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David Coleman has identified 10 rules for establishing on-line communities, which I quite liked.
1. Identify community founders/initiators, and explain the reason for starting the community, ongoing roles, and participation.
2. Provide a good reason for people to be in the community. What are the benefits?
Provide a community member directory (with profiles) and an easy wayfor members to contact each other and learn about each other. The goalis to develop trust among members.
Establisha way to handle conflict at the initiation of the community. Presentthese rules clearly. Conflicts must be handled quickly and fairly orthey will tear the community apart.
Providea hosted or focused chat. Appoint a facilitator with editorialcapabilities (with editorial policies stated), and appoint discussionowners to drive the discussion to a decision, conclusion or action.
Create informal spaces for people to socialize and interact. This also helps to build trust.
Create a critical reason for members to be active in the community.
a. It should be the only place they can get critical information;
b. People should receive intrinsic rewards from the community that make it important for them to be there personally, and;
c. People enjoy interacting with experts in the community and should beable to learn much that is helpful to them in their everyday work.
Bring newbies up to speed fast (guides, buddies, docents, tours,FAQs). It is also a good idea to post or e-mail new members the “rulesof engagement” for acceptable behavior in the community.
Keep the content fresh and new with critical information and regularevents that keep people coming back to participate in the community.
Monitor participation frequency and quality, and reward those who deserve it.
I’m a life-long learner with an insatiable curiosity about life. I love travel, good food, and good company. I’m happy to share what I know with others….even the interesting stuff! My outlook on life is pretty well captured in this quote from a book about the legend of King Arthur:
“The best thing for being sad,” replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, “is to learn something. That’s the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.”
― T.H. White, The Once and Future King
So much to learn, so little time!