Friends and enemies of quality

Friends and enemies of quality

That got your attention, didn't it! "Things that impact quality" would have been too boring. Can we brainstorm this a bit? Please feel free to edit this post to improve this list, so it stays in one post.

1. Related to well-intentioned content editors

  • Expertize, and factors affecting contributions of knowledgeable people
  • Stability of good work (including erosion)
  • Some capable editors can't work well with others (poor behavior themselves)

2. Related to other editors

  • Large numbers of users who have their own view what Wikipedia "should" be for
  • Large numbers of users who are ignorant or uninformed and assume what Wikipedia is for.

3. Related to content consensus

  • Content battles never end; there's no way to get a final agreement on something "until something changes in the outside world".
  • By contrast, too much fixity or finality would kill the ability of wikis to be self-correcting, would encourage an "official" view, fossilize consensus, and make each topic a fight which view is the "Wikipedia given view".
  • Consensus is supposed to be a meeting of minds looking at good and bad points of each stance, but often doesn't work that way.
  • Consensus can be good at removing fringe views, but that can be expert views as well as clueless views.
  • It's a lot of time, energy and work. Rejustifying basic PhD knowledge to a checkout worker for example, or high school dropout, can be painful. (although if it's too easy to 'fix' a view, ownership or censorship would be a concern)

4. Related to content quality (general level)

  • Most contributors aren't experts. How to maximize the benefit of their work, for the project.

5. Related to problem conduct (edit wars/warriors)

  • Tendentiousness is easy
  • We have capable or good content users who are bad as community members. Some actively seek out such behavior.
  • Users who learn to play the game over time, can get consensus their way, or wear out/exclude well intentioned users.

6. Related to conduct enforcement

  • Admin standards and expectations vary
  • Admins role is to address bad behavior but they get attacked, so they only address grossly or obvious bad behavior... leaving it easy to engage in bad-but-not-egregious behavior.

7. Related to perception

  • Public perception matters. Readers and possible (and actual) editors may decide their trust levels and level of involvement (if any) based on public perceptions in circulation.
  • Things that matter to the public perception should get a very high priority in mattering to us, even if technically other things might matter more in some ways. ("Expectation management")
  • Internet things come and go in "fads". Wikimedia isn't a "fad" any more, so it doesn't have that boost. Now we need to work for our recognition and share of public time, against the "next big thing" out there (whatever it may be).
  • Successful ventures reinvent or reorient themselves, and are not afraid to say "this direction doesn't work any more". We may need to do that on some of the old, cherished beliefs, where they don't help us. (That said I think the principles behind them stand well. But some may be over-venerable)

(This post is a work in progress, please help edit it, discussion below)
FT2 (Talk | email)17:34, 28 November 2009