Project Appreciations? [closed]

+8 votes
320 views

Any successful volunteer organization will tell you that if you don't appreciate your volunteers then people will go away and do something else.  It is more than recruiting; it is just as much about retaining people.  The fast path to retaining is through appreciation.

I suggest that each and every project have an appreciation page.  I would like to read 'Applause Please.'  But, that's just me.  When your project needs to once-again recruit people, then maybe you'll bring the topic up in your leaders group.

B.

EDIT:  Thank you so much for taking the time and responding.  Your points of view are appreciated all the more because they are different from my own elementary ones.  You inform us all by typing alternative opinions.

How about this then?  Each project has a thank you feed, just like each person does.  How about if each project had an appreciation volunteer that could go through the list of thank you(s) and thank people?

Thanking is a part of the WikiTree way.

2nd Edit and Close:  Thank you.  Asking a group of Project Leaders to consider defining a problem, then coming-up with possible solutions must begin with appreciating the Project Leaders.  To that I propose a special "'This person' is a Wonderful Project Leader" much the same as a "Wonderful WikiTreer."

closed with the note: Thank you
in Appreciation by Anonymous Britain G2G6 Mach 2 (24.9k points)
closed by Anonymous Britain

6 Answers

+19 votes
The work is satisfaction enough. Appreciation is nice, but is not the reason I do genealogy. I really enjoy the historical aspect of researching through time. I love to clean up messes and add sources to lonely, unloved profiles. Maybe it's the accountant in me coming out, but things just need to make sense and "balance out." I belong to several projects that fit with my need to help -- US Southern Colonies, Profile Improvement, Arborists -- and I will continue to work with them as long as I am able.
by Shirley Dalton G2G6 Pilot (487k points)
Well said, Shirley.
The work is satisfaction enough for you. What constitutes reinforcement for one person (subject) to continue a behaviour isn't always reinforcing for another. It is important to remember that the subject determines what is and isn't reinforcing. It is a leadership skill to determine what each team member finds reinforcing to get the best out of them and keep them happy.
+18 votes
There is plenty of appreciation on WikiTree already (including this section of G2G where you've posted this thread to).  There are thank-yous, badges, Wonderful WikiTreer awards, points for contributions...

I'd like to express my appreciation for the project leaders by suggesting we not add to their workloads.
by Julie Kelts G2G6 Pilot (431k points)
Amen!
All of us should be making an effort to show others that their work is appreciated. For example, how many active members are consistent at thanking every person who adds a good quality citation to one of their managed profiles? It's just a click but the feedback is important. That can be used to shape behaviour that we want to increase. If someone previously wasn't sourcing, or not sourcing well, and they have now added a good citation, thank them to encourage more of it.
I'm not sure I like the idea of "shaping behavior."  As Shirley said in the first answer, the work should be satisfaction enough.
We shape behaviour every day, whether or not we realise it. "Treat others as you would have them treat you" is an example of shaping behaviour. Introduction of new discussion rules is another example of shaping behaviour.
We "shape behaviour" right from infancy, when we reward our children for "good behaviours", and chastise, or ignore, the bad ones.

Many employers have - or used to have - employee incentive programs.  These, too, "shape behaviour".

It is human nature to desire appreciation; and equally human nature to wish others do things you think deserve notice/to be appreciated, so thanking them/recognising such behaviour is frequently designed to bring about MORE of that desired behaviour.
This thought that the work should be satisfaction enough intrigues me. I'm shaped to go to work, with a salary paid into my bank account each fortnight. As much as I enjoy most aspects of my job, if the boss suddenly decided that the work should be satisfaction enough, I'd stop going back there.
That's a job.  This is a hobby.
Punishment is not as good for shaping behaviour as reinforcement. It often has unintended or unforeseen consequences that are undesirable or a disadvantage.
Punishment is not as good for shaping behaviour as reinforcement. It often has unintended or unforeseen consequences that are undesirable or a disadvantage.

Punishment was what those of the generations above mine used.  We like to think we are more enlightened, thus the "ignore bad behaviour".  Definitely positive reinforcement works way better than punishments do (or ever did -- resentment builds, even against a parent one loves).

It doesn't matter whether it is a job or a hobby. Studies have shown that when pay is reduced, work performance drops. The person still needs a job to keep a roof over their head though.

Organisations that rely on volunteer labour lose volunteers when they feel frustrated, are not appreciated, or are treated harshly. In all walks of life, if you want to see more of a behaviour, it needs to be reinforced and the subject determines the reinforcement.
There's an excellent book written in plain language by Karen Pryor, called "Don't Shoot The Dog". The same rules that are applied to animal training are applicable to human-human interactions. I've given copies of this book to parents whose kids have behaviour problems and they have found it very enlightening and helpful.
+9 votes

A flag, 2 downvotes, seriously? Pfff, what an open discussion no. B. deserves a fair answer, even if you do not agree with the suggestion implied by the question.

by Michel Vorenhout G2G6 Pilot (223k points)
The discussion is open as long as no posts are hidden (assuming people are not afraid to post).  Downvotes are also free expression, and part of the WikiTree system.

P.S.  She has received two fair answers already.

Edited to correct minor typo.

assuming people are not afraid to post

So what does a flag and 2 downvotes suggest to do then? Why post again? Anyway, I'm probably off topic given the downvote(s) I receive on this answer.

There is no need to be afraid of downvotes.  

I will respond to you further privately.
I don't understand the flag. I think a lot of G2G users may still not understand the flag is to alert power G2G users the post may need to be removed as opposed to being a flag/note to self to come back to the thread later for a re-read (or some such).
It's not that long ago another Wikitreer wanted to know how they could be "recognised" as doing a good job.  I don't recall seeing flags and downvotes to that person.

It is human nature to wish recognition for work done, to be appreciated.  To be told "you're doing a good job there".
+16 votes

Thanks for the suggestion B. I understand the current system of giving thanks by clicking on the thank you button for an action on the Wiki (you have received over 300, well done!) is possibly not given you the right feeling of appreciation. Or the appreciation badge people receive and give.

It is always hard for people given the leadership task to figure out how much and in what way they should show their appreciation. It is also different per culture (eg in my country we would probably not have implement a badge system) and I know for sure that most project leaders are very busy keeping up with their responsibilities, given we/they are all volunteers.

Maybe a suggestion I can give is to ask your project leaders directly if you are doing a good job and have done enough. That will open up a chance for them to give praise, or discuss with you what they think about your work.

But in the end it is you that has to find inner satisfaction with all this online work, which is so different from working all together in one physical area where praise or feedback is given so much easier.

edit: corrected numbers

by Michel Vorenhout G2G6 Pilot (223k points)
edited by Michel Vorenhout
Very sensible, Michel.  Thank you.
+11 votes
I think this post is a useful reminder to everyone, not just leaders, that expressing appreciation to others for the good things they do is important.

I would also like to add, Wikitree has a large variety of activities in which to participate. There's a lot of flexibility to create. We are free to do as much or as little as we wish. If there is a particular task that you're finding frustrating, stop doing it. Look around for something else that is more enjoyable.
by Leandra Ford G2G6 Pilot (119k points)
+19 votes
We do already have an Appreciation Team that works throughout WikiTree thanking people for their work. There is no way this team can find or thank everyone doing good work, but they try their best.

I am not opposed to thanking and appreciating project members, and am trying to do a better job at this, but also please remember we are a volunteer organization. Project Leaders are already maxed out as far as too many things to do and not enough time to do it in. If someone wanted to take on this role in any of the projects I lead, I would be happy for it. But I don't have time right now to set up something formally in all my projects and then do the work needed to keep it going.
by Emma MacBeath G2G6 Pilot (790k points)

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