A federated Wikipedia by Jon Udell talks about the ossification happening in the Wikipedia community, caused in part by its attachment to rules that were created with the best of intentions. All open source communities, including WordPress, have to be vigilant against this. Sometimes we have to throw out what worked before to create what will work tomorrow.

6 thoughts on “Federated Wikipedia

  1. Interesting. I’ve had very similar replies from mods on WordPress.org, over the years. Just yesterday myself and 2 or 3 other people who were in agreement about a feature wordpress.org should have, we were told, “That’s not going to change. See the forum guidelines.”

    Obviously it’s a little different in that it’s not a historical topic, where we can be experts in the sense that Mr. Messer-Kruse was. But it felt a lot the same as his experience. We were all people who love WP and the community. Yet it felt like we were being scolded for even suggesting anything different.

    In fact, I feel the one place I repeatedly have had negative experiences in the WP community over the years, is almost anytime I interact with mods at WP.org. I understand they’re needed, and appreciate their work. But they seem (almost always) terse, inflexible, and frequently domineering. Contrast that with a Happiness Engineer on WP.com and you wonder how it’s all part of the same community?

    1. Well, for one thing, the mods on WP.org aren’t paid, as far as I know. So, that’s one big difference.

      Secondly, while I’ve seen a relatively few people complain about the mods, for the most part, I, and I think the vast majority of people, find the mods on WP.org both friendly and helpful. Of course, since I am more than capable of having an off day, I must allow that any one else may be having an off day, too, and I mostly chalk the few bad experiences I’ve had up to the mods being, well, you know, “human”.
      Of course, it has been awhile since I regularly frequented the WP.org forums, so maybe things have changed.

      1. I couldn’t say for sure where the problem lies, and I understand what you’re saying. Perhaps it’s just me, but I’ve never done anything to intentionally upset, annoy, or violate any rules. Yet it always seems like they’re “putting their foot down” instead of kindly correcting, or even participating in the discussion.

  2. “All open source communities, including WordPress, have to be vigilant against this. Sometimes we have to throw out what worked before to create what will work tomorrow.”

    Not easy to think. And much harder to do. I applaud the fact that you are willing to discuss it openly.

    The best way to be disruptive, rather than to be disrupted, is to disrupt yourself.

    We often get caught up in maintaining what we’ve built already and forget its all an illusion.

    The past is gone and can’t be altered. The only thing that really counts is the vision for what is yet to come.

  3. We must not loose sight that WordPress is one of the best bloging writing platforms going … mods are there to keep the ship on course … and there is always someone above them … eye eye captain … Alan 🙂

  4. This is an interesting piece. It’s always curious to see what happens to individuals and organizations after long periods of growth. Sometimes stagnancy, sometimes drifting away from core values. It will be interesting to see what’s in store for Wikipedia in the future.

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