In hopes of staving off side arguments, any threads devolving into accusations or the rehashing of old arguments can /Get Off My Lawn (and go to that sub-page).
Please — DATE ALL REMARKS!
It's tough on us newcomers to not know WHEN some thing was being discussed. It's also very confusing to come in in the middle of a discussion. Even on 'info' pages, observations without dates (e.g., 'dead crows' (which was in 2005)) can lead to confusion. Thanks for all your work. This Wiki is great. (2010-08) —LoisRichter
And sign your comments! —MM
As JW and many others have noted recently, a lot of the meta discussions over the last couple of months have been extremely heated. It's bad enough that it sucks for the people directly involved, but unfortunately, it's spilling over to affect others, including new editors who haven't done anything more than inadvertently violate a disputed wiki norm. Hell, norm's not even really the right word, since many of the "norms" are under dispute.
If this trend continues, we're going keep driving away well-meaning editors. Certainly new ones, and quite possibly old ones, too. We need a collective wiki chill pill. I feel that this is bad for the wiki. Really bad. —TomGarberson
Pretty sure that this is all going to boil up again if we do not discuss all these things to death at some point. Possibly a bad time to do it since we are tabling and trying to be on our best behavior right now, but I think all the topics we get into heated debates over should be gone over before LocalWiki gets more publicized. Maybe we need to set up another forum for this? —hankim
I agree. But things are so touchy that I'm not even sure we can have this conversation without it devolving into accusations of whose fault it is. —CovertProfessor
The thing that bothers me about it is that since I got active around here, I've regularly told people that we're a very friendly, helpful bunch of people. Recently, that's begun to feel like a lie. As a whole, we're as likely to tell a new user to eff off (through reverts, angry criticisms of their user name, or whatever else) as we are to try to make them feel welcome. At some point, we go from having a community that tries to get people involved to being a bunch of crotchety old farts who want the damn kids to get off our lawn.
I believe that every single frequent editor on here wants what's best for the wiki, but I think we're losing sight, as a whole, of the fact that what's best for the wiki is far bigger than a few conventions and norms. That's not to say that conventions and norms should be thrown out the window. My point is that the way we've been enforcing them, as a group, feels like it has done more harm than the conventions and norms themselves prevent.
I guess it's kind of like the DLM magazine links: it's not what we're doing; it's how we're doing it. —TomGarberson
To be fair, the user registration form does ask people to use a real name, and when someone just blatantly ignores a request of the community, I can understand not wanting to show them the same respect you would show to someone who does introduce themselves. —hankim
What I am seeing is a lot broader than that. I'm seeing regular editors harboring anger and resentment for past actions, and letting those spill over into current actions, which is especially harmful when it involves new editors. I include myself in this, but I see it in others as well. —cp
"The thing that bothers me about it is that since I got active around here, I've regularly told people that we're a very friendly, helpful bunch of people. Recently, that's begun to feel like a lie. As a whole, we're as likely to tell a new user to eff off (through reverts, angry criticisms of their user name, or whatever else) as we are to try to make them feel welcome. At some point, we go from having a community that tries to get people involved to being a bunch of crotchety old farts who want the damn kids to get off our lawn." — I think that pretty much hits it on the head for me. People get really upset here because people don't use their real names. Well, it's either a suggestion or a requirement. If it's a suggestion, then people can ignore it. If it's a rule, then they cannot. But if they choose to ignore a suggestion, then hounding them until they obey is a strange way to invite new editors. I think the ease with which people can be identified over the Internet makes people rightfully suspicious of using their real names in online discussions, or posting personal information about themselves. Those same people, however, may want to participate in a community such as this. I don't even know if it's so much identity anymore than the fact a new editor had the audacity to edit an entry without first spending two hours creating a user page. I've lived in Davis (and used the Wiki) for two years and I've seen the vitriol just get more and more hot. Maybe it's at times justified, like in the case of CampusRec. But I think it's oftentimes not. I also think it feels awkward to a new editor when a long time one swoops in and ["Law Students/Talk" straight-up reverts] their edits that weren't really that serious and actually improved the page's readability. Sorry, CP, but that's the way I feel. If you want this site to be a cadre of computer programmers and locals who decide as a board of directors what is posted and what is not, then just keep up what seems to be the current policy. But if you want this to seriously be a community of editors with freedom to participate and have a 1:1 voice with everyone else, then I think the attitude must change. —BrianPakpour
Your wish came true, we are ["Users/CampusRec/Talk" all getting along] on something. Anyway, I feel that the whole new users thing has not been too much of a problem. I have been welcoming quite a few new users recently and I thought those welcomes were friendly. I can only recall about three that have had a rough start on the Wiki in the past few months. They just stand out more because reverts happen. Sure, it is unfortunate that some people get a rough start, but if you are going to be a Wiki gnome, you probably will be butting heads with other gnomes and arguments are going to break out, but that is normal in a community that is not a dictatorship. —hankim
I think talking in person is good. —PhilipNeustrom'
That's exactly what I was just thinking. What would folks think of another wiki gathering? Face-to-face meeting is almost always a good thing, and beer and good company are one of the best chill pills out there. —TomGarberson
I think that taking on a sour attitude is harmful. Often more harmful than someone, say, not using their real name. The goal is to encourage a healthy, friendly community.
As a regular wiki editor your perspective is very different from those who come on and, on a whim, decide to add something here. We need to strive, always, to be welcoming, curious and polite (meaning: assume good intentions!) with new people (and everyone!).
Getting burnt out or frustrated happens, especially as a volunteer — it's happened to me a bunch of times. It's especially hard when you see the same mistakes over and over. The key is to acknowledge that harboring resentment isn't helpful, and to step back and stop editing for a bit.
I also want to make a tangential point that there's a lot of seemingly social issues — like encouraging more identity, or changing the way comments work — that can be improved with more vibrant software. So that's something we're going to be working on real soon. —PhilipNeustrom
In the end, isn't it more a matter of treating others how we ourselves wish to be treated? I know it's an old cliche' but they become cliche' for a reason. Wes
Lol! Some people wish to be argued with way more than others. -NickSchmalenberger
Tom, I would be happy to discuss this topic with you or anyone else off-Wiki. firstname.lastname@example.org. —DonShor Please look at the edit history of http://daviswiki.org/V.I.P._Studios_Photography to see an example of what I consider to be problem editing. —Don
It looks like it started out as a custom advert tag (as opposed to the Advert include), but ended up replacing the text of the page. I agree that it's a problem when it removes everything of value from a page. It should've remained an advert tag. BTW, I e-mailed last night, let me know if you'd care to meet up for a cup of coffee... or happy hour, or whatever. —tg
I agree. If an editor is faced with an overly advertis-y page, the choices should be: 1) Fix, 2) Mark with an advert tag, or 3) Leave it alone. Deleting everything and leaving a note like that comes across as hostile, even if that was not the intent. —CovertProfessor
This seems like a fairly good place to discuss enumerating some standards for civil editing. This stuff seems pretty self-explanatory, but it's become a problem lately. I'm going to start us off with just one. Feel free to add your own thoughts and/or your own suggestions for standards.
I think this is an important and useful suggestion. I also like the idea of wiki norms being described somewhere. —DonShor
I like it if we add the clarification that it applies to all editors — new editors, long-time editors, anonymous editors, editors with names that are or sound real. Even if it's a name that bothers you in some way. You don't really know who is behind the name, why they've chosen the name that they have, or why they've made the edit that they made. We should assume good intentions and be polite. Even if someone has behaved badly — when someone makes a personal insult or racist comment, or blatantly spams — it doesn't hurt to simply state that that sort of behavior isn't acceptable here, and perhaps even welcome them to contribute in a more positive way (this probably doesn't make sense for the spammers, but it might for the others). —cp
For a list of examples see http://daviswiki.org/Welcome_to_the_Wiki?action=info&links=1. —JasonAller
Not everyone who was welcomed to the wiki welcomed politely. Or, sometimes it was assumed that a person was ignoring their welcome, when perhaps they simply weren't seeing it. —cp
Nope, looks like a good read. But honestly, that's part of the problem. We have a lot of ideas all over the place, but even most frequent editors don't know where they are. And any time an issue comes up, it goes back to "no one owns it, there are no rules, only 'loose guidelines.'" The Wiki Ethics page is good, and would be a good reference... if we actually used it. And mostly for established editors. There's a lot to take in there, and throwing that, WttW, WttW/Business Owner, Identity, Importance of using your RealName, and so on, all into the mix? It's entirely possible new users' heads will start exploding. *pop* ... and boy, that'll be messy. Goofiness aside, I think having a simple list of just don't do this things would go a long way toward avoiding some of the problems we've had lately. —tg
I tend to agree with this concept. — Wes-P
1. Do not revert an edit without leaving the user a courteous message explaining why.
Despite how often the term is thrown around on here, vandalism is extremely rare on the wiki. There are certainly cases of it (hi, CampusRec). But the vast majority of the time, it's just an editor who isn't familiar with wiki norms. I'd also suggest a corollary: 1a. If your message to the editor didn't work, assume that they didn't see it. Because that's probably what happened. Make a friendly, colorful note on the page in dispute telling them to check their user page. Include a link. Make it easy for them. Don't resort to being rude or comment-less reverts (which are rude) until you're actually certain that they're ignoring outreach, and haven't simply not discovered it. Yes, it's more of a hassle when gnoming. But the recent tone has us headed in the direction of losing most of the participants who aren't gnomes. That's no good. —TomGarberson
I think that came across more negatively than I meant. My point is that while we've got guidelines out there, they clearly haven't been doing much to guide editors' actions recently, and they're widely scattered. Whether we decide on new ones or just compile stuff into a single reference—one we actually use—I think it's worth making an effort to improve the tone and the interactions we have with users, old and new. —TomGarberson
For the record, I want to say that its all the argumentative bullshit and general aggressiveness of some editors that made me stop making any significant contributions to DavisiWiki and other Wikispot Wikis. It's a shame, really. I think there's a lot of potential for this type of media but somehow it seems to easily devolve into one of those crappy craigslist discussion boards. Kind of like this page. Ok, I'll go slog off into my internet cave of solitude now...- MaryLieth
Can you think of some ways we could improve this? Would having, say, an integrated way to vote on a given issue help (without having to take part in a long-winded discussion)? We could bypass some of the issues with consensus-based decision making that way. One of the major drawbacks of consensus-based decision making is that people often feel the most persistent folks win. There are advantages and disadvantages. —PhilipNeustrom
Anything further on this topic?