Thoughts on: Securing equal committment & conflict management
These two subheadings in the draft charter have had me thinking for the past couple of days. They don't seem to encapsulate the spirit and operations of open wiki communities.
Wiki's are primarily underpinned by a gifting culture -- workgroup participants are not "employees" of WikiEducator where the "employer" or project sponsor must ensure the productivity of its workers. There is also a fundamental difference between a wiki group and conventional workgroups in that there is a record / audit trail of every edit made. Participant's who sign up for a workgroup will quickly be noticed by their absence from participation -- for the whole WE community to see :-). Similarly, there may be many reasons for non-participation, eg travel, work or family commitments and I think we should refrain from judging participation or non-participation.
I think its better to work on the principles of acting in good faith - someone who signs up for a workgroup is volunteering time in good faith. The point is -- if members of a workgroup don't perform, that workgroup will not complete its specified tasks. In my books that's OK and in fact could become a motivation for future action. If there's little or no motivation for participation -- I'd argue that the workgroup task is not a priority for the community. Bottom line -- we don't loose anything by non-participation or inaction, but have everything to gain. Therefore, I propose that we drop the "Securing equal committment" proposal from the draft guidelines template.
Conflict management is important but I don't think that the work group charter is the right place for this. I think that its better for WikiEducator to develop generic policies for consensus, and civility and that all work groups and members will strive to working towards these ideals. Therefore I propose that we remove the conflict management subheading from the draft charter and focus energies on developing a consensus and/or civility policy for our community.
I agree that the securing equal commitment section should be dropped. Your rationale says it all. And I think we've got the issue covered from a number different perspectives already: member responsibilities, boundaries, and ground rules.
I've been thinking for awhile that we should create a page about consensus decision-making and how to use it -- an informational page. A consensus and/or civility policy is a step farther. Not sure about calling it a policy, consensus and civility when working together are certainly good practice and go along way toward creating the environment described in the WE values.
Yes, the title "conflict management" seems to give completely the wrong impression. I agree that it should be deleted. But in reviewing the charter template I don't think we've included a section for a group to specify how it will be make decisions. I think this is an important item that all working groups should consider. Maybe we should state that working groups are strongly encouraged to use the consensus decision-making process (with a link to the info page). I think this would go in the ground rules section.
Interesting to think about how behaviors and expectations are different in this environment.