Project culture discussion page

Collaborative spirit

There's a tricky balance between encouraging people to take initiative and asking them to understand the existing situation fully first. I've tried to reconcile this a bit, but there is an inherent contradiction. A Wikipedia-style "Bold, revert, discuss" approach can help deal with problems that arise after a change, for those that are easily reverted; having automatic discussion pages would make it easier to support the "discuss" phase.

I fear that asking to let people know who you are and not to lurk is discouraging to newcomers, and dismissive of those who prefer to contribute quietly, Egoless programming is one of the components of collaborative work, and asking people to keep a record of their work is contrary to this. In addition, if this is an important project value, then the project website should do the tracking for users, similar to how it's easy to see member contributions in MediaWiki. Lastly, the vast majority of a project's users are lurkers; asking them to go away is not a good way to encourage community growth, and cuts off the future possibility of their turning into more active contributors.

-- IsaacLin - 09 Nov 2008 - 05:50

I agree with Isaac. We must make clear that contributions are welcome, that users are.. empowered.. to do anything they deem needed, without scaring away those lurkers that, after a year or two, may go out of their comfort zone and contribute.

-- RafaelAlvarez - 10 Nov 2008 - 17:47

I think "anything they deem needed" is a bit strong. Projects need coordination to avoid people working at cross-purposes, and thus my addition about sharing plans and ideas. This is not an easy thing to capture in words and is something that every project must struggle with.

-- IsaacLin - 11 Nov 2008 - 03:25

The emphasis on taking the initiative is mainly a reaction to the situation we had on T*, where contributors would act like startled rabbits. I really do believe that it's only by getting your fingers sticky that you learn anything.

I'm inclined to agree about the "don't lurk", but again, this is a reaction. The challenge is to find a way to convert lurkers into contributors.

-- CrawfordCurrie - 23 Nov 2008 - 19:40

to create an environment in which people want to work together, Clay Shirky says:

  1. Design for intrinsic motivation. design an environment in which people can feel good at what they're doing, where they can feel like they're doing the right thing viz a viz their fellow citizens, where they can be appreciated.
  2. Autonomy is so essential.
  3. Everybody understands that closing down a system, locking it down, trying to control it completely will kill this kind of generosity. What's less well understood, but as i think equally important, If you make a system completely open and completely free-form, it will also kill generosity, because everything will get dissipated or people will wander off or the trolls will come in and set up shop.
Designing systems that have the right mix of freedoms and constraints, very often the constraints enforced on the users by one another, is really the art. The headshift behind all of this is viewing people not just an aggregated bag of individual motivations, but thinking of us as participants in social systems, and assuming that those systems have an internal logic that matters and can be analyzed on its own, separate from just the aggregate world of the individual.

-- WillNorris - 27 Nov 2008 - 08:03

One of my favourite articles on social interaction is a transcript of one of Clay Shirky's talks from 2003, A group is its own worst enemy.

-- IsaacLin - 27 Nov 2008 - 14:38

CommentPlugin disabled on SandboxWeb?

I am currently looking at introducing the wiki to a group of less-collaboratively-enlightened individuals and one of my ideas to help them address the issue of "I can't find anything in the wiki" was a button which used the CommentPlugin to enable them to save the current wiki page to their LeftBar and then they could edit that down later. I was hoping to share the code with foswiki but the demo does not work because the CommentPlugin has been disabled on the SandboxWeb - why is it disabled there? i would have thought that is the one place it should work....?!?!?!

-- NeilGood - 22 Feb 2009

I do not understand why CommentPlugin has to be disabled either. It is a pain the butt that it is disabled. The fanatics that did this wanted to avoid people writing in thread mode. But it has not changed this behaviour. People still write in thread mode when it makes sense to do it. Instead I can keep on adding the signature people forget when they edit bugs in the Tasks web. I think I have added missing signatures at least 300 times now. Please give us back the CommentPlugin. We need it in Tasks web. We need it for demos in the Sandbox. And it makes no difference at all how people behave in the other webs. Only thing you should not do is add it to the default template for new topics because that invites thread mode from the beginning. That was the way this one should be cut from the beginning instead of disabling the comment plugin.

-- KennethLavrsen - 22 Feb 2009

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Topic revision: r10 - 22 Feb 2009, KennethLavrsen
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