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8098RE: [cp] Forums & KM: What CoP's Should Do to Manage Discussion-Produced Knowledge

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  • John D. Smith
    Jan 28, 2009
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      Re amy's comments about the archives...

      There's a chapter by Finholdt, T. A., Sproull, L., and Kiesler, S.,
      "Outsiders on the Inside: Sharing Know-How Across Space and Time," in Hinds,
      Pamela J. and Sara Kiesler (eds), Distributed Work. (Cambridge, MA: MIT
      Press, 2002), pp. 357-380.

      It's "old" but argues that the narrative style of a Q&A database were more
      frequently consulted because they had situated cues that users (especially
      remote ones) found helpful in interpreting technical knowledge that had been
      shared. The Q&A form was MORE useful and MORE USED than the summarized and
      cleaned up stuff provided by the same company in the same general technical
      area (this is all from memory and I tend to simplfy stuff, so you might go
      read it).

      The other source arguing for the long-term utility of list archives (like
      trdev) is Peter G. Kilner PhD Dissertation 2006 "The effects of socially
      relevant representations in content on members’ identities of participation
      and willingness to contribute in distributed communities of practice".
      Again, based on his presentation in CPsquare, people will situate tips and
      suggestions IN PRACTICE, suggest who they are, what level they're working
      on, etc. (and they often can be coaxed to do a better job of it).

      Bottom line: it's a BAD idea to throw away archives.

      ON THE OTHER HAND: CPsquare discussions have been kept for years and years
      and so when new poeple join I shake my head and worry that they'll
      absolutely CHOKE at the volume and complexity. Just don't know.

      John
      *
      * John D. Smith ~ Voice: 503.963.8229 ~ Skype: smithjd
      * Portland, Oregon, USA http://www.learningAlliances.net
      * “Your responsibility does not end with complaining. Suggest something
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      -----Original Message-----
      From: com-prac@yahoogroups.com [mailto:com-prac@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
      Of Amy
      Sent: Monday, January 26, 2009 7:13 AM
      To: com-prac@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [cp] Forums & KM: What CoP's Should Do to Manage
      Discussion-Produced Knowledge

      The discussion about the closing of a forum has triggered me
      thinking on the KM aspects. Just stopping a forum doesn't have to
      stop a community - the same group of people could start up again
      elsewhere (just move the tent to another location). However the
      archives are indeed lost with the move.

      This brings up an issue I've been grappling with recently: the
      discussion group/KM conundrum. Having worked in this domain for many
      years, I'm of the opinion that the majority of what is said in
      discussion forums should be deleted periodically, and that it's up
      to the forum community to capture the important info (know-how and
      know-who) in another form for ready reference by all members.

      But that doesn't seem to be the situation with the aforementioned
      community, and it's certainly not evolved beyond discussion in the
      groups I work with (in fact, members publish complete solutions out
      to the forums with attachments).

      Email archiving policies (deletion after X number of years) may be
      creating a 'burning platform' to cause companies to look more
      closely at this issue.

      So my questions are:

      -- How do we make the leap from forums to preserving the good bits
      of knowledge they produce?
      -- Do we need better tools, practice/process or both, and if so,
      what?
      -- What has worked for people on these boards?

      Web 2.0 seemed to be getting us to a place where some of this would
      be possible, but I'm afraid that proliferating forums will result in
      bigger dumpsters. I'm ok for occasional dumpster diving but I don't
      want to make a career out of it. And I don't believe that Search
      will ever be good enough to solve this issue.

      Inputs are most welcome. (I'll document the good stuff at the end of
      the discussion.)

      Cheers, Amy P.



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