The PageMaintainer policy first met skepticism, because it was expressed in the language of authority, rather than in terms of what it made possible. After discussion, we found language suggesting experimentation, diversity, leadership, and natural patterns.

PageMaintainer: LionKimbro

Language Problems

Before PageMaintainer policy was first presented, it was presented in a page called “BenevolentDictatorProcess,” (couched in the language of BenevolentDictator!), and then, in turn: “DesignatedMaintainerProcess” (DesignatedMaintainerProcessArchive).

The first presentations focused on authority, the social mechanism by which experimentation and reworking could be practiced or experimented with. (See PageMaintainerAuthority for more on this subject.)

This was a very unbalanced presentation, and solicited skepticism. The language solicited images of people claiming sections of the wiki, cordoning them off from others, commanding people, cutting the wiki into pieces, observing a single process, and so on.

We talked, discussed, questioned, explained, explored, and developed a very different understanding.

The picture that emerged was that this was not so much about authority, as it was about:

That is, that this is about diversity, experimentation, exploration, rather than conformity, a single process, or rigidity. There is always authority and protection, but it is not the overriding concern.

Brief Summary of the Conversation

The conversation roughly (paraphrasing) went like so:

LionKimbro: “We should follow a DesignatedMaintainerProcess. The PageMaintainer can do A, B, C, and everyone else does X, Y, and Z.”

KeithHopper: “What’s that for? What good is that?!”

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

KeithHopper: “If we’re looking to solve the LackOfReworking problem, let’s try some alternative collective processes, or some TechnologySolutions.”

(KeithHopper, EmileKroeger, and FridemarPache suggests some possibilities.)

LionKimbro: “We’ve tried those, but they don’t work.”

“Several have been tried, but have they ever been successful? What is interesting is that this has never worked.” (LionKimbro)

LionKimbro: “Well, wait; This is what people do in OpenSource (BenevolentDictator) and OpenSpace. So why not us?” (see: SimilarToPageMaintainer, for more on this theme.)

LionKimbro: “This is so that people have clear reworking authority, to resolve a SocialReworkingDilemma.”

SamRose: “This is so that people can practice leadership in their diverse ways.”

“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.” (SamRose)

KeithHopper: “Okay, I see. OK, I like it!”

“This is perhaps one of the best conversations I’ve read in a while. … I am committed to trying DesignatedMaintainerProcess.” (KeithHopper)

This is an incredibly simplification of the conversation; To see the conversation in all of it’s complex glory, just read: DesignatedMaintainerProcessArchive.

See Also



This is the page that makes me most nervous, because I’m not really clear of what realizations or transformations happened in everybody else’s heads.

So, if I missed something critical, that was part of the answer to skepticism, please, by all means, let us know what it was!

EditNearLinks: OpenSource BenevolentDictator