. The person who interacts with you is not a game program, they have feelings, aspirations and hopes. These should be supported, not torn down by unfeeling aggression which is acted out because one can feel anonymous and can not be held responsible for the actions carried out in a perceived role.