How much fair play do you got in your DNA?


On this Sunday surprise, I wanted to share a bit of behind-the-scene stories on the Wiki governance…

Last few weeks, actually last 6 months, I’ve been involved in a few discussions on issues and frustrations with Wiki ninja’s and forum behaviour…

One of the phenomena that pops up, now and then, is: community members join the Wiki and want to quickly show some impact…
Some of us think that ‘tag chasing’ is a good start… (and admit: many of us have been there, done that…)

But is it really worth it?

Question: how much points you’ll earn when just changing a tag on a Wiki article?
Answer: 0, zero, nil, nada, nothing, …
Why? Check the TechNet FAQ at : https://technet.microsoft.com/en-US/ff395928.aspx

The search for “Wiki” will show you:

Wiki points 1

Although ‘tag maintenance’ is useful for some practical and operational statistics, it does not have significant added value as shown by the numbers above.

But more important, what most people don’t see is that ‘tag chasing’ (changing tags on lots of articles in short time) is frustrating a lot of people (mostly the original authors). Because the community thinks it’s mainly about pumping up profile points or getting effortless attention…

Just let me be clear, the weekly contributor award on the Wiki blog, is ‘just’ weekly, has nothing to do with points.
It’s a weekly spotlight to leverage your valued support of the TNWiki, with a bit of gamification, without points. Don’t hang up to much on it, it must be fun nothing more.

Allow me to give you some advise here (like I did to all suspected ‘tag chasers’ before…):

  • don’t focus on the tag changes only
  • focus on improving content first, tag changes is secondary
  • only change tags on languages you master
  • ALWAYS provide a reason/comment when you save an article (so in case of just changing tags, add a comment yourself)

BTW, for the comments: make it valuable,  personal and useful. An honest compliment does magic.
You’re not a bot just posting anonymous attention seekers, right?

There is another reason why you should focus on improving content (and not only tags)… you’ll get rewarded for it.

Question: But how do you get points at TechNet Wiki, then?

Answer: Wiki does reward you for significant quality work on content, if you contribute with valuable articles to TN Wiki you get points because the view mile stones…

Wiki points 2

This brings me to another type of discussion, or frustration that frequently comes back.
Piracy, spam comments, mass publication of low quality articles at Wiki, ‘hacking’ forum content, aggressive or unfair behaviour at forums…

Question: Ok, right,… let’s trick the system and pump up the points, then? Or not?
Answer: Well, please be sure its : ‘not’, because

  • TechNet Wiki is part of a larger ecosystem including TechNet and MSDN forums, TN/MSDN Blogs… with a large, worldwide audience, so there is very little chance you go unnoticed
  • All MSDN and TechNet Platforms are governed by a common policy, terms-of-use and legal framework.
  • The TechNet Wiki has it’s specific governance model and best practices, based on internet standards.
  • Microsoft Community Code of conduct:
  • Even from a international legal perspective, pumping up the points by tricking the system has serious consequences. The most obvious one is piracy and copyright violations…

Fast fact: for the 23,648 live articles we’ve got on TNWiki, there are 6,650+ deleted articles (mainly because spam and piracy, minority of deprecated or duplicate content.)
And the number is counting … but at fairly slow pace, because we only have a few pair of hands here…
Which means it’s a very time consuming job to keep the high quality standard at TechNet Wiki, because that’s what we want to stand for.
And one thing to be jealous at, is : we DO have dedicated spam hunters at the Wiki.

It’s very tempting to score a quick win, but you’ll lose at the end. Your effort to publish an article will be annihilated very quickly and in the long run it will backfire at you.
Why? Any pirated content will be detected, if not now, then later. Your profile will be linked to pirated content forever as you can’t wipe history. (Internet has got a very nasty long term memory…) (*)

Sadly enough there is an important, significant side-effect on the community if someone is cheating.
We loose valuable members of the community who get discouraged and frustrated because it feels like playing foul game is being rewarded.

It’s not!

Besides the Terms of Use, Codes of Conduct, and Governance Guidelines, I mentioned before, I want to reference to the Microsoft MVP Code of Conduct which is publicly available. You’ll notice it almost has no differences with the aforementioned guides.

The point here is, there is no discrimination, whether you’re a MSFT employee, affiliate, MVP, MCC, guest blogger, forum participant or ‘just’ a Wiki ninja or an active visitor commenting.

All guidelines point to the same:

  • Be respectful, be considerate
  • Be trustworthy
  • Be responsible
  • Be yourself
    • use one profile (and make sure you can be contacted, eg by mail)
  • Be collaborative
  • No illegal actions
  • Be to the point
    • No spam
    • No off-topic discussions
  • Keep up to date on the rules and guidelines

And I want to add 2 other fundamental requirements to this list

  • reasonably forgiving: everybody deserves a second shot (Once is happenstance, … Ian Fleming) within reasonable limits.
    (*) as far we can enforce the ‘right to forget’..

 

By participating (either actively or passively) to the various communities, you’ve committed to comply to these guidelines.

This commitment also means to speak up, if you think or feel something is going wrong.

 

This respectful, constructive, fair play collaboration is the DNA of the inclusive community.

 

Comments (9)

  1. Hey, the title of the blog post rhymes!

    These are some great points. Forums is actually a way to get points faster. You get points that are more directly tied to your activity. So when you do more great activity on the forums, you get more points. Pretty straight forward. But Wiki, you get most of your points in milestones. So as your articles become more popular, you start to see more points roll in. So Wiki recognition points is more of a marathon than a sprint.

  2. Shanky_621 says:

    One of the best Wiki blog so far. The rat race is there and is visible, and unfortunately I did that as well, but believe me now I do no do so. You did good by pointing it out. If I may, I want you to focus about quality of content as well which I feel you missed. I have seen some people writing just few points, information to which is readily available, adding that in wiki competition and winning medal. This deteriorates the Wiki competition. We have to set bar high, I am sorry but for some categories the bar is going low, specially for DBE category. There was a rule that article can be disqualified as not being at par in wiki competition. But in 12 months I have not seen any article which were disqualified while there were many which were relatively very very simple. I have mailed to Ed couple of times but seems he is busy. An blog related to that will also help

    1. I agree with you.As a author its our responsible to give more quality of article.All the authors should keep in mind as we should not publish article just for count and for points .As a author we should always publish article with good Content,quality and useful for many people .The one reason some poor quality article is we don’t have much contributors in that section.If we have more contributors in each section then competition will be high so all the authors will come up with more good article.

      1. Shanky_621 says:

        That definitely does not means that any sub par article can get award in technet wiki competition. It is better to be running than to be in bad company. Its better to have no articles adjured as winner than having article which doe snot meets the criteria

    2. Saeid Hasani says:

      Hi Shanky!
      Quality gone, it’s gone with the wind…

      1. Shanky_621 says:

        Saeid….Couldn’t agree more…

  3. I couldn’t agree with you more on this.

    In fact, it is not about the points or guru awards you get. But more about sharing technical knowledge with others which is more satisfying than chasing glamour in such rat race. It does not matter whether a person tried obtaining massive points from Forum, Gallery or Wiki, the world will know his/her knowledge based on what they read on where he/she posted online. Spamming without quality just only causes bad publicity on a person profile.

  4. Thanks Peter for useful instructions.
    These are very useful information for wiki new editor like me. It will be useful to further contribution.

  5. Great Post. Good write up!!

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