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Conflicts between local chapters and respective editor communities


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  • 1. Conflicts between local chapters and respective editor communities
    Harel Cain [[User:Harel]]
    Wikimedia Israel
    Wikimania 2010, Gdánsk, Poland, July 2010
  • 2. Welcome to the most popular panel in the conference :)
  • 3. It’s a PANEL, so please join in and share your experiences!
  • 4. Chapters andeditor communities
  • 5. Natural friends
    (yeah, right…)
  • 6. Or born enemies?
  • 7. Characteristics of communities
    No hierarchy
    Very informal
    Suspicious of authority
    Suspicious of bureaucracy
  • 8. Characteristics of chapters
    Fond of formal titles
    Fond of government
  • 9. Some gossip
  • 10. 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”
  • 11. 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?!”
  • 12. Some reality
  • 13. The bitter reality
    News and information about chapter activities are met with:
    What goes on in the online projects stops interesting the chapter
  • 14. 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
  • 15. Some case studies
  • 16. 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
  • 17. 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
  • 18. 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
  • 19. Some advice
  • 20. 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
  • 21. 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
  • 22. Some questions
  • 23. Chapters everywhere you look
    Are chapters the right thing for all editor communities?
  • 24. Chapters by impulse
    Who should decide on founding a chapter, and by which process?
  • 25. Correlation of structure
    Should there be a correlation of structure between chapter and community?
  • 26. 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
  • 27. 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?
  • 28. 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?
  • 29. It’s time we hear what you have to say
  • 30. See you all in Haifa 2011!