Based on a lot of discussions I see here, there seems to be significant number of people on here who are either perfectionists, or are worried that they are not enough of a perfectionist to be worthy of other perfectionists on here, or who can't stand the withering disdain of perfectionists (perceived or real) and therefore leave.
Examples that I have personally seen
- Discussions about how to write sources according to very specific styles that are only used in academic circles
- Discussions on whether it is a source, reference, or citation, and of course, how to do it properly
- Discussions on how to write a list in a competition
- Multiple proposals of different rules to make sure that newbies know how to do something properly before giving them more permissions
- Multiple posts from people worried if they are doing something properly on this site or not
I could go on. And that's just in the few months I've been here.
Anytime someone is new to any activity, and community surrounding that activity, they are going to accidentally violate some norm in that community. It's natural. It can't be avoided. But it's in how that community reacts to it, is most telling.
Is the community forgiving? Helpful? Flexible? Willing to teach / mentor?
Or are they critical? Inflexible? Angry? Upset? Wanting to institute rules?
WikiTree is collaborative in nature. That is its power and advantage over other sites, including pay sites.
In order for collaboration to work, the community has to be flexible and adaptable in its nature. It has to self-heal. It has to have the tools to be able to do this. We have this here. If somebody edits a profile, and something is not right, there is always the ability to go back to a previously saved version and fix it. Everything is editable.
Because of this, we shouldn't worry about "doing it right". There is not a single, most perfect way of doing things here. There never will be. Stop worrying about it. Stop being critical of other people over it. Relax.
And this includes worrying about being embarrassed about answering questions. You took the time out of your day to try and help someone. That's awesome in my book! If your answer wasn't perfect, that's ok. You learn. Others learn.
Here's my two cents, for what it's worth:
- Lead by example. Be friendly. Be helpful.
- Mistakes happen. I've made them too. Yes, it's terribly embarrassing. Be willing to help fix mistakes when they happen. There's no shame in that. Your mistakes, and others' mistakes.
- If others make mistakes, be forgiving. Be kind in pointing them out. Help people in fixing them. Help in teaching them. Remember, you were once in their place too. We have the tools to be able to fix anything. Mistakes are never permanent. This is the digital world, and all of this data is infinitely malleable.
- This is not ours. That's right. All this work that you do, has nothing to do with you. You don't own the data. So let go. The data will be here long after you're gone, whether that means leaving WikiTree, or this world. The point is that this will be here for future generations. That's what it's all about anyway.
- It's all about Continuous Improvement. Am I a little better today than yesterday? What have I learned? Did I leave the world (and WikiTree) in a better place than when I found it? Each day? Who can I help today? What can I do tomorrow to be even just a tiny bit better?
That's my current thinking anyway.
So, Dave..... Don't worry about it. It's not about the points. It's not about being perfect. You're here. And you help, in any way that you can. That's what really matters.