|Advice To The "Sole Founder".
||[Nov. 27th, 2007|05:16 am]
The Journal That Speaks Truth to Wikiality
In our last excreting episode, my brief adventure back into Wiki-politics, got some discussion started about transforming his Jimness from god-king into a constitutional monarch.
King James himself even graciously stopped by to deny that he's a god king and claim that he is already a Con Mon.
To subtly drive home this point he quietly, officially proclaimed himself Founder.
Jimmy, unlike some, I do not begrudge you this. It is not the title, it is what the title holder does with it. And founder is a fine title...I'm a founder too, of another volunteer group, which I have proudly and successfully led since March 1 2000.
And even though my group is a far smaller and more low key one than yours, I do have some insights to offer that I have learned over the years. So as one founder to another here goes:
Firstly, acknowledge your fellow founders. I came up with the name and basic concept for House of Painful Enlightenment, but I still acknowledge that I had co-founders.
Even though one of them left the house in a bit of a huff and the other only shows up occasionally anymore to say HI, they are still my co-founders and I do not feel lessened by this fact one bit. No founder is an island. I could not have started it without their help, encouragement and camaraderie. The lesson here-A good founder must be humble and grateful.
Secondly, know your limitations and act within them. As with the Wiki-kingdom, HOPE does not have a written constitution per-se either. But we do have a sort of unwritten one based on our founding principles and longtime practices. For example, I cannot kick anyone out of the house. But I can, politely, ask them to leave and if they do not comply then I can start a vote of expulsion. Fortunately, I've only had to do this once so far and hopefully never again. Personality Politics, or "Dramas" as you've taken to calling them, may be damaging to large kingdoms, but to small groups such as mine they can be fatal! Knowing that I am not above "HOPE Law" and acting accordingly, increases the respect my title carries and helps foster a "Round table" effect, where I may be "king" but am ultimately first among equals. It also helps to prevent me from doing rash, stupid things just "because I can".
Unwritten constitutions are fragile documents which only hold as long as we uphold them. Once warped or broken they can be very hard to restore. I fear the unwritten Wiki one may be damaged beyond repair. But that doesn't mean you can't start rebuilding it, and this time abide by it. You are a smart man with a basically good conscious, so you are fully capable of knowing when you are stepping through the looking glass...it is easy enough to step back in these situations and re-access rather than plow forward. Remember, the more a statement and/or action looks like a hand grenade, the greater the chance it is a hand grenade!
Thirdly, and most important; DON'T TREAT LONGTIME, VALUABLE, IRREPLACEABLE MEMBERS LIKE EXPENDABLE COGS! As you do here:
Sorry, but this is UNACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOR for a founder! If you want respect, then treat others with respect...it is simple as that. If they are being unreasonable, then don't go crying "TROLL! TRRROOOOLL!" but counter with reason and civility. The community will be smart enough to determine, then, who the trolls are and can act accordingly. Assuming Good Faith does not work as a one-way cul-de-sac...it must be a two-way street. Expecting everyone to assume you are only trying to do what's best, while simultaneously tarring anyone who disagrees with a TROLL tag, is not the best way to encourage people to contribute, financially or otherwise. It is also not good for morale to show up on your volunteers' talkpages mainly to berate them. Give compliments...and it wouldn't kill you to hand out an occasional barnstar either:). A GOOD FOUNDER LEADS BY EXAMPLE! You must be a walker and not just a talker.
Otherwise, you may wake up one day to find yourself a king without a country...and then you'll have to write your encyclopedia yourself!