[Foundation-l] Encouraging participation

Noein pronoein at gmail.com
Sun Jun 20 18:23:11 UTC 2010

Hash: SHA1

On 20/06/2010 01:49, Milos Rancic wrote:
> * At another faculty we have a teaching assistant among Wikimedians.
> After two projects, we've concluded cooperation because students
> didn't quite understand work on Wikipedia and started with
> confrontation.

That information is key. Why people from the teaching establishment
don't understand Wikipedia? Why don't they see, for example, that it's
one of the best ideas about protecting and sharing information? Why do
they judge it so mediocre when they can participate to make it
brilliant? Why people in the education doesn't see or understand this?
What are their arguments and their inner barriers? Do they have good
counter arguments, is it a prejudice, an incompatibility of personality,
or ignorance?

Where are the explanations? What IS Wikipedia? What are the structures
and consequences of this meme, this slogan: "imagine a world where each
human being has access to the entire human knowledge"? Where are they
theorized, wordized, schematized?
Do the members of this mailing list even agree? Do we know what wp is?

Where are the wikimedian efforts converging to? What kind of world are
they creating? Have we got tendency towards democracy, consensus,
participation, sharing, unanimity, respect, liberty, freedom of
expression and of choice, listening, dialoguing, or have we not?

Why people, values, projects and actions of betterment (to our eyes) of
the world are not listened to, trusted, voted, seconded, motioned,
consensually applied, critically applauded, desired, rewarded and

I think that we need to make people think by themselves about Wikipedia.
Make them see the whole big picture. We should collaborate to express
this idea, to make it happen in others' mind, so that people can think
clearly about it. What it aims to be.

Maybe if you don't know and value citizenship (I mean feeling that
you're part of your environment and society), freedom, responsibility
and other similar concepts, you can't even think about what wp is doing.
Maybe they should be permanently discussed, thought and taught with
criticism in the wikimedian community. What about making a film about
the role of Wikipedia in possible futuristic societies? Or writing
anticipation novels?
Or interviews of founders and of historical super admins, points of view
of Trustees and Board Members, biographies and current interviews of
"Jimbo". Debates, interactivity.
One of the possible aims should be to show that something is happening
with wp, in the same way that back in the "hippie/young/peace and love
movement of the 60-70's, "something was happening".

I think something is happening right now with Wikipedia and the
wikimedian concepts. Not a democracy, not an ochlocracy, it's something
new that is a shared governance about a theme or a resource or an
interest. Freedom of the knowledge. Of expression. Of access to

The traditional model about knowledge rewards better the knowledge
holders, it seems? Their position, title, revenue, prestige, respect,
dignity, power of decision, authority, all come from the commoditization
of the knowledge.

Maybe we have to think what the new model has to offer to the ancient

Also, there is an obvious convergence of visions with TED, at least
partially. Wikipedia is an idea worth spreading and a mean of spreading
TED has a lot of success, apparently, to present ideas as an enormously
profitable "market", proving that ideas can change the world. That's the
power of knowledge and culture. Wikipedia wants to give this power to
everybody downright to the single individual.
I think some people here, Board Members, Trustees, Admins and other
wikimedians should have a try at the 18 minutes speeches. There is
something behind the Wikimedia ideas: a future. There is something
between most of the TED ideas. Maybe each one deserves a wikipedian page?

> Any idea how to improve their motivation?
(yes I'm still answering your letter)
I think I already mentioned a technique in other situations to raise
awareness and understanding: roleplaying games. Put them in decisional
situations with dilemmas about freedom, knowledge, etc. Make it so that
each one represents a point of view, one they agree with. What are their
political discourse? Are they for or against Wikipedia? Is it a
fantastic adventure to better our world or is is just boring. Does
knowledge and reflection passionate them or not ?
Also, I'm encountering more an more fatalism among educated people. They
don't seem to believe that change is possible. Yesterday I just watched
"Taking Woodstock", it's an excellent counter-example.

Also, is the Serbian chapter complete enough? Do you have at least all
the links translated so that you can dive into knowledge, chasing the
fleeting tails of elusive concepts, learning about whole new paradigms
through dozens of embedded links, glimpsing into what we like, and
knowing more about it?

Sorry to appear so random, I don't have time to give more structure to
my suggestions. I just hope to provoke thoughts.

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