The beginning of the project was marked by a short two-day-and-a-half zinestorm in which we discussed about the conflict culture surrounding Wikipedia and the different mechanisms that the community uses for resolving these issues.
Wikimedia projects are sources of knowledge that are constructed not only through collaboration, but also through conflict. The wiki software offers the option to record digressing opinions and to undo edits that do not correspond with the ethos of the community. As a result, any casual Wikimedia user has the possibility to peer deeper into the origin of each input and express their disagreement publicly.
‘Edit wars’ is one example of the language that contributors use when describing a state of friction regarding the validity of a statement. Cultivating the founding principle of the neutral point of view can be very consuming and some Wikipedians have reflected these concerns through jargon that includes terms like Wikistress, Wikipediholic, Wikibreak.
We decided to focus on stress as a revealing social factor that reconnects the body of the community to the abstract modes of knowledge that it generates. Stress hints at the human effort that is involved, but how does it influence the dynamics within the community and what is the effect it has on versioning an article?
The idiosyncratic suggestions made by contributors on internal pages dealing with editor burnout mirror the strong sense of humour of the community that is not usually visible within the projects. When facing wikistress, most Wikipedians advice to go for a walk. Or going to the gym. Or getting into acting.
We speculated on what a Wikipedian-destress-kit would comprise of and then focused on one of the suggestions. The outcome of the short session was a browser add-on that interferes with the article editing process after a period of 30 minutes. Some of the comments and advice that contributors added to the list of dealing with wikistress were included in a video together with photographs from the Wikivoyage website to remind Wikipediholics to take a break.
This introductory assignment was a good way for us to get to know each other’s involvement with the Wikimedia endeavours and to start brainstorming about possible approaches to take in the actual project that will span over five months. In the first sprint we will be researching the already existing Book Creator tool available on the Wikipedia interface, types of software that could be relevant to the wiki community and previous wiki publishing attempts.
Working on this project will be:
[ x ] Juan
[ x ] Cristina
[ x ] Lucia (coach)