Proposal:Inspector generals, ombudsmen, and little guy advocates

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  1. Achieve continued growth in readership
  2. Focus on quality content
  3. Increase Participation
  4. Stabilize and improve the infrastructure
  5. Encourage Innovation


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Summary

Good organizations have inspectors general, ombudsmen, and advocates for customers and 'little guys' who get caught in the system. Wikipedia should have the same.

Proposal

Appoint people for positions of inspectors general ombudsmen and advocates for the 'little guy/gal', whose specific mission is to challenge the instincts of organizational hierarchy, administration, and bloat, in favor of people who actually do work and contribute positively to the project, and those who read it and use it.

They should reach out to good editors who leave wikipedia, and be an officially sanctioned voice of the users and low level editors, and readers, to speak to the higher ups at wikipedia who otherwise might live in a bubble without any legitimate honest feedback.

Motivation

There are a number of good editors and admins and readers who get fed up with the bureaucracy, the errors of judgement of the system, and simply get discouraged. This over time will tend to encourage barnstar-collectors and politics-players instead of people who want to write good articles or build a good project, as well as eventually discouraging readers.

Key Questions

1. newspapers have ombudsmen, but they are for reader's concerns, not writers concerns. should wikipedia get one for readers alone? one who is supposed to criticize writers and editors for mistakes they make? or since readers are often writers too... does the ombudsman represent both groups, to authority? or are there two ombudsmen, one for readers and one for writers?

2. how do you select the ombudsman

3. how long do they serve

4. what power do they have

5. are they payed or volunteer

Potential Costs

1. who would want the job?

2. anyone who takes it might burn out quickly

3. the ombudsman might have no effect whatsoever

4. some good customer service organizations dont have any ombudsmen

5. "it is work a company that's responsive to its customers makes sure gets done by every employee, instead of being outsourced to a lone, reviled answer-man." -- matt welch

References

http://www.npr.org/ombudsman/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/05/11/ig-report-waterboarding-w_n_201733.html

http://www.patientadvocate.va.gov/

http://wordsihate.org/archives/45/ombudsman-ombudsperson/

http://www.mattwelch.com/warblog/archives/001291.html

News ombudsmen in North America By Neil Nemeth



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