You could consider this post a sequel of sorts to my first. I’m quickly moving along to the next big question that more and more people are asking me: Why Wikipedia? Well, I’ve sworn not to say what I said in the introduction of my first post ever again, but if you guessed that had something to do with it, you’re right on. Yet, strangely enough, the biggest incentive to get involved in Wikipedia has become the biggest disincentive to continue. Many Wikipediocrats discouraged me from the beginning; now many Wikipedians have joined their call!
In my first post, I likened Wikipediocracy to a rowdy saloon in the Wild West. I broke it out as a two-dimensional caricature that might lend a mildly interesting narrative to the otherwise familiar story of Wikipediocracy. Then my friend tim, who is one of those prized “very active editors” on Wikpedia and a (highly prized by me) polite voice of moderation on Wikipediocracy, added a whole nother dimension to it. And it blew. my. mind. He liked the Wikipedia project to the town church, and some of the more political Wikipedians to occasionally catty, sometimes self-righteous, and always gossipy members of the congregation. That really got me thinking. This would be a much more profound, tho perhaps less colorful, analogy than a trite description of the town saloon full of all those disreputable types.
As we once again take ourselves back to these tougher times, we notice that religion counts for a lot more here. Most of the townsfolk in our community are true believers, and they do what good deeds they can through the church that rises from the very center of the town. They come to worship here, usually setting aside a good part of their weekends so they can really focus on being among the best of the faithful. When the collection plate came around, they drop a few coins in it. But they don’t have time to stand in the churchyard gossiping after service; they prefer to spend their only day off reading through the good book to learn how they might make their good deeds even better.
The thing is, most of these townsfolk keep quiet and reverent in the pews during service. They keep their heads down in humility as they walk down the street. During the week, they are spending their time behind an aging, albeit reliable plow trying to pull nourishment out of the reluctant earth to feed others in their community and beyond. They have no time city-slicker politics. And they sure as hell aren’t going to spend their precious time talking trash in the rowdy saloon. Most importantly, these townsfolk tend not to speak unless spoken to first.
Now, most of the people reading this can probably imagine where they fit in to this growing- and some might say, well overgrown- analogy. It’s a bit harder for me, tho. I’m new in town. And the first thing I did was set my soapbox down, stepped up right in front of city hall, and started yelling. I’d like to say folks pay attention to me because I have something worth listening to, but I realize that most of them are just curious about the guy who has taken up tenancy in the mayor’s mansion. Maybe I could fill the role of the itinerant revivalist preacher, banging on the good book, screaming verses of the lord’s prayer like “forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us” at the top of my voice, and calling everyone to question the establishment behind their faith. But I’m probably more similar to a snake oil salesman- as one Wikipediocrat has already suggested- selling a miracle cure for all of the community’s various ailments. I can say this: if there’s anything I would prescribe to this particular community as a miracle cure, it would be empathy. And I’m not selling it, I’m giving it away. Let’s take a quick gander how that scene might play out. Just a second, gotta set my soapbox down here. All right, stepping up. . . and. . .
Come one, and come all!!! Gather round!! The end to all your ailments is here! It is simple, and it costs you nothing! I call it Empathy. Guaranteed to work for men, women, and almost anything in between, or your money back!! All’s you have to do is rub some on your ego where it hurts; step out of the saloon, open the doors to the church, or put down your gavels to see what is beyond that courthouse; shake the hand of a stranger on the sidewalk; and see what they have to say!! For best results, think about where they’re coming from, and where they’re trying to go! Then share some of your Empathy with them!!