Talk:Submissions/A Culture of Kindness
Thanks for this initiative Fabrice. Re "participating on Wikipedia can be a frustrating experience for most newcomers and even for experienced editors, due to a lack of civility among some of our members. Uncivil or hostile behavior tends to turn away many qualified individuals who would love to contribute to our cause, and it harms us all": Despite my 7 years, 4 months, and 26 days on WP, I almost gave up on it this week after encounters with a clique of Users and Admins who had very loose interpretations of Wikipedia:Civility. It was so enervating; worse, it distracted me from my focus: creating and improving content.
My experience tells me that the lack of civility is not limited to "some". In all the talk pages of Articles on which I'd recently worked, I saw evidence of an epidemic. So I'm grateful that you're ratcheting up the kindness.
Some initial suggestions:
- Define Kindness as a step beyond Civility: f.e concern for others, marked by pleasant, compassionate - not just "Civil" - behavior. Create its own Policy Page.
- Opt-in: I'd adapt any measure that promotes Kindness, but if other don't want to, it'll be nice if they won't have to.
- Mind our metaphors: Reconsider terms that equate Wikipedia with War. "Edit-warring", for example. Wikipedia is creative, war is destructive. The two terms should not appear in the same thought, except as an obvious contradiction. The widespread use of the "war" metaphor is also disturbing to folks like my son and I and our buddies, who'd fought in actual wars, lived its horrors, and don't like "war" being tossed about so casually by people who have no clue what it really means.
- Dear LeoRomero, thank you so much for your support and good insights! I really like your recommendations above and will try to incorporate them in this presentation :)
- Meanwhile, I have been discussing this topic with Romaine, who wrote: "For years I say there is a mentality problem among users. Also I notice often that as nobody has learned in school/etc to communicate appropriate in a digital environment, many many communication trouble exist because of that. This is because if you are critical and you deal with in face to face, you have a mimicry, facial expression and intonation that defines in a very large part how the receiver is receiving the message. All that is missing with typing a text and is for many users very very difficult to handle. This is even harder for someone with a dyslectic background. To improve a friendly/kindly atmosphere, a training for communicating something negative in a good manner I would really like to follow."
- Romaine's comments are music to my ears, and I think he has expressed very well one of the core issues we face as a movement. :) The question we will need to answer together is what are the most effective ways to provide that training. I would appreciate any more ideas you might have on addressing that specific issue in practical ways on Wikipedia.
- Leo, I look forward to encouraging the practice of kindness together, and seeing you in London this summer. Be well ... Fabrice Florin (WMF) (talk) 15:10, 30 April 2014 (UTC)
- Hello Fabrice, It is funny to see that on mailinglist Wikimedia-l this subject came along as well with a thread called "How to Criticize with Kindness". I must say, reading it is difficult to understand as English isn't my native language, but I see some value in it.
- I am very conscious what happens in discussions on-wiki and a couple of years ago I started to collect good ways and bad ways of how users communicate. How it can go wrong lies in the details of the communication used. For a long time I am planning to write a guide for this and in the beginning of this year I finally started to add some lines to w:nl:Gebruiker:Romaine/Handleiding (Handleiding = Dutch for Guide) with as header "Recommendations for a productive collaboration". I am intended to expand that page further an further with how users can communicate the best. Romaine (talk) 16:57, 16 May 2014 (UTC)
- Perhaps "hospitality" could be a word we find useful for talking about desired behavior that goes beyond civility? Some people have found my talk "Hospitality, Jerks, and What I Learned" to be helpful in explaining this particular articulation. Good luck with the talk, Fabrice! Sumanah (talk) 17:46, 9 June 2014 (UTC)
- Fabrice, I fully agree with Sumanah. Last year I gave a shot with a discussion about friendly virtual space policy. A no asshole zone would be nice, as nicely illustrated in New York Magazine article by Jessica Pressler about Sumanah's talk, and the subsequent thread on wikimedia-l. Hacker school rules could be considered, or reading How to win friends and influence. Improving community health is a priority for Wikimedia Nederland and we are looking for inspiration what and how to implement. I'm very glad the theme is tackled again this year. See you in London! Ad Huikeshoven (talk) 20:28, 9 June 2014 (UTC)