[Wikimedia-l] Office hour inside out (program evaluation)

Peter Southwood peter.southwood at telkomsa.net
Sun Mar 24 20:28:52 UTC 2013

Make interesting mistakes.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Everton Zanella Alvarenga" <tom at wikimedia.org>
To: "Wikimedia Mailing List" <wikimedia-l at lists.wikimedia.org>
Cc: <gyoung at wikimedia.org>; "Nitika Tandon" <nitika at cis-india.org>
Sent: Sunday, March 24, 2013 8:57 PM
Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Office hour inside out (program evaluation)

> Hi, Pine.
> On Sun, Mar 24, 2013 at 3:41 PM, ENWP Pine <deyntestiss at hotmail.com> 
> wrote:
>> Tom, I'm glad that you studied the IEP.
> I did this in the beginning mainly through Jessie Wild's support, who
> always kept articulating the SF staff for improve the education group
> learnings, and Nitika Tandon, now at CIS - a pity I barely talk to Nitika
> since a long time ago, although I have called her independently to learn
> more once.
> Although I have studied, we should have had more time for that. And I
> believe now with the learning team this will be improved at WMF. I'll 
> share
> here also some thoughts I sent to my colleagues at the former global
> develoment efforts mainling list...
> "I discovered some time ago an organization with interesting ideas
> regarding failures, Admiting Failure <http://www.admittingfailure.com/>.
> They say in the main page
> "We have a conundrum. It is really hard to talk about failure. Admitting
> Failure is here to help. This is a community and a resource, created to
> establish new levels of transparency, collaboration and innovation within
> civil society.
> Fear, embarrassment, and intolerance of failure drives our learning
> underground. No more. Failure is strength. The most effective and
> innovative organizations are those that are willing to speak openly about
> their failures. Because the only truly "bad" failure is one that's
> repeated."
> Pretty interesting. :)
> Also, I discovered an interesting article of professor Daniel Dennett 
> these
> days, which I would like also to recommend, How to make
> mistakes<http://ase.tufts.edu/cogstud/papers/howmista.htm>,
> where I quote
> "The main difference between science and stage magic is that in science 
> you
> make your mistakes in public. You show them off, so that everybody can
> learn from them--not just yourself. This way, you get the benefit of
> everybody else's experience, and not just your own idiosyncratic path
> through the space of mistakes. This, by the way, is what makes us so much
> smarter than every other species. It is not so much that our brains are
> bigger or more powerful, but that we share the benefits that our 
> individual
> brains have won by their individual histories of trial and error.
> The secret is knowing when and how to make mistakes, so that nobody gets
> hurt and everybody can learn from the experience. It is amazing to me how
> many really smart people don't understand this. I know distinguished
> researchers who will go to preposterous lengths to avoid having to
> acknowledge that they were wrong about something--even something quite
> trivial. What they have never noticed, apparently, is that the earth does
> not swallow people up when they say, "Oops, you're right. I guess I made a
> mistake." You will find that people love pointing out your mistakes. If
> they are generous-spirited, they will appreciate you more for giving them
> the opportunity to help, and acknowledging it when they succeed, and if
> they are mean-spirited they will enjoy showing you up. Either way, 
> you--and
> we all--win."
> Which reminded me a TED talk of Igor Nikolic on Complex Adaptive
> Systems<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jS0zj_dYeBE> I
> saw sometime ago, where he says
> "What we really do is make mistakes all the time. The question is, how can
> we make mistakes in such a way we can recover from them? How do we do
> social experiments? [...] How do we do without making a big mess? How do 
> we
> try different things in a environment without distroying it? And how do we
> learn from things that went wrong? That is something that we really have 
> to
> address.
> We have to grow. What do I mean by that? It has to be a step-by-step thing
> evolving, adapting, learning. You cannot jump in the future. [...] And
> maybe most importantly, we have to do it together.""
> Best wishes,
> Tom
> -- 
> Everton Zanella Alvarenga (also Tom)
> "A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful
> than a life spent doing nothing."
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