User talk:Dennis Brown
Hi Dennis. I just wanted to ask you a question regarding WER.
Let me start with some background. Back in May of last year, I observed this discussion on your talk page, in which Buster7 said he would no longer be involved with EotW. The thread then turned into a discussion of WER generally. In that thread, you said that you no longer wished to lead the project, that WER had failed, and that WER needed new management to replace you and Buster. Every potential new leader mentioned in that thread declined the offer.
Here is my side of the story: when I read that thread, I started considering whether I could help out at WER. I have experience directing Wikipedia projects, with some degree of success — RFA2015, for instance. I had many ideas for taking WER in a new direction, since I have a long history of advocating for change and reform on Wikipedia. However, I decided that I did not have the time at that moment.
However, it became increasingly apparent that WER was becoming an inactive project, except for its EotW component. The main page and the talk page had not been edited for months, and this, according to WikiProject Council's guide, is the hallmark of an inactive project. And that guide states the following: "Any editor may revive ... an inactive or semi-active project." So per that guide, your call for new management, and WP:BOLD, I finally posted a notice on the WER talk page yesterday, stating that I would step up, revive the project, and volunteer to become WER's new "coordinator" (that was the term you had used, so I saw nothing wrong with continuing its use). I mentioned that I would leave EotW completely untouched, and would just overhaul the other, abandoned parts.
Regrettably, though, the conversation deteriorated quite rapidly. My bold, good-faith effort to start a new chapter for WER was (in one case) met with edit summary insults and profanity, and was also described as a "coup." Additionally, ANI threats entered the picture. I suggested that we move on and start discussing how to actually improve WER, but this attempt was reversed. I saw this whole affair as bitterly ironic, since the entire purpose of WER is to promote civility and editor retention.
But I see that meaningful progress will never be made as long as this dispute and drama continues. So I decided that asking you is the best way to resolve the dispute. Based on your previous comments, it seems to me that you are no longer interested in WER, but nonetheless, you are ultimately the founder of the project.
So, are you okay with my effort to revive WER and take part in its management? I will respect whatever decision you make. All I want is a simple answer. If you are fine with it, I will start working on implementing my ideas. If you are not, I will discontinue this whole matter, leave WER just as it is now, and not discuss this any further.
- I have no problem whatsoever with any qualified person helping out at any level, as I have no ownership there. If you want to revive the project, you have my blessing, but it isn't mine that you need, it is the community that is left, which is small but splintered. WER is a tough nut to crack. I never "ran" the project anyway, not in a forceful manner. The designs, the layouts, the ideas, those all came from other editors. My role as Founder of that project was more of a coach rather than a quarterback. Maybe more of a cheerleader, really. When people had ideas, I rallied the troops and got people to volunteer. I tended to give my opinion but not force it. Things often went in directions I would not have chosen, although still in a good direction, and I was quick to accept that. I think that the way you will get people to accept leadership from someone other than me (who has resigned but will still stay listed for instances just like this) is to not ask for leadership, and simply provide it. Lead by example. Propose things but don't argue about them and just accept consensus as it falls. Back those ideas even if they aren't your own, or your first choice. I don't think you can boldly revive WER because it isn't dead, it is just asleep. Being bold wakes up the people who are still invested in the group. And it scares them. Some might think it is an abandonment of the original ideals. It is easier to build on what was there before than start from scratch, but this takes time. If others follow you, it won't be because I endorse you. It will be because you are moving in the direction they want to go. Leadership isn't given, it is earned. You're a good guy, so it is possible, but it won't instantaneous and ultimately, it will be by consensus, and it will be by your own deeds, not my words. Don't push too hard. Focus on helping others with their ideas rather than convincing about your ideas. Then when it is obvious that you are the leader, you won't need my approval. But you certainly have it to try. Dennis Brown - 2¢ 21:58, 16 July 2017 (UTC)
- Firstly, Dennis, my apologies in advance if you think me posting this here is out of place.
- Biblioworm, what I'm finding ironic is that Dennis is giving you exactly the same advice I did, albeit using many more and much prettier words. Your ideas are good. Your methods suck. A much more politic approach would have been to take the membership list and other materials and create a message to people associated WER and drop it on their talk pages. Something along the lines of: "Hey, if you still care I've got a bunch of ideas (list). How would you feel about me taking a leadership role at WER?" Change in a community the size of Wikipedia is not easy, as I'm sure you realize. It will take political skills to pull it off. What you exhibited yesterday was the antithesis of political skills. You received significant opposition, but continued to push forward. When it became obvious that the opposition was considerable, rather than a straightforward retraction and a clear statement that you were willing to try another approach, you buried it under a hat. You have sound ideas, dammit. Let your failed plan go and move forward. To actually effect some change, you've got to have the communication skills that endear people to work with you. I'm old. I have the skills but do not care to use them anymore (or really to have them used on me. I prefer "Well, that was an ignorant move" to "I know you meant well, but that didn't get the results we wanted. But your a good guy so I'm sure you'll do better next time.") There is some back and forth between Buster, Issac and I on my talk. There's some good suggestions there. Please realize change here is akin to climbing Everest. Difficult but not impossible. Want a starting point? One of the best things ever done for editor retention in Wikipedia is the Teahouse. It is slowly being destroyed by being overrun by paid and otherwise COI editors. IMO, the main reason is that every rejected draft at AfC receives a Teahouse invite. Let's try to develop a strategy to work interproject with AfC, NPP, and Teahouse to develop and staff a Q&A forum just for the advertorial crowd, freeing up Teahouse to do what they were designed to do. Don't expect it to happen tomorrow. There is much to consider prior to even approaching the other projects, or even to start an actual proposal formed enough to try to timeline.
- One last thing and I'll leave you and Dennis alone. I'm a project coordinator. It can be as much or as little as you want, but mostly it's scutwork. Many if not most projects don't even have coordinators.John from Idegon (talk) 03:31, 18 July 2017 (UTC)
- Note Wikipedia:WikiProject Cooperation/Paid editor help is the existing forum for paid editors to ask questions, though it seems rather desolated at present. Trying to reinvigorate it (and WikiProject Cooperation) might help. isaacl (talk) 05:24, 18 July 2017 (UTC)
A crown for you!
- There is a blunt side to me that I try to not air out too often, as you know. You should have seen the drafts I didn't post. I'm not liking that it was all hatted, but I understand it. Dennis Brown - 2¢ 09:16, 18 July 2017 (UTC)
Aaimran has made some nasty remarks. All I did was reverted his edits of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom when he removed source material. Then you guys tried to reason with him and even you tried to encourage him when you passed WP:SPOILERS. But all he did was cocked that attitude at us, mainly at me. BattleshipMan (talk) 15:39, 19 July 2017 (UTC)