Sunday, April 10, 2011

#Newbies nor #admins are the problem. #Trust is.

Once trust is lost, it is hard to regain. #Wikipedia has a problem with the stickiness of newbies. That is, we want the good to stay with the project and we want the bad to take a hike. Something similar is true for admins.

As we need both newbies and admins and as there is a lack of trust, trust is what we must build. Building trust is a process, a process takes time and effort when we are to close the chasm that exists between the good newbies and the good admins.

The Wikimedia board published a resolution where they outline a direction that is to bring us openness and collaboration. The board has cause to take this initiative because they have identified the retention of good people as our number one priority. They charge Sue and the WMF staff to make this their number one priority.

To trust WMF staff, you have to know them. As the staff is to reach out to the communities, information should be available on all the staff with a high quality picture. This makes the staff less remote and it builds trust.

When newbies come to us, the good ones are likely to have friends. When these friends are Wikimedians, we typically trust these friends. When an admin  can ask these friends to take our newbie under their wings, they have reason to trust.

When it is easy for newbies to find their Wikimedia friends, their initiation of our procedural vagaries become less intimidating. When a friendly, open environment is considered to be a deliverable, it does not follow that this gives a free reign to the vandals, the trolls. They are and remain the main cause of the existing lack of trust. Their stickiness is why admins have blocking powers, their wrangling is why we have arbitrators. They can trust us to fight them.

The newbies and the admins are not the trolls. They need an environment that makes trust, particular initial trust easy and this is why we need to be open, collaborative and much more social.
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