Sunday, November 19, 2006

How to foster a community?

Mike Huffman and I spoke, on the first day of HECC, about the need for a community to support the Indiana ACCESS High Schools, for both technical and non-technical users. I told him that in my experience the open source communities that I am a part of function primarily through mailing lists, and blogs, and IRC, and such online communication tools.

He thinks that a mailing list wouldn't work, or IRC, or blogs, because most of these people already get too much e-mail and don't want to learn how to use IRC or how to blog, and would just prefer a website they could go to.

We're trying to promote the use of, running Moodle, as a community focus.

Moodle has a lot of cool features, but megapixels don't make a community. How can these resources be used best to encourage the growth of a vibrant community around the 1:1 access initiative?

I think it's essential for the Indiana High Schools involved in the Indiana ACCESS project to interact with each other and connect with the real power behind Free Software, it's very backbone, Community.

Anyhow, I invite comments: What do you believe are the qualities of truly effective online communities? How can we encourage those qualities?

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Blogger Vern Ceder said...

I'm not sure I agree with Mike on this one.

The problem with is that busy tech admins have to go log into yet another site. I'm not crazy about more email, but at least I don't have to do anything to get it, and I can respond as time allows.

Another attractive option is a wiki for HOWTO's and the like.

But yeah, I agree that we need to do what we can to connect.

1:48:00 PM  
Blogger Simón A. Ruiz said...

That's what Mike suggests, a wiki. I like the idea of doing everything and letting the people decide what it is they want to really use.

1:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Kevin Mark said...

as someone who uses mailing lists, irc and wikis, I'm not sure what that Mike fellow is objecting to. I find irc great for getting help, making friendships and get to talk to people who are excited by FLOSS. a 'web site', for me, would never quite do that. And wikis are a place where other users get a change to contribute and get a sense that other folks want to help by seeing their names on the wiki thus encouraging more folks to do so. I'm not sure it is hard to learn to use irc, I'm sure you could have a 30min tutorial to get folks used to #ubuntu and their code of conduct means that they get nice folks as well as enthusiastic help.

6:27:00 PM  

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