I like that post, Milos. :)

Frankly I think this is also one of the main reasons why women are not
particularly attracted to Wikipedia. There would have to be much more
gregariousness and socialising for that to happen (the percentage of women
at the movement's social events is always considerably larger than it is
online). I guess it's one reason why edit-a-thons manage to attract women:
you can actually have a chat and a laugh and a coffee with someone in
between edits. It makes it *actually* communal; you interact face to face
on a first name basis, not with some screen pseudonym.

The other day someone suggested to me in a chat Wikipedia should have a
function like Skype, or IM, so people could chat about stuff privately. I
think it's a great idea. (Obviously you would have to make it so people can
only instant-message you after you've accepted their contact request.)

At the same time, I have a feeling such a proposal made on wiki would sink
like a lead duck. On Wikipedia, having friends and talking to them
PRIVATELY on a Wikipedia feature where (shock! horror!) others are EXCLUDED
and can't see what you're saying elicits dire fears of "canvassing",
"cabal" and other such words (while people still generally accept that it
is okay for contributors to have email correspondence, or talk to someone
in the pub).

I am not even saying that such fears would be unjustified – the Eastern
European Mailing List arbitration case comes to mind – but it is somehow a
weird culture. And as Milos says, all of that tends to evaporate when you
are actually standing in a corridor at an event, or having your lunch and


On Tue, Dec 8, 2015 at 1:36 PM, Milos Rancic <mill...@gmail.com> wrote:

> We are. It's not about particular thread on this list, it's about our
> existence. Initially I thought it's because the level of our
> responsibility, but eventually I've realized we are simply boring and
> nobody bothers about that.
> Our meetings and conferences look like the meetings of a regional branch of
> German Social Democratic Party at the best. In regular occasions they are
> more like the meetings of a village cell of a communist party from an East
> European country during the 80s.
> This enormous distance between the value of our work and ideals and
> presenting ourselves to *us* in the range between shiny snake oil merchants
> and demagogues nobody trusts is quite striking. (OK, there is one more end,
> thus making a triangle: highly specialized topics which require highly
> specialized knowledge to participate.)
> The distance is also quite striking because the most witty people I ever
> met are from the Wikimedia movement itself.
> It's endemic. From local Wikimedian meetings to Wikimania. The most
> interesting part of such events is talking with other Wikimedians.
> Listening talks, lectures and ceremonies is the worst option. Workshops and
> collective decision making are like gambling: it could be constructive, but
> it could also be not just wasting time but occult session with the only one
> goal: to drain the energy from the participants.
> On average, I would rather spend two times more time talking with a
> Wikimedian than listening her or his lecture or talk.
> There are some straight forward techniques. For example, we could work on
> making our talks much better. We could also ask HR professionals how to
> make our live interaction better.
> However, being boring is somehow quite deeply rooted inside of our culture.
> While trying to become "serious", we lost our ability to be playful.
> Creativity is something we treat as the least important of our activities.
> This is not something which could be fixed quickly. There is no a pill to
> magically cure it. But we could start thinking about this as a problem and
> start implementing various ideas to tackle it.
> I wouldn't say that our revolution forbids us to dance. (Whenever somebody
> from Bay Area is DJ-ing, we dance and it's beautiful, no matter how trashy
> the music is.) But I am sure we can do better.
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