SimilarToPageMaintainer

PageMaintainer may be better understood, and PageMaintainerSkepticism alleviated, by noting systems that are similar, and that we are attracted to. I talk about OpenSpace Technology, OpenSource development, and Twin Oaks, to explain the PageMaintainer system, and to alleviate fears.

Our concerns include:

This page points to things that are clearly in these narrative worlds, yet also feature clear authorities and responsibilities.

OpenSource Software Development

If there’s a poster-child for modern “bottom-up” efforts and volunteerism, it’s OpenSource software.

In OpenSource software development, there are clear lines of responsibility, and access to CVS is guarded.

A person is held to be authoritative for a part of the project, and responsible for it.

The parallels to PageMaintainer are not very strong, because there’s a particularly strong reason to argue for strict CVS control: Code is dangerous if it’s tampered with. Text is not. 1

But OpenSource does demonstrates that the bottom-up NarraTheme does not contradict authority, and covolunteerism does not contradict responsibility.

That said, OpenSource development is paradoxical with respect to our support for Democracy. Yes, it uses the “BenevolentDictator” model. But that’s tempered by (A) RightToLeave, and (B) RightToFork. (Just like here, in CommunityWiki.)

See also: FairProcess.

Twin Oaks

TwinOaks is an egalitarian community living out around Virginia somewhere.

Everyone has a vote, and everyone shares labor.

And yet, (of course,) there are very clear lines of authority and responsibility.

Its unimaginable that there could still be life there, without it.

Open Space Technology

In OpenSpace, any participant can convene sessions. Let’s call these people “conveners.” The convener records what a session is about, where it is held, when it is held, and their name.

Before sessions are held, one of the event staff states that:

This is similar to PageMaintainer. Note that the convener has both authority (albeit limited,) and responsibility (albeit limited) – just like the PageMaintainer. It is basically the same root policy.

If we resist PageMaintainer, we should consider resisting OpenSpace as well: Insist that when sessions are gathered, “everybody” is responsible for the meeting notes, and “everybody” is supposed to just (somehow) make sure that the DiscussionProcess? questions are answered.

Closer Home

We don’t need to look so far away from wiki, though. Here are three examples of “PageMaintainer” like systems, within the world of wiki.

Citizendium

The [[Citizendium?]] is a massive alternative-to-Wikipedia project, put forth by LarrySanger (wikipedia).

“Does Citizendium have PageMaintainer? How is an editor chosen for a page?”

I’m not sure; Please answer if you know.

The Citizendium does have editors, and I assume a page has at most one editor.

Short answer: Citizendium does not have page maintainers. A longer version would be that something similar to PageMaintainers? exists for Approved articles (which are protected) - these can only be changed by Constables (whose role is to enforce community roles) upon request by an Editor (which are experts in a field relevant to the article in question, which they have to document upon registration). All other pages in the main namespace (including the Welcome Page) as well as virtually all template and image pages are unprotected and can be edited by any registered user (collectively referred to as Authors), with subject-matter Editors deciding in case of conflicting opinions.

The BSD Wiki

Each section has a place for a person (or people) to take ownership of it. Anyone can work on it. But by signing up for a topic, the author becomes responsible for goals and deadlines.

You can read about the BSD wiki on Dru Lavigne’s blog, a post about Collaborative Documentation in a wiki about BSD aimed towards people studying a certification course.

This is, most clearly, the closest thing to CommunityWiki PageMaintainer.

MassMind

MassMind has explicit software-supported page ownership. You can see it by looking at various pages: [1] says “owner: JMN-EFP-786”, [2] says “owner: kentken-HotPOP?-”, and so on. Clicking on the owner’s name takes you to their namepage; For example: kentken-HotPOP-".

In theory, the “owner” of a page is responsible for reworking the page, adding information from comments, etc. In practice, the pages seem to sprawl like on most wiki.

See Also

PageMaintainerSeries

Discussion

This passage also used to say: “Further, OpenSource software development is, by and large, a part of, CivilSociety, itself a Democratic ideal.” That’s not a good argument, since all it does is appeal to the crowd: “See, they also think it’s democratic, therefore we should, too.” What we really want, of course, is for civil society to come to this page, read our arguments, and go: “Aah! That’s why these open source guys keep coming to our conferences…”

Hm; I don’t see it as an appeal to the crowd, but rather, an argument by reference: “This is part of X, X is Democratic, X is beyond the scope of this discussion.”

I don’t know of any “CivilSociety” conferencess, though I wouldn’t be surprised if there were some.

Basically, my understanding of “Civil Society” is that it’s a broad name for organized activity that isn’t a government or a corporation or a family. It’s characterized by voluntary, self-initiated participation. That would put Open Source Software squarely in Civil Society.

I suspect it also sheds light on how there can be authority and democracy, at the same time as Democracy.

I just realized something– Citizendium is similar to PageMaintainer, as well. WikipediaIsNotTypical?, and it’s likely Citizendium is not either, but pointing to Citizendium would be worthwhile, I would think.

You write: “This is part of X, X is Democratic, X is beyond the scope of this discussion.” When I read it the original context, I mentally added: “And since Open Source is part of X, it is also democratic.” I thought you were trying to “prove” that Open Source is democratic by saying it belonged to a movement that favored democratic processes. I misunderstood, sorry about that.

I agree that both Open Source in particular and Civil Society in general “demonstrate[s] that the bottom-up NarraTheme does not contradict authority, and covolunteerism does not contradict responsibility.”

I don’t think the later statement about authority and democracy makes sense, since democracy doesn’t work without authority: Democracy allows some to elect leaders, who then wield authority. If the leaders had no authority, voting would have no effect, I think, so I’d stick with what we have in the main text above.

When the PageMaintainer was called the BenevolentDictatorProcess?, a lot of people took this to mean, “It’s not Democratic. It can’t be Democratic.” So there’s an apparent contradiction here. I think that it is Democratic; I use OpenSource as an example. But how does that support it? We’ve got BenevolentDictators after all! It’s Democratic because of the RightToFork, RightToLeave. But perhaps someone’s not convinced. So, I roll out the vision of how the whole ecosystem works– the backdrop of CivilSociety. That’s how you can have a BenevolentDictator and a Democratic system.

I don’t think the later statement about authority and democracy makes sense, since democracy doesn’t work without authority.

Heh. I know that. You know that. Bakunin knows that. A lot of the people we encounter daily don’t know that. :)

But; Which statement are you referring to when you say, “the later statement”..?

Here’s what I meant:

Former Statement
But OpenSource does demonstrates that the bottom-up NarraTheme does not contradict authority, and covolunteerism does not contradict responsibility. (This I agree with.)
Later Statement
[…] “Civil Society” is […] characterized by voluntary, self-initiated participation. That would put Open Source Software squarely in Civil Society. I suspect it also sheds light on how there can be authority and democracy, at the same time as Democracy. (I think this needs to be fixed.)

Argh! Dialectic quagmire ahead! :) :jellyfish:

Oh, look! I just discovered something useful!

BSDwiki:authors policy!

This project is based on personal ownership and involvement.
Each section has a place for a person (or people) to take ownership of it. Anyone can work on it. But by signing up for a topic, the author becomes responsible for goals and deadlines.

I learned about it on Dru Lavigne’s blog, a post about Collaborative Documentation in a wiki about BSD aimed towards people studying a certification course.

It said:

while wiki-based, the structure will be familiar to any Open Source developer including commits, reviewers, writethons (as opposed to hackathons) and code freeze (writing stops on February 28th)

I haven’t listened to the interview MP3 yet, [3] but I look forward to doing so, to see if they say anything about this policy.

Perhaps we could list some wiki already using something like this. Or would that list go in the “Where Else Could It Work?” section?

The “massmind” has something similar to PageMaintainer system. Each page has an “owner”, printed in small letters in a link near the bottom of the page. For example,

(A few pages have no owner yet. If a user comes across one of these pages while “logged on”, a message at the bottom of the page begs the user to please click on the “take ownership” button.)

Like any wiki, anyone can add a comment to any Massmind page. Like MoinMoin, people can “register” their interest in a page. Whenever a page changes, the changes are emailed to the people who registered interest in that particular page (and also the “owner” of that page).

In theory, the “owner” of a page is responsible for reworking the page, adding information from comments, etc.

In practice, all too many pages are blog-like – many pages have not been touched by their owner since they were created, so the only change is the steadily increasing number of comments.

In a “page owner” system (such as at Massmind, and wikis with ACLs such as Wikkawiki), the software keeps track of who owns a page. In the “page maintainer” policy proposed here, the software neither knows nor cares who is the page maintainer.

Can you summarize this in a couple sentences of PlainTalk ? :-)

It’s already PlainTalk!

But, if I were to summarize it:

MassMind has an ownership. You can see it by looking at various pages: [4] says “owner: JMN-EFP-786”, [5] says “owner: kentken-HotPOP?-”, and so on. Clicking on the owner’s name takes you to their namepage; For example: kentken-HotPOP-".
In theory, the “owner” of a page is responsible for reworking the page, adding information from comments, etc. In practice, the pages seem to sprawl like on most wiki.

A visitor had added to this page:

No, it doesn’t. Editors work “shoulder to shoulder” with authors. Editors are assigned to a workgroup, and each workgroup is ultimately responsible for a set of articles in its care. For example, see the Biology workgroup.

…in answer to, “Does Citizendium feature PageMaintainers??”

I’d like to welcome conversation on this!

I’m curious about how Editors are different than PageMaintainers?. What differentiates an Editor from an Author, and how is this not something that fits within the nebulous definition of PageMaintainer? Is it off the mark to say that it is SimilarToPageMaintainer?

Thank you, DanielMietchen?, for explaining above.

I still think that Citizendium’s network of policies & SoftSecurity still amounts to something that is similar to PageMaintainer (as this page’s title notes.)

I would then compare and contrast:

Compare:

  • there are clearly delegated roles and responsibilities;
  • those roles and responsibilities rest in an articulated community agreement

Contrast:

  • layout and working in responses and conversation is not somebody’s task at the Citizendium
    • contrast: in a page maintained by a PageMaintainer, there is someone (perhaps/hopefully the author of the page) who is working in responses and making the page nice

I attribute the complexity of the Citizendium arrangement (Authors, Editors, and Constables) to the size (or aspired size) of the Citizendium. I would contest the “unprotected” nature of any part of the Citizendium, since SoftSecurity is clearly at work.

Footnotes:

1. We could consider “mental viruses,” but you won’t be sued for them!

Define external redirect: WikipediaIsNotTypical HotPOP BenevolentDictatorProcess DanielMietchen Citizendium PageMaintainers DiscussionProcess

EditNearLinks: MoinMoin OpenSource BenevolentDictator RightToLeave FairProcess LarrySanger

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