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

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  • John D. Smith
    All of the discussion about summarization so far assumes that a community almost exclusively lives on one platform. As Nancy aluded to, I think the reality is
    Message 1 of 18 , Jan 29, 2009
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      All of the discussion about summarization so far assumes that a community
      almost exclusively lives on one platform. As Nancy aluded to, I think the
      reality is quite a bit more messy. Note the private emails between Eric
      Holder and Miguel Cornejo that were mentioend in this thread. We ourselves
      interact in LOTS of different locations.

      A key event is when a discussion moves from one platform to another -- you
      know it's real when the same damn problems (and some interesting alternate
      solutions) come up in a face-to-face discussion.

      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
    • John D. Smith
      ... wrote: ... threads in the ... using the ... Sounds interesting, Steve... I wonder if you could point us to an example
      Message 2 of 18 , Jan 29, 2009
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        --- In com-prac@yahoogroups.com, "Steve Glovinsky"
        <steve.glovinsky@...> wrote:

        <snip>

        > The main product or our research service is the
        > "Consolidated Reply" - a template that synthesizes discussion
        threads in the
        > form of an executive brief and captures the experiences and references
        > offered by participants. Our aim is to get all Solution Exchanges
        using the
        > same template so that they can be indexed in a common repository (we are
        > currently building) and shared across countries.

        <snip>

        Sounds interesting, Steve...

        I wonder if you could point us to an example of either the guidelines
        or their use? A URL or a file you could share in the com-prac "files
        area" would be great: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/com-prac/files

        I think you and Nancy have implicitly brought up the importance of
        paid staff for the functioning of a community. Anything you might
        have to say about that would be very interesting, too.

        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
      • Amy
        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
        Message 3 of 18 , Jan 30, 2009
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          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
          >
        • Steve Glovinsky
          Done - I ve posted four examples from the four countries we are working in so far. I set them up as pdf files on our site at
          Message 4 of 18 , Jan 30, 2009
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            Done - I've posted four examples from the four countries we are working in
            so far. I set them up as pdf files on our site at
            www.solex-un.net/operations/comms_material/solution_exchange-un_consolidated
            _reply_examples.zip.
            Think franchise, and you will get the idea.

            And yes, John, well qualified, well trained, full-time moderators are a key
            to success. When I present to new groups I am always surprised that so many
            organizations trying to introduce Communities of Practice miss this point.
            With our focus on providing a research service this point may be more
            obvious, and I can see where the more typical discussion groups, not
            designed to "put their communities to work", would not need to be so labor
            intensive. But still, serious professional efforts usually need to be
            professionally managed....

            Steve

            (Could I put in a plug? The "franchise" is in need of funds for start-ups.
            If anyone has or knows of a possible source could they please get in touch?
            Thanks. S)



            -----Original Message-----
            From: com-prac@yahoogroups.com [mailto:com-prac@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
            Of John D. Smith
            Sent: Friday, January 30, 2009 5:53 AM
            To: com-prac@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: Re: [cp] Forums & KM: What CoP's Should Do to Manage
            Discussion-Produced Knowledge



            --- In com-prac@yahoogroup <mailto:com-prac%40yahoogroups.com> s.com, "Steve
            Glovinsky"
            <steve.glovinsky@...> wrote:

            <snip>

            > The main product or our research service is the
            > "Consolidated Reply" - a template that synthesizes discussion
            threads in the
            > form of an executive brief and captures the experiences and references
            > offered by participants. Our aim is to get all Solution Exchanges
            using the
            > same template so that they can be indexed in a common repository (we are
            > currently building) and shared across countries.

            <snip>

            Sounds interesting, Steve...

            I wonder if you could point us to an example of either the guidelines
            or their use? A URL or a file you could share in the com-prac "files
            area" would be great: http://groups.
            <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/com-prac/files>
            yahoo.com/group/com-prac/files

            I think you and Nancy have implicitly brought up the importance of
            paid staff for the functioning of a community. Anything you might
            have to say about that would be very interesting, too.

            John
            *
            * John D. Smith ~ Voice: 503.963.8229 ~ Skype: smithjd
            * Portland, Oregon, USA http://www.learning
            <http://www.learningAlliances.net> Alliances.net
            * "Your responsibility does not end with complaining. Suggest
            something better!" - Esther Dyson







            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • John D. Smith
            Great contribution, Steve! (Here s a tiny URL that s un-folded: http://tinyurl.com/cv4np5 ) Highlights (from the India example) to my eye: * the original (very
            Message 5 of 18 , Jan 31, 2009
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              Great contribution, Steve!

              (Here's a tiny URL that's un-folded: http://tinyurl.com/cv4np5 )

              Highlights (from the India example) to my eye:

              * the original (very compelling) question
              * thanks to ALL the contributors
              * Overall summary
              * Detailed recommendations (from experience of responses)
              * Further resources
              * Professional contacts
              * Creative Commons License at the bottom!
              * The india example is NINETEEN PAGES!

              Very rich example.

              I took a shot at tagging it, which might be a case of the "poor man's
              summary": http://delicious.com/smithjd/summaries

              Any other comments about these examples, folks?

              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
            • joitske
              Hi Steve, Thanks for these examples, having an example gives you more of an insight that when someone just mentions it! I would like to jump on your expression
              Message 6 of 18 , Feb 1, 2009
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                Hi Steve,

                Thanks for these examples, having an example gives you more of an
                insight that when someone just mentions it!

                I would like to jump on your expression of surprise that
                organisations miss the point for the need of facilitation. I have an
                experience where we facilitated a community of practice for 2 years
                on behalf of two organisations. (you can find the case study here by
                the way: http://www.scribd.com/doc/3404250/From-a-meeting-to-a-
                community-of-practice) After the facilitators stepped down, the
                organisations felt that the community should be able to continue 'on
                its own'. I sometimes get the impression that the name community of
                practice or network has a false connotation of complete self-
                organisation. And self-organisation is fine, but then the value
                remains exactly within the small self-organised group. If you want to
                make that knowledge and the social capital more widely accessible,
                you need the kind of leveraging as you do with the facilitation. So
                in the end, the organisations loose out, as the whole thing becomes
                more invisible.

                I'm very curious to hear other people's experiences how they deal
                with this. If they recognize this too. It's like people don't see the
                downsides of complete self-organisation?

                Cheers, Joitske


                --- In com-prac@yahoogroups.com, "Steve Glovinsky"
                <steve.glovinsky@...> wrote:
                >
                > Done - I've posted four examples from the four countries we are
                working in
                > so far. I set them up as pdf files on our site at
                > www.solex-un.net/operations/comms_material/solution_exchange-
                un_consolidated
                > _reply_examples.zip.
                > Think franchise, and you will get the idea.
                >
                > And yes, John, well qualified, well trained, full-time moderators
                are a key
                > to success. When I present to new groups I am always surprised
                that so many
                > organizations trying to introduce Communities of Practice miss this
                point.
                > With our focus on providing a research service this point may be
                more
                > obvious, and I can see where the more typical discussion groups, not
                > designed to "put their communities to work", would not need to be
                so labor
                > intensive. But still, serious professional efforts usually need to
                be
                > professionally managed....
                >
                > Steve
                >
                > (Could I put in a plug? The "franchise" is in need of funds for
                start-ups.
                > If anyone has or knows of a possible source could they please get
                in touch?
                > Thanks. S)
                >
                >
                >
                > -----Original Message-----
                > From: com-prac@yahoogroups.com [mailto:com-prac@yahoogroups.com] On
                Behalf
                > Of John D. Smith
                > Sent: Friday, January 30, 2009 5:53 AM
                > To: com-prac@yahoogroups.com
                > Subject: Re: [cp] Forums & KM: What CoP's Should Do to Manage
                > Discussion-Produced Knowledge
                >
                >
                >
                > --- In com-prac@yahoogroup <mailto:com-prac%40yahoogroups.com>
                s.com, "Steve
                > Glovinsky"
                > <steve.glovinsky@> wrote:
                >
                > <snip>
                >
                > > The main product or our research service is the
                > > "Consolidated Reply" - a template that synthesizes discussion
                > threads in the
                > > form of an executive brief and captures the experiences and
                references
                > > offered by participants. Our aim is to get all Solution Exchanges
                > using the
                > > same template so that they can be indexed in a common repository
                (we are
                > > currently building) and shared across countries.
                >
                > <snip>
                >
                > Sounds interesting, Steve...
                >
                > I wonder if you could point us to an example of either the
                guidelines
                > or their use? A URL or a file you could share in the com-prac "files
                > area" would be great: http://groups.
                > <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/com-prac/files>
                > yahoo.com/group/com-prac/files
                >
                > I think you and Nancy have implicitly brought up the importance of
                > paid staff for the functioning of a community. Anything you might
                > have to say about that would be very interesting, too.
                >
                > John
                > *
                > * John D. Smith ~ Voice: 503.963.8229 ~ Skype: smithjd
                > * Portland, Oregon, USA http://www.learning
                > <http://www.learningAlliances.net> Alliances.net
                > * "Your responsibility does not end with complaining. Suggest
                > something better!" - Esther Dyson
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                >
              • John D. Smith
                This whole discussion could be summarized here: http://cpsquare.org/wiki/index.php?title=Text_Discussions_with_Wikis (We re trying to consolidate a lot of
                Message 7 of 18 , Feb 1, 2009
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                  This whole discussion could be summarized here:

                  http://cpsquare.org/wiki/index.php?title=Text_Discussions_with_Wikis

                  (We're trying to consolidate a lot of resources about CoPs from
                  various locations into one public wiki. ALL com-prac members are
                  invited to sign-up. Because of the amount of SPAM on an earlier
                  effort, I'm controlling access in advance: passers-by can't edit, but,
                  like com-prac, once you've said something useful, you're welcome to
                  speak up. So, do request an account:

                  http://cpsquare.org/wiki/index.php?title=Special:RequestAccount

                  And other useful discussions here on com-prac could be gathered
                  together there.

                  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
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