Learning patterns/Use telephone calls or Skype to clarify questions early
What problem does this solve?
Engage more closely with people you need to communicate effectively with, by emailing to set up a phone call or Skype audio chat. It's that easy. Also, it's much more human and motivating for some.
What is the solution?
As a kindness and courtesy to others, consider real-life, two-way person-to-person communication when it can facilitate the work of Wikipedia volunteers, using telephone calls, Skype, or meeting live and in person.
Things to consider
- Open discussion over the telephone enables two-way feedback. Use this feedback to confirm that you both understand each other, and are treating each other with respect.
- Be willing to negotiate to find a form of communication that is comfortable for all involved. Consider telephone calls if a participant is concerned about privacy or confidentiality. Consider Skype chats when a record of your conversation may be useful for future reference. Consider Google Hangouts when you want to make a permanent public record for reference and educational purposes.
- Keep in mind that many people participating here successfully conducted their business and personal affairs without the use of computers for many years. They may be surprisingly effective when you shift to offline communications.
- Maintain an attitude of kindness and compassion towards the shy, online-only Wikipedia participants who are upset by "meatpuppeting" and in-person communications on general principle. Remember that nobody likes people being mean to them behind their back!
- Resolve to use your offline communication with other Wikipedians for constructive purposes.
- Ask the person you want to Skype call with how good their connection and their microphone are. Generally, old desktop PCs don't have optimal microphones. Where either connection or microphone on both sides are not optimal, consider using headphones. Even if just one person wears headphones, the results are usually better.
When to use
- Audio calls are especially useful for scheduling and planning, or where matters to be discussed are complex or require a lot of back-and-forth communication.
- Audio calls enable participants to discuss sensitive or difficult topics in a frank and open manner.
- Use real-life, spoken communication to help deal with task and information overload. The feedback you get in two-way conversation is invaluable for providing useful input, information, and emotional support to other people, and receiving it yourself.