Hi there. I am an WP author from Berlin, working in both the English and German Wikipedia. I am member of the German Wikipedia:Projekt Moderation, which works on a sort of facilitator's toolbox and would like to introduce and easen facilitating in WP discussions. I am interested to touch base here and connect and present our work to the group and receive you constructive feedback and suggestions.
I am an active Toastmaster and I am more about practical Rules of Order than about Software. But Software should enable and regard actual practices in the actual Wikipedia.
We already got a visual editor in article space. Most of the discussions are being led in Usenet mode based on a comparably simple editor.
- WP talk pages in articles on recent topics tend to develope facilitation, e.g. section proposals are being proposed and integrated into lists
- Various communities have already developed and uses different templates and structures, e.g. in opinion polls, ArbCom and featured articles.
- Any main page section has structured discussion templates, e.g. DYK in the enWP, or SG? in the deWP
- In ArbCom style conversations e.g. statement fields, not threads are being used. The reslut is about result, less about chat
However, e.g. in the discussion of a lede or disputed section, basic visualization techniques - like a table with the existing version, state of the discussion and a proposal - are not being used on a regular base. Third opinions often get lost. Tools to compare and keep an overview - e.g. the TOC of an article and proposed general changes to it are not being used. Usenet style discussions are so 1980ies - and hinder the introduction of new members outside of the Anorak camp.
It already could be done in a much more constructive and structured way. Practical example - see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Al-Maghtas#Lede
Point is - the current usenet style tries to keep all and everything visible. Facilitating is as well about hiding, removing and sorting stuff and showing the resulting compromises. If you need the thread, have a look on the version history.
That said, any project intentending to improve facilitating WP discussions should less try to implement Facebook or LiquidFeedback but helping to easen actual needs of the community. And of cause, the actual existing practices have to be involved.
How can Flow be of help in that respect? Have you ever done a survey of existing templates and discussion patterns here? And of cause, if useful, how to implement flow e.g. for the deWP facilitation project or a user page?