is the "raison d'etre" for WardsWiki
. We are here to create content and to talk about PeopleProjectsAndPatterns
, but such talks have no value if the WikiReader
s don't derive any value from it.
There are other reasons for people coming here (like for example: "It's a cool place where I cyber-socialize with other geeks", "I am here to make connections that will help me find a better job", "I am here to get some answers to questions I have at work.", "I am here to promote my pet project or pet technology.") and almost all of those reasons are legitimate
and should be recognized as such. But, and there is a big but here, you can have all the reasons in the world and pursue your own personal goals on WardsWiki
, if the net result of your actions is adding value
for the WikiReader
Why should it be this way?
There are a couple of reasons:
- Tradition. Although not explicitly, it has always been the case that this was the overriding factor. It started with the original obstinate pursuit of the elusive DocumentMode, and Ward's InFavorOfDissertation. Ward thought he was overruled. Maybe he was overruled, and maybe some he was wrong in some details, but in the large he was right, and still is.
- Common sense. We are here on somebody else's property, which means we are guests. WardCunningham is putting a non-trivial amount of time and money into running the wiki infrastructure. Why should he do that if Wiki produces anything but value to WikiReaders, as it has been the case for some extended periods of time? I mean, comw on, if we're interested in our dog fights, edit wars, etc, it's kind of grotesque to think that it's fair for Ward to pay for hosting such things. As soon as you find yourself in an activity that does not really provide value to the reader, think of it as a form of impoliteness.
- Practicality. If the first two arguments are not enough, there's even an argument from an utilitarian perspective. Simply put, providing value to the reader is the easiest to justify common goal that can act as a catalyst for the cooperation of wiki contributors. One of the best rules in chess is: the value of a set of pieces in cooperation is much higher than the sum of individual pieces. The same can be said of most human activities. But in order to get people to cooperate one needs to provide a common goal. Serving the wiki reader, is the easy one. It can always be a good reason for refactoring pages, DeleteInsults, even deleting pages, and in general it will easily gather support and meet little resistance. Try any other motivations and you'll see how easy it is for your actions to fail.
The devil is in the details
Yeah, we wish it was that simple. Let's all declare our attachment to the principle of providing wiki readers, and milk and honey will overflow WardsWiki
. Not quite. Reasonable people may differ on how the mythical WikiReader
is best served, even to the point where conflicts arise. Hopefully more elaboration will follow about the devil is in these details.
Suffice it to say for now, that while it is often difficult to achieve the best decision on how to serve the reader, it is a lot easier for a reasonable person to decide what does not provide value to the reader. But, remember to ask yourself the question "What value does this provide to the reader?" This is always the hard part.
is an important but forgotten part of the "larger community" of WardsWiki
. Here we refer to people who lurk, read but do not do page editing, aside from the occasional spam reversal/spelling correction chore. Or WikiPenance.