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An Interview With Don Thompson (nod), Host of Electric Minds' "Altered" Conference
by Nancy White Don Thompson is host of the "Altered" conference of Electric Minds. He is also co-host of the "Playground" conference.
Don Thompson is host of the "Altered" conference of Electric Minds. He is also co-host of the "Playground" conference.NW: How would you describe the benefits of having a host or facilitator for a community? DT: Like having a touchstone. NW: How do you describe the role(s) of the online community facilitator? DT: Like a touchstone. A point of reference. NW: Do you have a particular approach or style of online facilitation that you use? If it varies, why? DT: Yes, it varries according to what conference I'm hosting, the tone/style/content of the conf., & if I'm hosting solo or co-hosting, and if co-hosting, taking into account the style of the co-host. NW: What are some important things to pay attention to when you are training and managing other online facilitators? DT: The color of their socks. That can be very revealing. NW: What is the worst thing that has happened to you as a facilitator online? DT: Well, getting shat upon, of course. NW: The best? DT: A great communication buzz, while not getting shat upon. NW: How do you approach/handle conflicts in your community? DT: I use humor to demand acceptable behavior. If someone insists on being an asshole, I show them the door, but that's only happened once. NW: How do you approach/handle low activity in your community? DT: Often, with great relief. Other times i just try to be my humorous and interesting self, and hope that stimulates someone. Kinda lame, maybe, but it seems to work well enough for my porpoises, but not so well that I can't keep up, usually. NW: Who are some of your online facilitator role models? DT: Hmm.. As in RL (real life), I reckon I've pretty much defined my own role, to a large extent. Howard is an obvious influence though, from the early days of EM and my own on-line life, as was ol' one-eye, whatizname, Mark the Greek Petrakis (spoon) as well as Paul Belserene. NW: What do you think is your strength as an online facilitator? DT: Compassion, humor, literacy, (despite iffy spelling), and sometimes grace. NW: If you had to choose one or two golden rules for online facilitators, what would they be? DT: Do unto others, and all that jazz. NW: What resources or references have you tapped to help you be a better online facilitator? DT: My experience in the arts and entertainment industries. NW: Why do you facilitate online communities? DT: I suppose because I think that better communication can make the world a better place, and for the most part, for the same reason I do most anything, because there's a part of me that enjoys it. NW: What do you see in the future for online communities? DT: Mind control for the masses, through advertising -- just like TV! NW: What will your role be in that future? DT: I will hopefully be dead by then.