Forsyth Criteria

This is Pete Forsyth's version of a page started by Ward Cunningham.

Pete Forsyth considered what qualities an environment needs to support effective collaboration, initially at the 2015 Future of Text symposium . He outlined seven software features or characteristics that provide for individual agency in collaborative writing. The idea is to identify features of a collaboration space, whether real or virtual. Ward Cunningham dubbed the initial set of features the "Forsyth Criteria."

This page is for refining the list of features or characteristics. Pete is interested to hear from anybody interested in the topic.

Here is a draft book chapter, "Trusting Everybody to Work Together ," that puts the ideas presented on this page into a broader context.

YOUTUBE EuoluxGxsbM Published on December 22, 2015

Pete's seven features are well supported by the mediawiki software hosting Wikipedia. This is beneficial to community members; the nature of implementation also makes many of the features beneficial to critical readers. pdf

- perceive __that__ something has changed - perceive __what__ changed - perceive __who__ changed it - perceive __why__ the person wanted to make the change

- __address__ the person who changed it - __undo__ the changes of others - __create__ changes of one’s own

Ward separated the capabilities into mechanisms of observation and those of action, the environment facing parts of the OODA loop. wikipedia

YOUTUBE O-ykvRYsk2o I discussed these ideas at the following Future of Text symposium as well (see the first ~7 minutes of this video, especially starting about 5:00).

Spaces to evaluate

Here are spaces (including, but not limited to, web sites) I might evaluate against the Criteria:

* MediaWiki overall * Quora * Ballotpedia * SeeClickFix * PDXreporter. * Twitter * Facebook * MediaWiki: #1 Wikisource proofreading extension #2 Media Viewer #3 VisualEditor * Google Docs * Slack * Internet Archive * DMOZ * Snopes * Traditional newspaper * Traditional academic publisher * university campus

Ward's suggestions

Ward suggested examining the support the Federated Wiki provides for each point, documenting the features and their expected workflow, and smoothing the interaction model on all platforms for reader/authors so engaged.

Possible additions

Playing with the Federated Wiki has suggested new ones to add to the list. (June 2017)

* Know what constitutes taking an action, know what the result of taking that action will be (e.g., who else will perceive it and how), know how to undo one's own action, know what kind of record will be kept of one's action. * Ability to mimic what you see others doing * Stability: Confidence your work will endure (i.e., the site will stay up, edit history will not disappear, your work will not be removed from the canonical page without cause, etc.)

Stray ideas

It's often been said that Wikipedia is impossible in theory, but possible in practice. Apart from Clay Shirky's "cognitive surplus" concept (which applies only in the broadest strokes), what are we doing to update the theory? That's what I'd like to work on here.

What is the opposite of effective collaboration? What is time poorly spent? What would discourage somebody from collaborating? In a word, _futility_. If your actions do not have the intended consequences, you will not have much reason to continue acting.

* Some archetypal images of futility from the ancient Greeks: Sisyphus has to push a boulder uphill eternally, only to see it tumble back down; Tantalos can almost reach the fruits and water that will satisfy his cravings, but they barely elude his reach; and the Danaides were tasked with filling a tub with only the use of a seive. * Opening scene of a _Wire_ episode (push/pull on desk)

YOUTUBE DhkndQ3LML8 Several colleagues are trying to move a desk. After much effort, it turns out they're working toward opposite goals. From the TV series "The Wire".

"I’ve been saying since the No Impact Man project first started in 2007 that lasting personal happiness does not come without contributing to community and world happiness. But there are big issues that stop us from trying to contribute or that make us really frustrated when we do try." from

People to interview

* Ward Cunningham: When did each of these features "arrive" in wiki? * Sunir Shah * Magnus Manske