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owning a CoP

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  • feldme_mail
    I manage a fellowship program that trains educators to create and facilitate and lead online communities of practice. These educators all work for various
    Message 1 of 20 , Oct 12, 2010
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      I manage a fellowship program that trains educators to create and facilitate and lead online communities of practice. These educators all work for various organizations that also support their participation in this fellowship. As the fellowship nears the end, a challenge has arisen: who is the owner of these educational communities. The facilitator? the organizations? or as I maintain - the communities themselves. I'd be interested in hearing this community's thoughts on this.

      Thank you,

      Esther
      Director, Information and Technology Services
      The Lookstein Center, Bar Ilan University, Israel
    • Nancy White
      Hi Esther I have a short, very opinionated answer: the MEMBERS own it. The organizations and the facilitators steward it, they may be key enablers, but they
      Message 2 of 20 , Oct 12, 2010
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        Hi Esther

        I have a short, very opinionated answer: the MEMBERS own it. The organizations and the facilitators steward it, they may be key enablers, but they are stewards, not owners. The communities may have never come about without them, but the communities would not exist without members.

        Now, who might STEP UP to continue to steward through the transition? What are the implications of removing support? These are new questions!

        Opinionatedly yours

        Nancy

        At 07:35 AM 10/12/2010, you wrote:
        I manage a fellowship program that trains educators to create and facilitate and lead online communities of practice. These educators all work for various organizations that also support their participation in this fellowship. As the fellowship nears the end, a challenge has arisen: who is the owner of these educational communities. The facilitator? the organizations? or as I maintain - the communities themselves. I'd be interested in hearing this community's thoughts on this.

        Thank you,

        Esther
        Director, Information and Technology Services
        The Lookstein Center, Bar Ilan University, Israel



        ------------------------------------

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        Nancy White | Full Circle Associates | Connecting communities online
        nancyw@... | +1 206 517 4754 | GMT - 8 |skype - choconancy | Twitter NancyWhite
        http://www.fullcirc.com/
      • Kaye Vivian
        Hi Esther, As I understand your question, you are asking who owns the content produced by these communities, is that correct? It appears that there has been
        Message 3 of 20 , Oct 12, 2010
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          Hi Esther,

          As I understand your question, you are asking who owns the content
          produced by these communities, is that correct? It appears that there
          has been active participation and there is useful "residue" from that
          participation, and someone is raising the question about who "owns" what
          the group produced (as opposed to who owns the right to host the
          community interactions on their servers).

          First, I would ask if there were any legal agreements or informal
          contracts or terms of use generated at the beginning of the
          communities. Any communications used to structure the communities
          initially (including emails or web sites inviting people to join, one
          would assume) would have some implications for who "owns" the products
          of the communities.

          Next, have there been any discussions within the groups themselves about
          their discussions/exchanges, and how they will (or will not) be used?
          The assumptions of members who created content could be based on any of
          a number of factors. What comes to mind is a group I used to belong to
          where the "moderator" of the group regularly took the topics and
          substance of the discussions and then repackaged them as articles under
          his own by-line to elevate himself professionally and to promote the
          value of his own publications sold by subscription (where he published
          many of the articles). To me, that violated the trust/sharing inherent
          in a professional community.

          One might make a case that the organization that hosted the software and
          absorbed the expense of operating the communities "owns" the
          communities' work products that exist on its servers, and businesses are
          likely to take that stance. However, most people do not join
          communities and participate in order to build up the intellectual
          capital of an organization for free, unless it is clear from the outset,
          as it is in most corporate community situations, that the corporation
          owns the technology, the time of the participants (unless they
          participate exclusively outside of work/work hours), and whatever
          creative work results from the interactions of the community.
          Corporations typically do make that clear up front, so no one
          participates under the assumption that their words or the community
          itself belongs to them.

          What I have seen work in most non-corporate communities is that
          participants "own" their own postings. They can reprint their own words
          without permission and use them in other works freely. They may also
          blog or tweet about topics, concepts or examples that were discussed by
          others in the community. They may not, however, reprint/package (to
          sell) whole postings, the words of others (except brief, attributed
          quotes), entire discussion threads or any documents/videos/graphics that
          may have been uploaded to the community for the benefit of the community
          without first obtaining permission from the copyright owner(s). I guess
          a simple way to say it is each person owns the copyright to their own
          material, however, it is not exclusive copyright. The organization
          asserting ownership over the community is ultimately the only entity
          that can reuse and repackage any and all of the content in a way that it
          chooses, and even sell the content for profit. There might be some
          legal ramifications there, but it probably depends upon how the original
          community structure was presented and positioned with participants,
          i.e., did they participate under false pretenses?

          If your fellowship is ending, would there actually be any communities to
          own (drawing a distinction between "community" and "content")? Are the
          participants planning to maintain the community as an independent entity
          after the fellowship? If so, that further complicates the situation
          (unless they start again as a new community with new terms of
          engagement, and, one hopes, with a clear and binding user agreement).

          I don't know if this helps or muddies the waters! :)

          Best wishes,
          Kaye Vivian
        • Deb Wisniewski
          This is such a valuable discussion. I really appreciate hearing different perspectives on this issue, since I m guessing it is an issue we will be facing at
          Message 4 of 20 , Oct 12, 2010
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            This is such a valuable discussion.  I really appreciate hearing different perspectives on this issue, since I'm guessing it is an issue we will be facing at some point with our communities.  

            The organization that is currently paying for the site fees and for the time of a couple of people who are stewarding the communities are hoping that the discussions will help inform the organization about what people are interested in, care about, need training on, etc.  This has been a clear message from the start.

            What I'm concerned about is whether at some point the organization will want to either (1) exert more control over the community because they don't like what members are discussing (in which case I know our members will quit and the community could "die") or (2) use the content in ways that hadn't been discussed from the beginning... e.g., to build the intellectual capital of the organization. I should also mention that the organization that is financially supporting our communities doesn't really understand what a CoP is or how one can form and flourish online, so that's another complicating factor.

            thank to all for sharing your experiences and thoughts on this.
            Deb
            -------------------------------
            Deb Wisniewski
            Sharing Common Ground
            608-345-4761
            email: scgwis@...
            skype: debwisniewski

            Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.      - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe




            On Tue, Oct 12, 2010 at 10:52 AM, Kaye Vivian <viviak@...> wrote:
             


            Hi Esther,

            As I understand your question, you are asking who owns the content
            produced by these communities, is that correct? It appears that there
            has been active participation and there is useful "residue" from that
            participation, and someone is raising the question about who "owns" what
            the group produced (as opposed to who owns the right to host the
            community interactions on their servers).

            First, I would ask if there were any legal agreements or informal
            contracts or terms of use generated at the beginning of the
            communities. Any communications used to structure the communities
            initially (including emails or web sites inviting people to join, one
            would assume) would have some implications for who "owns" the products
            of the communities.

            Next, have there been any discussions within the groups themselves about
            their discussions/exchanges, and how they will (or will not) be used?
            The assumptions of members who created content could be based on any of
            a number of factors. What comes to mind is a group I used to belong to
            where the "moderator" of the group regularly took the topics and
            substance of the discussions and then repackaged them as articles under
            his own by-line to elevate himself professionally and to promote the
            value of his own publications sold by subscription (where he published
            many of the articles). To me, that violated the trust/sharing inherent
            in a professional community.

            One might make a case that the organization that hosted the software and
            absorbed the expense of operating the communities "owns" the
            communities' work products that exist on its servers, and businesses are
            likely to take that stance. However, most people do not join
            communities and participate in order to build up the intellectual
            capital of an organization for free, unless it is clear from the outset,
            as it is in most corporate community situations, that the corporation
            owns the technology, the time of the participants (unless they
            participate exclusively outside of work/work hours), and whatever
            creative work results from the interactions of the community.
            Corporations typically do make that clear up front, so no one
            participates under the assumption that their words or the community
            itself belongs to them.

            What I have seen work in most non-corporate communities is that
            participants "own" their own postings. They can reprint their own words
            without permission and use them in other works freely. They may also
            blog or tweet about topics, concepts or examples that were discussed by
            others in the community. They may not, however, reprint/package (to
            sell) whole postings, the words of others (except brief, attributed
            quotes), entire discussion threads or any documents/videos/graphics that
            may have been uploaded to the community for the benefit of the community
            without first obtaining permission from the copyright owner(s). I guess
            a simple way to say it is each person owns the copyright to their own
            material, however, it is not exclusive copyright. The organization
            asserting ownership over the community is ultimately the only entity
            that can reuse and repackage any and all of the content in a way that it
            chooses, and even sell the content for profit. There might be some
            legal ramifications there, but it probably depends upon how the original
            community structure was presented and positioned with participants,
            i.e., did they participate under false pretenses?

            If your fellowship is ending, would there actually be any communities to
            own (drawing a distinction between "community" and "content")? Are the
            participants planning to maintain the community as an independent entity
            after the fellowship? If so, that further complicates the situation
            (unless they start again as a new community with new terms of
            engagement, and, one hopes, with a clear and binding user agreement).

            I don't know if this helps or muddies the waters! :)

            Best wishes,
            Kaye Vivian


          • Jeffrey Keefer
            Nancy, this a great answer and I agree with your framing of it. Let s push this a little further, as I think it may have some interesting implications. How
            Message 5 of 20 , Oct 12, 2010
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              Nancy, this a great answer and I agree with your framing of it.

               

              Let’s push this a little further, as I think it may have some interesting implications.

               

              How about when the situation is such that the steward may be the only constant over time, as members of the community come and go as their needs / requirements / time waxes and wanes. While the community owns it, how can this be influenced or affected by the continued stewardship of the one or constant few?

               

              I suppose what I am getting at is the role of the steward who may be relied on to keep the community moving along, whereas it otherwise may falter and collapse if the steward ever steps back. Perhaps the relationship between the steward and the community may be a rather complex and symbiotic one?

              -----
              Jeffrey Keefer
              Project Manager, Instructional Design
              Visiting Nurse Service of New York
              1250 Broadway, 17th Floor
              New York, NY 10001
              ( Phone 212.609.6360
              Ê Fax 212.290.2167
              . jeffrey.keefer@...


              From: com-prac@yahoogroups.com [mailto:com-prac@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Nancy White
              Sent: Tuesday, October 12, 2010 11:46 AM
              To: com-prac@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: Re: [cp] owning a CoP

               

               

              Hi Esther

              I have a short, very opinionated answer: the MEMBERS own it. The organizations and the facilitators steward it, they may be key enablers, but they are stewards, not owners. The communities may have never come about without them, but the communities would not exist without members.

              Now, who might STEP UP to continue to steward through the transition? What are the implications of removing support? These are new questions!

              Opinionatedly yours

              Nancy

              At 07:35 AM 10/12/2010, you wrote:

              I manage a fellowship program that trains educators to create and facilitate and lead online communities of practice. These educators all work for various organizations that also support their participation in this fellowship. As the fellowship nears the end, a challenge has arisen: who is the owner of these educational communities. The facilitator? the organizations? or as I maintain - the communities themselves. I'd be interested in hearing this community's thoughts on this.

              Thank you,

              Esther
              Director, Information and Technology Services
              The Lookstein Center , Bar Ilan University , Israel



              ------------------------------------

              *-- The email forum on communities of practice --*Yahoo! Groups Links

              <*> To visit your group on the web, go to:
                  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/com-prac/

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              Nancy White | Full Circle Associates | Connecting communities online
              nancyw@... | +1 206 517 4754 | GMT - 8 |skype - choconancy | Twitter NancyWhite
              http://www.fullcirc.com/

            • No1CapsFan@aol.com
              Nancy, with all due respect I have to disagree. The organizations who fund this and support their employees participation in it are the owners. I think that to
              Message 6 of 20 , Oct 12, 2010
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                Nancy, with all due respect I have to disagree. The organizations who fund this and support their employees participation in it are the owners. I think that to say the members own the CoP is a bit wishful. The members being trained as a part of this fellowship will seemingly pass-through as a part of their learning. While they may well form bonds that last beyond their CoP tenure, they won't be a part of that particular learning environment as new folks are brought in. What, then, will be the glue that holds the infrastructure in place so that the CoP continues to exist if the fellowship continues but with new fellows? From a different angle, what will happen when the fellowship program and organizational support evaporates? Are you implying that the members will continue on and pay for the associated costs out of pocket? I'd bet not.
                 
                And, what was the purpose of forming the CoP and how did it form? While we don't have all of that info, I'd suspect that the organizations identified a need and came together to share costs and the benefits of those costs. Regardless of what we might holistically hope for, it's all about the ROI. If the organizations don't feel they are getting enough out of the program, they'll pull the plug. If they don't allow their employees to attend, it doesn't much matter about the philosophical musings of who owns what.
                 
                And what is the norm for the lifecycle of a CoP? Isn't it most logical that the organization would want to retain the files/documents/etc. should they be needed in the future? What normally happens when a CoP dies because it's time for it to die? Surely the organization has a vested interest to ensure that the knowledge created during the life of the CoP isn't lost or allowed to be parsed out to the members who, in this case, cross several organizational boundaries. Someone with some level of responsibility to at least one of the organizations would have to become the keeper of the artifacts. Was there a CoP charter document that outlined corporate sponsors/champions?
                 
                Maybe the better question is who owns the employees' time and who allows the employees to participate? The answer to those might get us closer to the true (if unpopular) owner.

                Dissentingly yours, Jack  ;-)


                -----Original Message-----
                From: Nancy White <nancyw@...>
                To: com-prac@yahoogroups.com
                Sent: Tue, Oct 12, 2010 11:45 am
                Subject: Re: [cp] owning a CoP

                 
                Hi Esther

                I have a short, very opinionated answer: the MEMBERS own it. The organizations and the facilitators steward it, they may be key enablers, but they are stewards, not owners. The communities may have never come about without them, but the communities would not exist without members.

                Now, who might STEP UP to continue to steward through the transition? What are the implications of removing support? These are new questions!

                Opinionatedly yours

                Nancy

                At 07:35 AM 10/12/2010, you wrote:
                I manage a fellowship program that trains educators to create and facilitate and lead online communities of practice. These educators all work for various organizations that also support their participation in this fellowship. As the fellowship nears the end, a challenge has arisen: who is the owner of these educational communities. The facilitator? the organizations? or as I maintain - the communities themselves. I'd be interested in hearing this community's thoughts on this.

                Thank you,

                Esther
                Director, Information and Technology Services
                The Lookstein Center, Bar Ilan University, Israel



                ------------------------------------

                *-- The email forum on communities of practice --*Yahoo! Groups Links

                <*> To visit your group on the web, go to:
                    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/com-prac/

                <*> Your email settings:
                    Individual Email | Traditional

                <*> To change settings online go to:
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                Nancy White | Full Circle Associates | Connecting communities online
                nancyw@... | +1 206 517 4754 | GMT - 8 |skype - choconancy | Twitter NancyWhite
                http://www.fullcirc.com/
              • Deb Wisniewski
                I wonder if there s a difference between a CoP within an organization, and one that brings people together from multiple organizations and/or the community at
                Message 7 of 20 , Oct 12, 2010
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                  I wonder if there's a difference between a CoP within an organization, and one that brings people together from multiple organizations and/or the community at large...

                  In other words, does "ownership" depends on who the members are?  Our communities include people within the sponsoring organization as well as those from other organizations.  It includes people who are able to participate in the community during their paid work hours, as well as people who are "just" interested.

                  What do you all think?
                  -------------------------------
                  Deb Wisniewski
                  Sharing Common Ground
                  608-345-4761
                  email: scgwis@...
                  skype: debwisniewski

                  Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.      - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe




                  On Tue, Oct 12, 2010 at 12:12 PM, <No1CapsFan@...> wrote:
                   

                  Nancy, with all due respect I have to disagree. The organizations who fund this and support their employees participation in it are the owners. I think that to say the members own the CoP is a bit wishful. The members being trained as a part of this fellowship will seemingly pass-through as a part of their learning. While they may well form bonds that last beyond their CoP tenure, they won't be a part of that particular learning environment as new folks are brought in. What, then, will be the glue that holds the infrastructure in place so that the CoP continues to exist if the fellowship continues but with new fellows? From a different angle, what will happen when the fellowship program and organizational support evaporates? Are you implying that the members will continue on and pay for the associated costs out of pocket? I'd bet not.
                   
                  And, what was the purpose of forming the CoP and how did it form? While we don't have all of that info, I'd suspect that the organizations identified a need and came together to share costs and the benefits of those costs. Regardless of what we might holistically hope for, it's all about the ROI. If the organizations don't feel they are getting enough out of the program, they'll pull the plug. If they don't allow their employees to attend, it doesn't much matter about the philosophical musings of who owns what.
                   
                  And what is the norm for the lifecycle of a CoP? Isn't it most logical that the organization would want to retain the files/documents/etc. should they be needed in the future? What normally happens when a CoP dies because it's time for it to die? Surely the organization has a vested interest to ensure that the knowledge created during the life of the CoP isn't lost or allowed to be parsed out to the members who, in this case, cross several organizational boundaries. Someone with some level of responsibility to at least one of the organizations would have to become the keeper of the artifacts. Was there a CoP charter document that outlined corporate sponsors/champions?
                   
                  Maybe the better question is who owns the employees' time and who allows the employees to participate? The answer to those might get us closer to the true (if unpopular) owner.

                  Dissentingly yours, Jack  ;-)


                  -----Original Message-----
                  From: Nancy White <nancyw@...>
                  To: com-prac@yahoogroups.com
                  Sent: Tue, Oct 12, 2010 11:45 am
                  Subject: Re: [cp] owning a CoP

                   
                  Hi Esther

                  I have a short, very opinionated answer: the MEMBERS own it. The organizations and the facilitators steward it, they may be key enablers, but they are stewards, not owners. The communities may have never come about without them, but the communities would not exist without members.

                  Now, who might STEP UP to continue to steward through the transition? What are the implications of removing support? These are new questions!

                  Opinionatedly yours

                  Nancy

                  At 07:35 AM 10/12/2010, you wrote:
                  I manage a fellowship program that trains educators to create and facilitate and lead online communities of practice. These educators all work for various organizations that also support their participation in this fellowship. As the fellowship nears the end, a challenge has arisen: who is the owner of these educational communities. The facilitator? the organizations? or as I maintain - the communities themselves. I'd be interested in hearing this community's thoughts on this.

                  Thank you,

                  Esther
                  Director, Information and Technology Services
                  The Lookstein Center, Bar Ilan University, Israel



                  ------------------------------------

                  *-- The email forum on communities of practice --*Yahoo! Groups Links

                  <*> To visit your group on the web, go to:
                      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/com-prac/

                  <*> Your email settings:
                      Individual Email | Traditional

                  <*> To change settings online go to:
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                  Nancy White | Full Circle Associates | Connecting communities online
                  nancyw@... | +1 206 517 4754 | GMT - 8 |skype - choconancy | Twitter NancyWhite
                  http://www.fullcirc.com/


                • Kaye Vivian
                  Hi Jeffrey, the point you make is valid... In many communities, the steward is the only constant over time. However, that is an indicator for an unhealthy
                  Message 8 of 20 , Oct 12, 2010
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                    Hi Jeffrey, the point you make is valid... In many communities, the steward is the only constant over time.  However, that is an indicator for an "unhealthy" community.  If the members don't receive enough personal gratification and value from participating to feel personal ownership in their community like Nancy described, then the community is not healthy.  It's just a resource for people to drop in and get information from, but it lacks that intangible quality of "community", where a solid core of people get to know and respect each other over time, and enjoy the exchanges around their shared interest.  Such a "steward" would need to spend some time broadening the ownership of the community by encouraging others to speak more and set the overall group direction and become somewhat invisible.  Members need to feel ownership in their community, or it's just another information source among thousands of others they never get around to using.

                    Jack, your message was primarily corporate focused, while Esther's group(s) are clearly not corporate.  As you can see from my previous message, I believe that corporate communities have their own unique set of rules, expectations and governance.  I often argue, in fact, that corporations don't have true "communities"...they have special interest groups who are collaborating on creating intellectual capital on a certain topic for the benefit of the organization (hey, that's not a bad definition!).  It's a completely different dynamic.  People in corporate communities can be judged, evaluated, rewarded, compensated, traced, and influenced on a different scale than is used for a *voluntary* participation community like mothers of autistic children or the Minneapolis soccer league or friends of the bald eagle. 

                    Your comment about ROI is only relevant to corporate communities.  Corporations focus on ROI because that is what they do -- they create value/products/knowledge at a cost and then sell it for profit.  In most communities of interest, however, the only ROI that exists is the personal satisfaction each member gets from contributing to an interesting discussion or helping to solve a problem.   And the only governance that exists is skeletal guidelines for how to interact respectfully.   I liked your question about "the glue that holds a fellowship together."  I think that is an important question for Esther.  I'm sure in the Com-Prac archives there are lots of discussions about the nature of a successful community that would help. 

                    Life cycle, as you rightly pointed out, is a dynamic of communities, but dynamics are separate from the outcomes of the actions of communities (e.g., content creation, expertise location, learning, sense of belonging).   Ownership doesn't apply to dynamics, but it does apply to outcomes.  That is why I asked Esther if she is really talking about who owns the content.  In her situation, it seems that three different groups might be interested in the outcome of ownership issues:  the participants themselves, the sponsor of the fellowships, and the individual institutions that allowed their employees/students to participate. 

                    Personally, I think the easiest way for her to proceed would be to email all the participants and notify them that all content from all the discussions will be available freely to all participants, to all their institutions and to the sponsor, but that no group or individual has the right to package/repackage the content for sale/profit.  Win-win for everyone, and the "ownership" issue goes away. :) (I don't know how one would police that, but that's a separate issue.)

                    Cheers,
                    Kaye


                  • Matt Moore
                    Esther, Conceptually, I agree with you. Communities are owned by their members. However why has this question arisen? Why has ownership become an issue?
                    Message 9 of 20 , Oct 12, 2010
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                      Esther,

                      Conceptually, I agree with you. Communities are owned by their members. However why has this question arisen? Why has ownership become an issue?

                      Cheers,

                      Matt Moore
                      +61 423 784 504
                      Sent from my iPhone

                      On Oct 13, 2010, at 1:35 AM, "feldme_mail" <feldme@...> wrote:

                       

                      I manage a fellowship program that trains educators to create and facilitate and lead online communities of practice. These educators all work for various organizations that also support their participation in this fellowship. As the fellowship nears the end, a challenge has arisen: who is the owner of these educational communities. The facilitator? the organizations? or as I maintain - the communities themselves. I'd be interested in hearing this community's thoughts on this.

                      Thank you,

                      Esther
                      Director, Information and Technology Services
                      The Lookstein Center, Bar Ilan University, Israel

                    • Nancy White
                      Jack, I appreciate (with a smile too) the dissent and different perspective. Thank you. You raised the context issue. YES! And you probably figure out, I
                      Message 10 of 20 , Oct 13, 2010
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                        Jack, I appreciate (with a smile too) the dissent and different perspective. Thank you. You raised the context issue. YES! And you probably figure out, I wasn't thinking "business." And here is why...

                         I should have copped to the fact that I have some inside knowledge about the communities Esther is talking about. So I had more context. I think Kaye's response about some of the distinctions between business, non profit, open, etc ... communities is really important. Context is critical. And I was responding based on my knowledge. And to the fact that I hold dear the people who are working on the communities Esther mentions. They are terrific. The passion behind their work is as important as anything else going on! I should have said that!

                        I do think having a sense of what is of value and what is valued is important. This may translate to ROI in the business or even organizational context.   Perhaps WHO values gives us a clue to who has "ownership stake" in a community.  I'd still agree w/ Kaye that if the members don't value a community and have that sense of ownership, the community is in trouble as a community. It may not be in trouble as a mandated group, driven by the business. ;-)

                        I'm reminded of a community that was designed, hosted, controlled and owned by a corporate interest. (A business funded by venture capitalists, in fact). At one point, the funding was yanked and they announced the community would close.  Some left, and successfully sponsored their own place and stewardship. Some floundered, unable to get their technical and social act together. And some  accepted the end of the "community" as they knew it when it was closed by the funders.

                        The key  across those three variants was what people wanted and what they were willing to do to get it! :-) Is that ownership? Management may be the people who care. Maybe not...  And for me, personally the distinction is that leaders (which may or may not be the formal sponsors or owners!)  enable, instead of control, the communities. They steward, they facilitate, they balance different drivers and needs in the SERVICE of the community. The community may be in service to a business as the way it defines its domain. Maybe not. But it is not the same thing as a team with shared interdependent tasks. It is a place of practice and of learning (which may enable tasks to be done!)

                         


                        Nancy White | Full Circle Associates | Connecting communities online
                        nancyw@... | +1 206 517 4754 | GMT - 8 |skype - choconancy | Twitter NancyWhite
                        http://www.fullcirc.com/
                      • feldme_mail
                        Thank you all for your comments. and Matt - thank you for the clarifying question. These communities are being created by Fellows within the context of a
                        Message 11 of 20 , Oct 14, 2010
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                          Thank you all for your comments. and Matt - thank you for the clarifying question.

                          These communities are being created by Fellows within the context of a program. During the Fellowship period, the Fellow must build and maintain some type of online learning community. At the same time, each of these Fellows are working full time and are supported by their individual organizations and will continue to be be supported once they complete the Fellowship. Many of them are reaching out to community members using their organizations resources; The question arose since some of the Fellows are concerned that as the employer of the steward, they will also claim ownership of the group.

                          Esther

                          --- In com-prac@yahoogroups.com, Matt Moore <innotecture@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > Esther,
                          >
                          > Conceptually, I agree with you. Communities are owned by their members. However why has this question arisen? Why has ownership become an issue?
                          >
                          > Cheers,
                          >
                          > Matt Moore
                          > +61 423 784 504
                          > matt@...
                          > Sent from my iPhone
                          >
                          > On Oct 13, 2010, at 1:35 AM, "feldme_mail" <feldme@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > > I manage a fellowship program that trains educators to create and facilitate and lead online communities of practice. These educators all work for various organizations that also support their participation in this fellowship. As the fellowship nears the end, a challenge has arisen: who is the owner of these educational communities. The facilitator? the organizations? or as I maintain - the communities themselves. I'd be interested in hearing this community's thoughts on this.
                          > >
                          > > Thank you,
                          > >
                          > > Esther
                          > > Director, Information and Technology Services
                          > > The Lookstein Center, Bar Ilan University, Israel
                          > >
                          > >
                          >
                        • Cornejo Castro, Miguel
                          Hi Nancy, all, Nancy s answer is simply great :-), but I d remember something from Kaye s first reply. Everything depends on the specific case, and that is
                          Message 12 of 20 , Oct 14, 2010
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                            Hi Nancy, all,

                             

                            Nancy’s answer is simply great :-), but I’d remember something from Kaye’s first reply. Everything depends on the specific case, and that is because the issue of ownership (of content, of names, of the membership list) will usually have arisen in any reasonably long-lived community, if it didn’t during the fostering phase.

                             

                            So while I completely support the moral right of “the community members” (as in “the active community members who are willing and able to work to keep it moving”) to own the community assets, there usually is an underlying, often previous, agreement on this issue written into the community’s philosophy. So yes, the field is for the tiller… as long as there is no written, accepted, and honoured previous contract. If there is, and the field owner wants to quit, the tiller should be able to step in… but not unilaterally.

                             

                            And that’s before we wade into the slightly poisonous water of “who is the community”, the rights of factions, majorities, and individuals. Post-closure community diasporas are notoriously fissile and unfair to many.

                             

                            In short: it depends :-). Depends on the user agreement, depends on precedent, history, and the nature of the community group… and even that of the assets.

                             

                            IMHO there is no easy, one-size-fits all answer. Best regards,

                             

                            Miguel

                             

                            De: com-prac@yahoogroups.com [mailto:com-prac@yahoogroups.com] En nombre de Nancy White
                            Enviado el: jueves, 14 de octubre de 2010 2:05
                            Para: com-prac@yahoogroups.com
                            Asunto: Re: [cp] owning a CoP

                             

                             

                            Jack, I appreciate (with a smile too) the dissent and different perspective. Thank you. You raised the context issue. YES! And you probably figure out, I wasn't thinking "business." And here is why...

                             I should have copped to the fact that I have some inside knowledge about the communities Esther is talking about. So I had more context. I think Kaye's response about some of the distinctions between business, non profit, open, etc ... communities is really important. Context is critical. And I was responding based on my knowledge. And to the fact that I hold dear the people who are working on the communities Esther mentions. They are terrific. The passion behind their work is as important as anything else going on! I should have said that!

                            I do think having a sense of what is of value and what is valued is important. This may translate to ROI in the business or even organizational context.   Perhaps WHO values gives us a clue to who has "ownership stake" in a community.  I'd still agree w/ Kaye that if the members don't value a community and have that sense of ownership, the community is in trouble as a community. It may not be in trouble as a mandated group, driven by the business. ;-)

                            I'm reminded of a community that was designed, hosted, controlled and owned by a corporate interest. (A business funded by venture capitalists, in fact). At one point, the funding was yanked and they announced the community would close.  Some left, and successfully sponsored their own place and stewardship. Some floundered, unable to get their technical and social act together. And some  accepted the end of the "community" as they knew it when it was closed by the funders.

                            The key  across those three variants was what people wanted and what they were willing to do to get it! :-) Is that ownership? Management may be the people who care. Maybe not...  And for me, personally the distinction is that leaders (which may or may not be the formal sponsors or owners!)  enable, instead of control, the communities. They steward, they facilitate, they balance different drivers and needs in the SERVICE of the community. The community may be in service to a business as the way it defines its domain. Maybe not. But it is not the same thing as a team with shared interdependent tasks. It is a place of practice and of learning (which may enable tasks to be done!)

                             

                            Nancy White | Full Circle Associates | Connecting communities online
                            nancyw@... | +1 206 517 4754 | GMT - 8 |skype - choconancy | Twitter NancyWhite
                            http://www.fullcirc.com/

                          • Linda Polin
                            Here ya go:
                            Message 13 of 20 , Oct 14, 2010
                            • 1 Attachment
                            • 288 KB
                            Here ya go:
                          • Matt Moore
                            Esther, Hmmm - if the communities were built by the Fellows, part of memwonders Matt Moore +61 423 784 504 matt@innotecture.com.au Sent from my iPhone
                            Message 14 of 20 , Oct 14, 2010
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                              Esther,

                              Hmmm - if the communities were built by the Fellows, part of memwonders

                              Matt Moore
                              +61 423 784 504
                              Sent from my iPhone

                              On Oct 15, 2010, at 12:53 AM, "feldme_mail" <feldme@...> wrote:

                               

                              Thank you all for your comments. and Matt - thank you for the clarifying question.

                              These communities are being created by Fellows within the context of a program. During the Fellowship period, the Fellow must build and maintain some type of online learning community. At the same time, each of these Fellows are working full time and are supported by their individual organizations and will continue to be be supported once they complete the Fellowship. Many of them are reaching out to community members using their organizations resources; The question arose since some of the Fellows are concerned that as the employer of the steward, they will also claim ownership of the group.

                              Esther

                              --- In com-prac@yahoogroups.com, Matt Moore <innotecture@...> wrote:
                              >
                              > Esther,
                              >
                              > Conceptually, I agree with you. Communities are owned by their members. However why has this question arisen? Why has ownership become an issue?
                              >
                              > Cheers,
                              >
                              > Matt Moore
                              > +61 423 784 504
                              > matt@...
                              > Sent from my iPhone
                              >
                              > On Oct 13, 2010, at 1:35 AM, "feldme_mail" <feldme@...> wrote:
                              >
                              > > I manage a fellowship program that trains educators to create and facilitate and lead online communities of practice. These educators all work for various organizations that also support their participation in this fellowship. As the fellowship nears the end, a challenge has arisen: who is the owner of these educational communities. The facilitator? the organizations? or as I maintain - the communities themselves. I'd be interested in hearing this community's thoughts on this.
                              > >
                              > > Thank you,
                              > >
                              > > Esther
                              > > Director, Information and Technology Services
                              > > The Lookstein Center, Bar Ilan University, Israel
                              > >
                              > >
                              >

                            • Christina Merl
                              I am wondering, how do you define ownership and what s the benefit? Christina www.talkshop.cc www.talkshop.posterous.com Follow me on twitter: CMerl
                              Message 15 of 20 , Oct 15, 2010
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                                I am wondering, how do you define "ownership" and what's the benefit?

                                Christina

                                www.talkshop.cc
                                www.talkshop.posterous.com
                                Follow me on twitter: CMerl


                                Am 15.10.2010 00:26, schrieb Matt Moore:
                                 
                                Esther,

                                Hmmm - if the communities were built by the Fellows, part of memwonders

                                Matt Moore
                                +61 423 784 504
                                Sent from my iPhone

                                On Oct 15, 2010, at 12:53 AM, "feldme_mail" <feldme@...> wrote:

                                 

                                Thank you all for your comments. and Matt - thank you for the clarifying question.

                                These communities are being created by Fellows within the context of a program. During the Fellowship period, the Fellow must build and maintain some type of online learning community. At the same time, each of these Fellows are working full time and are supported by their individual organizations and will continue to be be supported once they complete the Fellowship. Many of them are reaching out to community members using their organizations resources; The question arose since some of the Fellows are concerned that as the employer of the steward, they will also claim ownership of the group.

                                Esther

                                --- In com-prac@yahoogroups.com, Matt Moore <innotecture@...> wrote:
                                >
                                > Esther,
                                >
                                > Conceptually, I agree with you. Communities are owned by their members. However why has this question arisen? Why has ownership become an issue?
                                >
                                > Cheers,
                                >
                                > Matt Moore
                                > +61 423 784 504
                                > matt@...
                                > Sent from my iPhone
                                >
                                > On Oct 13, 2010, at 1:35 AM, "feldme_mail" <feldme@...> wrote:
                                >
                                > > I manage a fellowship program that trains educators to create and facilitate and lead online communities of practice. These educators all work for various organizations that also support their participation in this fellowship. As the fellowship nears the end, a challenge has arisen: who is the owner of these educational communities. The facilitator? the organizations? or as I maintain - the communities themselves. I'd be interested in hearing this community's thoughts on this.
                                > >
                                > > Thank you,
                                > >
                                > > Esther
                                > > Director, Information and Technology Services
                                > > The Lookstein Center, Bar Ilan University, Israel
                                > >
                                > >
                                >

                              • Fred Nickols
                                The many answers already posted suggest the complexity of the issue. The distinction between CoPs that are corporately sponsored and/or initiated and those
                                Message 16 of 20 , Oct 17, 2010
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                                  The many answers already posted suggest the complexity of the issue. The distinction between CoPs that are corporately sponsored and/or initiated and those that are formed voluntarily by the members is an important one. It is the same distinction I've drawn for several years now between "natural" and "contrived" CoPs.

                                  As regards member-initiated and sustained communities, I don't think "ownership" per se is a relevant issue and muddies the waters. It is probably best to think of them simply as members or stakeholders or perhaps as collective owners but no one can "own" the community.

                                  Although the same is technically true of a corporate CoP (i.e., no one can really own it) there is the issue of products and content produced and those can be owned and probably are owned by the corporate sponsor - unless some other formal arrangement has been made.

                                  In the end, I guess the key question is this: What's at stake with regard to the ownership issue you raise?

                                  Regards,

                                  Fred Nickols
                                  www.nickols.us
                                  fred@...

                                  --- In com-prac@yahoogroups.com, "feldme_mail" <feldme@...> wrote:
                                  >
                                  > I manage a fellowship program that trains educators to create and facilitate and lead online communities of practice. These educators all work for various organizations that also support their participation in this fellowship. As the fellowship nears the end, a challenge has arisen: who is the owner of these educational communities. The facilitator? the organizations? or as I maintain - the communities themselves. I'd be interested in hearing this community's thoughts on this.
                                  >
                                  > Thank you,
                                  >
                                  > Esther
                                  > Director, Information and Technology Services
                                  > The Lookstein Center, Bar Ilan University, Israel
                                  >
                                • Verne Morland
                                  Message 17 of 20 , Oct 17, 2010
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                                    HomeDesignConsultingCoursesAbout UsHomeDesignConsultingCoursesAbout Us

                                     
                                    D. Verne Morland
                                    Managing Partner
                                    (937) 434-3267

                                     

                                     
                                     
                                     
                                    Fred suggests that an important aspect to determining ownership is the origin of the community - "natural" or "contrived."  I prefer the less pejorative terms "unsponsored" or "sponsored" since I believe that some "sponsored" communities can be very natural if the sponsorship is simply the catalyst that helps them form and does not constantly impose itself on the activities or discourse of the community. 
                                     
                                    If, with no outside influence, members of an as-yet unformed community can manage to find each other, form a group, and move forward, that's great.  But I believe that it is not necessary - particularly in a business context - for management to wait around to see what bubbles up naturally.  At the same time I acknowledge that when management gets involved there can be strong forces that push to control or at least "steer" the community and that these can be very detrimental to the identity, strength, value, and even existence of the community.
                                     
                                    That distinction aside, another very practical and often critical aspect of ownership question is who actually owns or directly controls the physical environment that they community uses to come together and where the products of the community are stored.  Even in "natural" or "unsponsored" communities, someone usually owns or controls access to the actual or virtual premises in which the community meets.
                                     
                                    A particularly vivid example of how this form of ownership may be exercised to the detriment of a virtual community will be familiar to those who were members of this list back in January of last year.  At that time I report the demise of the long-standing international community called TRDEV (for Training and Development) that was hosted for many years on Yahoo! servers.  In this case Yahoo! officially owned the servers and offered it for free, but not all members of the community were equal.  In Yahoo!'s parlance, some were "owners," some were "moderators," and some were just "members."
                                     
                                    On Jan. 22, 2009, one of the three "owners" of the TRDEV group wrote to the approximately 4,400 members that he and the other two owners had decided to terminate the group.  The reasons that they provided were that the quality of the group's discourse had seriously deteriorated, they themselves have other priorities in their lives, and it is time to move on, embrace new technologies, etc.  Here is an excerpt. Note the use of the past tense with respect to the archives.

                                    > The trdev list will close on January 27. The list's archives

                                    have been deleted and the 
                                    > membership database will be deleted at that time...
                                    >
                                    > This decision is
                                    final, and the owners will not enter into any correspondence about it. 
                                    > This
                                    decision came over several months and after several alternatives were explored.
                                    >
                                    > Please use the next two
                                    days to say your goodbyes and refrain from blaming and second
                                    > guessing our
                                    decision. It is not a democratic decision, but then (as we have pointed out 
                                    >
                                    several times in the past) neither is or was trdev ever a democracy. [Emphasis added]
                                    I bring this example to your attention not to cast aspersions on the three owners for their unilateral actions (although I do believe that the deletion of the archive was a serious mistake), but simply to illustrate that the issue of ownership is, indeed, a vital one.  It often plays a role in the daily actions and discourse of a community (TRDEV was a moderated list so your posting did not appear unless an owner or moderator felt that it had value to the community) and it can certainly be critical when the owner(s) believes that the community has outlived its usefulness and should be eliminated. 
                                     
                                    Postscript: I believe that the original founder of TRDEV prior to its incarnation on Yahoo! did offer a new venue for TRDEVers to subscribe and continue their discussions, but the Yahoo! archives were destroyed and never recovered and I do not know if the new TRDEV has every regained its former size, diversity, and vitality.  If someone on this list can provide an update, I would be interested to learn what has happened.

                                    Regards,

                                    Verne Morland
                                    Managing Partner
                                    ROI Learning Services

                                    We put the earn in Learning!™

                                    ROI Learning Services     624 Enid Avenue     Kettering, Ohio 45429 USA
                                    verne@...     phone: (937) 434-3267     www.roi-learning.com
                                     
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                                  • Kaye Vivian
                                    Hi Verne, That is a very good example, and an interesting story. As a member of that community, I would have been outraged that the content was deleted before
                                    Message 18 of 20 , Oct 17, 2010
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                                      Hi Verne,

                                      That is a very good example, and an interesting story.  As a member of that community, I would have been outraged that the content was deleted before I had a chance to retrieve anything I valued from it. (Not everyone saves the postings from the communities they are in.) Thank you for sharing.  I do wish you had not provided it in the framework of a personal advertisement for your web site.  I find that off-putting.

                                      Best wishes,
                                      Kaye Vivian


                                    • Esther Feldman
                                      Verne - thank you for that story. It s an excellent example. I think the key is really the origins of the community and what ownership means. Usually, as you
                                      Message 19 of 20 , Oct 18, 2010
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                                        Verne - thank you for that story. It's an excellent example. I think the key is really the origins of the community and what ownership means. Usually, as you point out, the platform is owned by someone, either an organization or the moderator. But the generated knowledge (e.g. discussion archives) should be the property of the community. Issues arise when, as in the case of some of the communities that I'm involved in, there are also shared materials, curricula, articles, etc. as well as the community name - which in many cases is a valuable commodity. 

                                        This discussion emphasizes how important it is to begin a community with a community charter/agreement so that these issues are clear from the beginning.

                                        Esther


                                        Ms. E. Feldman
                                        Director, Information, Technology & Financial Services
                                        The Lookstein Center for Jewish Education, Bar Ilan University
                                        www.lookstein.org
                                        NETWORK, LEARN, GROW


                                        On Mon, Oct 18, 2010 at 00:12, Kaye Vivian <viviak@...> wrote:
                                         


                                        Hi Verne,

                                        That is a very good example, and an interesting story.  As a member of that community, I would have been outraged that the content was deleted before I had a chance to retrieve anything I valued from it. (Not everyone saves the postings from the communities they are in.) Thank you for sharing.  I do wish you had not provided it in the framework of a personal advertisement for your web site.  I find that off-putting.

                                        Best wishes,
                                        Kaye Vivian



                                      • Fred Nickols
                                        Regarding the demise of the TRDEV group on Yahoo...I have been a member of three TRDEV groups: (1) the original, hosted by David Passmore, (2) its successor
                                        Message 20 of 20 , Oct 20, 2010
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                                          Regarding the demise of the TRDEV group on Yahoo...I have been a member of three TRDEV groups: (1) the original, hosted by David Passmore, (2) its successor (TRDEV on Yahoo Groups) and (3) the revived, original TRDEV group also hosted by Passmore. I was furious when the list owners decided to shut down the list and destroy the archives. I viewed it as an outrageous and arbitrary exercise of authority, a most unprofessional thing to do, a flagrant display of not caring about one's colleagues, and an unbelievably stupid act. It seemed to me that they could have offered to turn over the list to some other members; instead, they opted to shut it down. No satisfactory explanation for that bone-headed decision has ever been offered.

                                          All that said (and aside), I don't think any of the TRDEV groups qualified as a CoP. To me, all three were (and the one still is) more along the lines of a community of interest. None of the three incarnations of TRDEV were (or are) organized around a practice and none were (or are) clearly dedicated to improving the practice.

                                          But, all three were communities and, unfortunately, in all three cases, a few people - wearing the label "owner" - are in a position to destroy whatever the community might have created or built. Ah, but such is life on the Internet. However, so far as I know, none have been able to destroy the community itself. It keeps popping up. And such is the nature of communities.

                                          Regards,

                                          Fred Nickols
                                          fred@...
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