[moved from WikiProblems
Basically, I don't think that spam or vandalism are real problems; any developer or community can find technical means for protection. The only real problem that I ever saw with wiki - and that's the reason why wiki is so interesting - is that it's not
a technical system primarily. You cannot push a button and have a wiki community. Wikis need a lot of things but especially people that respect each other, share expectations, share values and agree on certain forms of behaviour. Wiki is a social system primarily, it needs a culture. The problem or task is to grow the culture. -- HelmutLeitner
I totally agree. But people are very reluctant to openly discuss values and expectations, they'd rather just act. Discussion about these matters takes commitment, tact and some refinement. The guys with the expertise (you, Sunir, and others) migrated to MeatballWiki, so there you have it. Wiki also suffers as an informal organization from the lack of InstitutionalMemory?. To paraphrase Gandhi, WikiCommunity would be a good idea.
Currently (2004,2005) on wiki, we see on wiki a wide range of cultures, personal backgrounds, values, expectations and motivations for participating here. An overriding principle or goal for wiki participation is at most theoretically acknowledged but is not followed in practice. That's why for the last two years, besides the annoying or debilitating wars of all kinds, I sensed a distinct lack of finality associated to Wiki contributions. My thesis is that for most of its active participants WardsWiki is currently a big machine for wasting time and energy. -- CostinCozianu
took a big burden to be such a focal point of the worldwide wiki community, taking so many newcomers from all the world, all that attention and conflict. I think we - wikizens outside of the WardsWiki
community - have to be deeply indebted for that. I became an occasional contributor here because I did no substantial software development during the last few years. I didn't migrate, I just had little to contribute. The MeatBall
community has indeed gathered a lot of wiki knowledge, some of which might be useful in the current situation here. It's difficult to see from the outside: is this felt to be a turning point? Is the WardsWiki
community currently striving to redefine its identity? Seeking a new vision for its future? -- HelmutLeitner
Interesting questions. But the prudent answer should be that there is no WardsWiki community here. WardsWiki will have to make do without a community for the time being, because if it didn't happen in years it won't happen overnight. In addition, communities also come with a baggage, not the least of which the distinct danger of communal thinking. The lack of a community warm fuzzy feeling is arguably not the most debilitating factor. The vision is there, as provided by Ward himself in the beginning. Adherence to that vision is lacking with such a big user base, and nobody would deny that explicitly, however the connection between the vision and individual action is so loose that in fact denying it implicitly just comes with the territory. And we can't have the vision police, anyway.
What is needed is something much smarter and much more elusive. The biggest problem right now is that wiki is not creating value. Wiki is a big energy consumption behemoth. But the net output is close to zero, as far as I can tell, and wiki it's feeding itself on past glory, the inertia of some and the ego of others. No matter how much meta-discussions we have, where there's no value, well, that means that there's no value. It's as simple as that. -- Costin
Ok, perhaps the model of a society fits better than the model of a community. In a society, different groups or communities organize to make the best out of a situation, to work together or side-by-side - depending on the situation. But there is still some basic consensus and there are some mechanisms to avoid excessive conflicts. What about a society?
- A society, maybe. Currently, WardsWiki is a "happening" (whatever happens here define what Wiki is). The only subject matter that enjoys overwhelming consensus is that spam should be removed. Other than that, good luck trying to find consensus on anything at all. So let's recap: WardsWiki started as a cool geeky thing related to design patterns, and later generalized to all software-related matters, and from time to time excursions have been made into whatever contributors felt like discussing. Contributors come and go haphazardly without anybody caring much about who comes, who goes and why (communities do show some care with regards to their membership).
- Mechanisms to avoid excessive conflicts? Well, the only reliable one proved to be that if you piss Ward really good, he will take some measures and conflicts will subside for a while. Ward proved to be a very gentle man who doesn't get pissed off easily.
- Would we be better off if Wiki had more focus, adhered more strictly to the original vision, etc? Maybe. For some people, it would be better; for others, it wouldn't. We don't know, since what drives people here doesn't also motivate them to take part in this kind of discussions.
- There's neither energy nor mood for more than a "leave things be" approach. I delayed replying to you on purpose, to show you that there's no interest in even expressing an opinion on these subjects, after all there's MeatBall for meta-discussions. Wiki polls have consistently failed to establish anything at all, because folks simply do not take part. The only person able to take an informal poll is Ward himself (and he did, but we do not know the results).
- All in all, my summary analysis of the situation leads to the conclusion that overwhelming factors converge towards maintaining WardsWiki into the WikiAsHappening? status quo. I would also bet that maybe a solid majority would think that something better than that would be highly desirable, but the evolutionary mechanisms seem to prevent any other outcome. It's yet another form of TragedyOfTheCommons.
It's also hard to believe that there is no value, as you say. If there were no value, I suppose you and others wouldn't be here. There is surely a lot to build upon and there are a lot of possible visions. Are people talking about their visions? Do you know who identifies with WardsWiki
? What do you think that these people want WardsWiki
to become? -- HelmutLeitner
I talked with DavidLiu on C2BusinessValue and he gave the answer below. Do you know him? Do you think you two could reach a consensus? -- HelmutLeitner
- Funny that you ask me. You should ask them. And hardly anybody will answer, of course. Venturing in educated guesses about what people would want WardsWiki to become is tricky business.
- I would contest your assertion that there's a lot to build upon. Maybe there is, but I see more handicaps than opportunities.
- Let me be clear, I didn't mean to say there was no value left in wiki (there are some valuable pages left, here and there), what I intended to say is that WardsWiki has, for a while now, ceased to produce any significant value, and feeds itself on the past glory, the emotional investment and inertia of some and the ego of others, but all in all, it's currently running on red.
- No, I do not know him personally, but reach a consensus on what ? I do not care much about consensus, because maybe X and Y can reach a consensus on a set of rules S1, but then you add Z and you reach a consensus on S2 << S1, and so on, so forth, until there's maybe nothing useful left. Establishing a consensus on a set of rules, vision, goals, etc, will change the nature of wiki, it will no longer be a happening, it'll be more of a social organization and that may be better or may be worse, but it'll certainly be different. A sensible alternative to explore is to make wiki work and work well without a consensus on mostly anything. We could try to reach a consensus that we don't need any other consensus. I wrote the WikiChangeProposal to try to promote such an alternative, I'm trying to find time to implement it in software but so far the feedback has not been great, but neither has it been terrible.
- When I have time I will try to write my vision of what WardsWiki can be on a page clearly marked as such, sure it would help if others can do the same. But my expectation is that a wiki should be able to support all different kinds of wikis. Maybe some contributes on this wiki for entire altrusitic motives, maybe somebody wants to promote his product, maybe somebody wants to be here just for social chit-chat, maybe a bunch of guys have irreconciliable differences. If we can make wiki work nevertheless, that would be best.
[discussion moved from CtwoBusinessValue
] This is not a business - discussion
I do not understand this page. WardsWiki is neither a business nor a product, it is a community or society. -- HelmutLeitner
Thanks for input. Yes it is not a business organization, but it does have a business (purpose) for being there. And since it is sponsored by Ward, it is also reasonable for Ward to (re)examine the business of this setup. The word "business" is chosen as it would help focus on "costs" vs "benefits", on "investments" vs "returns". Is it better when put in those lights?
No, it doesn't help me, because I'm sure Ward thinks about this wiki more like a child than like a business. (not a child in a hierarchical sense, but in the sense of an unbreakable relationship that's beyond ROI considerations)
Also as guests, we spend time on the wiki, what business does that serve us? And how do we serve the business of the host providing such services?
As guests, we are part of a social system. We can learn and develop and enjoy our time. If we succeed in this, making this an interesting and peaceful place, I'm sure our host would not ask for more. -- HelmutLeitner
Ok if you look at it that way. I now have pictures of WardsWiki
as an "Ant farm" with Ward watching us tunnelling into/throughout the pages :) - Seriously, have you got any specific suggestions to add to CrazyThingsThatMightSaveWiki
, to make this "an interesting and peaceful place"?
I don't have to offer something crazy. A bit of experience learned elsewhere. A fresh look at entrenched problems. Some helpful things to organize communication. Maybe help in finding a consensus. Do you think people here would appreciate this? What is your vision of WardsWiki? How should it be that you could feel at home here? -- HelmutLeitner
Helmut, this is better discussed elsewhere where I have left you a message. BTW if I am not mistaken, Ward created the CrazyThingsThatMightSaveWiki
page. -- DavidLiu
I don't think that a discussion of C2 elsewhere will help the C2 community process. It also doesn't matter who created CrazyThingsThatMightSaveWiki
. The codeword seems a simple and effective technical thing
to block destructive contributions. But inside of this necessary security wall the remaining task is a social one. You need to form a group - however small - that knows how to create a consensus. Everything else will follow from that. All the information can be found at MeatBall
. I can help if help is wanted. -- HelmutLeitner
OK Santa Claus. I would like a community that is
Oh, not Christmas yet? OK, I can wait :)
Another crazy idea, from MicrosoftSlave, not me :)
He is available for hire as a full-time wiki facilitator for 30K US contract, and promise to work hard, no swearing, etc.
- supportive and BarnRaising in nature
- mild-tempered and cheerful, even when slapped in the face
- reasonably skilled in communications, e.g. listening
- resourceful - either have knowledge or able to source knowledge, and strong analytical and judgement skills
- have reasonable experience in practice of the relevant business areas
- around when they are needed, not here for a few days and disappear for months and years without notice
- have good match / complement with my personal and professional interests (not the science of computing)
Thank you for your wish-list. I'm sorry about your frustration. Do you agree to what CostinCozianu
wrote about the situation here? -- HelmutLeitner
- Costin has a point that is part of the problem. See CommunityProblems where I have his concerns acknowledged.