So, along the way, I've gotten on some email distros of people who are trying to do pretty much the same thing we're doing here.
I thought I'd share the recent traffic -- if you're interested ...
How Do You Organize Your Communities?
Well, we really don't, especially when you consider the recent posts on taxonomies.
---- from recent email traffic ----
Hi, FWIW, here’s how it’s working for us:
- Three major categories: “Getting Started”, “Active Communities A-Z”, and “Archived”
- About 85 communities (e.g. spaces) in the Active category
- Bottoms-up consolidation, e.g. we spot communities that are pretty similar, and ask if they won’t mind sharing a top-level space
- No self-serve communities – yet. If we did, that’d be a fourth top level space
- New communities are proposed and discussed in a “New Communities Forum”, under “Getting Started”
- We dialog with them a bit around their proposal (nothing too serious) to see if they can answer comments, etc., and then we approve
- Total cycle time for new communities is usually same-day.
- Lots of new communities at the outset; arrival rate has declined notably, people are joining existing ones rather than starting anew.
- No endless, pointless taxonomy debates
- People are encouraged to explore a bit – experienced users have no problem finding what they want
- Bad community names and/or poor topics chosen have the expected results – no biggie
- Response time for new community formation is fast, since there’s no argument where something goes
- Communities are free to evolve in any direction they want, as they don’t live in a taxonomy
- Cluttered home page, a bit off-putting for new users – Clearspace 2.0 will give us a bit more control over this.
- People gaming the system: starting their community names with numbers or the letter “A”
- Certain people hate the clutter and are quite insistent that “this has to be fixed!!!”
Given what we were trying to achieve (e.g. big conversations around passionate topics that span traditional boundaries), this was – in hindsight – a good choice. Your needs and requirements might be different.
However, be prepared for people who really, really want it to be a neat and very orderly place, e.g 1.0 vs. 2.0
Hope this helps.
---- end email snip ----
So, How Do You Handle Proposals For New Communities?
Glad you asked.
Basically, it's self-service. Some one fills out a proposal template, it's discussed a bit, and then tehy get their space. We end up granting something like 98% of the requests.
Which leads to two related questions: first, can space owners create their own subspaces, and second, do you end up turning down some community requests?
Yes, proficient space owners can request their own subspace – we don’t give them admin privileges, but the turnaround is same-day.
We don’t really “turn down” space requests (other than ones that are out of bounds, e.g. involving non-EMC employees), but we will Discuss Things Incessantly until they either wise up, or go away.
Example: someone wanted to start a community “What’s Wrong With EMC?” which could easily devolve into a rant session. Rather than say “no”, we patiently asked questions until the person decided it wasn't really a good idea..
If we think that there won’t be any interest in a proposed topic or discussion, we bias in favor of letting people experiment. We also are getting good at exposing them to other discussions. The incremental cost of a “failed community” is absolutely zero, in my mind.
Some people don’t like ghost towns (and neither do I) but we weighed the pros and cons, and would rather live with a few abandoned fantasies as opposed to being more controlling about who can do what.
Do You Have Any Templates You'd Like To Share?
Sure -- the first is the proposal template for a new community. Note the attempt at an open, friendly tone, yet with some expectations and accountability.
And, if they can't follow these steps on the platform, the prognosis is poor for them as a community manager, so it's a bit of a test as well ;-)
----- begin cut and paste from internal doc -----
So, you've looked around, read all the docs, and you're ready to propose a new community! Great!
Please copy and paste this document into a new wiki document within [New Community Forum] and change the document title to reflect your proposed community name.
Why are you building this community?
(What problems are you trying to solve? How is it done today? How might it be better in the future? Etc.)
What hot topics will bring the community together?
(Give us an idea of what the community is passionate about, and what they'll be working on or discussing together.)
How do you intend to invite participation and drive communication in your community? What are the first 5 things you'll publish?
(Please give us a list of the first 5 things you'll publish in your community to drive collaboration - blog, discussion, document topics/titles.)
Who will be your regular contributors? Who has agreed to commit time on a consistent basis to keep your content fresh?
(At least one, the more the merrier! Think "divide and conquer" - the more committed contributors, the more shared the load. Please name names.)
Who will be your community manager, and can this person budget enough time for this? Has this person regularly contributed on EMC ONE to-date?
(Hint: if you're filling out this form, it's probably you! Remember: It takes time to keep your community active! You should be prepared to actively engage and participate on a daily basis!)
What will your community be called?
(Clever names are OK, but it ought to be clear from the name what the community is all about.)
In the next three months, how many people will you invite to participate actively within your community?
(How many people do you intend to invite and how many are likely to participate?)
Have you read the suggestions for best practices in [link to "getting started guideline doc"]? On board with following them?
(If you haven't seen these, go take a look please.)
Any other questions, concerns or comments?
(Anything you're curious or concerned about? Let us know.)
----- end cut and paste -----
What About Your "Guidelines" Document?
Glad you asked -- again, note the attempt at a somewhat friendly tone.
--- begin cut and paste from internal document ----
We don't want to have too many rules and regulations here, but we would like you to be mindful of a few guidelines to help this be a good experience for everyone.
Please, let us help you get started!
Take a look at our [Getting Started] section or our [FAQs & Tutorials] to find answers to some basic questions about EMC ONE. Or, post a message or ask a question in the [Feedback Forum]. If it’s an urgent situation, please send us an email at [internal email address].
Let us know about any bugs you find.
Please send an email to [internal email address] detailing what you believe is a bug, and include any screen shots so that we can try to recreate the issue. We will then work with the vendor to resolve the issue and provide any updates we receive to the community.
Please complete your user profile!
But only if you want people to find you to leverage your expertise, experience, and build lasting business relationships and friendships!
Please don't repost "authoritative content" such as found in [list of existing online repositories], and other online EMC systems.
Unless you are soliciting feedback for a “work in progress,” please link to items found on other online systems when referencing them in discussions, documents, and blog posts. We don't want multiple copies of authoritative content floating around, nor do we want to fill up our disk space. We also don’t want users to become confused as to where they should go for these types of content.
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Tag everything, please.
You can find information one of three ways on EMC ONE.
- You can navigate to a space (also called a taxonomy view) and look around.
- You can search on a keyword or two.
- You can use tags to find things.
Always try to make sure that content you create has a useful set of tags assigned to it. It will help other users be able to find it!
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Just a reminder that everything on EMC ONE is considered EMC Confidential.
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Hope you found this helpful!