Thinking About Our Community

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Why should we think about our community?

  • When something upsets people, when we notice discomfort, when we are at a loss at how to proceed, it is useful to move from our individual perspectives and try to see the issue through the eyes of the larger community.
  • When something is really wonderful, useful, productive, beyond our celebration and enjoyment, it is also useful to examine "what went right."

Brainstorm: Ideas to help us "see" ourselves as a community

  • Consensus on purpose and principles
  • Category:KM4DevFutures is a page linking to all the resources developed during this project (2012 - 2014) which was a thorough process, both structured and emergent, of thinking through KM4Dev and possible futures


  • Do we think we need a few bare groundrules at KM4Dev? If yes, what might they be?
  • What is in place already?
  • Will the ground rules facilitate respect, openness, honesty, understanding, listening and trust?

Nelly suggested: Sharing, Respect, Diversity, Visibility and Transparency. Those would be some values I would propose for

What can you do in/for KM4Dev?

When joining KM4Dev, there are many things you can do:

  • Contribute to conversations on the mailing list or on the Ning site
  • Share resources, blog posts and join groups on the Ning site
  • Summarize conversations from the mailing list (or Ning) onto the wiki
  • Help us facilitate KM4Dev (see below)
  • Join the KM4Dev core group (see below)
  • Contribute articles to the KM4Dev journal

...And surely other creative ways to contribute to the conversation and community building.

Facilitating KM4Dev

Thinking about our community is also about ensuring that it keeps on working. A large discussion group like KM4Dev does need a bit of organization and facilitation. Since early 2011, KM4dev online is managed by volunteers for the KM4dev core group (see below) and other community volunteers. Every month two of us volunteer to manage the km4dev-l dgroup list and the Ning platform. We also see it as our task to garden our wiki and encourage community members to document interesting conversations on the same wiki.

Full details about this shared facilitation are available on the KM4Dev wiki

Some additional information about this is available on our Ning platform [1] and the enrollment for managing a given month is done via Doodle [2]. Recent volunteers for shared facilitation and core group work are mentioned here

The Mailing List Environment: Guidelines and Principles

The Mailing List Environment is intended to provide information on the following aspects of the KM4Dev discussion list:

  • Orientation
  • Ways to promoting dialogue
  • Support
  • Concerns and/or issues

KM4Dev Core Group

The KM4Dev Core Group is made up of a subset of volunteers from the KM4Dev community. The current list of core group members is available here: [3]. The Core Group supports the community in a number of ways. The core group provides ideas and suggestions to hosts of KM4Dev f2f events, addresses situations that arise on the mailing list, discusses technical issues related to the website and strategizes on future funding modalities.

The Core Group meets (approximately) 2-3 times a year, virtually, and piggybacks f2f events when possible. KM4Dev Core group meeting notes are recorded and shared with the community.

The Core Group is also currently rotating the facilitation of the Community, see [4] and Draft Terms of reference:

Notes from Informal Gatherings

Useful pointers and references

From the Com-Prac list (a yahoo group on communities of practice) from a post by Miguel Cornejo thinking about how to look at the health of a community.

My own private definition is quite informal. We evaluate roughly:

  • Does it have a stable and proficient facilitator / moderator team, coming from the CoP members?
  • Does it have frequent, healthy interactions (new threads and answers, meetings, other)?
  • Do questions get answered? All of them, and fast?
  • Is there a clear understanding of household rules? Or conversely, are there frequent problems?
  • Is the "target public" aware of the existence and operation of the CoP?
  • Are the CoP goals under way, at least? Does the CoP produce the expected knowledge objects?
  • Does the CoP show signs of independent life, such as initiatives, projects and proposals started and driven by grass-root members?

Without any one of those, it would be either a non-mature community, or a sick and past-its-prime one needing work... or pruning.

It's not a matter of membership size or of number of topics. There's support forums with millions of registered members and less than a tenth of the activity and purpose of much smaller ones. And there's narrow topics where not many messages are still inmensely valuable.

Best regards,

Miguel (I'll get a URL to reference the message ASAP)