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8109Re: [cp] Forums & KM: What CoP's Should Do to Manage Discussion-Produced Knowledge

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  • Amy
    Jan 30, 2009
      John,

      I really like the Q&A idea (and I'll group FAQ's with this too). One
      of the topics that comes up again and again is how to get people to
      read the manual (the "RTFM" file for you MIT grads out there). But
      people don't read manuals to solve a problem (unless desperate); they
      ask a question. If you look at the online resources available from
      companies like Microsoft, it's easy to see that this structure is
      viable and useful for people. I think that MS (and others) do invest
      time in cleaning up the responses and ensuring their accuracy.

      As for all of those archives - it's just frightening how much we
      accumulate. At least with paper, one is motivated to sort through and
      reduce the volume when it threatens to collapse on your work area or
      when you have to walk around the stack. Not so with e-files however.
      Moving platforms and doing backups are about the only time I
      personally pay attention to this. This is particularly bad for
      communities, where there are many contributors but no "owners" for the
      info.

      There is a discipline needed at the time of creation and/or use. Just
      like it's necessary to put the dirty dishes in the sink and wash them,
      so must we be motivated to refine the knowledge at the time of
      creation/use and add it to a knowledge store in a reusable, accessible
      format.

      More comments are always welcome!

      Cheers, Amy P.


      --- In com-prac@yahoogroups.com, "John D. Smith" <john.smith@...> wrote:
      >
      > 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
      > better!" — Esther Dyson
      > -----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.
      >
      >
      >
      > ------------------------------------
      >
      > *-- The email forum on communities of practice --*Yahoo! Groups Links
      >
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