Responses to How to Build Wikipedia, Be in Charge and Be Humble

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Responses to How to Build Wikipedia
Be in Charge and Be Humble Understand Bias Appreciate Idiosyncracy Redesign the Wikipedia Software as a Community Make Big Plans on Wikipedia Avoid Cabals Follow the Spirit of the GFDL Be Respectful but Firm

Be in Charge and Be Humble[edit]

To lead an anarchistic project is a paradox--the only way to successfully do so is to act with humility, to question your actions more than you question those of others.


This is a perfectly valid point--stated in rather oversimplified terms. It is 100% correct that, in order to win the respect and understanding of participants in "an anarchistic project," project organizers must respect others. This does not, however, entail that they must agree with them, or spend a lot of time hand-holding on every issue that comes along; I think most people understand this.
It was in no small part because I have tried to impose my will, day in and day out, on a variety of issues that have come to define Wikipedia's "culture," that it has come to have the reasonably healthy (if imperfect) and productive culture it does have. It's quite possible that this has seemed to be less than perfectly humble on my part (I am not infrequently accused of being "arrogant"); but frankly, I ain't paid to be humble. On nearly every issue, I'm asking myself, "Is this going to contribute the construction of a good encyclopedia, or isn't it?" I take the positions that I do with the goal of creating a good encyclopedia. Anyway, I very naturally question myself (I'm a philosopher, and this is one thing philosophers are supposed to do). But that doesn't mean that I'll always remain in a state of uncertainty on any given issue. If this comes off as dogmatism and lack of humility, I'm not sure that can be helped.
Note that I also say that it's important to be Respectful but Firm. I'm not expecting you to be wishy-washy; just that leaders should expect increased criticism and should have to justify their actions more than others. --TheCunctator

I like the motto, "Be in charge and be humble." It reminds me of the Unification Thought ideal of leadership: love your partner, care for your partner, wield authority. The trick is to be sure that the authority one wield's is actually for the benefit of one's partner. It's so easy to fool (a) oneself, (b) one's partner, or (c) onlookers by falsely claiming that one governs for the sake of the governed.

Perhaps if all are equally powerful, false leaders (i.e., dictators) won't be tolerated. This would be a Good Thing.

-- Ed Poor

See also : Wikipedia commentary