There's a Seinfeld episode where Elaine is berating Jerry for calling a man she was starting to date her "boyfriend". "Don't say 'boyfriend'!" she tells him. "Dating a man is like feeding a squirrel in the park. You have to be careful and make no sudden movements."

It's often difficult for long-time members of a community to remember the feeling of approaching that community for the first time. It takes a few cycles of contributing and seeing responses to a contribution before a new member feels confident enough to continue a relationship with the community.

During this initial period, it's important for the other members of the community to make no sudden movements towards the new member. New members like to feel at least some cloak of anonymity before fully joining the group. Sudden movements that show that they have no anonymity, before they're ready to shed the cloak themselves, can be jarring, and cause the lurker to skitter away like a squirrel.

Some examples of "sudden movements" to avoid:

There's a balance to be made here. New members need to know that they don't "own" their contributions (in a figurative sense), and that there are other members of the community to help them clarify ideas and express them better. And, of course, there are other reasons to be quick to respond: to show SoftSecurity in the face of vandalism, for example.

But generally, well-meaning but imperfect contributions can probably be allowed to sit for a little while. Spelling mistakes, duplicate pages, etc. can stick around for at least 24 hours, usually. There's no reason for RecentChangesJunkies to pounce on a new member's contributions immediately. Give it some time to settle before making some cautious and supportive changes.

This is part of the more general concept of RefactorLater?. "Just give it some time!" ;)

There's a balance to be made here. The very trick about wiki, right. Good page. 031218 22:57 MattisManzel

This screams at me as a part of RadicalInclusiveness :-) Great page! MarkDilley


Define external redirect: CategoryWelcomingNewcomers RefactorLater

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