|This essay contains the advice or opinions of one or more Wikipedia contributors. Essays are not Wikipedia policies or guidelines. Some essays represent widespread norms; others only represent minority viewpoints.|
- 1 The Challenge
- 1.1 WikiMonks
- 1.2 Lost Souls
- 1.3 A calming voice
- 1.4 Tactics of a WikiMonk
- 1.5 Norms of Conduct
- 1.6 Its About the War, Not What the War is About
- 1.7 Conversations with a Dragon
- 1.8 Fight for Peace
- 1.9 Manual Labor
To Change the Drift from Fighting a War to Preserving Peace
- Create a highly skilled and calculated plan to confuse the Dragon
Monks follow a moral, religious and social code of conduct. Their lives were structured by the tenets of Compassion, Honor, and Service. WikiMonk is the name given to editors that have an outward expression of their inner being. A comprehensive definition or description of a WikiMonk would include words like valor, glory, morals, justice, Laws, adept at war, civility, tradition, loyalty, elequence, dexterity, love, diplomacy, intelligence, nobility, leadership, considerate, bold, artful, credible (trustworthy/believable). That is a long list of conduct-challenging words. And that is the goal of the WikiMonk: to challenge the conduct and change the result.
One of the more troubling aspects of my early days as a member of Wikipedia was discovering "lost souls". As with most "newbies" I was jumping here and there and everywhere. Reading articles, discovering the lay of the land, creating an exceptable user page, daring to make the occasional edit. And...looking for acceptance and maybe a little guidance. The discussion pages were filled with wonderful conversations and discussions. But...here's the rub. Often times I discovered where the editors had given up.
- "I fought the good fight, but enough is enough",
- "...the attacks become too personal, too mean-spirited",
- "...I didnt sign up for this"
- "I was really wasting my time...."
- "It was enormously fun at first, but not anymore"
- "...please make Wikipedia not suck!"
- "......because I was spending more time defending articles than improving them"
- "...the futility of spending time editing at WP"
- "WP said it had no need of me"
- "I dont believe I can successfully contribute content of any value without it being destroyed by the vicisstitudes of WP politics"
- "I understand why so many have left"
- "You have once again bitten a newbie to death"
- "I've packed my bags, and I'm out of here. Good luck "
- "I quit editing Wikipedia for almost a year after dealing with uncivil editors and non-stop obstructionists and on one page the incivility was harsh and Jimmy W was on that talk page and said nothing. Setting an example starts from above.
Perhaps the new editor got involved with an article at a level that they are just not ready for---they were too inexpierienced, to new, to novice. Or, they got enbroiled in an editing war with a bureaucratic editor or administrator or a seasoned wily veteran. WikiJargon started to flow, things got said, threats were made that the nebie did not really understand, so miss-direction occurred, collaboration went out the window and was replaced by "You are my Adversary!!". Names were called and the newbie was discouraged. For them, the Wiki-Experience changed. For some, the Wiki-Experience ended!
Remember Our Early Days
It would probably do us all a world of good to remember (each on our own) our individual early days at Wikipedia. How bright-eyed we were. How exciting the place was. OMG...The challenge of your first edit. Probably just a minor edit...punctuation more than likely! But you were hooked. You joined a world-wide phenomenon. As you wandered around the changing landscape of Wikipedia your sense of the enormity and value of the place grew. You got a taste of what a free-flowing, ever-changing, stimulating project it was. And you wanted to be involved. You wanted to be a Wiki-Editor. You wanted to be a part of WE. How much cleaner can it get? It says it all: WE. A Unifying term, a reminder that WE are all in this together. A "Don't Bite the Newbies" kinda thing. Let's leave the edit war behind for a second and remember who WE are. How it was when WE were young and innocent Wiki-Editors. Also, how WE felt to be a part of something that is endless. But, also how WE felt when WE were chastised and challenged for the first time. How WE couldn't believe that our good faith was being questioned...by 3 people...all at the same time and in the same place. How WE felt if, in the midst of conflict, another editor came along and spoke up for us, supported us, befriended us. It was astho angels had been sent from above. WE were not alone. .
WE care about moral issues, nobility, decency, happiness, goodness—--the issues that matter in the real world, but which can only be addressed, in their purity, in fiction....Orson Scott Card
A calming voice
So my idea is to save the day, to save the person that joined but is now dissillusioned, to be a cohort when a cohort is needed, a friend when it seems all have turned away. To give advice without judgement. To show up at a revert war and defend the indefensible. Not the edits but the person behind the edits.
If an editor changes their mind about their current circumstances, they will definitely change their resulting experience. WikiMonks are there to help forlourn editors change their minds. Most Wiki-editors start with high hopes, high purpose, high regards for others. Each Wiki-life is different. But, for some, sadly, the roads travelled have led to the same place—discontented and disheartened. Wikipedia's design flaw is the same as any open free society. It can not always control the actions of its citizens/members. Vandals, grafitti, trolls, loud mouthed oafs, over-zealous "trigger happy" editors and administrators—all negative, childish choices. All enemies of Wiki-Wonderful.Vandalism, graffitti, "broken windows" (V,G and BW)---all have a negative effect on the community. Residents, workers, and visitors are all effected. The WikiMonks effort is not to get the vandals. Others have taken up that mantle. WikiMonks is focussed toward the "Lost Souls" that become discouraged and move out of the community. The value of an editor that gives up cannot be measured. Good Faith Editing (GFE) should not be a rare commodity.
Tactics of a WikiMonk
Norms of Conduct
- Humble, most times.
- Colorful and vigorous in language and observation
- A person of artistic persuation
- A hero, a gentleman, perhaps a saint
- A protector of the poor (newbies-NWB, giffees-GFE)
- A herald to the vanquished (the "I quit"ters)
- A compatriot to other Monks in mutual courtesy
- A persuer of the infidels (dragons)
- A standard, a model
- A restorer of editorial order
- A champion of Justice
- In control of his
- Desire to ridicule
Pledged to honor and service, seeking adventure and fame rather than comfort and security...WILL DURANT
Its About the War, Not What the War is About
- Monks should leave personal politics and POV at the door before entering the talk page.
- Stay off topic: This is Very Important
- Support the editor, not the editors position. This is a cornerstone concept. If followed, it should keep the WikiMonk out of harms way,at least for awhile
- Don’t get pulled into the topical discussion. Stay above the fray.
- IMPORTANT: Our Purpose must be clear to us BUT NOT necessarily to the general WikiPublic. The editor may come and get us and expect us to take sides, preferrably his, but thats not what we do. Our hidden purpose, our secret agenda, is to be a 'cohort' to the GFE. It is not to figure out who is right or wrong. It is not to be a part of Consensus building. Its not to get drawn into the discussion EXCEPT FOR the fact that we will do a read of the History to see if the GFE's original point has been obscurred and he is now in a dog fight over some vague sublety that is far removed from his intended Idea or edit or addition.
- Where the edit warring is due to one party being goaded, either by an editor with a long history of the same or by bored wikieditors keen to involve themselves in drama, it may be worth the effort to get to the root of the problem.
- Once the WikiMonk determines who is who (GFE, DrGN, DrGNasses, etc.) he can handle the situation with the cornerstones of Good Faith, Civility and Community
- The WikiMonks mission is to befriend the editor, not search for the truth. The truth is elusive. The Search For The Truth is not the reason for a WikiMonks presence in the discussion. Retaining the embattled editor is the reason.
- We do not want to become worker bee's for WikiQueenBee|Jimbo. We need to set this up with as little maintenance as necessary. It should run it self somehow. Im not sure how but that is an important objective. In fact it is critical to the long range success of Wikiknights. What kills other projects is the management of them; it becomes tedious, burdensome. )
- The world is unfortunately not ideal; We are all far from perfect and as a result discussions get sidetracked, people misstep, emotions flare and misconceptions are not addressed - you misstepped when you brought in your allegations that were without relevance to the current discussion, in doing so you excited Owain into making a misstep of his own and drew Sean into being a party to a situation which I frankly would rather have had not happened.
- Many times the GoodFaithEditor is held in contempt, as a rival not a rank and file mermber of the club (WP). He is treated with petulance. He is deluged with techno-babble and caught off guard with misdirection.
Conversations with a Dragon
There seems to be a surge in conflict at Wikipedia. Across the vast expanse of Cyberspace are billions of Internet conversations. In too many, aggression is the watchword. People challenge each other constantly in blogs and on Facebook, in tweets. But here, at WikiPedia, aggression threatens Civility, good faith positions, the community. So...Using a Question/Answer/Socratic format lessens the amount of challenge that the Dragon perceives. While there is a benefit in engaging him and taking his mind and energy off the "newbie" there is little benefit in angering him. Afterall, he can breathe fire!! Some questions for the dragon are:
- The "newbie" is still finding out who they are and what they are going to do here. Whats the sense of killing their eagerness?
- I know that you are "fighting" for the best interest of WP. But your opponent is a novice; unaware of the landmines and pitfalls around each corner. Cut him some slack. Wouldn't it be better to mentor him rather than mutilate him?
- "Can you see a way where you could abandon your convictions, only for a moment, in the name of opportunistic conciliation and a spirit of good fellowship?" Maybe that is the more important lesson for this young editor?
- Sometimes our propensity to reject empathy and compromise gets in the way of who WE really are. Wouldn't it be better to empower this editor rather than subjagate them?
- We have Two choices when confronted by a neophyte: be kind or be cruel. Will you carry them on your back for the start of their journey or will you bare your teeth and send them running back to where they came from, never to be seen again?
- Isn't it better when we engage our neighbors and use the talk pages as our points of contact rather than only receptacles for complaints?
- There seems to be contempt for the "new fish" in the community tank. Almost seems like there is a sense of urgency to break the "newbie" while it is still just a pup. If you take your foot off his throat he can breathe. What harm can he really do?
- Lets rally around something other than an enemy. Lets rally around the new editors freshness and willingness to Be Bold. Isn't that what we asked him to do?
- This "newbie" hasn't been hardened to the WP editing process. New editors respond poorly to the Pain of Loss. To him losing his article/entry/edit and all the hard work envolved is monumental and crushing. It's his "baby" and people are harming it.
- Please realize. The newbie dug a hole...you filled it in...but you havent just filled in the hole...you questioned whether or not the hole should have ever even existed. You cancelled his work (and him) out. His defensiveness should be understandable.
Fight for Peace
Peace is a state of balance and understanding in yourself and between others, where respect is gained by the acceptance of differences, tolerance persists, conflicts are resolved through dialog, peoples rights are respected and their voices are heard, and everyone is at their highest point of serenity without social tension.
- Let us not allow WikiPedia to become an increasingly discordant society. Take away that deadly ploy (hubris), refuse the charlatans that combustible fuel (superiority), and their game is a bust.
WP:BLP issue / User:Cincinatis
The WikiMonk monastic life generally consists of prayer and manual labor. WikiMonks live in simple, austere rooms called User pages and come together as often as possible for mutual support and well-being. There is no vow of silence but extreme care is taken as to what is said, how much is said, and how it will be interpreted. WikiMonks restrict talking to only when it is necessary for the WikiMonks to perform their work.