I'll create a page to capture my frustrations with the learning process around FedWiki. (That's not to say it's frustrating overall.) This is probably something I'd do better to put on a private page, as it's just my efforts to understand what does and doesn't work for my brain -- it probably doesn't offer any insights about FedWiki software or our calls, at least without processing. But I'm going to start just so I don't forget this stuff.
My difficulties probably have a whole lot to do with ADHD. (I started this page because I became overstimulated during a call, there were a lot of things going on, I had my own ideas about the direction I wanted things to go, things seemed to diverge more and more as it went on, it got to the point where people were talking over each other, I didn't know what to do. All this sort of built over the whole call, but also came to a head very rapidly in my head. I felt like I was about to just lash out or something, and so I just hung up, which seemed like a better option. I'm reminded of college, sometimes I would reach my limit in a class when the discussion seemed to be going in circles, and I'd just leave. I bet the teachers, and maybe classmates, felt confused or hurt. Maybe I even *wanted* that in those impulsive moments. It would be nice to have gotten better by now at managing my emotions in situations like this.)
Above all, it's hard to sustain a sense that anyone ever reads each other's pages here. I read other people's pages, and when they speak to me sometimes I fork them, even if I don't have anything I want to change. I do this because I want to express that something caught my attention, so the author might feel a little less like they're shouting into the void. But I'm not even sure if the author sees my fork -- it's unclear how much anybody looks at Recent Changes, or whether my site is on their roster, etc. We did an experiment around Challenges of Policing at one point which was gratifying, because several people were sharing their thoughts about a topic that's important to me. It gave me a small taste of what it can be like to write in community with this software. But that experiment was fleeting, it lasted only a couple weeks. Many of the pages I find seem predicated on a body of knowledge I don't have, and I'm not sure what I would do to get "up to speed" and be able to understand the pages.
On our calls and on the FedWiki sites themselves, it is often difficult for me to figure out context. What is the thing we're trying to do, in this 5-10 minutes of discussion? Or on this wiki page? Even when I bring this up, I sometimes have difficulty understanding the answers.
I think there is a bit of a mismatch between my interests and skills, and those of the community here. Mostly I am interested in the core FedWiki software, how it can be used to support collaboration in writing, what are its strengths and weaknesses, what technical or social oddities might one need to be trained on in order to be a fully engaged member of a writing community.
I think many others on the call already understand that stuff, or at least understand enough to not be consumed with questions about it, and are more interested in extending the platform -- graphviz, maps, prototyping apps, writing or using transporters. I enjoy seeing some of those possibilities, but often those discussions get really detailed, and they don't speak to my core interest. I have difficulty managing my own personal learning priorities in this environment. (This may be an unfair analysis. Though we all share an interest in the core platform, we also all have our own substantive interests, and some days they seem to overlap better than others. Maybe I could get better about identifying times when I see less overlap, and duck out of those calls, preserving energy for times when the overlap is stronger.)
I haven't learned some of the core/common language of this group. I think probably I need to read A Pattern Language above all. Maybe I should ask about core readings and record the answers in a wiki page.
I wonder about the core group's ambitions for the software. Is there a goal improve the software to the point where people can use it with minimal, or no, prior training? Is there a desire that the model of software design expressed by FedWiki be adopted by other software developers (along the lines of how software like MediaWiki traces its roots to WikiWikiWeb)? If so, would other sites/software be interoperable with FedWiki (are there components of FedWiki that are intended to be "standards" that are distinct from the more unique parts)? Or would it be its own "walled garden"?
It was pretty gratifying when the group was interested in the ideas expressed at Forsyth Criteria. Some excellent feedback here helped me refine those ideas. I was very flattered and pleased that there might be some desire to explore how those principles might shed light on how FedWiki works. But so far, I'm at a loss as to how to follow up on that interest.
(Side note, just from writing this page, I have noticed that Marc forked Forsyth Criteria several months ago, and created a useful subpage. Somehow I had missed this. Also, he forked a version that I consider very out of date; I'm curious why he forked that version and not a more recent one. Was it intentional? If so, have I been going "backwards" in my efforts to improve that page? If not, what prevented him from noticing the more recent version?)
On our calls, I often find myself distracted by technical stuff. A few things:
* Due to the structure of my Sundays (I'm usually not at home), I'm often on a laptop with a small screen, and unable to read stuff on shared screens. I should do something about that. * I love getting to know the other people on these calls -- it's one of my favorite parts. But sometimes when trying to learn something it's really difficult, to filter out comments about blue filter glasses, or the nature of our challenges with spelling, etc., in order to keep my focus on a topic that I find elusive to begin with. Should I look at this as a problem of mental discipline? Or just try to relax? Unsure. * The lack of a strong "facilitator" voice is both empowering and frustrating. Sometimes we get to a point where everybody is talking over each other. It can be hard to find a way out. * Our calls usually go over 2 hours. I rarely intend to spend more than an hour, but often the best parts come up late in the call. It's hard to plan around this. I'm sure we all struggle with this.