Conflicts between local chapters and respective editor communitiesPresentation Transcript
Conflicts between local chapters and respective editor communities Harel Cain [[User:Harel]] email@example.com Wikimedia Israel Wikimania 2010, Gdánsk, Poland, July 2010
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It’s a PANEL, so please join in and share your experiences!
Chapters andeditor communities
Natural friends (yeah, right…)
Or born enemies? (sure!)
Characteristics of communities No hierarchy Anarchistic Very informal Suspicious of authority Suspicious of bureaucracy
Characteristics of chapters Bureaucratic Formal Fond of formal titles Fond of government
What chapters think of communities “They never did anything for our cause” “They don’t appreciate our efforts” “They sit at home in pajamas and write stupid articles” “They don’t understand the Eternal Wisdom of the Foundation” “They aren’t interested in what goes on in meta”
What communities think of chapters “They are a bunch of self-important assholes who want jobs in government” “The last time they edited in Wikipedia was in early 2006” “They don’t have anything better to do” “They take orders from all sorts of people with foreign names that won’t tell us what to do” “They want to fly around the world and sip cocktails” “They’re looking for a job” “Why do we need the damn thing?!”
The bitter reality News and information about chapter activities are met with: Indifference Cynicism Ridicule Schadenfreude What goes on in the online projects stops interesting the chapter
The bitter reality (cont.) Chapter activists stop being active online Editors have no interest in becoming chapter members A large rift grows between the two sides
Some case studies
Video company Wikimedia Israel signed an agreement with a dubious company to record “video articles” in return to adding links to their material on Wikipedia articles Community response was very negative Lesson learned: intervention with online content on the part of a chapter is an absolute faux-pas
Village pump censorship Information related to purchase options of Wikipedia T-shirts issued by Wikimedia Israel for a big meet-up were repeatedly removed from the village pump because “it didn’t belong there” Lesson learned: choose the right people to post such information
Wikipedia Exhibition Wikimedia Israel found financing for a big poster exhibition about Wikipedia The posters were edited online, on Wikipedia, by the editor community Lesson learned: let the editor community take part from home
Some advice to chapter founders and activists Don’t set up a chapter if you don’t have a team of well-known and mainstream editors Make sure you know why you’re starting a chapter, and what you should expect Assign someone from the chapter to act as an “ambassador” to the community; make sure she’s active and accepted by the community Always inform Be transparent NEVER agree to any commitment that involves the actual content or design of the projects
Some advice to communities Understand that chapter activists are your fellows, not your enemies Look for ways in which the chapter can help your online project (including financially) Remember that at first, the chapter will make some poor decisions, give it a grace period
Chapters everywhere you look Are chapters the right thing for all editor communities?
Chapters by impulse Who should decide on founding a chapter, and by which process?
Correlation of structure Should there be a correlation of structure between chapter and community?
1:1 mapping between projects and chapters? Many languages in a geography Many geographies with a common language So no 1:1 mapping between editor communities and chapters
The value of chapter membership “Continue your online activity offline” Does it appeal to all people? Can we offer other, less-formal paths? Can we turn chapter membership into a valuable thing?
Chapters as a career Should we encourage chapters to grow to a point where they can hire activists as paid employees? Doesn’t this have a very deterring and negative effect?