Pod leaders facilitate group activity by keeping the group safe and productive, and by consolidating the group's work in ways that preserve and amplify the group's influence. See also Pods
For the June-July Happening we will be experimenting with Wikipedia Writeathon Pods. Pod leaders will be asked to form pods around Wikipedia articles in need of expansion or improvement, or articles that are particularly provocative.
## Becoming a pod leader
You become a pod leader by organizing a pod. A pod is a small group of people (appx. 3-12) who share a common interest or goal. On the technical side what defines a pod is that all members subscribe to a common remotely managed roster owned by the pod leader. (More about rosters later)
## Pod charter
The sites in the pod roster should share a common mission and set expectations, and these expectations should be detailed somewhere online. Examples of expectations might be:
* Acceptable topics of posts * Permissible language * Expected level of contribution * External citation norms
None of this is required. It is possible to run a very lax pod, where there are no topic restrictions, people swear like 19th century sailors, do little directed work, and reuse material freely outside the wiki while never mentioning that the material came from the wiki. With the right people, this could be a fun and useful pod.
More usually, a pod might ask people to be topical "within reason", recognizing that many great things come from people being allowed to wander a bit.
What's important is that people understand what the expectations are, and accept that if they do not follow the expectations they may be removed from the roster (and it's nothing personal!).
The Pod Leader is not required to remove people for violations, but by the same token if they don't maintain a useful roster people will stop subscribing. In federated wiki there is little group lock-in, and groups that have become dysfunctional can form around new leaders (or no leaders) easily.
People tend to under-fork in federated wiki, which creates a lack of redundancy, making the system more fragile than it should be, and creating a conservatism around the acceptance and propagation of newer versions. We encourage Pod Leaders to act as editors, curating the best versions of things on the site into a form coherent to outsiders.
It's possible of course that someone other than the Pod Leader might perform this function, which is fine too. It's possible that multiple people will produce multiple full sites. But the Pod Leader needs to think about how this sort of thing gets done and make arrangements for it to happen.
In some cases ti might be advisable for the pod leader to maintain two sites -- one for consolidation, and one as their personal site.
## Be nice to your pod leader
Facilitation and organizing can be pretty thankless work. It's certainly the type of work that tends to be important but invisible.
You can structure a pod any way you like, but we suggest that you reward your pod leader somehow. A simple way to do that might be to give the leader credit when referring to work done in the pod, for example, "Participants in Jane Doe's pod on Normal Accident Theory examined this question in detail, with some interesting results..."
Or maybe you thank them on Twitter. Or by them a beer at the next conference you co-attend.
It's up to you. Your mileage may vary. But it's something to think about, right?