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Patti Anklam

There has never been an easy answer to this question. Hubert Sainte-Onge has used the metaphor of a house, in which the public space is the "front porch" which is where all the interactivity takes place. This is the interactive, communal, transparent space. Behind the front door, inside, is the private space. Some ideas need cooking before being transferred to the front porch. (The private place could also be where the team does its task management, event planning, and administrative work.)

Groups that I have been working with for years are still struggling with what to make private and what should be public. One solution available in social networking sites is to indicate for any type of content who has permission to see it. Permissions can be "inside the group" "anyone" "members only" and so on. What gets interesting about this approach is that everyone who posts content may be mindful about it. And sometimes things that shouldn't be public get out, and the community learns and starts developing the norms.

/patti

Rebecca Krause-hardie

Couple more ideas to add...
Building on what patti said... it is really important to be able to explore ideas fully and wildly without worrying that it is good, bad, doable, stupid, whatever. That we can explore without having to commit to it one way or another.

Another is the idea of community and I'm thinking of the 'cellular church' model also. By working together in smaller groups we get to know each other better, to understand what we mean, take things the correct way, build trust. There is something to nurturing ideas in this incubator and then opening up the door. The challenge (or opportunity) then, is to expand and dissolve the insiders/outsiders wall. And this I think requires a shift in mindset for each 'insider' to become an initiator to welcome and cultivate other's entry- being a good hostess.

Patrick Mallet

We're grappling with this for our online community at the moment. We want to build on principles of transparency and inclusivity but recognise that many of the conversations we want to have with our members will be sensitive. It seems that trust (and, consequently, willingness to share) is at the heart of why we would restrict access to some groups or discussions. Recognising that participants need to know and be comfortable with each other in order to share. But it is my assumption that the critical exchanges may still not happen in the written format of a community group, even with limited access, in part because of the perceived fluidity of the boundaries of groups over time and the permanence of the written word. So my question would be how to define the safeguards that give people the necessary trust to participate? Complicated further by the likelihood that individuals each have their own thresholds about what level of trust is necessary to feel comfortable sharing.

Mary T. Migliorelli

Thank you for introducing us to these new resources, and for including the links to your slides and Digital Habitat. The downloadable chapter/handbook on "being a technology steward" is immediately useful. If you still have the extra copy of Digital Habitat to give away, I'd appreciate it to share with our nonprofit partners and foundation colleagues.

Lauren Klein

Beth - great job to use the Digital Habitats to foster the discussion as I found the 'orientations' exercises to be very impactful in discussions that I've around the community. As community builders we need to be mindful of our individual orientation as well as that of the communities which we service.

I work with both open and closed networks and find the distinction of 'secure' and 'private' a really important distinction worth further exploration around technology and humanity.

Thanks

Beth

Lauren,

Can you share any insights from your experience stratling the fence between open and closed networks?

@patti
I love your suggestion of practicing setting up fences in different ways and I'm wondering how you sandbox that effectively with a community. It might be easy if the community is starting fresh with a new platform.

Also, what if you have a privacy issue where say - if information was that was private was shared - someone's life could be in danger?

Darren Lancaster

What a timely topic for us... We (the groupery) serve a lot of parent volunteer communities in schools (PTA/PTO groups) where privacy and walled gardens seem to be implicit. But notwithstanding obvious privacy/security issues surrounding children, we'd like to see these groups consider being more open to the local community to make it easier for local business leaders, volunteers, etc. to understand and join their cause.

However, for many folks the lowest common denominator for communication channels is email. There's this inherent feeling that even group emails have a certain degree of privacy, but of course, they can be forwarded anywhere. Maybe it's time to help groups be more explicit in their group communications about what is meant to be open/public vs. closed/private? Community-based tools could support each mode to the degree possible, but also tag these communications in a more obvious way so the community can police itself (and not forward closed communications).

At least that's a conversation we're having with our groups now as we consider how to help support their community guidelines and I welcome any thoughts on what would be the "ideal" way for an online community platform to support communities that are typically closed/private (eg. schools) vs. communities that have more public channels as a normal way of doing (some) part of their cllaboration (eg. nonprofits building social traction).

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