Guidelines for the moderation of the KM4Dev mailing list

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This page provides guidance on how to administrate and facilitate the main conversation platform of KM4Dev. The conversations take place on the KM4Dev mailing-list (KM4Dev-l) on dGroups. Online it can be reached here km4dev-l dGroup.


KM4Dev runs and occasionally creates additional sub-dGroups. The most important one is the KM4Dev core group sub-group. All the KM4Dev dGroups are administered by 2-3 so-called super-admins. These super-admins manage among other things a group of monthly volunteers that register as monthly facilitators for the main discussion-list, the km4dev-l dGroup, and where needed assist in documentation of interesting conversations on the KM4Dev wiki. Currently (as of July 2017) the super-admins are Peter J. Bury and Cesar Robles, we are looking for a third super-admin.

Super-admins tasks

Here a not necessarily exhaustive overview of typical tasks:

  • manage the monthly facilitation team and the related Doodle in which volunteers indicate their availabiliy, etc. This should be done as a rotating task every two months.
  • follow and contribute when opportune to KM4Dev-l (dgroup) discussions;
  • where useful or required remind community about how our discussion-list operates. Carl Jackson has set an example of this in March 2018. His mails should be shared as examples.
  • assist monthly facilitators if needed;
  • liaise with Pier Andrea Pirani, Peter Bury and Sarah Cummings who are the super-admin for the Ning platform;
  • liaise with tech support on dGroups, Pier Andrea Pirani, and Wiki, Davide Piga, when needed;
  • monitor the use of the wiki and assist where needed;
  • manage dGroups settings, requests to join, and related;
  • monitor the KM4Dev Coregroup dGroup and act if needed.

To do, March 2018

27 march 2018: Pier Andrea Pirani, Sarah Cummings)

  • Mail KM4Dev-l twice a year and remind them of community guidelines as a lighter version of this document on the wiki with a link to it and specifically about the mailing list (SC to do)
  • Use Carl Jackson's mail as an example to monthly admin (PAP to do)
  • Following rota to invite and guide monthly admins: Peter April-May, October-November 2018; Sarah June-July 2018, December and January 2019; Pier August-September, February-March 2019.

Super-admins estimated time

Assuming that the Super-admins team consists of 2-3 experience people that can dispose of a reliable team of at least 10 monthly facilitation volunteers, the typical time required from a super-admin should be around 1-1.5 hour/week.

Facilitation of dGroup, Wiki, Ning

Our community's central website is hosted on Ning at this addres From there links are provided to other platforms we use (e.g. dGroups, LinkedIn, Wiki, Twitter, Facebook).

Read also the following notes

Monthly dGroup / Wiki facilitators: guidance

This section may be regularly updated with new insights.

At the KM4Dev meeting October 2016 in Vienna we agreed to encourage our monthly "admin" volunteers to move from mere administration to genuine facilitation, to the extent that available time allows them to do so. In the long term we aim to secure resources to hire a (part time) super facilitator - still assisted by monthly volunteers - to ensure consistent, professional facilitation.

Meanwhile, here are some suggestions of "little steps" from admin to facilitator, drawn from the experiences of some past admins. What i mean is that we can improve our practice even before getting paid help... with one or a few minor moves. Feel free to try out one or more of these:

Changing the titles of threads, for organization. We very often approve messages whose titles keep growing re: re: re:´s, or same topic but different titles. Keeping messages from the same thread (get rid of the re:, ensure all mssgs. stay together, or/and number them, etc.) under titles or numbers is a small change that can be powerful. Innovate in your month! What is your preferred way of organizing?

Making a few summarizing comments at the tops of threads that are getting long and hard to keep track of...

Logging in threads in a table or page- this "moderation reporting" format, under design ***here***, would help us better understand the types of issues, forms of participation, varying interests, etc. for the month, and then a cumulative place to compare. Data!

Do some tracking as we go (who participated, stats for the month by topic, some kind of "interest thermometer"). Please help with this! Ideas of automatic or semi/automatic surveys and trackers that can enrich our understanding of what happened during the month...

Can we think of having more moderators, with concrete roles each? (one for only new members, one to approve posts, one to keep track in a summary page, one to monitor an online tracking tool, etc.) - if some of us had only one of the roles, we may be able to do more months!

Commit to a summary at the end of month.

Examples of monthly summaries by facilitators

1 - Summary of January 2016 by Ewen Le Borgne

2 - Summary of January 2014 by Ewen Le Borgne

Hello all,

As some of you may not be aware, while we're having great discussions on this email list, there's also some stuff happening on other KM4Dev platforms... On our Ning site: Vien Nguyen is asking how theories of change can help achieve knowledge network impact: Andrew Clappison is inviting anyone to contribute to the Research to Action website Elsa Scholte posted a job announcement for a communication (for agriculture) officer at SNV

On our wiki (where we document mailing list conversations etc.), well there's some stuff happening but it's work in progress. Feel free to have a peek at recent changes though :

On the KM4Dev Journal page, the latest issue (December 2013) was published a short while ago with emphasis on 'facilitating multi-stakeholder platforms'. There's also a wiki page for the KM4Dev journal with some additional information at:

If you are based in Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Dakar, Nairobi, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Africa generally, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Brussels, The Hague, Russia, Brazil, Atlanta, DC/USA, there is a KM4Dev group that exists in your vicinity. Feel free to join these groups! Some are big, some are small, some are very active, some are not, but hey, if you don't check these groups they may never take off - it's your chance to bring KM4Dev to your context and needs... If you live in another country and you know other people who might be interested in setting up such a local group, why not try it (and ask people who started the existing ones for tips and tricks)?

Finally, many people don't know about the KM4Dev core group so here's a page with more information: We are working on ways to make interactions between KM4Dev members and core group members easier - though at any time you can wave at us on this list and I'm sure one of us will respond :) Keep up the great KM4Dev interactions and spirit, keep sharing, learning and engaging and all the rest of it!

Cheers, Ewen

3 - Summary of April 2016 by Sophie Alvarez

Dear all: in the month of April we had several interesting and active discussions.

Summary of Third High Level Meeting on Knowledge Sharing convened by the World Bank, a discussion on Storify, twitter feeds, link hashtag chains and in general harvesting knowledge from conferences in a way that is useful to a broad audience. This particular method of summary was found useful to link to documents and to other feeds, to enable the reader to see the importance of the issue for many, to put the topic quickly in public domain and make it available before wider circulation. Some of the disadvantages found were that it may add to the daily noise of information, may be too superficial of a description of what happened, and that it represents usually the POV of a few, and that can make it repetitive. This third High Level Meeting on Knowledge Sharing led to the formation of a Global Partnership on Knowledge Sharing. The discussion about this Global Partnership has been mostly about other development knowledge information and knowledge sharing global networks, both past and present, (GPK, the Global Knowledge Partnership Foundation (GKPF), Building Communications Opportunities Alliance (BCO), Building ICT Opportunities for Development Communications Project, Mountain Forum, InfoDev) and the importance and necessity of learning from them for this new partnership.

Many contributed to a conversation sharing their own experiences with Platforms for online project planning, management and organization (Basecamp, Trello, Asana, Wekan, Pdio, Wrike, Slack, Azendoo, Dgroups, Open Project with Google Docs for doc management, and others for support like Skype, Whatsapp, GoToMeeting, etc.) We discussed issues such as how much of “usefulness” depends on context, and questions such as expense, the need to connect with people on the field, and whether emphasis is on task coordination, planning, communication with a broad group, or KS.

There was a call for noteworthy and innovative knowledge exchange (learning) methods, successful methodologies other than “traditional” face to face training or simple online presentation. Again, of importance is context (WHO is involved in the learning?), and whether one can focus on technology for access to information, and what is considered “successful”. Some related resources presented were Knowledgebucket for comprehensive list of knowledge techniques, and Learning Routes (Procasur). Pending is a call for ideas on how to leverage mentoring and peer to peer connects for a broader use with technology.

The conversation on 2015 Hivos and TOC, centered on the use of TOC, especially WASH-type projects, to plan, prioritize and do M&E, and its advantages compared to logframes.

Some punctual resource contributions: KM competency frameworks Complete, Illustrated Guide to Responsible Data Usage, Manners, and General Deportment Video on open space facilitation

Some job/ consultancies/ networking opportunities shared: To join the CoP session at European Development Days - June 16, 2016, but if you can’t, there’ll be a summary coming, Research for Community Access Partnerships (ReCAP): opportunities for KM and information management specialists UNDP looking for a trainer/course developer Thinkwell looking for part-time KM and Learning Specialist UC Davis seeks KM Professional for Health System Job advertisement at CTA for Knowledge Management Project Staff on Experience Capitalization/ capitalisation des experiences/ sistematización de experiencias. And to join the new CORE Group Young Professionals Network!

And last but not least: 18 new members joined us in April. Welcome to the KM4Dev community to: Andrea Sanchez; Miguel Saravia; Merianne Liteman; Kirsten Collins; Laura Mentini; Amy Beaudreault; Cong Zheng; Davinah Nabirye; Nafi Faye; Arno Boersma; Vanessa Nigten; Marco Nicoli; Joan Adewole; Karen Lapitan; Olaf Kraus de Camargo; Kim Castelin; Catalina Ruge; Tommy Lowe;

Best, Sophie