Wikis can fail quickly. One or two people do work and then they abandon it. If a wiki doesn’t work, they get abandoned. It can be a social problem because of the software.
People can also leave because the rules or social climate change and that is a distinctly non-wiki thinking.
Wikis are often talked about in terms of organic things like wiki gardening. We call inactive wikis dead wikis.
Some times people do less wiki work as they move on. Sometimes with open source, things die because the creator refuses to turn things over to others in order to keep the project on.
Some people move on and have emotional issues with that regarding backing off.
People need to have a way to deal with possible absence of key staff members for a wiki.
Often you have a small group of people who run the show and get emotional over criticism because they understand everything going on on the inside. And then you have people on the outside criticising. They dont necessarily know. How do you bring that group in to the leadership?
There is a power curve of where there is often a group of one leader for seven people.
People understand the fact that people get tired and move on in the wiki community. It can help change certain dynamics because people know they are willing to do things.
RecentChangesCamp has had a lot of turn over with who ran the event. There is only one real volunteer who helped so lots of support and that was Mark Dilley. It kind of shows that wiki philosophy of allowing people to come forward.
Projects can be really slow for years and then massively scale in a short period of time. It can create really problems. It can be a reason why you need transparency in your actions to allow people to come in and fit in, get tasks to do, etc.
Things happen because some one days let’s go there. You can’t do that unless some one is willing to step forward to go through the door and take that first step.
Make sure that you systematically pair up with people to run a project. Question of should you pick a person to take over OR have that person rise up in to a leadership position?
What keeps people involved? Is it passion or skills? Is it desire or skill?
You need that one person in a group to help you keep something from falling apart.
It is okay to fail. You learn from failure. You learn from the process of failing. It isn’t always a reflection on you.
Maybe we need a wiki camp to preserve and revive dead wikis so the knowledge is preserved.
There is some one on a wiki who is ultimately responsible. There is a curve and you can’t get away from it with wikis.
EncyclopediaDramatica is an interesting case where moderators probably don’t burn out as much because of the nature of it.
Wikis are better at knowledge systems than a lot of other systems because they have the social problems being really visible. With Drupal, you can hide certain social problems where they don’t have to be addressed right away because you can get filters, etc.
Wikis seem like a step up in terms of the evolution of human interaction.
Platforms are really changing right now. It is a great time to be living in.
Things that are changing right now in open source and wikis is that it is okay to take it seriously. Technology makes things more serious and adds legitimacy for things in ways that they didn’t do it before. You can treat topics more seriously in a wiki than you could otherwise.
We’re at a stage where people can put time and energy in a way that they might not have done before because of that. They can turn it into a career and it isn’t viewed as unacceptable as they are moving up.
The guy from meatball wiki is a case of a guy who left wikis to go to accounting and we lost a great resource in the wiki community. It might be viewed as a waste because we lost knowledge. It could also be a good thing showing that we can move on and do it successfully, translate those skills.
SocialText founder has sort of moved beyond wikis but the philosophy of wikis still underlines his projects and life. He is involved but not as visible.
Wiki burnout happens because wiki work is now done. You can always work on it and nagging feeling that you’re not doing that.
As a leader, you have to decide what you will and won’t do that. You also need to give space for other people to do that.
For Fan History, this is done with Tikatu monitoring Recent Changes and handling policy regarding how to handle changes because that it NOT my job.