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Wiki-Professionalism is a term used to describe the professional qualities expected out of an admin or an experienced editor. A Wikipedian displaying this behavior is some one who not only does the things right but does it right with expertise, skill, good judgement and also at the same time maintain a polite behavior and good nature in doing so. This is different from Civility as it deals with Civility alone and sets rules around communications, Wiki-professionalism on the other hand is not a rule but a set of attributes that defines your work and communication in Wikipedia. Wikipedia volunteers are not paid, but that doesn't mean a formal professional environment should not be maintained.
Expertise and skill
Skill to use features and tools provided by Wikipedia to assist in the project is one of the pillars of professionalism. This though a main aspect of a professional is not the main issue that Wikipedia faces today in terms of professionalism. Experienced editors in Wikipedia have reached a level of expertise in their learning curve through experience..
Wikipedia has a power hierarchy built based on trust, reputation and skills of certain users. These users with powers need to use good judgement in using these powers which are many times in form of rollback rights, reviewer rights, checkuser rights, admin tools etc... Exhibiting the qualities of trust, honesty and integrity in deciding to use these powers is key for building a professional environment. Editors and admins even when they have access to certain tools that they don't have expertise in should show good judgement in not using it or using it selectively for learning purposes in trial areas.
As a behavior, professionalism is the counter to Wikipedia drama. Professionalism can be displayed in how administrators treat blocked editors, give advice, and investigate incidents at the administrator noticeboards. An amount of emotional control is needed in dealing with daily aspects of Wikipedia. For example, an administrator who blocks an editor and leaves a comment such as "good riddance" may be entirely correct, but wholly unprofessional. Despite what administrators want to say, they should maintain professional decorum and address the reasons why the user was blocked, supported by diffs of the appropriate behavior, and describe the appropriate process to be unblocked. While the former certainly expresses the correct emotional feelings of the administrator or community, the latter represents the administrator and community in a more respectable manner.
An experienced editor is expected to maintain a higher standard and sense of self regulation than just treading on the border of the rules and regulations laid down by Wikipedia. This reduces drama and prevents instances of editors losing faith in the system which currently seems to be on a raise too.
Admins and Editors are recommended to be sensitive to editors who are from various groups of age, culture and locations. It is necessary to be formal and use good judgement in picking words and using slang in statements, communications and action comments/summaries is necessary to not offend users. What is cool or hip for an editor might be extremely offending to another user. Being over cautious and over sensitive is communication by using more formal and respectful words can prevent conflict and drama in many cases. Always remember that no one is able to see or guess your facial expressions as you type, what the other editor is seeing is the words typed. Maintaining a cordial tone during communication helps a lot.
What Wikipedia lacks today is a business like professionalism among Administrators and experienced editors. Though Wikipedia is not a business or a for profit organization and once in a while adhoc editor forms a main component of the article space edits, it is very necessary that admins and experienced editors should make them feel welcome and treat them as a business owner treats a customer and at the end even try to bring them to be a shareholder in the organization. As customer satisfaction forms a major part of success in businesses, the right treatment of a helpful new editor forms a major part in the success of the Wikipedia project. The feeling ownership that an experienced editor feels should not be a superior than thou attitude, but a more professional approach of building what you own and making it better.
For an experienced editor the interaction with a newbie might be their millionth, but for the newbie it is their first and this creates an impression about the community that runs Wikipedia. So it is becomes the responsibility of the experienced editor to make sure that this impression is good, formal and cordial.
Say a new IP or a newly registered user makes a mistake and messes up an Infobox or a template in one of their first few edits - A professional response would be to revert the edit and use a welcome template and point to the edit and the correction and the reason of why it was reverted. At the same time a response showing frustration on the user with comments claiming that new users with lack of knowledge are messing up the Wikipedia would be utterly unprofessional in this situation. Another example of a bad response would be trying to force an apology from a newbie for the mistakes.
I am not in an office/I am not a Wiki employee
Wikipedia is not an office or your work place but doesn't mean that this is a school playground or a Friday night party either. A tilt towards the decorum of a formal and professional atmosphere is what is needed for the current Wikipedia environment to make it more inviting, organized and professional.
Constant controversies questioning an admin or experienced editors professionalism has been raised in the ANI. This shows the lack of professionalism among even the most experienced editors.
There are many scenarios of unprofessional behavior, some of which are as below
- Sarcastic remarks in edit summaries.
- Taunts on user pages.
- Making fun/Taunts about an editor in other user pages
- Behaving in a superior manner in comments and while using tools because the other editor is new or has less edit counts or is not a experienced user.
- Taunts on block comments
- Misuse of admin tools