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Ideas circulating around this cloudy idea of WikiPractices:

This exchange of the ExpertModel? that much of life is based on. Here I treat Sunir as an expert and thus he may feel like I am pushing GodKing status on him, when I am really just setting him OnaPedestal?. This is an AntiPattern. Certainly he has much more experience with the internet and wiki than I do, but by my valuing my instincts and experience I actually help the community grow by BeingEqual? on wiki, that is the beauty of it.

To help me, it would be great if we had a tool called UnfairCritique? or something like that so we can more clearly discuss conflict.

Does SnipingCriticism help?

From: History of PetitionToReleaseMeatBallCopyrights?

This is uncalled for and insulting. It is not the Meatball way enter into position lock so deep that non-collaborative problem solving approaches need to be used. -- SunirShah

I think I agree with you Sunir, but I may also add that I think your response pushes the uncalled for and insulting boundries as well. -- MarkDilley

So edit it. I haven't reached nirvana yet; I am not transcendently detached! It's too bloody cold in Canada to wander around naked in the forest. -- SunirShah


I'm often in the situation of being the inexperienced in a wiki community, because I participate in many communities that have special topics. For example at DorfWiki there are many experts of rural development and sustainability. But I do not feel that my contributions are less important or valuable, because I'm in the position to see where the expert position is hard to understand. I can ask the simple questions and in a way represent the non-experienced readers. So I think there is no difference in value. We have just to understand that, accept that and incorporate it into our communication habits. So I just act from the basic assumption and expectation that we are all equals. -- HelmutLeitner

I had an experience recently when I walked into a very new wiki project that had had a lot of backchannel communication before I got there. I set about attempting to add value. In some cases I was well-received and in other cases, I felt squashed. Yuck. I was the inexperienced one with the wiki project, but not with wiki in general. This seems to also happen in other wikis at other times, yes? --TedErnst

Yes, it happens all the time. I think we have pages about BackStage or BackStageCommunication containing some background about this special situation. Do you see this as a AntiPattern or can there be a GoldenMix? If you are in the situation of being wiki-experienced and local-inexperienced, how much of your wiki knowledge can you bring in - by example or explicitely - and still be well-received and perceived as helpful? I think this is a difficult problem. There is a kind of MindTheGap and all the general problems of OnlineCommunication. -- HelmutLeitner

Wiki experienced / local inexperienced is a nice clarification. The interesting thing about this WikiPractice is that nearly everyone that starts with wiki is interested in how it works, how does the collaborating happen? That interest can turn into excitement easily as WikiIsAbstract?. Because there are no other language ques to help people understand their ideas online, this makes So creative problem solving is needed. Along with stories about peoples experiences with this type of issue are. Thanks for yours Helmut. This is an organizing challenge that I face on a daily basis in the real world, but WikiIsHard?'er, ability to wound others egos is hightened. So there needs to be a set of tools to help people understand how to communicate in this medium. HistoryLessons? (FlameWars?, TheSeptemberThatNeverEnded,etc.) and storys about what things do work. That way, when we start to recongize AntiPatterns? we can reference the community to what we thing might be going on. Ask people to SlowDown?. Learn TheWikiWay. Best, MarkDilley

Actually, thinking about this more, the backchannel issue didn't occur to me until later. What I felt at the time was that the visionary wasn't interested in what I had to offer. And we know each other pretty well and trust each other so it's not just a question of getting to know the other one. So I come in as a new person. I want to respect the work that has gone on before me. I don't want to just willy nilly start changing things because I don't know what went into them being that way. Maybe nothing, and people are happy that I have taken initiative, but maybe the core group of experienced people already talked about this and worked hard to come to agreement. I don't want to mess that up. SlowDown? is good. WikiIsHard? works too. And yet, why do we do it? We do it because collaboration yields much more as a product and as a process than working alone. It's worth the risks! --TedErnst

I think there is the problem of UnwantedAdvice?. Some people don't want to be taught, want to make their own experiences and judgements. I had a discussion with MattisManzel about that and he used the example of skiing: some people want to learn it systematically in a course, other just put on their equipment and rush downhill, knowing that they will crash and - !!! - wanting to know how that feels. The other problem is authority: if you come to a community and show your experience, the leader of this community will feel weakened in his authority, maybe even threatened in his leadership. It sometimes seems to help me, if I put some explicite distance between me and the community saying "I'm an outsider coming for a look and I'm not here to stay ... I just notized that ... are you aware that ..." signalling that I do not want to move into the community and go for leadership. Maybe its just another facet of the RoleModel and the need to make the social situation clear for all those participating. -- HelmutLeitner

Yes, and I do have something to offer. For sure there is a way that an inexperienced person (in that community) can come in with more gentleness. There's also a way that the experienced person (in that community) can work on that internal situation of feeling threatened in her leadership. After all, where is the threat? So it's good to talk about. :-) --TedErnst

I don't know. Perhaps there is always the threat, maybe as the other side of the coin. You meet people and they can turn out friendly or hostile, help you or hinder you in whatever you intend to do. Some people also think in terms of social status and go into "fighting mode" to get clearness about their relative ranking, as part of their competitive attitude. -- HelmutLeitner

see also http://omidyardotnet.us/cgi-bin/odd.pl/ExperiencedInteractionWithInexperience

Early thoughts on this subject:

How do you provide the inexperience with the tools that allow them to participate without hand-holding and without disruption? Or with limited hand-holding and limited disruption? And if there needs to be handholding and disruption, how do we deal with that? [The question that occurs to me now, as I sit in this airport and type, is: Might disruption be something that is, at times, in some ways, desirable? Does disruption produce anything that’s valuable to the community? So that it’s not just something to be weathered or managed, but something to be wanted, even sought. And then my next question is: if there is such a thing as desirable disruption, what conditions make that possible? I’m not sure if my line of questioning makes sense or if it’s interesting to you, but it’s what I find myself wondering right now. I’m thinking again of teaching. There is such a thing as a too-docile student. You want a degree of resistance. But the right kind of resistance!


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