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Another suggestion for MeatballWiki: add some text about how we don't want to host random projects (if we don't). It sucks to have to tell people to move their stuff right after they set it up and tell their associates and get excited about it.

The trick is to say this on the front page without being unwelcoming

-- BayleShanks

Something like:

This wiki is interested in building community and thus does not like when people put up a Wiki:WalledGarden. There are many other wikis that allow for Wiki:WalledGarden, please feel free to use those while finding your Wiki:WikiWay.


I don't think even that's very good, but the point is to remain constructive, the PygmalionEffect being what it is. If we're clever enough, we can even build into the text the implication that people don't normally put projects here even though we want them to, and that most people actually take their projects elsewhere.

If you're interested in starting a new wiki project, Meatball is here to guide you. If your project fits with the MeatballMission, consider putting it here, rather than splintering the wiki community. In that case, please introduce yourself and your project. However, if you don't feel MeatballWiki is appropriate for you, at least we can suggest a few good WikiEngines you may want to try, or a WikiFarm to host your project.

I'm not sure that's really the impression we want to give, though. -- SunirShah

Yeah, I read that as a blanket invitation. How about:

If you're interested in starting a new wiki project, Meatball is here to guide you. Your project probably won't be hosted on MeatballWiki itself; but we can suggest a few good WikiEngines you may want to try, or a WikiFarm to host your project.

-- BayleShanks

This is a new MeatballWiki page that I'm thinking about. I don't feel I should touch the real MeatballWiki page without community approval so I'm going to work on it over here instead. The actual page follows, and then discussion.

Welcome to Meatball Wiki!

Meatball Wiki aspires to be a community of communities: an intercommunity or metacommunity. It deals with online culture, especially how people online come together naturally in groups. Along with that, some of us also like to talk about building our own communities.

Here are two things you should know about before you go on. First, by contributing here you place your contributions under the MeatballWikiCopyright; second, we prefer that everyone UseRealNames on Meatball.

Everyone with an opinion, ideas or knowledge is highly encouraged to participate! It's easy to do so, really. When you find something you want to say, just edit the text of the page (see the link at the bottom of the page). Check the HowTo for a quick introduction on using wikis (this website is a "wiki").

Please don't be offended if change what you write or if we delete something that you write that we think is off-topic (off-topic means not in the realm of topics that we like to discuss around here); it's nothing personal, and we certainly don't mean to drive you away. Who decides what is changed or deleted? Anyone can. On Meatball , we are all editors. We're really big on BarnRaising here.

If you'd like to practice writing on Wiki before editing actual pages, click on SandBox. Once you're comfortable, why not sign the guestbook in RecentVisitors?

The above is all you really need to know about Meatball to get started; if you are looking for some more introductory-type information, see the page MoreIntroductoryLinks?. Otherwise, we have put together a page with some good StartingPoints for diving into the rest of Meatball.

Ed: MoreIntroductoryLinks? was deleted.


My objective was to make this more concise, so that newcomers to Meatball would learn anything they needed to know real quick. Right now I don't think anyone bothers to follow all those links the first time they arrive.

You know, it might help to rename this StartHere? and make the link to this on every page read "StartHere?" (instead of MeatballWiki); it's function isn't (and wasn't) really to be a hub or branching off point for experienced users anyhow (maybe StartingPoints does that).

-- BayleShanks

As a recent newbie, I like the links. I didn't bother to follow them all at first, but I've followed most of them now. It's helpful to have a "menu" of the site that's easy to get to if you don't understand WikiNavigation? yet. It's also helpful to have some indication of just how rich the site is and what kinds of things are here. For that purpose, RecentChanges and StartingPoints have too much information: they're overwhelming. The links on the front page are just the right amount of detail. -- KatherineDerbyshire

Does the real names thing have to be so prominent? I still think that Sunir is sticking his thumb in this eye over this issue. After all, if Meatball is supposed to be a metacommunity, a melting pot of online communities, then banning what is a significant social feature in many such communities seems to omit a key aspect of what it seeks to mirror.

If it were a melting pot, then everyone's identity would melt into whatever I (and I use the word I consciously, as is roughly analogous with the other great melting pot we all know) cooked it into, which would mean the continued dirth of pseudonyms. I'm not closed to using pseudonyms, but no one has provided a better reason for using them than not. And since one pseudonym would justify many, it ought to be much better. I'm not trying to be stupid, but the reality is that the vast majority of people who use pseudonyms are doing so for reasons incompatible with the stated goals. Also, MeatballWiki is a place for experimentation of alternative net.organization, and the real names policy is part of the experiment. We buck the trend here. We are PostWELL. -- SunirShah

I think it is a prominent aspect of this wiki. Is using AnonymousAuthor? cool?

Definitely. If you don't want to use your real name, just write anonymously. It's all good. -- SunirShah

What's postWELL?

I don't think we should nowiki the MeatballWiki links. If this becomes the MeatballWiki page, those links won't do anything so no one will get lost. In addition, I think we want people to start thinking "If you have CapitalizedWordsSmashedTogether?, they will be a link". Seeing examples of CapitalizedWordsSmashedTogether? that are not links will be confusing; the users may think the rule for linking is much more complicated than it is. -- BayleShanks

I was trying to reduce the links a newbie has to think about clicking, or the feel of that. based on my read of this [article] and some other readings. your thoughts? best, Mark

how about this (de-linked, de-bolded Meatball Wiki, replaced most with just Meatball) -- BayleShanks

Ooh, ooh, if we're talking about updates to the foyer, here's something about it that's been bothering me (also posted to QuestionsAndAnswers 'cause I didn't read everything before posting):

The very first page that a new MeatballWiki user is likely to see starts out "MeatballWiki aspires to be a community of communities: an intercommunity or metacommunity". I'm not sure what that actually means, though, or if it's accurate; in what sense is MeatballWiki a community of (as opposed to about) communities? As I read that, it suggests that you can't join MeatballWiki unless you're a community yourself; and that's kinda weird. I was going to change this sentence to read "MeatballWiki aspires to be a community about communities: a metacommunity", but I discovered that even I didn't have the nerve to change the very front page as a rank newbie.

Does "community of communities" mean something sensible to everyone but me? (I remember back when I was on Agora Nomic, and the Internomic applied for membership in itself; that was fun, if silly. But Meatball isn't in fact a community of communities, it's a community of people.) (There, I've belabored that point to death...)

I'd like to say (sorry for using new jargon): MeatballWiki is a community for people acting in the online CommunityMember role somewhere. -- HelmutLeitner

We're a community for communities - and a community for generalised discussion of communities, which is what "community of communities" is meant to imply, I think. --MartinHarper

Ah, okay. I guess. That's certainly not what "community of communities" implies to me (a bag of penguins isn't a bag about penguins, or a bag for penguins to use; it's a bag containing penguins). I would imagine a "community of communities" to be a UN-style thing; say, a Wiki each of whose members is (a representative of) some particular Wiki (or in general a community each of those members is (a representative of) some particular community). Assuming that other people will (mis)read the phrase the same way, it might be worth reconsidering for the very front page of the Wiki. But now I've belabored this way into the ground, and I'll try to shut up about it. *8) -- DavidChess

To say briefly what I try to do, I want to build a community of community leaders. Leaders doesn't have to mean owners, just people who lead. I want to hang around people who do things rather than complain about when things are done or throw ideas into the void without concern for how they would be done. In a way, that's very elitist because I only care to talk to mature people, and I'll make a lot of enemies that way, but I'd have BarnRaising or nothing. By community I mean a community. As you might have noticed Meatball is more a community than other places online. We get to know each other, help each other, post our marriages and births, and genuinely care about one another. When we get angry at each other, we don't throw philosophy at each other, but we work out our emotions. I think (and know) leading online communities is a lonely and thankless job, so I want Meatball to provide the emotional energy that is not available from your own community. I guess that's why I only want leaders here, because doing is hard in ways people who do not can't understand. You can only get real emotional support from those who understand you. -- SunirShah

Cool, I had no idea! If MeatballWiki wants to welcome only (or mostly, or especially) community leaders, it should definitely say so on the front page; otherwise you'll get lots of others wandering in, and they'll wonder why they don't feel quite welcome.

Also I'll note that "doer" and "leader" are not necessarily synonyms. I say this partly pedantically, but also because I consider myself a "doer" who is not particularly a "leader". This means the things that I do tend to be smaller, but that's okay with me. -- DavidChess

Yeah, I'm really uncomfortable with the word leader, which is why I haven't said so on the front page. There are differences between those who take responsibility and those who don't, and how to express that clearly and succinctly I'm still working on. Being doing is what I like to see, at whatever level. Life is rich if you're willing to make something out of it. -- SunirShah



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