[Home]FirstServant

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The host of a community, rather than acting as the most powerful member of the community (GodKing, BenevolentDictator, PhilosopherKing), may instead act as the least powerful member of the community, becoming the FirstServant, and emphasising the responsibilities of leadership, rather than the rights of leadership.

A FirstServant acts in the interests of the community, doing essentially what the community wants them to do. Thus, if the community universally desires a TechnologySolution to some problem, the leader will act to implement such a solution, even if they think there may be a better approach. In this sense, a FirstServant answers to the community; the GodKing answers to themselves.

A FirstServant is a member of the community, while a GodKing is not.

Similarly, just as a BenevolentDictator will attempt to DevolvePower, so a FirstServant should attempt to DelegateResponsibility. The FirstServant thus supports and serves the CommunityMembers, just as the community members support visitors and readers.

An antipattern exists where the FirstServant can take an excessive ownership interest in the community resources and engage in manipulative behaviors to retain this position. This occurs when the FirstServant sees their involvment in the community as a major definition of their identity as a person. FirstServants can protect against this by retaining a balanced diversity of interests in their life. Communities only have weak protection against this antipattern. The best they can do is provide counseling to the FirstServant and encourage them to DelegateResponsibility. (c.f. VestedContributor)


Brilliant! -- SunirShah

Well of course you'd say that -- DanielThomas

I changed my mind. I think this is an AntiPattern. Because the community only exists because of the PersonalRelationships formed by one person's selfless giving, the community is grossly unstable as it is dependent on that one person and that one person alone. It inevitably turns the FirstServant into a BenevolentDictator, who inevitably burns out. See BenevolentDictator#downsides for more. It's much better if the community consists of SelfishVolunteers as people with competing by underserved agendas will be motivated to become CommunityLeader?s themselves to take action themselves to see their needs come to pass. Distributing the work like this is far more stable and efficient than centralizing it all on one person's shoulders, plus it means that after the current leader steps down others will be motivated to take the helm. -- SunirShah


I've tried to do this at WikiPedia, and in some ways it has been very rewarding. I've been blessed with many expressions of gratitude and trust. But UninvitedCompany? says I'm more like a VestedContributor. --EdPoor
Why do BenevolentDictator attempt to DevolvePower? Not that true historically depending whom you had in mind? --AndrewCates

This behavior is probably recommended as best, not necessarily as historically popular.


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