Marc Riddell wrote:
on 2/5/09 10:45 AM, Andrew Whitworth at
The foundation is not likely to be able to do
anything, even if it is
willing (which I doubt). It makes some sense to treat them as the
authority figure of last resort, but that isn't reality.
A sad state of affairs.
Yes, it is. Nevertheless it is a fundamental paradox in this kind of
project. We grow up with an old authoritarian paradigm where people are
taught to take orders, and even expect to be told what to do and how to
do it. In the new paradigm of sharing we expect people to take
responsibility for what they say and do, and to use common sense in
their approach to problems. A co-operative or consensual model is
difficult when worth has been defined in term of the rights (or rites)
of winning and losing.
There are people out there willing to see themselves badly injured in a
traffic accident as long as they believe that doing so was consistent
with their "correct" interpretation of the traffic laws.
If a project
so large in size and scope as English Wikipedia is having
these problems with hostility and incivility, you're maybe seeing a
manifestation of problems in human nature itself. See [[w:Dubar's
Number]] for more information about large groups like this. If you
can't fix the problem from within English Wikipedia, then the problems
are likely to be unfixable.
Andrew, it is not the size of the group that is the issue, but how that
group is managed. And there is a huge cultural difference between "control"
and "management". It all rests with the skillful leadership of that group.
It is my professional business to know such things.
As I understand it you do very good work with some very problematical
individuals, but those individuals have a very strong incentive for
co-operation. I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss Andrew's observation.
Size does matter. In education, smaller classes and smaller schools
tend to have better results than big learning factories. The question
remains: how can that observation be used to greater advantage?