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pseudonympholepsy1 karma

Hope I'm not infringing too much on copyright here. I did actually read Open Sources 2.0... here are some of my notes.

"Governance issues are, in my opinion, the primary failing of Wikipedia

  • If you intend to create a very large, complex project, establish early on that there will be some non-negotiable policy. Wikis and collaborative projects necessarily build communities, and once a community becomes large enough, it absolutely must have rules to keep order and to keep people at work on the mission of the project. "Force of personality" might be enough to make a small group of people hang together; for better or worse, however, clearly enunciated rules are needed to make larger groups of people hang together.
  • There is some policy that, with forethought, can be easily predicted will be necessary. Articulate this policy as soon as possible. Indeed, consider making a project charter to make it clear from the beginning what the basic principles governing the project will be. This will help the community to run more smoothly and allow participants to self-select correctly.
  • Establish any necessary authority early and clearly. Managers should not be afraid to enforce the project charter, even by removing people from the project. As soon as it becomes necessary, it should be done. Standards that are not enforced in any way do not exist in any robust sense. Do not tolerate deliberate disruption from those who oppose your aims. Tell them to start their own project; there's a potentially infinite amount of cyberspace.
  • As any disagreements among project managers are apt to be publicly visible in a collaborative project, and as this is apt to undermine the moral authority of at least one manager, make sure management is on the same page from the beginning—preferably before launch. This requires a great deal of thinking through issues together.
  • In knowledge-creation projects, and perhaps many other kinds of projects, make special roles for experts from the very beginning. Do not attempt to add those roles later, as an afterthought. Specialists are one of your most important resources, and it is irrational not to use them as much as you can. Preferably, design the charter so that they are included and encouraged. Moreover, make the volunteer project management a meritocracy, and not based on longevity but based on the ability to lead and contribute to the project. That is the only condition under which very many of the best-qualified people will want to participate."

Perhaps this brings to mind something else?

pseudonympholepsy1 karma

Dear Larry. Out of all the motivations found in typical volunteer work (something to put on the resume, community, possible altruism), what do you think is the primary factor driving people to give up their time for the creation of an online encyclopedia / other media? It seems like an absurd thing if you simply put it into words: "Hey, wanna go write an encyclopedia with me?" Nonetheless, it happened. I think much of the academic literature that has dealt with theorizing the motivations behind volunteer work falls short once the work is online. Imagine if we could come up with a proper framework for motivating humanity into productivity. Yes, let's herd the sheep.