[Foundation-l] Community, collaboration, and cognitive biases

teun spaans teun.spaans at gmail.com
Wed Jun 9 20:49:04 UTC 2010

IBMs decision to get rid of all internal communication sounds to me as a
very good practice for us.
It also fits in well with the wikipedia culture of consensus in decision

Following this comm. strategy involves the large volunteer community, and
taps on the vast knowledge of our community.

thank you, Aryeh, for bringing this up.

> It's not specific to Wikimedia, it's practically universal in
> open-source development.  To get it to happen, you need pushing from
> the top: formally stating it as part of people's job duties (so they
> don't feel they have to do "real work" instead), and forcing them to
> engage by only giving them public media to discuss things in with
> their co-workers.  I recall reading that IBM improved its
> participation in the Linux kernel community by getting rid of all
> internal communications among its kernel developers, meaning they had
> to use the public project lists to bounce ideas off anyone.
> It's also worth pointing out that a good way *not* to engage with the
> community is to not touch preexisting code that volunteers are
> familiar with.  All the Usability Initiative stuff was created
> separately: a new skin, and all other functionality in extensions.
> There's mostly no technical reason for this; at least some could have
> been integrated with the existing code.  Putting most of your code in
> a directory called "UsabilityInitiative" is a good way of signaling
> "this is ours, not yours", whether that was the intent or not.  If it
> had touched code that volunteers were familiar with, they would have
> been more engaged from the start, because they'd have stronger
> opinions on the changes and no presumption that they shouldn't touch
> it.
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