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Actions in the common wiki space (like posting ideas, creating pages, refactoring) may face opposition for various reasons. It would be possible but very inefficient to seek consensus before each single action. It is part of getting acquainted with "the wiki way" to understand the content and the other contributors well enough to be able to act with a high chance of consensus afterwards. This is efficient. If the others disagree, they will react. If the others agree, they need to do nothing (no work needs to be done) and thereby give their SilentAgreement.

Note that the SilentAgreement is work-efficient, but it is not time-efficient for the author (see also SilentWelcome). The author has to go slow and listen, wait for reactions. Positive feedback (a warm reaction) will show the author that he is on the right track and allow him to move on faster and with more confidence.

Note that one can only assume SilentAgreement of those contributors that are active on RecentChanges and of the members that can be expected to check rc at least every other day. If you are in a foreign wiki that shows no activity, the assumption is invalid.

To go for SilentAgreement makes sense if there is no reason to hurry and if the risk of (discussion + undo) seems large compared to the nuisance of (suggest + wait). See also: AgreementMode.

Warnock's Dilemma and Wiki

Contrast [Warnock's Dilemma], which suggests that a lack of a response to a posting provides no definitive information.

Wikis and forums are different. Warnock's dilemma won't hit a wiki as hard. For example, ignoring nonsense in a forum is a valid strategy, but in a wiki this is not an option, because the nonsense would persist forever. Also, a vivid wiki community will be aware of such social ambiguities and resolve them, like in WelcomeNewcomer. I didn't take the time to go through all options mentioned in the link, but I think that all of them can be resolved. -- HelmutLeitner

WikiPedia specifically dissuades the usage of SilentAgreement to pass policy, requiring actual AgreementModes (calling 'em StrawPoll?s). Then again, they have a lot of policy, and a bit of bureaucracy, being in the way of establishing more policy, is essential to not being too top-heavy for work to take place... not that I've ever tried, but I hear passing policies over there is nigh impossible! -- NatalieBrown

CategoryCollaboration CategoryConsensus


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