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Re: owning a CoP

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  • Linda Polin
    Here ya go:
    Message 1 of 20 , Oct 14, 2010
    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 2 of 20 , Oct 14, 2010
      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 3 of 20 , Oct 15, 2010
        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 4 of 20 , Oct 17, 2010
          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 5 of 20 , Oct 17, 2010
            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 6 of 20 , Oct 17, 2010

              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 7 of 20 , Oct 18, 2010
                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 8 of 20 , Oct 20, 2010
                  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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