Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

RE: [cp] Quote on World Communication

Expand Messages
  • Rosanna Tarsiero
    David, You wrote: I think we should be wary of placing an ideological overlay of cause based on an ideal model of behaviour. If communities that persist
    Message 1 of 15 , Dec 17, 2006
    • 0 Attachment
      David,



      You wrote:
      "I think we should be wary
      of placing an ideological overlay of cause based on an ideal model of
      behaviour. If communities that persist (which is about the only
      measure of success I can think of) then I think they are the result
      of an emergent process within a complex system. If that is the case,
      they while we can influence that emergence we cannot determine it,
      and each context will be unique."



      It's the old debate: are things objective or subjective? If we say they are
      "all objective" we might solve some problems but sound like "I know it all"
      (at least at times). If we say they are "all subjective" we for sure sound
      nicer but won't be able to make an argument on why people should pay us to
      work on their problems since we have no idea on how to go about solving them
      :-)



      I say it's probably something in between (ie relativism). Some things can
      probably be thought of in advance, some others can't even be explained.



      It reminds me of medicine. art or science? A good doc in all likelihood is
      both (at least at times), while bad doctors either force algorithms on
      anecdotes and very individual situations or aren't able to see a common
      pattern out of a situation just because they're in love with being an
      "artist".



      Practice has to be creative. No fence, no dogma. Even when the dogma is some
      "what in the bleep do we know" thingy.




      Rosanna Tarsiero
      Online Facilitator





      Work: 3905026116
      Mobile: 393356759481

      Email: <mailto:rosanna@...> rosanna@...
      IM: gionnethics (Skype)
      http://www.linkedin.com/in/gionnetto
      My Blog <http://gionnetto.blogspot.com/>

      <http://www.gionnethics.com> Gionnethics

      <http://maps.google.com/maps?q=Via+Antonio+Ceci%2C+13%2CPisa+56125%2CItaly&h
      l=en> Via Antonio Ceci, 13
      Pisa 56125 Italy




      Want a signature like <http://www.linkedin.com/e/sig/1127530/> this?



      _____

      From: com-prac@yahoogroups.com [mailto:com-prac@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
      Of Dave Snowden
      Sent: domenica 17 dicembre 2006 20.54
      To: com-prac@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [cp] Quote on World Communication



      Interesting statement here Rosanna (I have snipped it below) - is the
      statement an opinion, or is it backed up by evidence? If the latter
      would be very interested in the source(s). Is it specific to a
      context (say academic rather than industry or to both)?

      I have seen the situation you describe, but rarely. My (anecdotal)
      experience is that most communities fail simply because they run out
      of steam, were badly structured, become dominated by the mediocre as
      a result of which serious experts fail to participate, become formal
      and bureaucratic and many other interacting reasons.

      Of course this does not apply to emergent or informal networks which
      have varying half lives and (as far as I can see) little common
      patterns in failure and success. However if you look at most of the
      on line communities they tend to be dominated (as is this one) by a
      limited number of active participants.

      Now its true that in some intellectual traditions (and especially the
      ones that dominate western thinking) we like to ascribe cause to
      events. Its also common in the social sciences with the confusion of
      correlation and causation reaching epidemic proportions among
      doctoral candidates and experienced researchers alike.

      I am more dubious that there is a right or a wrong way to behave in
      communities. Different things work in different circumstances:
      including expert domination in some cases. I think we should be wary
      of placing an ideological overlay of cause based on an ideal model of
      behaviour. If communities that persist (which is about the only
      measure of success I can think of) then I think they are the result
      of an emergent process within a complex system. If that is the case,
      they while we can influence that emergence we cannot determine it,
      and each context will be unique.

      Dave Snowden
      Founder & Chief Scientific Officer
      Cognitive Edge Pte Ltd

      snowded@mac. <mailto:snowded%40mac.com> com
      Now blogging at www.cognitive-edge.com
      Skype: snowded

      On 18 Dec 2006, at 01:13, Rosanna Tarsiero wrote:

      > If you look at community failures, you almost always find out that the
      > reason for the failure was some "smart person" valuing his/her PhD,
      > reading
      > materials, experiences as "superior", his/her inability to
      > criticize his/her
      > own preferred methods for learning and interacting with the
      > environment
      > (often defended to extremes, such as continuous referrals to only to
      > textbooks which backed up their own convictions) and - finally -
      > strong
      > assumptions that their way (whatever it is) was the way most people
      > do view
      > "it" (whatever the topic is) or "should" view it.

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]





      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Dave Snowden
      Thanks Rosanna I would still appreciate an answer as to the authority (happy to accept its anecdotal opinion) on your first statement on the dominant reason
      Message 2 of 15 , Dec 17, 2006
      • 0 Attachment
        Thanks Rosanna

        I would still appreciate an answer as to the authority (happy to
        accept its anecdotal opinion) on your first statement on the dominant
        reason for community failure being down to dominant/arrogant
        individuals.

        The objective/subjective debate is an old one and relativism to my
        mind a poor compromise. However emergence and non-causal systems are
        fairly recent and gives us a very new take on what is not only an
        old, but a sterile debate. The literature is full of new takes on
        social constructivism, relativism, mind-brain identity etc as we have
        some new science that helps explain the way that things emerge.

        Your statement "If we say they are "all subjective" we for sure sound
        nicer but won't be able to make an argument on why people should pay
        us to work on their problems since we have no idea on how to go about
        solving them :-)" is an interesting one and I hope the smily face
        indicates the use of irony ....

        If successful community building is not specifically traceable back
        to types of behaviours, or failure to one behaviour; that is to say
        my argument that successful communities are emergent properties of
        complex interactions, then life gets more interesting. It argues for
        a facilitative role which is not based on causal statements. There
        are times when you need a fence (remember Robert Frost's poem Mending
        Wall text at http://www.cognitive-edge.com/2006/10/boundaries.php),
        there are times when fences are a bad idea. Dogma also has its uses
        in specific contexts.

        Causality is essential to the classic consultant/psycho-counselling
        approach to solving problems. Its also comfortable to managers and
        other people with the problems. We like simple "do this" or "don't
        do this" instructions based on retrospective coherence. Easier to
        sell maybe, but authentic to the truth, no.



        Dave Snowden
        Founder & Chief Scientific Officer
        Cognitive Edge Pte Ltd


        snowded@...
        Now blogging at www.cognitive-edge.com
        Skype: snowded



        On 18 Dec 2006, at 05:45, Rosanna Tarsiero wrote:

        > David,
        >
        > You wrote:
        > "I think we should be wary
        > of placing an ideological overlay of cause based on an ideal model of
        > behaviour. If communities that persist (which is about the only
        > measure of success I can think of) then I think they are the result
        > of an emergent process within a complex system. If that is the case,
        > they while we can influence that emergence we cannot determine it,
        > and each context will be unique."
        >
        > It's the old debate: are things objective or subjective? If we say
        > they are
        > "all objective" we might solve some problems but sound like "I know
        > it all"
        > (at least at times). If we say they are "all subjective" we for
        > sure sound
        > nicer but won't be able to make an argument on why people should
        > pay us to
        > work on their problems since we have no idea on how to go about
        > solving them
        > :-)
        >
        > I say it's probably something in between (ie relativism). Some
        > things can
        > probably be thought of in advance, some others can't even be
        > explained.
        >
        > It reminds me of medicine. art or science? A good doc in all
        > likelihood is
        > both (at least at times), while bad doctors either force algorithms on
        > anecdotes and very individual situations or aren't able to see a
        > common
        > pattern out of a situation just because they're in love with being an
        > "artist".
        >
        > Practice has to be creative. No fence, no dogma. Even when the
        > dogma is some
        > "what in the bleep do we know" thingy.
        >
        > Rosanna Tarsiero
        > Online Facilitator
        >
        > Work: 3905026116
        > Mobile: 393356759481
        >
        > Email: <mailto:rosanna@...> rosanna@...
        > IM: gionnethics (Skype)
        > http://www.linkedin.com/in/gionnetto
        > My Blog <http://gionnetto.blogspot.com/>
        >
        > <http://www.gionnethics.com> Gionnethics
        >
        > <http://maps.google.com/maps?q=Via+Antonio+Ceci%2C+13%2CPisa+56125%
        > 2CItaly&h
        > l=en> Via Antonio Ceci, 13
        > Pisa 56125 Italy
        >
        > Want a signature like <http://www.linkedin.com/e/sig/1127530/> this?
        >
        > _____
        >
        > From: com-prac@yahoogroups.com [mailto:com-prac@yahoogroups.com] On
        > Behalf
        > Of Dave Snowden
        > Sent: domenica 17 dicembre 2006 20.54
        > To: com-prac@yahoogroups.com
        > Subject: Re: [cp] Quote on World Communication
        >
        > Interesting statement here Rosanna (I have snipped it below) - is the
        > statement an opinion, or is it backed up by evidence? If the latter
        > would be very interested in the source(s). Is it specific to a
        > context (say academic rather than industry or to both)?
        >
        > I have seen the situation you describe, but rarely. My (anecdotal)
        > experience is that most communities fail simply because they run out
        > of steam, were badly structured, become dominated by the mediocre as
        > a result of which serious experts fail to participate, become formal
        > and bureaucratic and many other interacting reasons.
        >
        > Of course this does not apply to emergent or informal networks which
        > have varying half lives and (as far as I can see) little common
        > patterns in failure and success. However if you look at most of the
        > on line communities they tend to be dominated (as is this one) by a
        > limited number of active participants.
        >
        > Now its true that in some intellectual traditions (and especially the
        > ones that dominate western thinking) we like to ascribe cause to
        > events. Its also common in the social sciences with the confusion of
        > correlation and causation reaching epidemic proportions among
        > doctoral candidates and experienced researchers alike.
        >
        > I am more dubious that there is a right or a wrong way to behave in
        > communities. Different things work in different circumstances:
        > including expert domination in some cases. I think we should be wary
        > of placing an ideological overlay of cause based on an ideal model of
        > behaviour. If communities that persist (which is about the only
        > measure of success I can think of) then I think they are the result
        > of an emergent process within a complex system. If that is the case,
        > they while we can influence that emergence we cannot determine it,
        > and each context will be unique.
        >
        > Dave Snowden
        > Founder & Chief Scientific Officer
        > Cognitive Edge Pte Ltd
        >
        > snowded@mac. <mailto:snowded%40mac.com> com
        > Now blogging at www.cognitive-edge.com
        > Skype: snowded
        >
        > On 18 Dec 2006, at 01:13, Rosanna Tarsiero wrote:
        >
        > > If you look at community failures, you almost always find out
        > that the
        > > reason for the failure was some "smart person" valuing his/her PhD,
        > > reading
        > > materials, experiences as "superior", his/her inability to
        > > criticize his/her
        > > own preferred methods for learning and interacting with the
        > > environment
        > > (often defended to extremes, such as continuous referrals to only to
        > > textbooks which backed up their own convictions) and - finally -
        > > strong
        > > assumptions that their way (whatever it is) was the way most people
        > > do view
        > > "it" (whatever the topic is) or "should" view it.
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
        >
        >



        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Cornejo Castro, Miguel
        I guess it could be a common shared framework, and then on top of that every individual difference you can invent. Kind of different but compatible . Or then
        Message 3 of 15 , Dec 18, 2006
        • 0 Attachment
          I guess it could be a common shared framework, and then on top of that every individual difference you can invent. Kind of "different but compatible".

          Or then again it could be something else :-).

          As a third option, maybe it means there can't be a world community since those foundations are so unlikely.




          -----Mensaje original-----
          De: com-prac@yahoogroups.com en nombre de Hinton, B (Brad)
          Enviado el: lun 18/12/2006 1:03
          Para: com-prac@yahoogroups.com; onlinefacilitation@yahoogroups.com
          Asunto: RE: [cp] Quote on World Communication

          Rosanna,

          I like the quote but wonder where points of difference are accommodated
          here. If everything is common to everything else, what do we really
          have? Is this where sub-cultures and anarchists split off from the norm?

          Regards,
          Brad Hinton
          Manager, Information Services
          Rabobank
          Level 16 Darling Park Tower 3
          201 Sussex Street Sydney NSW 2000
          GPO Box 4577 Sydney NSW 2001
          Australia
          PH: +61 (0)2 81152437
          FX: +61 (0)2 80832437
          Email: Brad.Hinton@...
          Web: www.rabobank.com.au


          ________________________________

          From: com-prac@yahoogroups.com [mailto:com-prac@yahoogroups.com] On
          Behalf Of Rosanna Tarsiero
          Sent: Monday, 18 December 2006 10:45 AM
          To: onlinefacilitation@yahoogroups.com; com-prac@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: [cp] Quote on World Communication



          "A world community can only exist with world communication, which means
          something more than extensive software facilities scattered about the
          globe.
          It means common understanding, a common tradition, common ideas and
          common
          ideals."

          --Robert M. Hutchins






          _____________________________________________________________

          This email (including any attachments to it) is confidential, legally privileged, subject to copyright and is sent for the personal attention of the intended recipient only. If you have received this email in error, please advise us immediately and delete it. You are notified that disclosing, copying, distributing or taking any action in reliance on the contents of this information is strictly prohibited. Although we have taken reasonable precautions to ensure no viruses are present in this email, we cannot accept responsibility for any loss or damage arising from the viruses in this email or attachments. We exclude any liability for the content of this email, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided in this email or its attachments, unless that information is subsequently confirmed in writing. If this email contains an offer, that should be considered as an invitation to treat.
          _____________________________________________________________

          If this e-Mail contains marketing material and you do not wish to receive such material by e-Mail in future, please reply to this e-Mail and place the words "Remove My Details - Electronic Messages" in the Subject Header.

          The Rabobank Group
          Australia: 1800 025 484
          New Zealand: 0800 500 933


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]




          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Pete Bond
          Hi Ros and everyone, I would prefer conversation to communication . World communities already exist, that is, ones which are spread globally, but there ll
          Message 4 of 15 , Dec 19, 2006
          • 0 Attachment
            Hi Ros and everyone,

            I would prefer 'conversation' to 'communication'. World communities already
            exist, that is, ones which are spread globally, but there'll never be a
            totally uniform, totally monolithic world culture. Even though the trend is
            toward a dominant one, dominated itself by white anglo saxon christians and
            extreme capitalist values, I don't welcome it.

            I would welcome a world straddling community that is more ethical, more
            ecologically concerned, one with a lot more love, more tolerance, one more
            respectful of other communities, and more inclusive. Hopefully, it would
            also generate a lot less rhetoric, aggressive posturing, and be less
            materialistic. Should we try to talk that one up?

            What I'm saying is that its all very well having a 'world community' but its
            got to be one that loves the world, not one that is at best indifferent
            towards it, and at worst simply treats it as a resource to be plundered to
            destruction.

            I'm celebrating Christmas, if you do, then I hope you have a good one too,
            and a happy new year.

            May your gods go with you.
            --
            peter
          • Benoit Couture
            Peter, You asked: Should we try to talk that one up? I could not resist, as I am of the opinion that without such community as you describe, I do not see a
            Message 5 of 15 , Dec 19, 2006
            • 0 Attachment
              Peter,

              You asked: "Should we try to talk that one up?"
              I could not resist, as I am of the opinion that without such community as you describe, I do not see a future worth being around for. Here is an exerpt of how I formulated my dream for the coming year, at the lab where I seek to organize my thoughts:


              "The dream I have is for the discovery of the passage from personal dream
              to reality, upon the emergence of the ground where humanity's ocean of
              needs are met in the awakening to the organic experience of spiritual
              unity...
              ...The local community I belong to has sought to materialise the dream of
              humanity's diversity to live as one, sharing the same reality of space
              and governance for 400 years. Because of my personal circumstances and
              because of that 400 years context, I find myself in a physical
              situation where dreaming and reality are left to the passage of Canada
              into the maturing of a mature of a people of all people. That leaves us
              with the Quest for Home of the universal citizenship from personal to
              communal, from local to global, waiting and praying for the weaving of
              God from out of our dreams and into the reality that transcends the
              entity of terror-anti-terror, with the training to satisfy the inner
              life with spiritual living, away from the enslavement to the instincts
              of animal human rule. A mature people of all people is needed to rise in full view of the human race!
              The complete letter is at:
              http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/cyfranogi/message/1938

              ...all blessings be with us all...
              Benoit Couture




              Pete Bond <plbond@...> wrote:
              Hi Ros and everyone,

              I would prefer 'conversation' to 'communication'. World communities already
              exist, that is, ones which are spread globally, but there'll never be a
              totally uniform, totally monolithic world culture. Even though the trend is
              toward a dominant one, dominated itself by white anglo saxon christians and
              extreme capitalist values, I don't welcome it.

              I would welcome a world straddling community that is more ethical, more
              ecologically concerned, one with a lot more love, more tolerance, one more
              respectful of other communities, and more inclusive. Hopefully, it would
              also generate a lot less rhetoric, aggressive posturing, and be less
              materialistic. Should we try to talk that one up?

              What I'm saying is that its all very well having a 'world community' but its
              got to be one that loves the world, not one that is at best indifferent
              towards it, and at worst simply treats it as a resource to be plundered to
              destruction.

              I'm celebrating Christmas, if you do, then I hope you have a good one too,
              and a happy new year.

              May your gods go with you.
              --
              peter






              ---------------------------------
              Everyone is raving about the all-new Yahoo! Mail beta.

              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Cornejo Castro, Miguel
              Hello all, as usual, I d like to bore you with some of the stats we gather to follow and tune the forums at the Macuarium community system. We ve just
              Message 6 of 15 , Dec 22, 2006
              • 0 Attachment
                Hello all,

                as usual, I'd like to bore you with some of the stats we gather to
                follow and tune the forums at the Macuarium community system. We've just
                published the yearly report of objective indicators (surveys are not
                annual, and facilitator reports are not public) here.

                http://www.macuarium.com/cms/macu/noticias/evolucion-de-macuarium.html

                Comments appreciated... especially those about other objective
                indicators somebody may be measuring :-).

                Best regards and merry Christmas,

                Miguel


                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Cornejo Castro, Miguel
                Hi Dave, ... (...) ... I don t know about other cases, observations our sources, but I know know the track record of a number of online communities I ve
                Message 7 of 15 , Dec 22, 2006
                • 0 Attachment
                  Hi Dave,

                  you said:

                  >- is [Rosanna's]
                  >statement an opinion, or is it backed up by evidence? If the latter
                  >would be very interested in the source(s). Is it specific to a
                  >context (say academic rather than industry or to both)?

                  (...)

                  >I am more dubious that there is a right or a wrong way to behave in
                  >communities. Different things work in different circumstances:
                  >including expert domination in some cases.

                  I don't know about other cases, observations our sources, but I know
                  know the track record of a number of online communities I've managed,
                  and one of the facilitator rules evolved from experience is "avoid
                  expert dominance".

                  - If the expert is the facilitator, and he/she shoulders the weight of
                  conversation (which is likely in that position), you get a "blog" forum,
                  not a community. That decreases participation and therefore relevance,
                  stifles innovation... and overloads the facilitator.

                  - If the expert is not the facilitator, and he/she gets a prominent role
                  in the community ("prominent" as in "deferred to"), you're bound to have
                  relationship trouble sooner or later. Recognising expertise "per se" (as
                  opposed to expertise demonstrated in the CoP) is hard to do and
                  counterproductive; the CoP is supposed to stimulated discussions among
                  equals (which will require some initial qualification), where every
                  point of view is worthy of regard and no-one owns the truth. Having an
                  acting guru among the CoP is a distortion of that process and gets in
                  the way of initiatives and innovation, and also in the way of group
                  cohesion and fidelisation. It's stifling, it spawns cliques, it
                  increases the probability of a breakaway, it's generally bad for CoP
                  health. "Expert domination" is bad news.

                  - BUT, of course, you can have experts within a CoP, playing "member"
                  role, however active. Respectful experts, well-mannered experts. Highly
                  appreciated members, when they contribute. That's invaluable. That's
                  great. That's to be aimed for. Just keep them from monopolising the
                  conversation.

                  That said, an expert is a good starting point for a CoP, a focus or
                  anchor for conversation before the CoP is really there.

                  In other words: "keep the gurus in their place, don't give them any
                  special treatment" is a standing, prudent rule with my team. It's proven
                  to be good for CoP survival and relevance.

                  That has been my experience in the last 8 years, managing some 25
                  different online communities (most of them within the same system, and
                  yet with different fields and cultures). I have not formalised any
                  research about it (yet :-)) but I'd be happy to help with enabling
                  observations. And of course there may be different experiences and
                  opinions.

                  Best regards and merry Christmas,

                  Miguel

                  On 18 Dec 2006, at 01:13, Rosanna Tarsiero wrote:

                  > If you look at community failures, you almost always find out that the
                  > reason for the failure was some "smart person" valuing his/her PhD,
                  > reading
                  > materials, experiences as "superior", his/her inability to
                  > criticize his/her
                  > own preferred methods for learning and interacting with the
                  > environment
                  > (often defended to extremes, such as continuous referrals to only to
                  > textbooks which backed up their own convictions) and - finally -
                  > strong
                  > assumptions that their way (whatever it is) was the way most people
                  > do view
                  > "it" (whatever the topic is) or "should" view it.



                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Dave Snowden
                  Thanks for this Miguel - and I agree with most of the points you make. I have spent most of my recent life in narrative and other fields that seek to reduce
                  Message 8 of 15 , Dec 22, 2006
                  • 0 Attachment
                    Thanks for this Miguel - and I agree with most of the points you
                    make. I have spent most of my recent life in narrative and other
                    fields that seek to reduce as far as possible expert, but as
                    critically facilitator influence over interpretation of complex
                    social phenomena. That means I have a natural sympathy to arguments
                    that try and reduce the role of experts in this respect.

                    However three important qualifiers to this:

                    1 - there is a role for experts. In a medical CoP one would not
                    necessarily place the same weight on the opinion of a non-expert to
                    that of an expert. The same in an engineering community etc. etc.
                    Quality in community participation is not universal it is (like most
                    things) contextual.

                    2 - Rosanna made the (so far undefended and I suspect indefensible)
                    proposition that "If you look at community failures, you almost
                    always find out that the reason for the failure was some 'smart
                    person' ...." I can happily accept that this is a cause or rather
                    an influencing factor behind failure, but not that it will "almost
                    always" be found.

                    3 - In removing the tyranny of the expert we do not want to become
                    subject to the tyranny of on-line facilitator who knows best how
                    people should interact. The ability to string together platitude
                    with the odd bit of pseudo-scientific jargon can be as bad the expert
                    in enabling group interaction. Suppression of debate for example
                    often results in a community becoming bland and in effect dying
                    through irrelevance.

                    I think you make an important distinction between a blog forum and an
                    on line community. The blog community is built around one person's
                    opinion and the other people who link to them. I was talking with
                    Euan Semple about this yesterday (the conversation will be pod cast)
                    and one of the conclusions we both came to is that one has to be more
                    cautious in a blog that in an on line community - the validation
                    process is more open and can be harder. So while there is a
                    difference, with cross linking and an increasing number of collective
                    blogs I can see the blogosphere starting to take over from a large
                    part of the on-line community and list-serve environments. Now by
                    definition such networks are self facilitated and emergent.

                    Assuming multiple participation then I think your phrases "well
                    mannered" and "respectful" apply to all participants not just
                    experts. A knowledge of your limitations is probably the most
                    important and the ability to signal when you are making a statement
                    which may not be supported by evidence. In my experience experts
                    (proven as such or self-appointed) are no more or less vulnerable
                    than others in failing this requirement.

                    You seem to use the word guru and expert interchangeably which I
                    think is a mistake by the way. I have never been happy with the guru
                    mentality (and its associated cult like behaviour) which seems to
                    have become a part of management theory and "fad waves" over the last
                    two decades.



                    Dave Snowden
                    Founder & Chief Scientific Officer
                    Cognitive Edge Pte Ltd


                    snowded@...
                    Now blogging at www.cognitive-edge.com
                    Skype: snowded

                    UK mobile+44 7795 437 293

                    Rowan Cottage
                    51 Lockeridge
                    Marlborough
                    SN8 4EL
                    United Kingdom




                    On 22 Dec 2006, at 10:24, Cornejo Castro, Miguel wrote:

                    > Hi Dave,
                    >
                    > you said:
                    >
                    > >- is [Rosanna's]
                    > >statement an opinion, or is it backed up by evidence? If the latter
                    > >would be very interested in the source(s). Is it specific to a
                    > >context (say academic rather than industry or to both)?
                    >
                    > (...)
                    >
                    > >I am more dubious that there is a right or a wrong way to behave in
                    > >communities. Different things work in different circumstances:
                    > >including expert domination in some cases.
                    >
                    > I don't know about other cases, observations our sources, but I know
                    > know the track record of a number of online communities I've managed,
                    > and one of the facilitator rules evolved from experience is "avoid
                    > expert dominance".
                    >
                    > - If the expert is the facilitator, and he/she shoulders the weight of
                    > conversation (which is likely in that position), you get a "blog"
                    > forum,
                    > not a community. That decreases participation and therefore relevance,
                    > stifles innovation... and overloads the facilitator.
                    >
                    > - If the expert is not the facilitator, and he/she gets a prominent
                    > role
                    > in the community ("prominent" as in "deferred to"), you're bound to
                    > have
                    > relationship trouble sooner or later. Recognising expertise "per
                    > se" (as
                    > opposed to expertise demonstrated in the CoP) is hard to do and
                    > counterproductive; the CoP is supposed to stimulated discussions among
                    > equals (which will require some initial qualification), where every
                    > point of view is worthy of regard and no-one owns the truth. Having an
                    > acting guru among the CoP is a distortion of that process and gets in
                    > the way of initiatives and innovation, and also in the way of group
                    > cohesion and fidelisation. It's stifling, it spawns cliques, it
                    > increases the probability of a breakaway, it's generally bad for CoP
                    > health. "Expert domination" is bad news.
                    >
                    > - BUT, of course, you can have experts within a CoP, playing "member"
                    > role, however active. Respectful experts, well-mannered experts.
                    > Highly
                    > appreciated members, when they contribute. That's invaluable. That's
                    > great. That's to be aimed for. Just keep them from monopolising the
                    > conversation.
                    >
                    > That said, an expert is a good starting point for a CoP, a focus or
                    > anchor for conversation before the CoP is really there.
                    >
                    > In other words: "keep the gurus in their place, don't give them any
                    > special treatment" is a standing, prudent rule with my team. It's
                    > proven
                    > to be good for CoP survival and relevance.
                    >
                    > That has been my experience in the last 8 years, managing some 25
                    > different online communities (most of them within the same system, and
                    > yet with different fields and cultures). I have not formalised any
                    > research about it (yet :-)) but I'd be happy to help with enabling
                    > observations. And of course there may be different experiences and
                    > opinions.
                    >
                    > Best regards and merry Christmas,
                    >
                    > Miguel
                    >
                    > On 18 Dec 2006, at 01:13, Rosanna Tarsiero wrote:
                    >
                    > > If you look at community failures, you almost always find out
                    > that the
                    > > reason for the failure was some "smart person" valuing his/her PhD,
                    > > reading
                    > > materials, experiences as "superior", his/her inability to
                    > > criticize his/her
                    > > own preferred methods for learning and interacting with the
                    > > environment
                    > > (often defended to extremes, such as continuous referrals to only to
                    > > textbooks which backed up their own convictions) and - finally -
                    > > strong
                    > > assumptions that their way (whatever it is) was the way most people
                    > > do view
                    > > "it" (whatever the topic is) or "should" view it.
                    >
                    > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    >
                    >
                    >



                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Macuarium
                    It seems we quite agree on a lot of issues, Dave. I don t use expert and guru interchangeably :-). By guru I mean the kind of expert that feels
                    Message 9 of 15 , Dec 22, 2006
                    • 0 Attachment
                      It seems we quite agree on a lot of issues, Dave.

                      I don't use "expert" and "guru" interchangeably :-). By "guru" I mean
                      the kind of expert that feels recognition is due (before earning it in
                      the CoP) and is not ready to accept challenging opinions with grace.
                      The kind of personality likely to be at the botton of the problems
                      that Rosanna mentions.


                      IMHO participating experts, of course, are an asset to be gathered,
                      encouraged, valued... just never given special treatment if at all
                      avoidable (from the facilitators). That simply means that the rules
                      need to be the same for all (rules about acceptable behaviour, nothing
                      harsher) and everyone's efforts should be appreciated. That's
                      something a reasonable expert will appreciate and support... and a
                      guru will find unthinkable.

                      That "level playing field" is a very effective way to ease
                      participation, and with it, the flow of recognition -legitimate
                      recognition- within the CoP that will shine the spotlight on the real
                      experts. At least, it works in my experience :-).

                      This kind of community management does allow for community-earned
                      "star members". It just does not allow them to (for instance) plug a
                      product or abuse a member, if those things are forbidden to the rest,
                      or otherwise pull their weight unreasonably. And it strives to balance
                      an encouragement of expert participation with a constant effort to
                      involve "lesser experts" and learners in the conversation... so as to
                      avoid the "Sanedrin effect" :-D. But that's another issue.
                      Importantly, it strives to do all this while keeping the facilitators
                      off the limelight: they should never be the protagonists.


                      I'm not sure about Rosanna's arguments, and I certainly don't have
                      failure statistics. I do know that very many attempts at community
                      building crash because of personality problems: when the facilitator,
                      or core members, are too self-centered to allow the flow of
                      "conversations among equals" and the emergence of community practices.
                      As you say, Dave, they too can become overbearing and short-patienced.
                      That irks. Especially when that person is really not as qualified as
                      they think.

                      But we'll always have that. Collaboration is hard to do, and there
                      will always be many people who want to lead rather than be the
                      foundation stone of a common effort. As we say in Spanish, they choose
                      "to be a mouse's head better than a lion's tail". Not everyone is
                      qualified or lucky enough, and some personalities are... trouble.
                      "Gurus" tend to be.


                      Sorry for the length of the post :-D. Best regards and happy holidays,

                      Miguel




                      --- In com-prac@yahoogroups.com, Dave Snowden <snowded@...> wrote:
                      >
                      >
                      > Thanks for this Miguel - and I agree with most of the points you
                      > make. I have spent most of my recent life in narrative and other
                      > fields that seek to reduce as far as possible expert, but as
                      > critically facilitator influence over interpretation of complex
                      > social phenomena. That means I have a natural sympathy to arguments
                      > that try and reduce the role of experts in this respect.
                      >
                      > However three important qualifiers to this:
                      >
                      > 1 - there is a role for experts. In a medical CoP one would not
                      > necessarily place the same weight on the opinion of a non-expert to
                      > that of an expert. The same in an engineering community etc. etc.
                      > Quality in community participation is not universal it is (like most
                      > things) contextual.
                      >
                      > 2 - Rosanna made the (so far undefended and I suspect indefensible)
                      > proposition that "If you look at community failures, you almost
                      > always find out that the reason for the failure was some 'smart
                      > person' ...." I can happily accept that this is a cause or rather
                      > an influencing factor behind failure, but not that it will "almost
                      > always" be found.
                      >
                      > 3 - In removing the tyranny of the expert we do not want to become
                      > subject to the tyranny of on-line facilitator who knows best how
                      > people should interact. The ability to string together platitude
                      > with the odd bit of pseudo-scientific jargon can be as bad the expert
                      > in enabling group interaction. Suppression of debate for example
                      > often results in a community becoming bland and in effect dying
                      > through irrelevance.
                      >
                      > I think you make an important distinction between a blog forum and an
                      > on line community. The blog community is built around one person's
                      > opinion and the other people who link to them. I was talking with
                      > Euan Semple about this yesterday (the conversation will be pod cast)
                      > and one of the conclusions we both came to is that one has to be more
                      > cautious in a blog that in an on line community - the validation
                      > process is more open and can be harder. So while there is a
                      > difference, with cross linking and an increasing number of collective
                      > blogs I can see the blogosphere starting to take over from a large
                      > part of the on-line community and list-serve environments. Now by
                      > definition such networks are self facilitated and emergent.
                      >
                      > Assuming multiple participation then I think your phrases "well
                      > mannered" and "respectful" apply to all participants not just
                      > experts. A knowledge of your limitations is probably the most
                      > important and the ability to signal when you are making a statement
                      > which may not be supported by evidence. In my experience experts
                      > (proven as such or self-appointed) are no more or less vulnerable
                      > than others in failing this requirement.
                      >
                      > You seem to use the word guru and expert interchangeably which I
                      > think is a mistake by the way. I have never been happy with the guru
                      > mentality (and its associated cult like behaviour) which seems to
                      > have become a part of management theory and "fad waves" over the last
                      > two decades.
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > Dave Snowden
                      > Founder & Chief Scientific Officer
                      > Cognitive Edge Pte Ltd
                      >
                      >
                      > snowded@...
                      > Now blogging at www.cognitive-edge.com
                      > Skype: snowded
                      >
                      > UK mobile+44 7795 437 293
                      >
                      > Rowan Cottage
                      > 51 Lockeridge
                      > Marlborough
                      > SN8 4EL
                      > United Kingdom
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > On 22 Dec 2006, at 10:24, Cornejo Castro, Miguel wrote:
                      >
                      > > Hi Dave,
                      > >
                      > > you said:
                      > >
                      > > >- is [Rosanna's]
                      > > >statement an opinion, or is it backed up by evidence? If the latter
                      > > >would be very interested in the source(s). Is it specific to a
                      > > >context (say academic rather than industry or to both)?
                      > >
                      > > (...)
                      > >
                      > > >I am more dubious that there is a right or a wrong way to behave in
                      > > >communities. Different things work in different circumstances:
                      > > >including expert domination in some cases.
                      > >
                      > > I don't know about other cases, observations our sources, but I know
                      > > know the track record of a number of online communities I've managed,
                      > > and one of the facilitator rules evolved from experience is "avoid
                      > > expert dominance".
                      > >
                      > > - If the expert is the facilitator, and he/she shoulders the weight of
                      > > conversation (which is likely in that position), you get a "blog"
                      > > forum,
                      > > not a community. That decreases participation and therefore relevance,
                      > > stifles innovation... and overloads the facilitator.
                      > >
                      > > - If the expert is not the facilitator, and he/she gets a prominent
                      > > role
                      > > in the community ("prominent" as in "deferred to"), you're bound to
                      > > have
                      > > relationship trouble sooner or later. Recognising expertise "per
                      > > se" (as
                      > > opposed to expertise demonstrated in the CoP) is hard to do and
                      > > counterproductive; the CoP is supposed to stimulated discussions among
                      > > equals (which will require some initial qualification), where every
                      > > point of view is worthy of regard and no-one owns the truth. Having an
                      > > acting guru among the CoP is a distortion of that process and gets in
                      > > the way of initiatives and innovation, and also in the way of group
                      > > cohesion and fidelisation. It's stifling, it spawns cliques, it
                      > > increases the probability of a breakaway, it's generally bad for CoP
                      > > health. "Expert domination" is bad news.
                      > >
                      > > - BUT, of course, you can have experts within a CoP, playing "member"
                      > > role, however active. Respectful experts, well-mannered experts.
                      > > Highly
                      > > appreciated members, when they contribute. That's invaluable. That's
                      > > great. That's to be aimed for. Just keep them from monopolising the
                      > > conversation.
                      > >
                      > > That said, an expert is a good starting point for a CoP, a focus or
                      > > anchor for conversation before the CoP is really there.
                      > >
                      > > In other words: "keep the gurus in their place, don't give them any
                      > > special treatment" is a standing, prudent rule with my team. It's
                      > > proven
                      > > to be good for CoP survival and relevance.
                      > >
                      > > That has been my experience in the last 8 years, managing some 25
                      > > different online communities (most of them within the same system, and
                      > > yet with different fields and cultures). I have not formalised any
                      > > research about it (yet :-)) but I'd be happy to help with enabling
                      > > observations. And of course there may be different experiences and
                      > > opinions.
                      > >
                      > > Best regards and merry Christmas,
                      > >
                      > > Miguel
                      > >
                      > > On 18 Dec 2006, at 01:13, Rosanna Tarsiero wrote:
                      > >
                      > > > If you look at community failures, you almost always find out
                      > > that the
                      > > > reason for the failure was some "smart person" valuing his/her PhD,
                      > > > reading
                      > > > materials, experiences as "superior", his/her inability to
                      > > > criticize his/her
                      > > > own preferred methods for learning and interacting with the
                      > > > environment
                      > > > (often defended to extremes, such as continuous referrals to only to
                      > > > textbooks which backed up their own convictions) and - finally -
                      > > > strong
                      > > > assumptions that their way (whatever it is) was the way most people
                      > > > do view
                      > > > "it" (whatever the topic is) or "should" view it.
                      > >
                      > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      >
                    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.