Participation and Sub-group membership in KM4Dev

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From July 2016-September 2016 I collected responses from the KM4Dev membership regarding their participation within KM4Dev. In order to report back on the findings from this survey, I will be hosting a couple of moderated discussions that highlight different findings of the survey. There are three goals for these discussions, 1) create a forum for the presentation of the survey findings to the community, 2) give community members a space to discuss the survey findings and possibly add greater depth of detail, and 3) situate the survey findings within the larger context of research that has occurred within KM4Dev.

The information on this page was compiled to aid in the moderated discussion, "Understanding Leader-ful activities over time in KM4Dev."

On this page, my research assistant and I have compiled information from 2008-2016 from the KM4Dev Wiki and related to members’ participation in and thinking on “leadership” within KM4Dev. The goal of compiling this information is to better understand how members have taken on greater responsibility, beyond being a member of the Core group, and how these actions may help us widen our understanding of leadership within a community like KM4Dev. We use the term leader-ful and put “leadership” in quotations to indicate that we are interested in how members define these terms within KM4Dev. We do not want to impose our own theoretically-derived definition at this time.

We have posted the information here so that other members of the community may update our figures if they have more precise details and/or other members of the community may update this page with information from time periods we have not collected.

From our reading of the information below a couple of things become evident:

  1. What “leadership” is within KM4Dev is not entirely clear. Although the Core Group is a group of members called out as the “leadership” in the 2012 Learning and Monitoring Survey, responses to “Please describe both when and what you did when you took on more responsibility within the community" on the 2016 Survey of the KM4Dev membership describe a range of activities beyond typical core group responsibilities. Some of these member-reported activities could be considered leader-ful.
  2. In addition, there have been several sub-groups and projects not initiated by Core Group members. Participation in subgroups may provide a place for members to participate in leader-ful activities, rather than commit to a term on the Core group
  3. Leaders do not necessarily spend more time/week participating within the KM4Dev community. When comparing the people who reported taking on greater responsibility within KM4Dev to those who did not, the 2016 Survey showed no statistically significant difference in the average amount of time these members devoted to KM4Dev per week.

This leads us to pose the first part of the question for the moderated discussion: What is leadership in a community like KM4Dev? What actions and/or behaviors are considered leader-ful?

The questions above do not discuss the possibilities of the subgroups that KM4Dev members have created on, within Dgroups, and on other social media platforms (e.g., facebook , twitter). Based on the subgroup data we compiled below, you can see:

  1. From 2014-2016 the number of subgroups created declined.
  2. From 2012-2016 the number of people participating in subgroups decreased.

Looking to the future and considering the many different spaces members can enact "leadership", leads us also ask a follow-up question, "Do you have to be part of the Core group to be considered a leader or do you think leadership can be enacted in other spaces within the community? Are subgroups a potential space for leadership cultivation?"

2016 Survey of the KM4Dev membership[1]

The following questions asked about members' participation within KM4Dev:

  • "...Estimate the percentage of your time you spend on 1) D-groups and 2) silently engaging the KM4Dev community and the percentage of your time you spend on 1) Dgroups and 2) actively engaging the KM4Dev community. The Total must sum to 100."
    • 144 of the 228 people who took the survey reported being on
    • 141 of the 228 people who took the survey reported being on D-groups

KM4Dev Participation 2016 Survey.jpg

  • "Most members in online communities are simply registered members. However, sometimes there are opportunities to take on greater responsibility, such as lead a community initiative, assist in the community’s moderation and administration, or organize a meetup off list. Have you ever taken on responsibility greater than being a registered member (i.e., posting to the listserv or reading others’ posts)?"
Frequency Percentage
No 151 66.2%
Yes 60 26.3%
Missing 17 7.5%
Total 228 100%

2012 Learning and Monitoring Survey[2]

There were 144 people who took part in the Learning and Monitoring survey.

KM4Dev Learning and Monitoring Survey 2012.jpg

Learning and Monitoring Leadership Q1.jpg

Learning and Monitoring Leadership Q5.jpg

2008-2011 Social Network Analysis of Dgroups[3]

"The SNA was part of KM4Dev’s navel gazing work. It was expected to provide a better understanding of our member base, such as where there is activity, where there isn’t as much activity, who is active, who isn’t active, and what is keeping people from participating to the fullest extent?[4]

The social network analysis found, "Between September 2000 and March 2012 there were 703 identified individuals in the network exclusive of “Anonymous” and identified pseudonyms...In 2011 the actual size of the active participating group was 242 people.(p. 35)[5]"

The Social Network Analysis used Gloor’s Index to categorize members in the following way: KM4Dev Participation SNA Study.jpg

2008-2016 Subgroup, Event, and Initiative participation within KM4Dev

We collected data on KM4Dev subgroups, in order to understand how members personalize their participation within KM4Dev. We recorded the data in this editable Google spreadsheet, Number of KM4Dev Members participating in member-created subgroups, events, and initiatives. We encourage members to continue updating this list.

2008-2016 Sub-groups, collected during February 2017

How data was collected from We collected data from groups and events on created between 2008-2016. The start date of the group came from the beginning entry on the comment wall. The end date of the group came from the date of the last entry on the comment wall. Groups with fewer than 3 people were not recorded. Participants were considered active if they posted on the comment wall. Total participants were recorded based on the members registered in the group.

How data was collected from the KM4Dev Wiki: We collected data from initiatives, groups, and events recorded on the KM4Dev wiki, between 2008-2016. The start and end dates for these were taken from the documentation recorded on the wiki. When participants were listed, we counted these to create a total participation number. All participants in the face-to-face events were considered active. The numbers recorded for participation from wiki documentation should be considered estimates, since documentation practices varied. When an event was found on more than one online space, we also recorded this information.

Discussion March 8-17, 2017

Based on the threads posted by Charles Dhewa and Nadia von Holzen to the discussion on Dgroups, I was inspired to compare how members reported participating (silent v. active) within KM4Dev to if they reported ever having taken on greater responsibility than being a registered member within KM4Dev. Silent participation was defined as participation that others could not see, such as lurking. Active participation was defined as visible participation that others members could see, such as posting a thread to a discussion.

Visibility of Member Participation Member Reporting on Potentially Leader-ful Participation|
No Yes Total
100% Silent 73 12 85
Less than 10% Active 32 14 46
Active 26 32 58

Note: Active refers to members who reported actively participating more than 10% of the time they reported participating in KM4Dev activities.


  1. Information regarding the 2016 survey of the KM4Dev Membership
  2. Learning and Monitoring Survey May 2012
  3. Final reports from the SNA
  4. AAR of the SNA
  5. Final report from the SNA, part 1