When I “blogged”:https://www.synesthesia.co.uk/blog/archives/collaboration/000348.php “Sam Ruby’s”:https://www.intertwingly.net “slides”:https://intertwingly.net/slides/2004/etcon/ from his “presentation”:https://conferences.oreillynet.com/cs/et2004/view/e_sess/4613 at “ETCon”:https://conferences.oreillynet.com/etech/ on lessons learned from running the “!Echo wiki”:https://www.intertwingly.net/wiki/pie/FrontPage I noted that I thought he had hit on the basics of several collaboration patterns.
I’ve put together the first draft of “LightningConductor”:https://www.synesthesia.co.uk/tiki/tiki-index.php?page=LightningConductor (named in honour of the metaphor “Sam uses”:https://intertwingly.net/slides/2004/etcon/37.html):
Group of people working collaboratively on a project or problem, especially if they are from diverse backgrounds or interest groups.
Discussions become emotionally-charged, often in a negative way. Some people may deliberately act in ways that impede or disrupt the group effort. The “HiddenAgenda”:https://www.synesthesia.co.uk/tiki/tiki-index.php?page=HiddenAgenda “antipattern”:https://www.synesthesia.co.uk/tiki/tiki-index.php?page=AntiPattern may be apparent.
Perceived historical slights
Unwillingness to negotiate over desired local outcomes in interest of better overal lresult
Lack of training / experience with collaborative working
Malicious intent from some
One or more members of the group adopt the role of Lightning Conductor – allowing themselves to be seen as representative of the overall effort, allowing themselves to be made a target for emotional attacks and choosing their responses carefully to avoid escalation.
The negative emotional energy of the collaboration is discharged and diffused, allowing work to proceed more effectively. Many participants find it possible to work constructively together once they have expressed their negative feelings or concerns. Others, who perhaps had malicious intent, will become frustrated at the lack of a matching emotional response and drift away in search of more responsive prey.