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forebearance FAQ well put by Kynn

From: Al Gilman <asgilman@iamdigex.net>
Date: Sun, 19 Aug 2001 13:37:51 -0400
Message-Id: <200108191719.NAA5951176@smtp2.mail.iamworld.net>
To: w3c-wai-eo@w3.org
Cc: Kynn Bartlett <kynn-edapta@idyllmtn.com>
Here's another FAQ, IMHO.

"Eschew ad-hominem attacks on your adversaries."  Jesus put it "love your

Kynn put it very well in:

 Can't We All Just Get Along?

Actually, netiquette occupies a special place, even among FAQs.  The
classical "book" on small [e.g. ad-hoc action] groups identifies "forming,
storming, norming and performing" as the phases that such groups generally
go through.

In our case of listserv-mediated volunteer groups, we find that this
startup state sequence is dipped back into from time to time.  No matter
what we do to try to keep it out of the conversation.   Kynn's post
represents the 'norming' phase of one such cycle following a bit of

There are two complicating factors at work here.  One is the volunteer
angle.  The second is the dryness of the medium, the fact that
communications are stripped of the extra-verbal cues by which we more
normally conduct the I'm OK, you're OK side of the discussion.  

There is a "book rule of thumb" that voluntary groups have been found in
face to face life, without introducing the extraverbal-communication
deficits of virtual work, to spend roughly 50% of their time on task and
50% on group maintenance.

So, we wish we could devote 100% of the list traffic to task, and feel we
have failed because netiquette discussions _always_ break out from time to
time no matter what we do to write down and periodically circulate the
"terms of engagement" policies of the group.

But the fact of the matter is that a) relationships take maintenance b)
buy-in to the rules is stronger if you have discussed it yourself, etc.
The bond that unites a group is part product -- it helps to have a
well-articulated and published charter.  But the bond is also part process,
in which the group self-image is tested and maintained.  Because it is not
just a delegatee receiving a charter.  It is an voluntary association, as
those contributing their efforts review and re-up for the proposition that
this trip is worth it.


See also _Virtual Teams_ by Lipnack and Stamps, _Connections_ by Sproull
and Kiesler, and my discussion of "RTFM insanely great" which you can find
quoted at

 Re: what is a portal?

This gives a nutshell recap of the etiology of FAQs in Usenet from group

a) revolving participation in the group
Received on Sunday, 19 August 2001 13:19:07 UTC

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