Community Of Trust

... a group of authors and a moderator are assembled to review a literary work. The author is bringing a work for review, a WorkInProgress, and seeks help in refining the work. This group will develop into a CommunityOfTrust that can serve several authors. At a conference like PLoP, there are many papers to review. How do you best utilize this group?

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An effective WritersWorkshop is built on a community of trust.

Trust is a key ingredient in a SafeSetting for reviews. One important objective of the WritersWorkshop format is to guarantee a community of trust, so the author's dignity is retained.

The author is willing to release unpolished work for review in this setting, knowing that everyone knows that it is unfinished work, which implies a different review perspective than for typical, polished, conference submissions.

However, the review of a single work rarely takes longer than an hour, which is not enough time to cement long-term relationships.

A group of people can develop trust only through many shared experiences. If a WritersWorkshop is to provide a community of trust, it must be together for a period of time.

The WritersWorkshop reviewers could participate in an "OutwardBound" exercise to build trust; this is how the Hillsiders built their initial community of trust. However, there often is no time for such exercises, and such exotic measures are frowned upon in the mainstream corporate cultures that patterns mean to serve.


Organize WritersWorkshops by areas of interest that tie together the works of the authors involved. The authors/reviewers and gallery should remain with the same workshop for the duration of the reviews of all authors' works.

The manuscripts reviewed in the workshop are not published outside the workshop in which they are reviewed, until the author refines the works and offers them for wide publication.

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At PLoP, we start to build trust by assigning a PatternShepherd? to help the author prepare his or her work for the workshop. The shepherding process helps filter out the most embarrassing misfits, so that all papers enter the forum with the benefit of the shepherd's insights on what makes a good pattern.

NEXT: ModeratorGuidesTheWorkshop

-- JimCoplien 1996/8/27
[ WritersWorkshopPatterns ]

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