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A number of social problems in wikis seem to come from the lack of a clear definition of a GuestRole (separations between the roles of visitors, guests and members). The reason for this lack is wishful thinking with respect to openness and the desire to count any occasional visitor and contributor as a member. This page is a first attempt to provoke a guest status discussion. -- HelmutLeitner

The GuestRole, one of the CommunityRoles, is in between the VisitorRole and a CommunityMember. It should be clear, that a visitor can't become a guest (later perhaps a member) without an explicit invitation by the host or a member. Such an invitation makes sense after first contacts, when both sides show mututal interest in further communication. A guest should try to understand and respect the rules of a community and should not try to influence decision processes without being invited to do so. A guest can't be expected to understand the community immediately, so he will enjoy much more freedom and more tolerance when violating norms or rules. On the other hand a guest is expected to heed the hints of others and try his best to adapt to the community. If this doesn't work out in reasonable time or if the guest doesn't want to become a member then he will naturally loose his guest status. He will either become an OccasionalContributor or - on less friendly terms - he will be asked to leave. The OccasionalContributor is expected to follow the rules like a member, but without being part of decision processes and without any obligations to the community. A RequestToLeave as an UnwelcomeVisitor should be respected like in a private home.

At MeatBall such clear role transitions would enable us to react more flexible and more friendly with respect to e. g. RealName problems. One could tolerate pseudonyms with visitors, guests and occasional contributors without compromizing this rule with respect to members.

On the other hand, a GuestRole can only be assigned, when the member status of contributors is 100% clear.

CommunityExpectations towards the guest:

Special rights of the guest:

Contrast MemberWiki, CommunityMember, etc.

So, as always, I feel that people coming to Meatball are guests in our house, and so we have a right to eliminate the ones with knives in their hands. This is a community, not a crowd. We define ourselves by our PersonalRelationships with each other, not our physical proximity. -- SunirShah

I admit I have been negligent in my absence, and I have let Meatball get off message. The mission is to "Help others with their objectives." Meatball is meant to be a safe place for community leaders to share and relate, and through that process improve practices of online interaction.

The purpose of the GuestRole is to evaluate if people fit this target audience.

If after an initial period, the answer is no to any of those questions, it's best to shake hands and part company. We appreciate the interest of our guests, but if we have not found any energy together after a serious attempt, it's unlikely that we will find any in the future. Then we are just taking time away from each other that could be spent more productively elsewhere. We are always happy to help, even if that involves helping you do something somewhere else where your energy would be better placed. -- SunirShah

A post-scriptum: Of course, some people don't have productive uses of their time, and idle hands are the Devil's playground. These people may be harder to convince that they are wasting their own time since they have no self-respect for their own time. I'm not sure how to ween them except sour the milk.

Robert's comment about knives is off-base in that respect; the knives are unnecessary for most people, just for those people who don't have any self-respect or self-control. People who are unaware they are harming themselves are not people you can use words to negotiate with. Rather, you have to make physical changes to control how they can interact with you. It would not be self-respectful to accept people who harm you. The NonViolent way is to eliminate methods they can interact with you, rather than the violent way which is to eliminate them. -- SunirShah



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