The DesignatedMaintainerProcess is a ConversationProcess wherein a facilitator keeps conversation OnTopic, and reworks the conversation back into the DocumentMode (thereby resolving the LackOfReworking problem.)

The process is controversial because it involves explicit delegation of authority from the WikiCommunity, to the facilitator. This is in stark contrast to TheWikiWay, the TraditionalConversationProcess.

We are presently debating (see the ThreadMode, below) and trying out (see the History, below) the process on CommunityWiki.

The Process

“I’d be happy to rework as a maintainer on the MicroFormats page.” (ChristopheDucamp)
  1. A CommunityMember or OccasionalContributor starts a new post with a new name, in the CommunityWikiPageLayout, and fills out the DocumentMode. The contributor describes not only the idea, but also the conversational process being used, namely, “DesignatedMaintainerProcess,” and the parameters of discussion.
  2. Everybody who is interested attaches comments in discussion, provided that they think they roughly meet the parameters of discussion. MetaCommunication should be automatically assumed to be permitted. (see also: SpaceForMetaDiscussion)
  3. The person who started the page reworks in the various contributions as they happen. (TendYourProject.)

The theory is that the person who started the page is automatically designated PageMaintainer, and serves the community by being its OrganizingPrinciple?, essentially authoritative for that page.

The page maintainer, roughly speaking:

People other than the maintainer:

All this said: The WikiCommunity is the ultimate authority. (see: WhatIsTrust, transitivity of trust.) The authority to hold conversation ultimately comes by delegation from the community (period.) Authority is only delegated, because it is believed that establishing clear reworking authorities and responsibilities will lead to reworking (see: LackOfReworking.)

Strengths: Conversation can be focused. Further, there is clear authority for reworking the page, so it may be reworked more - both due to increased freedom/authorization and due to perceived social and self-initiated pressure. (We need to try this out some more, to see how it works out.)

Weaknesses: It takes more work for the maintainer. It’s possible for there to be arguments about authority. Hesitant contributors might feel less inclined to participate with an authority present. New potential reworkers will not exercise their initiative since there is already someone assigned to that role. Authorized reworkers might feel less bottom-up pressure, knowing that no one will come along and take their reworking authority. Discussion content direction might suffer authority-bias (assuming this is a bad thing).

The model relies on the trust between the person who’s set the page up, and is maintaining it, and the other people who are working together on the page.

Cautionary Notes


History & Experiences


“I seek alternatives to traditional control mechanisms in solving shared problems. I’m convinced collective environments lend themselves to more bottom-up approaches.” (KeithHopper)

KeithHopper has given voice to concerns and questions that likely many of us share:

Drawbacks of maintainers, expanded into points:

Virtues reworkers should exhibit:

Alternatives to Reworking

A lot of the discussion here focuses on alternative answers to the LackOfReworking. This is because DesignatedMaintainerProcess has been touted as an answer to the LackOfReworking problem.

The following alternatives have been raised:

“These examples are good ones and help clarify - more of a “responsible autonomy” than a hierarchy… …I’m still on the hunt for ideas that take advantage of the inherent nature of distributed systems to intrinsically encourage reworking.” (KeithHopper)

Response to Skepticism

See also

Insights that Don't Fit

Some ideas came up that are awesome, but don’t quite fit this page. They are waiting for a home.


In reference to DesignatedMaintainerProcess - what benefit is there in designating a maintainer? If I understand correctly, I see perhaps too many pitfalls in maintainers being official, assigned, and labeled on a page - for example, it reduces the perceived ability for others to pick up the yoke, have fluid roles and share responsibility. It seems to me to be an unnecessary level of authority and potentially dis-empowering. If the purpose is to hold people publicly accountable as an explicit form of TendYourProject, then this hierarchical management technique seems out of place in a wiki.

As a maintainer, I should resist the temptation of easy, explicit control and instead take it as a challenge to be a good RoleModel. When leading by example doesn’t work, corrective edits, constructive guidance, overwrites and rollbacks can effectively reinforce social norms. Perhaps there are last resort measures that occasionally are required, but this would seem rare for solitary page edits (I suppose this could vary, depending on where you are in your WikiLifeCycle). In my experience, leaders that require authoritarian appointment are generally leading poorly.

I’m wondering which of two ways to interpret this:

  • “The idea of the person making the page being responsible for maintaining the page is a bad one.”
  • “The idea of explicitely stating that someone is responsible for maintaining the page is a bad one.”

…or, something else?

I think the point is that in addition to the current process, we’ll try something new: Self-designated page maintainers that sort-of promise to rework the page when the time has come, in an effort to encourage at least one person to rework some time in the future.

I’m not convinced any idea is bad per se. Perhaps I’m just dubious of assigning explicit responsibility in a voluntary setting, and I’m looking to better understand the benefits I’m not considering.

But let me be more “yes, add…” and less “no, but…”

I like the idea of introducing a mechanism to allow people to hold themselves accountable for reworking, and perhaps putting something on their own NamePage might avoid potential pitfalls of explicit page-based authority (e.g. “here are the pages I’m committed to reworking”).

I seek alternatives to traditional control mechanisms in solving shared problems. I’m convinced collective environments lend themselves to more bottom-up approaches.

Some (probably not new) ideas to facilitate reworking:

  • Community members’ “adopt a newcomer” program – 1st project? Co-reworking!
  • Introducing interim steps in reworking (e.g. idea winnowing: flag the five ideas worth keeping from this discussion)
  • Creating a wall of shame for pages most in need of reworking
  • Introducing a positive page score that disappears if there are more than 5 comments in the discussion area (i.e. you must rework discussions to get a page score to re-appear)
  • Allow users to collectively flag a page that needs rework, automatically triggering a warning to visitors that this page has fragmented and is of limited value until it is reworked. The warning (pop-up?) automatically disappears when the discussion is reduced or eliminated through reworking.

I can’t say much immediately, due to situation, but I wanted to say very quickly:

Community members’ “adopt a newcomer” program – 1st project? Co-reworking!

I think this is an absolutely stellar idea. The “1st project: co-reworking,” I’m not so sure about, but I think the idea of adopt-a-newcomer is a spot-on idea. I think that the Fridemar situation would have come out totally different if we had assigned MattisManzel (for example,) as a representative of the CommunityWiki, to interact with Fridemar, and work both privately and publicly on the wiki, to help him understand what we do here, how we do it, and so on.

This would be a good answer to MarkDilley’s long-stating request to figure out how to assimilate newcomers nicely.

I am not so excited about the other ideas for aiding reworking– most have been tried. A hall of shame would have a thousand pages in it, and we run into the priority problem.

We shouldn’t fear page maintainers any more than we fear OpenSpace.

OpenSpace? Yes, the most awesome conferencing system invented in “Left” space, hailed as a Democratic invention of conferences everywhere.

How does it work? You say, “I want to talk about X,” and you write “X, in the corner room, point-person is Y.” Further, the conference holders say, “If you’re the point-person, it’s your job to make sure that proceedings come out.” Usually the point-person decides the format that the discussion will take: round-circle discussion, announcement-style, n-chairs, whatever system. (At SeattleMindCamp, we successfully required that, as a part of convening a session, you also said what kind of discussion it was.)

I see very little difference between that, and the DesignatedMaintainerProcess.

I just wanted to add that the DesignatedMaintainerProcess is fine with me :)

Maybe there should be a list of “pages falling off the radar”, because those are the ones that will typically require reworking; you may want to wait ‘til most of the talking is over before you start reworking, but you also want to do it while you still remember what it was about. If there was a way of automatically showing each user which ones of his maintained pages recently fell off the RecentChanges radar …

Hi all, seeing, that in community wiki there is a real democratic process, I decided, not to play the game of Momble and the Great Penguin in the Sky. So, encouraged by Lion, Mattis and other peers, I started a SlideWiki that suggests in addition a flatter peer based page maintainer process. I think this is in accordance with what Keith suggested as “a mechanism to allow people to hold themselves accountable for reworking” – FridemarPache 2007-01-08 18:44 UTC

These examples are good ones and help clarify - more of a “responsible autonomy” than a hierarchy. The SlideWiki is a neat experiment in automatically transferring responsibility. I like it!

I’m still on the hunt for ideas that take advantage of the inherent nature of distributed systems to intrinsically encourage reworking.

…I’m looking to better understand the benefits I’m not considering. (Keith)

I’d like to answer that, but before I do, I’d like to suggest a different question: “What works?”

It’s too soon to tell whether the DesignatedMaintainerProcess will work in the mid to long term – the only terms that matter, really, for evaluating a new system. But I have a suspicion that it will work. (Do you share that suspicion?)

What is clear, though, is that there are ReworkingProblems and a LackOfReworking. And when people raise this issue, the first solutions Wikizens feed back with, is, almost universally:BeBold. Do it more. We’re just being lazy.” After that, generally, come TechnologySolution approaches. Several have been tried, but have they ever been successful? What is interesting is that this has never worked. (If you are aware of any successful efforts, by all means, point me to them.) DigestedSummary has been cool, but doesn’t really help with reworking the DocumentMode on a page. It has been 5-8 years, and we still haven’t made, as the entire wiki community, any headway against the LackOfReworking.

Brief bouts of reworking when concern has arised, and than the siren sounded – yes. But real progress? No.

It is somewhat embarrassing to read PraiseOfWiki that says, “You write something, and then it becomes a full document, all by itself!” (We don’t say that on our PraiseOfWiki page, and we don’t say that ourselves any more. But people still praise wiki that way, now and then.)

So I think our first question should be, “What works?” If we find that this works, we could perform an analysis afterwards, into “why does it work?”

I have some ideas… …but wouldn’t those ideas then lead into a discussion about what we think may or may not work?

I seek alternatives to traditional control mechanisms in solving shared problems. I’m convinced collective environments lend themselves to more bottom-up approaches.

Well, this process is definitely alternative, within wiki circles..!

In conferences, (OpenSpace & tradition,) this is very much the norm, though.

What’s bottom-up here, is that people, on their own, are deciding to talk and come up with things. Nobody’s forced to be here, we’re an all-volunteer organization.

What’s “top-down” here, is that we have a network of cares and relationships. If key people go, the whole thing falls apart. This happens in most any clique. To maintain larger structures than a clique require not less structure, but rather, more! A large group without structure is called a “mob.” When mobs are smart, it’s because there’s a bunch of structure in place: technologically enforced, or by process.

In any group of people, there are, automatically, as a consequence of the people meeting, responsibilities and authorities and so on. Just because they’re implicit, it doesn’t mean that they’re not there, and that they’re not felt. You’re visiting someone’s house: “Did I bring a house gift? Do they like my shoes off at the front door? What subjects do they not want to talk about?” You feel the authority of their house, or apartment, regardless of whether you vote Republican, Democrat, Green, or even Communist. The question is, “Shall it be implicit or explicit?” …not “Should it exist or not?” Because the question of “should it exist or not” is negated by the inescapable reality: “It exists.”

Now, to directly respond to your question: “What benefit is there in designating a maintainer?”

I think the answer is: “Clear reworking authority.”

I think, a lot of times, when I don’t rework a page, it’s because of the “Social Risks” failure theories. I think I go, “Oh, well, I have to respect everyone’s ideas here, and maybe, someone will disagree with how I want to rework this.” Or I go, “Gee, I seem to be reworking a lot of the pages here. I don’t want to give someone the impression that I think that this is my wiki.” And then further: “What would happen if someone challenged the way I was reworking things? I don’t want to see the problems that would come from that…”

So I think that we have to give things a little more “umph.” I think we need to say, “No, Keith.” (or, “No, Lion.”) “No, Keith. You can rework this page. Assume that: everything you do on this page, which you obviously care about, is okay with us. If someone challenges you, we’re going to back you up. Know that, you can, in full confidence, rework this page.”

BeBold” can be seen, then, in a bit of a anarchistic: “I’m going to rework this page, and we’ll see if the community takes it!” That ethic makes sense when things are hardly formed. But see, our community is formed. The community will take or not take things. Some things, the community will not only reject, but also throw up hairballs on. People need the approval of the community.

But, again: This is just a theory, an explanation.

I think the better question is, “Does it work?” Because if it does work, this is the discovery of the year, for all of wikidom.

(That would be for 2006. The discovery for 2007 might be, the solution to the ExperiencedInteractionWithInexperience problem. …if it works! I’m referring to the idea of pairing newcomers with experienced members, and walking them through process.)

Here’s some conclusions that I’ve reached after studying people’s use of social software in more open settings, as well as more “closed”, or moderated settings, for a while:

  • In nearly all social arrangements online, the social arrangement works only when the amount of people people who make up the community, that want it to work outnumber those that do not. (this includes “open” and “closed” or “moderated” systems/communities).
  • Social arrangements/agreements are only sustainable when the community is engaged in enacting and using them. (This is the secret behind SoftSecurity: It absolutely requires an actively engaged community.)

All social arrangements online will fail if they don’t meet these conditions, I believe. It may seem very obvious, but I think it’s worth thinking about.

So what? What does this mean for this conversation? For ConversationProcess?

Well, CommunityWiki, being a place that experiments with online social arrangements, should maybe include in it’s MissionStatement that we will try, and possibly fail, with many different social arrangement experiments. And, that we’ll try and develop the ones that seem to work in the short term, into the long term.

Although, we should recognize that: Just because it worked for us, doesn’t mean that it will work for others universally. It’ll only work if other people want it to work. But, that doesn’t mean that it can’t work.

I usually tend to share Kieth’s ideals and goals about social arrangements as he’s stated above. I also tend to share his reasoning and approach when i try to help people design social arrangements online. Yet, I am willing to try Lion’s DesignatedMaintainerProcess. Because, I think that it can help with our overall learning process of voluntarily experimenting with different social arrangements. I am interested to see what emerges from it. I have a feeling that it will possibly help create parts of a system that create quality pages in this wiki. I also think that surprises will emerge from it. What if someone used their status as PageMaintainer and created a rule that on their pages, other people can make decisions about the reworking besides just them? Would the community back them up, or would the community see them as bending or distorting the purpose of PageMaintainer status? I suppose it would depend on who it is, or how they go about it. But anyway, these are some scenarios that I think of, when I ponder this.

I also agree that adopt-a-newcomer can work really well.

For the sake of clarity:

  • I want us to try out (and am soliciting) multiple processes.
  • I will oppose processes that I don’t want to try out here. (I don’t consider this wiki to be a process free-for-all: Some experiments are better conducted outside of CommunityWiki.)
  • I don’t mean for the DesignatedMaintainerProcess to be universal on this wiki. Many pages clearly don’t fit the DocumentMode / ThreadModel? model, and different pages have different conversation models, with different sorts of authorities.
  • The authority on this wiki is determined by CommunityWikiBylaws, and beyond that, our actual decisions about whether to collaborate with one another, or not. (And, further beyond that, whatever legal frameworks are in place in the world: We could test this, by posting credit card numbers to the wiki, or discussing plans to overthrow our governments.)
  • The DesignatedMaintainerProcess description I’ve written above says that: If the community disagrees with how a maintainer is doing something, they can revoke the designation. They can say, “Okay, well, that’s very nice, but we’ve had enough of that.” Because people are reasonable, for the most part, though, I doubt it would come to that. People would (I would think, for the most part,) adapt their practices to be more in line with community thinking, before the community had to say, “Okay, we’re going to just rearrange that page, and we don’t want you to do anything in the DocumentMode on that page, ever again.” We have enough gates in place of page creation in the first place, as it is.

I agree with what you say, Sam, about: “Just because it worked for us, doesn’t mean that it will work for others universally.” On a ScratchWiki, for instance, it would be horrible. It would get nowhere.

But I think that, on a lot of CommunalWiki, it would be a valuable discovery and communication. I think a lot of wiki communities struggle with reworking, and I think they could see this and go, “Oh, that works,” (assuming it does,) and then adopt it as a practice. Witness the spread of OpenSpace, as an example. “Works for everything?” No. Works for a lot of things? An enthusiastic yes!

I definitely don’t think, and didn’t actually suggest in any way in what I wrote, that we are a “process free-for-all”. But, I do think we are a community that experiments with processes, from what I can tell, based upon the experience that I’ve had since I have been active here. But of course, in this case, from what I observe, we only seem to experiment on processes that most of us want to experiment with.

I want to help you make DesignatedMaintainerProcess work, because I think that it is actually a good solution for CommunalWiki (like CommunityWiki) that experience bouts of AbsentCommunity. The smaller amount of people who are around during periods of largely AbsentCommunity tend not to do too much reworking by default, from what I can tell. Things tend to become more ThreadMode-conversational. Also, I agree with you, Lion, that there is an inertia about not wanting to change some else’s work, that slows reworking.

Also, I am not trying to suggest that DesignatedMaintainerProcess would not be a valuable discovery if it is found to work well, and solve the types of problems we’ve been talking about here. Basically, my point is that: if DesignatedMaintainerProcess works, it will be in large part, because more people here wanted it to work for whatever reason, than did not. I believe this is WhyWikiWorks, why OpenSpace works. Because people really want the process to work. Once they understand the concept behind it, they want it to work, and so they cooperate with other people in the process.

As far as I can tell, unless I am missing something, I think that a lot of people will want DesignatedMaintainerProcess to work here in CommunityWiki.

But, I wonder aloud, in all of the other CommunalWiki out there, if the feeling among the people who make up those wiki would be similar? I suppose that the problem of LackOfReworking is very widespread among CommunalWiki, and so this could be a context through which the idea could spread.

I know that in OpenSource software development a process like DesignatedMaintainerProcess is very successful in helping to coordinate good quality output.

My comments about “process free-for-all” are mainly for Friedemar, who has proposed several process changes (including SlideWiki, including DiigoAnnotation,) and I want to make sure he knows I’m not inviting us to do all these things. I should have worded that better.

My theory is that ScratchWiki (I’m imagining C2, at least the C2 that I remember) can’t do a DesignatedMaintainerProcess, because scratch wiki are lawless. Actually, I think that saying that you’re doing a designated anything on a scratch wiki is just an open invitation to arms..! That is, if you say, “I want to be the designated X,” and you can get people to more or less agree with that and respect that, then, that may be an indicator that what you have is a community that can support decisions.

So I think being part of a CommunalWiki (at a minimum) is a prerequisite before you could even attempt a designated maintainer process. To designate, you need some power that can back up that designation, and repel what would oppose it.

I think that if the designated maintainer process works, there’s more to it than just, “If it works, it’s because we wanted it to work.” Processes can live in the short term, based purely on hopes and dreams and aspirations. But we’ve tried many other ideas before, and they have had success, for a time, initially, but then died out, despite the best intentions.

If this works, though, in the medium to long term, then I think it’s something worth looking at closely. “Reality is what’s still there after you wake up.” In my experience, for things to work ''for a long time,'' they have to meet ''some fundamentals'' that last for longer than just wanting, desiring, and enthusiasm.

I agree with you, that if we find ourselves in AbsentCommunity, then things would almost certainly break down. Your conversation partners are your conversation partners, as you find them, when that is the case. Respect for enshrined community rules would be likely, (I would think,) but you cannot force people to believe that you are a fair PageMaintainer, and to enter into conversation with you on that basis. This does not break the theory, though– in absent community, I doubt you actually have a CommunalWiki. You have a shell of a WikiCommunity. (Which it may be your job to protect, if that is what the community expects of you, until the community comes back, if ever.)

OK, phew. I’ve not only exported this from ConversationProcess, but I’ve done a great deal of summarizing, which you can see at the top of the page.

A lot of things, I haven’t summarized in, because they’re still too “fresh.” Sam & I’s discussion, actual answers to the “why might this work” question, and so on.

What I’m mainly concerned about is:

  • Have I written down our core questions?
  • Have I accurately and respectfully written down skepticism about the idea?

I think one of the key problems we’re dealing with, is that this seems to be anti- bottom-up, anti- egalitarian, anti- all these things that we care about and value here.

We’re not just here by chance; Most of us are actually tracking a greater narrative, in the sense of NarrativeLevel, and NarraTheme. (Myself included.)

I think KeithHopper’s comment really nailed it on the head, when he said:

“I seek alternatives to traditional control mechanisms in solving shared problems. I’m convinced collective environments lend themselves to more bottom-up approaches.”

But I don’t think that this vision of conflict really makes a whole lot of sense.

And so, I bring out two examples:

  • <3 OpenSource <3 – Most of us agree that this fits in with the “bottom-up” story, and with “collective environments.” And yet, authority is very carefully, (far more than we talking about on this wiki,) meted out. HardSecurity, all the way, not just for CVS access, but even just for the ability to talk with developers, in many cases. The phrase BenevolentDictator arises from OpenSource, and is seen as a key element of it’s success.
  • <3 OpenSpace Technology <3 – Another newfangled Leftist Democracy thing. And yet authority is delegated to conveners, and responsibility for write-ups assigned. It even happens explicitely, in many cases: “Write your name on the session you’re convening.”

We all feel :note: love and roses :note:, when we think of those things.

Meanwhile, this concept invites ideas that feel more like :danger: death and destruction. :danger:

So, what gives? What’s going on here? Why love the one, and hate the other?

Some data points from EmacsWiki:

Many pages seem to work rather well, even though we don’t have designated page mantainers. Many of these pages are not controversial: How to do this, or how to do that, using Emacs – usually the only thing that happens is that somebody else comes along and says, alternatively, you can also try this… There are rare cases when somebody new will note that the above is bogus or confused, or add a correction at the bottom – and in either case the old stuff is not corrected.

Thus, it seems to me that the subject matter influences the size of the problem. Uncontroversial, slow moving topics suffer less.

There are large chunks of the Emacs Wiki that are in fact “owned” because these pages were created to document code and were written by the package maintainer. Clearly, these people are amongst the best-qualified to “lead”, and they do. Thus, for parts of the wiki, there is a designated page maintainer, except that he or she is designated in a roundabout way: Via the page topic relating to a package, and package maintainership.

Emacs Wiki also has WikiGnomes? – people that care about pages in the “How To” section, people that care about categorization, people that care about about particular topics. Perhaps a community has to be big enough to attract gnomes, and this wiki is not, for it seems that we have none. On Emacs Wiki, the gnomes usually don’t rework discussion pages into DocumentMode; instead, they usually fix and improve meta-information and existing document-mode pages. Clearly, gnomes are not the end-all and be-all of reworking. But they are an important force.

Oh, I see it; Yes, you’re right.

I’m not entirely sure what the problems are:

But both of those seem to be much simpler in a place where it’s mainly uncontroversial how-to’s, cataloging of details, and so on.

“Controversial” always makes me think of Jerry Springer. Perhaps more generally, it’s: “Something that generates lots of thoughts inside people?”

As for what KeithHopper has been saying:

I can see a point in saying, “We don’t need to delegate or authorize, akin to the discussion about calling our system on the wiki bylaws, rather than a government.

I wonder if Keith would be okay with the DesignatedMaintainerProcess, if it were instead, called, simply: MaintainerProcess?.

I have seen that when I talk with a group of friends about ideas, we seem to unconsciously pick someone to be "the moderator." The moderator seems to unconsciously automatically fill into this role.

If someone’s feelings are about to be hurt, the moderator steps in, and makes a joke, or directs the conversation in a different direction, or something like that.

If someone is not being heard from, the moderator may engage that person, to hear what they have to say. (And so on.)

But most of this seems to happen unconsciously, or on the edge of consciousness. People seem to automatically negotiate roles and so on.

What I’d like is for someone to be able maintain a page, and be respected for it.

The wiki ethos has been, “Oh, if someone’s reworking DocumentMode, that role is nothing special, anyone can just jump in and do it.” I can imagine reworking a document, and then someone reworks something in as well, at the same time, but I actually had different intentions on how to rework that piece in, or when it should be reworked in, and so on. I can easily imagine a bunch of uncomfortable moments: “Okay, do I put this piece of wood in the truck, or do you? Which parts am I going to do, and which parts are you going to do?”

This is, I personally find, extremely uncomfortable. I suppose it’s because there are a number of implicit value judgements, that go into the determination. “I’m going to do this, you’re going to do that, okay.” If two people are going to rework a page together, systematically, is this not a tension that would arise?

I think so. I think, almost, predictably so.

I think that the reworking that is not systematic – I think we’re not worried about that. If two months pass before a page is touched again, and then someone reworks it, there’s no trouble.

But if you’re having a conversation, if you’re in the process of having a conversation, and someone’s systematically reworking the conversation into the DocumentMode, or keeping eyes on everything with reworking in mind, and so on, … …I think it’s reasonable to say that conflict can arise, if two people (or more!) try to rework the page at the same time.

:blue: :say: “Oh, well, I was thinking, that piece should go over--”
:yellow: :say: “Really? Do you really think that’s a good idea?”
:blue: :say: “Well, I’m willing to consider…”
:yellow: :say: “No, I don’t mind, it’s okay, but how about if I put these in that section?”
:blue: :say: “Actually, I’d rather that you didn’t, because I was reserving that space for…”

I can just feel that possibility arising. And so, I say to myself, “Nah,… better not to do that…”

Further, if there’s someone who reworks something in, while you’re in the middle of reworking, you’re in an “edge situation” of sorts.

:page: :pencil: :yellow: :think: rework, rework, rework, …
:page: :pencil: :yellow:
:page: :pencil: :yellow:
:lightbulb: :blue: :think: “Oh, a wiki page! BeBold! It’s wiki! I can do that!”
:page: :pencil: :blue:
:yellow: :think: Oh, shoot… That’s not what I wanted… But, I need to be nice and kind; I’ll say…
:yellow: :ok: :say: Thank you, for putting that in!
:blue: :)
:blue: :say: You’re welcome, I’m just here to help. :)
:yellow: :think: Oh no! Now he’s going to do it more! :(
:yellow: :but: :say: Though, if you could, I’d prefer if you…
:blue: :think: Oh man, this sucks… :(
:blue: :say: Oh, sure, I’d be happy to..
:yellow: :think: :danger:
:blue: :think: :danger:

So, I think it’s best that if there’s a systematic reworking of a live conversation, (and I really think that’s the way to be reworking,) that one person be the person to maintain it, so that these situations are avoided.

And I think it explains why someone (such as myself) would feel far more at ease reworking, if they’ve been granted authority.

I’m very much open to whether that authority is explicitely delegated by the community, or just implicitely delegated. I favor explicit delegation, it just seems easier to me that way– less chance for confusion, doubt, frustration, surprise.

But if implicit is what people want, I suppose that can work, too… Then the question is: “How do newcomers learn that we do things differently?”

Because I think people who are in the general wiki culture, and hearing the general BeBold message, (and further, excited by that message,) would be in for some surprising responses and conversations here, when they came to this unusual wiki.

Lion, heh, I am glad that you have taken the time to “act” these scenarios out with little dialogue characters. It gets me thinking about how there could be certain community- (or CommunalWiki-) recognized conventions for how to go about being a (Designated) PageMaintainer, based upon the way that the PageMaintainer goes about solving problems. (so long as all of the “conventions” are recognized and acceptable by the community).

This again taps into LiteracyOfHumanNature. In that: A PageMaintainer could create a an environment or condition on their page(s) that is decidedly more strict and authoritarian. Why would they do this? Because this is how that person best solves the problem that Lion describes above, when two people meet in a reworking process, and the SocialDilemma? arises that Lion describes above, which I will summarize as “Which parts am I going to do, and which parts are you going to do?”.

So, I propose a LeadershipFlexibility?: that each page maintainer can choose a leadership style that works best for them. Some people acting as a PageMaintainer solve the leadership problem by creating a Bureaucracy, in a very hierarchical fashion, because that is what works best for them. Others create more of a consensus-driven committee as a leader, because that is what works best for them.

I think we need to recognize the hidden messsage in LiteracyOfHumanNature. It is my opinon that need to give people space to lead in ways that work best for them, if we are asking them to be a leader.

That means creating a LeadershipFlexibility? that says that if, when Lion leads, he prefers to create a Bureaucracy and Hierarchy, then we can recognize that this is the way that Lion solves problems, and we can accept it, and work with this, if we accept Lion’s leadership in the given context (and I assume that we do). But, if Mattis leads, for instance, and he decides to create a different system, then we should afford a SocialFlexibility? that allows for this different way of solving problems and leading people. If KeithHopper has yet a different way of solving the leadership problem, then we should afford a SocialFlexibility? for this as well, if we are going to accept Keith’s leadership as PageMaintainer. Of course, there is a limit to what the Community will afford, and we really don’t need to rehash the ground on that, because we’ve beat it to death, and I know that everyone reading this who would potentially act as a PageMaintainer understands that people can’t just “do what they want”.

This is my acknowledgement that I absolutely agree that DesignatedMaintainerProcess will work. There is no question in my mind that the social dilemma that Lion describes exists. Nor is there a question in my mind that the DesignatedMaintainerProcess is an efficient way to handle the dilemma, and the problem of LackOfReworking.

But, I also contend that a LeadershipFlexibility? (or, whatever the hell you’d prefer to call it) will solve another real SocialDilemma?: the problem that people solve problems in different ways (LiteracyOfHumanNature).

Creating this LeadershipFlexibility?, based upon a LiteracyOfHumanNature is very possible to do. There are close to 50 years worth of knowledge built up about how to do it (though there is not much online). The question is absolutely not “can it be done?”. The question is “will you, or will you not, do it?”.

Personally, I’d rather the way the wiki works didn’t rely on everybody understanding the subtleties of LiteracyOfHumanNature (or of any other largish page or body of thought), or explicitely talking about “leaders”, even though those may say explain a lot about the underlying social dynamics.

Even though it may mean the same thing as LeadershipFlexibility? in practice, I’m more comfortable with “pages can have maintainers, but not all pages will”. We may not want to be suddenly explicit about too many things at the same time; and I’d rather be explicit about concrete things (having a page maintainer) than abstract things (leadership modes - “leadership” or “problem solving” aren’t that obvious in the way a wiki works …).

So, I’d rather wait until 1) We see how DesignatedMaintainerProcess works, and 2) We have a better idea of what LeadershipFlexibility? would mean, process-wise

By the way, those little icons are awesome! There’s much more possibilities than with WikiDrama! I took the liberty of reworking the formatting of Lion’s dialog a little bit (Since there’s no designated maintainer on this page … it’s OK, right? :) ).

Nice edits!

Actually, I do consider myself PageMaintainer, but, that doesn’t mean that people can’t edit the DocumentMode. It just means that it should be done so with deference, if there’s a revert, disagreement, and so on, and a promise to not have hard feelings afterwards.

I consider this difference in our perceptions, as an argument for explicit claims to page maintainership, and against implicit page maintainership.. ;)

From above:

People other than the maintainer…
Apply their own edits to the DocumentMode, but are expected to politely defer to the maintainer, should there be disagreement.

And then repeated, under “Cautionary Notes,”:

Just because someone is designated PageMaintainer, it doesn’t mean that other’s can’t make edits to the DocumentMode. It just means that they are expected to defer to the PageMaintainer, in the event of conflict. (They may, alternatively, take their case to the WikiCommunity, off page.)

Emile wrote: So, I’d rather wait until 1) We see how DesignatedMaintainerProcess works, and 2) We have a better idea of what LeadershipFlexibility?? would mean, process-wise

I don’t know if I actually want to call it LeadershipFlexibility?. There;s really not much to the process. Other than what happens after someone somehow becomes a designated PageMaintainer. The person could simply declare that “this page will be maintained in this fashion”. It doesn’t require you to understand anything from LiteracyOfHumanNature, other than this one simple line:

Different people solve the same problems in different ways.

That’s it. Nothing else.

The idea that I have (whether it is, or is not ultimately named “LeadershipFlexibility?”) is that rules that are created with the intention of solving SocialDilemmas? acknowledge this simple, fundamental fact about people. And, that the solution leaves some kind of room for it to happen. Feel free to flush this idea right down the toilet, if you wish. There are plenty of other groups I am active in where I can experiment with these ideas. Just thought I’d throw them out here and see if there is any interest.

Uh– noonoonooonooonooo--

I think Emile just means, that, on this page, in the DocumentMode, perhaps we shouldn’t get too into it.

I, personally, am very grateful that you’re articulating LiteracyOfHumanNature, and, in particular, are showing how it’s relevant to our situation at hand. I don’t think that Emile thinks that this discussion is a bad idea, or that we shouldn’t talk about these things on CW, or anything like that.

I think Emile’s just saying, that, for the purpose of the DocumentMode of this page, and for the purpose of explaining this to strangers, that we “keep it simple, keep it direct.”

The DocumentMode for this page is pretty complicated; I’m already rehearsing how to split it up into multiple pages.

For instance, there’s SocialDillema?, but maybe it should become ReworkingSocialDillemas?. And perhaps PageMaintainer should be a separate thing. Further, our vision is changing, segregating the concept of page maintainer, from the particular process that a page maintainer may use. And there are other threads.

In the end, though, I want something fairly simple, (simpler than it is now,) to exist on a key page, (perhaps PageMaintainer,) explaining the concepts for new people, and then linking to these deeper analysis of what it is, why we think it should work, and so on.

I’ll remember to include connections with the LiteracyOfHumanNature, and if I somehow forget (I doubt I will,) just put them in, or remind me and I’ll put them in. But probably not on the simple version of the page, that answers, “What do you do and how do you do it?” The “why” question will be answered in greater detail elsewhere, I think.

I, at least, am very interested in the ideas you are describing. I suspect Emile will be (if he isn’t, already,) and that he just hasn’t had much time to look at them.

From Emile’s perspective: He’s very interested in debate process and systems. (That’s a sympathy.) He’s now working on this page. This page is about ConversationProcess on CW: “How will we rework and maintain pages on CW?” You talk about LiteracyOfHumanNature, as part of a justification for an argument about DesginatedMaintainerProcess?. He’s overwhelmed with a very big and enormous theory of everything. “Wow, that’s really big. I know what I think about DesignatedMaintainerProcess, but it’d take a while to even understand this, much less make a decision about whether I agree with it or not.” So Emile says, “I don’t think we should tie our justifications so closely with LiteracyOfHumanNature.”

I think that roughly sums it up. I don’t think it means that Emile isn’t interested, or that LiteracyOfHumanNature is not a conversation Emile would be interested in having. It’s just: Right now, he’s here.

This is perhaps one of the best conversations I’ve read in a while. I should shut up more often. I am committed to trying DesignatedMaintainerProcess. I am even enthusiastic about trying it due in part to Sam’s pointing out that we seem to often use CommunityWiki for ConsensualExperiment?s. And I’m a firm believer in LearningByDoing.

Alex’s point about subject matter on pages is spot on. At CommunityWiki, we don’t talk about historically-relevant encyclopedic entries or software documentation. We talk about crazy new ideas, the indecipherable nature of humans, collective behavior, all sorts of controversial and meaningful stuff that we can’t make tidy with a simple mechanic like NeutralPointOfView. Taken to the extreme, can you imagine a wiki committed to discussing the meaning of life? I have no doubt that LackOfReworking would be a problem there. Perhaps LackOfReworking is more symptomatic of our subject matter than we recognize. And perhaps our lack of acceptance of this is the real problem. Well, that’s maybe stretching it a bit - I really would love a coherent, single CommunityWikiBank page. ;-)

I wish I had the bell icon right now, because this is the perfect place for it.

Thank you, very much.

And thank you for your voice; We wouldn’t have made it here without your voice, prodding us forward, making us explain what this means, figuring out what the root problems are, and bringing us back to values, our super-narrative.

I can only see ye far in front of me, even if I’m holding a good idea. I need others to fill the space, and round the idea.

I have been working on the rework, my drafts of what will come out of this, and I see very clearly now that the initial introduction was much to authority laden. “Authority this, permission that, delegation here,” and so on, and so forth.

But in the conversation, we’ve drawn out that this is:

  • an experiment in social process,
  • a response to a social dilemma (the why)
  • about multiplicity of processes, rather than a single process
  • about letting people be leaders, or if the language is to strong, moderators
  • about allowing people to perform processes with others, in their own ways
  • a product of who we are, and our environment, and our subject matter
  • in some ways, natural – groups of friends unconsciously emerge moderating systems

So I think there are good grounds here for a solid rewrite, and perhaps even a few supporting pages.

I hope to upload the first page up within roughly 30 hours.

(And: Yes, I think wiki dedicated to specific inquiries, such as digging deep into “What is the meaning of life?”, and so on, would be absolutely amazing and transformative.)

Sam: (As Lion said) I don’t want to flush LeadershipFlexibility? down the toilet, I just think that now’s the time to carry out experimentation about DesignatedMaintainerProcess, and I don’t think we should pause it in order figure out what the process should be integrating LeadershipFlexibility? or the principle that people solve problems in different ways (meaning, right now, I don’t see what that translates into process-wise); which isn’t so say we shouldn’t talk about those at all.

Ok, I have two questions for the Community!

Question #1:

There are two ways I’m prepared to rework this.

One is to put the majority of ideas into PageMaintainerAnalysis, which would be big.

The other is to divide it out into (probably) the following pages:

The page PageMaintainerAnalysis would operate as a center hub, outlining the basic gist, and connecting these together.

So it could all be one big page (PageMaintainerAnalysis,) or it could be divided into several short pages.

Which would you prefer?

The second question is: “What were the major insights or change in thinking, that came to you, individually, in this conversation?”

For myself, I see how I was mainly communicating about authority, to begin with. But I wasn’t communicating about the experimentation, nor did I articulate the real problems that come up, nor was I communicating about the diversity of practices that I hoped would arise. I had thought of those things, and those were the impetus, but they were all “short-handed” away, when I wrote. After the conversation, it was clear in my mind where the focus needed to be: experimentation, originating problems, diversity. Authority is important, but focusing on communicating the why is more important.

Define external redirect: PageMaintainerMotivation WikiGnomes SocialDilemma SocialFlexibility OrganizingPrinciple ReworkingSocialDillemas ThreadModel SocialDilemmas LeadershipFlexibility SocialNorms DesginatedMaintainerProcess SocialDillema PageMaintainers BriefHistoryOfReworkingInWiki ConsensualExperiment MaintainerProcess LeadByExample

EditNearLinks: OccasionalContributor HardSecurity WhatIsTrust OpenSource DocumentMode ReworkingProblems RightToLeave CommunityMember NeutralPointOfView WikiLifeCycle EmacsWiki SlideWiki DelegateResponsibility WikiCommunity AbsentCommunity BenevolentDictator