Conflicts between local chapters and respective editor communities

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Conflicts between local chapters and respective editor communities

  1. 1. Conflicts between local chapters and respective editor communities<br />Harel Cain [[User:Harel]]<br />harel.cain@gmail.com<br />Wikimedia Israel<br />Wikimania 2010, Gdánsk, Poland, July 2010<br />
  2. 2. Welcome to the most popular panel in the conference :)<br />
  3. 3. It’s a PANEL, so please join in and share your experiences!<br />
  4. 4. Chapters andeditor communities<br />
  5. 5. Natural friends<br />(yeah, right…)<br />
  6. 6. Or born enemies?<br />(sure!)<br />
  7. 7. Characteristics of communities<br />No hierarchy<br />Anarchistic <br />Very informal<br />Suspicious of authority<br />Suspicious of bureaucracy<br />
  8. 8. Characteristics of chapters<br />Bureaucratic <br />Formal<br />Fond of formal titles<br />Fond of government<br />
  9. 9. Some gossip<br />
  10. 10. What chapters think of communities<br />“They never did anything for our cause”<br />“They don’t appreciate our efforts”<br />“They sit at home in pajamas and write stupid articles”<br />“They don’t understand the Eternal Wisdom of the Foundation”<br />“They aren’t interested in what goes on in meta”<br />
  11. 11. What communities think of chapters<br />“They are a bunch of self-important assholes who want jobs in government”<br />“The last time they edited in Wikipedia was in early 2006”<br />“They don’t have anything better to do”<br />“They take orders from all sorts of people with foreign names that won’t tell us what to do”<br />“They want to fly around the world and sip cocktails”<br />“They’re looking for a job”<br />“Why do we need the damn thing?!”<br />
  12. 12. Some reality<br />
  13. 13. The bitter reality<br />News and information about chapter activities are met with:<br />Indifference<br />Cynicism <br />Ridicule<br />Schadenfreude<br />What goes on in the online projects stops interesting the chapter<br />
  14. 14. The bitter reality (cont.)<br />Chapter activists stop being active online<br />Editors have no interest in becoming chapter members<br />A large rift grows between the two sides<br />
  15. 15. Some case studies<br />
  16. 16. Video company<br />Wikimedia Israel signed an agreement with a dubious company to record “video articles” in return to adding links to their material on Wikipedia articles<br />Community response was very negative<br />Lesson learned: intervention with online content on the part of a chapter is an absolute faux-pas<br />
  17. 17. Village pump censorship<br />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”<br />Lesson learned: choose the right people to post such information<br />
  18. 18. Wikipedia Exhibition<br />Wikimedia Israel found financing for a big poster exhibition about Wikipedia<br />The posters were edited online, on Wikipedia, by the editor community<br />Lesson learned: let the editor community take part from home <br />
  19. 19. Some advice<br />
  20. 20. Some advice to chapter founders and activists<br />Don’t set up a chapter if you don’t have a team of well-known and mainstream editors<br />Make sure you know why you’re starting a chapter, and what you should expect<br />Assign someone from the chapter to act as an “ambassador” to the community; make sure she’s active and accepted by the community<br />Always inform<br />Be transparent <br />NEVER agree to any commitment that involves the actual content or design of the projects<br />
  21. 21. Some advice to communities<br />Understand that chapter activists are your fellows, not your enemies<br />Look for ways in which the chapter can help your online project (including financially)<br />Remember that at first, the chapter will make some poor decisions, give it a grace period<br />
  22. 22. Some questions<br />
  23. 23. Chapters everywhere you look<br />Are chapters the right thing for all editor communities?<br />
  24. 24. Chapters by impulse<br />Who should decide on founding a chapter, and by which process?<br />
  25. 25. Correlation of structure<br />Should there be a correlation of structure between chapter and community?<br />
  26. 26. 1:1 mapping between projects and chapters?<br />Many languages in a geography<br />Many geographies with a common language<br />So no 1:1 mapping between editor communities and chapters<br />
  27. 27. The value of chapter membership<br />“Continue your online activity offline”<br />Does it appeal to all people?<br />Can we offer other, less-formal paths?<br />Can we turn chapter membership into a valuable thing?<br />
  28. 28. Chapters as a career<br />Should we encourage chapters to grow to a point where they can hire activists as paid employees?<br />Doesn’t this have a very deterring and negative effect?<br />
  29. 29. It’s time we hear what you have to say<br />
  30. 30. See you all in Haifa 2011!<br />

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