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Sometimes wiki users want to avoid conflicts and therefore seek agreement or consensus before doing something. This is a bit tricky, because it's extremely rare that all active users answer to a given question or suggestion. Usually nobody can know who is active or not. So this has to work with expectations and interpretation of SilentAgreement.

Examples of informal AgreementMode

These are examples how AgreementMode has been used in informal ways:

Example 1: a new user wants/suggests to write about a new topic

"Hi, folks. You've a great community here and I have a great idea that will revolutionize software development. I'd like to create a wiki here and elaborate on that idea. -- signature"

Situation: nice guy, bad idea. Interpretation in general: if there are positive answers only, it's ok. If there are no answers after an undefined timespan, it's ok because of SilentAgreement. Problems start when the OP waits only for a short time (maybe a few hours) and interpretes this a SilentAgreement prematurely. It gets worse if there is one opposing voice and the OP misinterprets this as just a single critical voice (usually it has SilentAgreement).

Example 2: a regular wants to refactor a thread mess

"I think this page needs refactoring. If no-one objects, I'll try to do it, keeping a copy of the original text (below two separator lines, on the archive page X) until there is agreement that the refactoring was successful. -- signature"

Situation: usually users will only disagree when they feel that the discussion hasn't yet cooled down. Interpretation in general: positive reactions are nice, but it's important that there are no negative reactions. It's important that refactoring is signalled, because otherwise users might misunderstand the changes and judge the results before completion.

Example 3: a regular wants to change the name of a page

"I'd like to change the name of this page from X to Y, because ... good reasons .... . I'll assume SilentAgreement after three days. -- signature"

Situation: page names are critical, they are often part of the pattern language. Changing the page name means also changing page references, so it's a lot of work to do and undo it. Interpretation: SilentAgreement is ok, but active agreement of a regular (or the host) will give a better feeling that the suggestion is correct.

Examples of formal AgreementMode

Example 4: changes to the TourBus on BusRouteDiscussion

"I suggest to add wiki X to route Y after wiki P or Q. Please add your comments until two days from now (TIMESTAMP, please increase if you feel to need more time). I'll act as soon as possible according to the majority. -- signature"

Situation: changes that affect multiple systems may create conflicts easily. So it's simpler to go slow. No single conflict since TourBus was restarted. Interpretation: Anyone can participate in the discussion, usually there is SilentAgreement.


Looking at these examples, AgreementMode shows these elements:

Formalized AgreementMode suggestion:

AgreementMode: I'd like to ...(suggested action), because ... (reasoning). I'll wait for ... (some ok) or until ... (usually two days from now) for SilentAgreement. -- signature

AgreementMode is a slow and wordy solution. It would be a nuisance to use it too often. But in some situations it can work wonders to avoid conflicts. If we view wiki elements (rc, diff, page history) as creating transparency with respect to the past, AgreementMode creates some transparency with respect to the future. It is also a signal of politeness: "I'm listening to you and I'm willing to take what you say into account". It may help those users that want to work without conflicts.

CategoryCollaboration CategoryConsensus


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