Does KM4Dev have to be a community?

The question for the first discussions and research efforts is:

Does KM4Dev have to be a community? Or is it good enough if it is a platform that provides desired services?



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Comment by Nancy White on February 6, 2014 at 8:04pm

Just had a late breaking thought. It is whatever we imagine it is in our head and collectively it is a delusion. ;-)

Comment by John Smith on October 30, 2013 at 6:39pm

I did a bunch of interviews about 10 years ago [of several online educational communities] that suggested that people at the center were definitely thinking "community" and people on the periphery were thinking "service."  Maybe that's a cause of peripherality as well as a result.

Comment by Philipp Grunewald on October 30, 2013 at 11:27am

Another idea that just came to my mind is the possibility of conducting interviews with people around the network (any combination of the following: some core group members, some other very engaged members, some less engaged members, some lurkers, some people outside the network that fit the target group of the network)?

Any thoughts on this?

Or shall we move on to the next question?

Comment by John Smith on October 23, 2013 at 9:47pm

I was just re-reading this report:  CPsquare / SCOPE Quarterly Fieldtrips: KM4Dev Field Trip Report and noticed this statement at the bottom of page 10:

All of this raised an interesting question – is KM4Dev more of a service than a community?  And  how important is that distinction?   Service means access to information and experts to answer  questions, get new ideas, and hear about new practices.  Community means something deeper,  where KM4Dev is a professional home and it gives people support that can only come from  interaction with other professionals.  In some ways the two can co-exist, but they have different  implications in terms of value to members and resources required.  No definite conclusions  were drawn and realistically it’s probably both and it may be impossible to be conclusive about  exactly what resources are essential for the community to survive.   

Comment by John Smith on October 23, 2013 at 5:33pm

Hmm... I thought the assumption was that "a lot of effort is spent trying to be a community" and it's wasted because just trying to offer desired services takes less effort and is good enough.

But your point number 9 is crucial, I think.  And I agree with where you end up, Philipp.  

A meta-question: could these questions be resolved through argumentation, or would we need to identify instances that represent the categories in order to communicate usefully amongst a group that is seeking to establish common ground?

Comment by Philipp Grunewald on October 23, 2013 at 4:56pm

The first things that come to my mind are:

  1. It is being assumed that KM4Dev is currently a community. (That sounds reasonable.)
  2. The question is about KM4Dev being something else than a community (what it currently is).
  3. That something else could be "a platform that provides desired services".
  4. What is meant by "platform"? (One might understand it as: a. the technology that enables online conversations, b. the face-to-face meetings organised, c. the publication of the journal, d. others???)
  5. What are "desired services"? (I feel this is inherently connected to what 'platform' is about. The assumption seems to be that "desired services" provides indications on the caracter and extent of the platform.)
  6. There also seems to be a value judgement in there. "Platform that provides desired services" is seen as inferior to "community". I conclude this from the proposed alternative being "good enough" rather than: Or is it better if...?
  7. If 1-6 are sort of accurate my immediate question would be, why would you want something inferior to what you currently have?
  8. However, if I assume for a second that the originator of that question is of the mindset that when you have more than there is also more responsibilities, costs involved, etc., then the question would be about: would a platform not be sufficient to satisfy people's needs (desired services).
  9. This would then lead me to ask: how do services get provided without there being some sort of structure to provide it?
  10. A community, however, is only one way of providing a platform. There could be a single individual/or institution providing (paying for) an online portal (and the other platforms touched on in #4).
  11. This would leave the question of the desired services. There would be a need for finding out what these are. Thus, you would have to get people to respond to an enquiry (and maybe even go through a reiterative process along Agile Development lines).
  12. People's involvement would make them stakeholders (interested parties in a common issue) and would in my view correspond to the definition of  'a community'. (Oxford dictionary: "the condition of sharing or having certain attitudes and interests in common").
  13. If the enquiry does not end with 7 then I think it ends with "What is the difference between a 'community' and 'a platform that provides desired services (to a group of people)"?


I hope this makes kind of sense. This is not an academic piece of research and much depends of course on how one defines community and platform? I also feel that this is a question only the community can answer.


What do you/others think? Does this enquiry beg the (survey?) question: What are the services that you expect from a KM4Dev platform?

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