Creating leaders in our community

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Or....scaling ourselves

  • Cary Bass = volunteer coordinator for Wikimedia, in a way hired to scale Jimmy Wales, his own position has been easy to scale
  • When we talk about creating leaders, it's not authoritarian; it's focalizing, energizing, initializing
  • [Cary] I've developed a way of seeing things that helps; I have my own opinions but I try not to take sides. How do we teach others to be more like those of us who do focalize?
  • [Brion] 1. People want someone to give them permission & feedback so that they will do their own thing but with some confidence that it is acceptable & correct and right thing to do. 2. Resolving disputes.
    • [Nicolas] Does the leader resolve disputes, or do the parties in conflict?
  • [Brion] the leader gives people permission to do what they should've been doing anyway
  • [Marc] I remind people that if you don't get feedback
  • [Krystle] Feedback = validation = core human desire
  • [Pete] It's important to establish an environment where conflict is not the norm; minimize the time and energy that is put into resolving disputes.
  • [Fred] Coordination - Example: Yesterday many things needed to be done, Ann was the one who dispatched the tasks. Example: talking circle with talking stick. Example: Leader of Zapatistas goes to villages and listens to everyone's problems/issues--comparable to a wiki.
    • [Cary] - how do you translate a talking stick into an online environment?
  • [Krystle] - sometimes a difficult personality unites the community
  • [Marc] The cost of difficult people is huge. I take a more strict stance towards difficult personalities; I'm clear with them and often nobody has ever been that clear.
  • How do you define your core community? e.g. wikiHow, people who've edited 300+ a month consistently for 2 or more years.
  • Community/consensus
    • Good at: welcoming, each person finding what tasks they are good at (self-selecting), clumping (people with overlapping goals finding each other)
    • Not good at: kicking people out, setting priorities (and todo list), providing big picture, maintaining, humility
  • [Pete] - I've learned a lot about leadership from community members.
  • [Marc] Problem: people who know what needs to be done are already busy doing it. New people coming in don't know how to help.
    • [Cary] When I first came to Wikipedia, there were todo lists, and I used them.
  • Academic study of welcoming/socialization tactics on wikis:
  • [Krystle] We have a widget on our RecentChanges that shows people the "weather", a metaphor for how many unpatrolled RecentChanges there have been recently (more == stormy weather)
  • [Marc] Dunbar number - groups start to lose their effectiveness when they grow beyond a certain number (70-140)
  • [Cary] examples of clumping: highways, hurricanes.
  • [Cary] a lot of our pillars came from MeatballWiki; e.g. AssumeGoodFaith
  • [Marc] it must be different in companies where you can say "the buck stops here" compared to an open project like WikiPedia
  • [Krystal] at WikiHow, we feel that any injection of authority is bad. E.g. Jack has never banned anyone
  • [Marc] yeah, but maybe it's like the atomic bomb; the fact that you could ban someone may implicitly affect things
  • [Marc] Drupal is a good example of a project that is good at scaling community.
    • Local user groups/chapters
      • [Cary] Yeah, we do better in those places where chapters exist, too
  • [Marc] as a "leader" you're not at the top of hierarchy, you're in the middle of a circle.
  • [Krystle] how do you help the help team help people?
    • [Pete] German wikipedia mentor program


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