Monday, April 30, 2007

Paul Klee's Twittering Machine

On the Alumni Nets email list someone today had a great post on twitter for Alumni associations. Along the way, they pointed to this image from Paul Klee at the MOMA in New York. How perfect in this Twitter age!

Source: | The Collection | Paul Klee. Twittering Machine. 1922


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FUSION 2007 Desire2Learn Conference

In July I'll be heading to Duluth, a new city for me, to help add some ideas to FUSION 2007 Desire2Learn Conference. Barry Dahl did a short 15 minute podcast with me as a preamble which you can find here. The topic of my bit will be on Technologies for Communities of practice, a theme you have heard me prattle on for a number of years. I am starting to think about how to contextualize the work, which has been across a variety of context, mostly outside of academia, into the world of K-12 and higher education.

Carrying ideas across domains is for me both a useful and somewhat dangerous exercise. Since I am such a fan of context, I realize I need to steep myself more into the educational context.

What communities of practice in K-12 and higher education do you know about? What has been the role of technology in them? I'd love to hear some of your stories.

Oh, and any hints about what to see in the Duluth region are also gratefully accepted. I'm taking my husband and we are going to take a few days of holiday while we're up there.

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Sunday, April 29, 2007

Updating my basic article on online facilitation

OK, what do you think should a) come out of this article, b) is missing and needs adding in, and c)needs to be better reframed for the current context. This article had its genesis in 1999 and has been updated about every two years. What do you think? Feedback GRATEFULLY accepted in the comments or email me. (Pardon the funky formatting. I'm short on time for HTML tweaking!)

Facilitating Online Interaction

Originally from: Last updated 4/07
  • From Webster's: Facilitation \Fa*cil`i*ta"tion\, n. The act of facilitating or making easy.

  • From Wordnet: facilitation n: act of assisting or making easier the progress or improvement of something

  • "to free from difficulties or obstacles"

  • "to make easy or easier"

Online Facilitation is the set of activities used to assist a group in achieving its desired activities together. This may be done by an individual or it may be the collective practices of a group to facilitate itself. The practice emerges from the classic skills of offline facilitation, but adds the elements of the technical practices using online interaction software, along with the complicating factors of distributed interaction where we cannot rely on accustomed offline communication elements of body language, tone and the affects of being in the same space at the same time.

In the early days of online interaction, facilitation most often was confined to asynchronous text based interactions, or synchronous chat. Today, the fast evolving range of tools has expanded the type of environments we can interact in, as well as expanded the social forms. No longer are we interacting in bounded or closed groups, but in open and always shifting networks. This challenges and expands what it might mean to "facilitate online."

This article is about the facilitation of bounded groups. However, this is now just one subsection of online facilitation. There really is a huge need for more knowledge about network faciltiation.

Why Facilitate Online?

Online group interactions do not always "happen" spontaneously. They require care and nurturing: facilitation. The core of facilitation is to serve the group and assist it in reaching its goals or purpose. Some describe this role as a gardener, a conductor, the distributed leadership of jazz improvisers, a teacher, or an innkeeper. It can be this and more.

Levitt, Popkin and Hatch, in their article "Building Online Communities for High Profile Internet Sites" wrote, "Communities are organic in nature and site owners can't make them successful or force them to grow. As site owner can only provide the fertile ground on which a community may grow, and then provide some gentle guidance to help the group thrive. Much of the challenge in fostering an online community is social, rather than technical."

Decades of practice have confirmed this. We can create starting conditions, which are crucial. We can role model and describe processes to assist groups. But rarely can we construct a path that is the singular source of a group's success.

Facilitation is a balance between functions that enhance the environment and content, create openness and opportunity, and functions that protect the members from harassment. It involves the sacred rituals around freedom of individual expression while preserving something of "the common good." It is juggling, tight-rope walking, often without a net. The distance to the hard cold ground varies with the community or group goals. The clearer the purpose, the easier it is to craft the facilitation approach. Purpose provides participants and facilitators expectations upon which they can base their actions. However, some groups thrive on diffuse purpose and with little facilitation, so take all the subsequent advice carefully. Context matters. There is no single way, path or method.

Facilitators foster member interaction, provide stimulating material for conversations, keep the space cleaned up and help hold the members accountable to the stated community guidelines, rules or norms. They pass on community history and rituals. They "hold the space" for the members. Perhaps more importantly, hosts often help community members do these things for themselves. Without someone taking on these responsibilities, it is easy for an online space to get sidetracked, disrupted or simply abandoned. For more specifics on online facilitation, see Some Considerations for Facilitating Online Interaction.

Who is the Facilitator?

There are two ways to answer this question: from the website perspective and from the group perspective. For organizations that create websites spaces for online groups, facilitation is often from the site ownership. The facilitation can be to attract and hold people on the site, to maintain a certain style of interaction and to maintain the site. The purpose is often driven by the site owner's goals. For groups with their own goals who choose to interact online the facilitator may be the convenor, team leader, outside facilitator, instructor/teacher, or simply an interested member. Their purpose is focused on the group's needs and goals.

The online facilitation role may evolve within a site or group. Small groups may have just one facilitator, while large online spaces with many subgroups and topics may use teams.

What Specifically do Online Facilitators Do?

Facilitators in offline situations have certain established roles providing leadership, focus, stimulation for group interaction, support, team building, refereeing, dealing with problems, timekeeping, responding to member feedback and group regulation. These may also be needed online, but there are also differences due to the technologically mediate nature of the environment. Communication has a few more challenges, there is always an element of technological skill, plus there are the advantages and disadvantages of electronic tools.

Facilitator approaches depend on the nature of the community or group. Some communities, such as conversational "salon type" communities, need a very low-key "host." Communities that focus on sharing expertise or providing support and assistance need very clear and rapid responses. Teams may benefit from distinct leadership qualities. Others need facilitators to help raise the overall skill level of the community to facilitate itself.

In general, there are four frameworks for online facilitation:
  1. Understanding of group facilitation as it occurs face to face and online. What is similar and what is different.
  2. Knowledgeable about design. Ideally, they are involved in the conceptualization, design and implementation of the online space to ensure that group member needs are accounted for. They participate in pre-assessment and planning.
  3. Grounded in the group's purpose with full understanding. They can convey it clearly to group members.
  4. Prepared with tools and processes. Online facilitators must have basic technological and process skills.

Facilitators use their group facilitation skills to enable the group to meet it's goals. How this is done varies with context. Generally, this involves a group of processes which include:

  1. Entry and engagement processes which help members become active participants
  2. Supporting sociability, relationship and trust building
  3. Constructing, adapting and modeling norms, agreements and accountability
  4. Support discussion and dialog (foster communication)
  5. Support divergent, convergent and task-oriented group processes (help get work done)
  6. Anticipate and work with conflict and abrasion to both allow emergence of new ideas and protect people from harassment
  7. Work with full understanding of diversity in learning style, culture and personal styles
  8. Understand and make visible group participation cycles and "rituals" in the online environment.
  9. Summarize, harvest, weave and support appropriate content and connections
  10. Provide basic help as needed with the tools
  11. Ensure the space is kept "tidy" and navigable.

Online facilitators' most important skills are as a skilled group facilitator and genuine, authentic communicator. In a text environment, that means people at ease reading and writing with care and clarity. In audio or video based communities this expands to verbal and physical skills we may have mastered offline. To get a sense of some of the variety of facilitator roles, you may wish to read first hand from Hosts on Hosting. As you consider your role compared to theirs, you will probably find that you are doing a combination job, utilizing skills from all areas. You will note that most of those examples come from early online communities. Many things have evolved and changes. With the lifecycle of a group, the role varies over time as a community matures and members start to take on various roles.

People have created many metaphors to describe the role of online facilitator that help us visualize the roles. Here are some examples along with links to resources:

The Social Host

The social host or "host as innkeeper" is the most well-known online facilitation model originating out of long time discussion communities like The Well, Electric Minds (note, this page seems to be rarely up anymore) and Salon Table Talk. This is the most familiar role, but is not the ONLY role. As a dinner host brings together the elements of a successful party, a social host helps create an environment where the members feel comfortable to participate. Part conversationalist, part counselor, part role model and sometimes even part bouncer. They are also usually part of the conversation.

Applications include:
  • social, conversational communities, socially-oriented social networks
  • helping entrants feel "at home" and acclimated in work groups and communities of practice
  • customer service

Key skills include:
  • greeter
  • social skills
  • conversation stimulator (content, style, process)
  • sometimes utilizes a persona or a "character"
  • conflict resolution (particularly in open, public online communities)

Links to articles on this style of hosting, as well as some hosts on hosting who play the role with panache.

The Team or Project Manager

In communities with a strong task, work orientation or subject focus, the team manager pays attention to adherence to focus, timelines, task lists, commitments and process. This can be a leadership and/or support role. This can be aided by the use of static web pages to organize information, the combined use of linear and threaded conferencing space, and the regular use of summaries and reviews. Skills include traditional project management and organizing.

Applications include:

  • Virtual work groups and teams
  • Online events (especially time-delimited)

Key skills include:

  • traditional project management skills
  • writing and summarization skills
  • technical skills such as HTML to create information and summaries with visual impact
  • ability to abstract information and process it for the group

Links to articles

The Community of Practice (CoP)Facilitator (or Coordinator)

CoPs share and build knowledge around a practice. Part of this process is being a group - having identity and reputation, being able to have agreements and some sense of accountability to the group. Facilitating CoPs online can focus on some of these "sociability" and relationship issues. It is about creating conditions, rather than enforcing process. This includes helping members get to know each other, articulating and making visible agreements, and watching/nurturing group dynamics. Skills include group facilitation and a working knowledge of CoPs.

Applications include:

  • Internal formal and informal CoPs
  • Cross organizational CoPs
  • Formal and informal learning communities
  • Communities of interest

Key skills include:

  • Group facilitation skills
  • Cybrarianship
  • Passion for community
  • Ability to facilitate facilitatative behaviors within the community

Links to articles

The Cybrarian

Cybrarians represent the gift of knowledge and information. They are "topical" experts. Cybrarians help members find information internally and externally of the community. They organize information and make it accessible. And they stimulate interaction with the introduction of or pointer to new and relevant information.

Applications include:
    Virtual workgroups and teams
  • Topic-oriented conversation communities
  • Help desks
  • Distance learning settings

Key skills include:

  • web-savvy research
  • strong organizational bent
  • love of learning and information

The Help Desk

In online interaction spaces where there is an ongoing influx of new members, there is often repeated need for simple help pointers on using the software or understanding the community purpose and guidelines.

Applications include:
    E-Commerce and service organizations
  • Larger communities where new folks need help with the software

Key skills include:
  • technical understanding
  • patience
  • clear communication skills

The Referee

Good cop or bad cop, this is the role of bringing attention to and/or enforcing community norms, rules and procedures. Referees help the community regulate, protect members and deal with problems. For example, if a community has a policy of no posting of advertising, the host has the job of deleting offending posts and asking the poster to refrain from posting ads. The clearer the rules, the easier the job. Likewise, where there are no clear rules, this job is often perceived as authoritarian and arbitrary. Referees are often not "regular members" who are "just part of the conversation," but a role apart. These tend to be employees of online community sites and have rather small facilitative impact on a group.

Applications include:

  • social, conversational communities
  • topic oriented discussion groups
  • customer service
  • workgroups
  • ecommerce sites

Key skills include:

  • thick skin and a slow fuse
  • Internet experience
  • familiarity with common nettiquette

Links to articles

The Janitor

It can get messy in cyberspace, as we leave our words in conferences and topics. The Janitor tidies up forgotten topics by freezing and archiving, redirects activity if it is in the wrong area, and generally tidies up.

Applications include:

  • any community with multiple spaces
  • high volume spaces

Key skills include:

  • familiarity with software
  • attention to detail


In some online interaction spaces there are co-facilitators. This can be very helpful in busy or large spaces where one person cannot cover all the territory. It allows the work to be spread out when volunteers are used. Co-facilitating can also provide training opportunities, pairing an experienced facilitator with a new facilitator.

Facilitators as Role Models

Facilitators are the most emulated members of a group -- no matter if they are modeling positive or negative behaviors. They are often the first members to be challenged. Integrity, patience, a good sense of humor and a love of other people will be valued in any host. And as virtual communitarian Howard Rheingold so aptly wrote, "One point of heart is worth ten points of intellect."

Sometimes the facilitator is also a "member" of the group. Keep in mind when playing multiple roles in a community that people may not know what role you are "playing" at any one time and react in ways you might not anticipate. Facilitators might see themselves as also "just members" of the community. Members may not. This distinction becomes critical when there is cause for intervention or problem solving. No longer will you be perceived as "just a member." And in some cases, you will never again be considered in that role. You are most often held to a higher standard.

Learning Online Hosting and Facilitation

Most people get their training "on the job." But you can do more to prepare. First, assess your facilitator qualities. Check out the list at
and consider your self awareness by checking out the article on Facilitator Self-Awareness at

There are web sites and courses to inspire and guide you. Check out Full Circle Associates Online Community Resources. Participate in an existing community and seek out experienced facilitators to observe. Many are generous with ideas and can be mentors. The Electric Minds community provides members a chance to co-host, to get support as hosts with a topic devoted to hosting, and has established a mentor system for new users to the system. This range of support allows the community to "grow their own" hosts and provide some backup for existing hosts. Non profits are often looking for help with their online communities. For more ideas, see "So You Want to Be an Online Facilitator" at http:/

You can also participate in forums and email groups like OnlineFacilitation created for online hosts and facilitators. Similar forums exist on other community building systems.

Links to Facilitation Resources

The Art of Hosting Good Conversations Online - Howard Rheingold - the quintessential guidance for conversations centered spaces

Gail William's Online Community Building Concepts - "almost proverbs"

The WELL Hosts' Manual

Forum One Guide to the Web-based Discussion Forum Sector - excellent site to explore who is doing what with online communities

The Moderator's HomePage A fine collection of links with an emphasis in online education.

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New Terms in the Online Interaction Glossary

The great thing about running my online facilitation workshop (next round starts May 7) is that it stimulates me to update my resource base. So I went ahead and added some new terms to the Online Interaction Glossary, many of them suggested by you, dear readers! I edited right into the old post to save another huge long scrolling post.

I hope to post a few more of the updated articles here as well. Feedback is ALWAYS appreciated.

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Saturday, April 28, 2007

Online Interaction Glossary em Portuguese!

In checking my feeds today I found a link to Isadora's blog and a wonderful gift - a translation of the online interaction glossary I posted here a while back. Thanks, Isadora! This will come in very handy as I have been doing work in Portugal. Now if I can only find a way back to Brasil! Saudades do Brasil! E muita obrigada, Isadora.

Glossário da Interação Digital, por Nancy White
Traduzi isso pra um minicurso do Fabiano que irá acontecer domingo agora, na UFSC, no EREBD Sul 2007. Biblioteconomia no Século XXI.. Vai ser bacana. Esse glossário foi tirado de um blog de uma moça americana, quem quiser a versão em inglês, sinta-se a vontade para visitar o blog dela.

Por incresça que parível ainda existe muita gente que não tem noção do que algumas expressões desse glossário querem dizer. Provavelmente deve ter um erro ou outro de tradução por aí, mas quem quiser corrigir ou acrescentar algo, sinta-se a vontade: os comentários estão aí pra isso.

Acho que esse será um glossário útil pra quem quiser saber alguns termos recorrentes de interação online e algumas expressões "web 2.0"
. De qualquer forma, esse glossário será constantemente atualizado, contando com a participação de quem quiser opinar e ajudar com novas expressões também.

Administração do Conhecimento – "Administração do Conhecimento se relaciona com as questões críticas de adaptação organizacional, sobrevivência e competência perante uma mudança ambiental grandiosamente descontínua... Essencialmente, encorpa processos organizacionais que buscam combinação sinergística de informação e capacidade de tecnologias de processamento de informações, e a criativa e inovativa capacidade dos seres humanos" Dr. Yogesh Malhotra, BRINT Institute. Para uma história interessante de Administração do Conhecimento, veja

Administração de Documento – "Administração computadorizada de documentos eletrônicos e também impressos. Sistemas de administração de documentos geralmente incluem um scanner ótico e um sistema para converter documento sem papel para a forma eletrônica, um sistema de informações para organizar documentos guardados e um mecanismo de busca para rapidamente achar documentos específicos. Chave para administração de documentos é uma compreensão dos usos potenciais de fonte material e um protocolo para a identificação de elementos do conteúdo (tais como palavras-chaves e outras características de um documento.)"

Agregação – “Agregar informações de diversos sites, geralmente através de RSS. Agregação permite que os sites remixem a informação de múltiplos websites, por exemplo republicando todas as notícias relacionadas a uma palavra chave em particular.”

Anônimos – Alguém que lê num espaço de interação online, mas raramente ou nunca posta. Quando eles postam de fato, é dito que eles estão “perseguindo”. Também são conhecidos como “leitores”. Dependendo do propósito do espaço de interação, os facilitadores podem tentar e engajar os anônimos a começar a responder e postar. Esse termo às vezes carrega conotações negativas em alguns contextos, usar o termo “leitor” é aconselhável. “Perseguição” pode ser visto como negativo, mas em alguns casos pessoas que apenas lêem podem ter um impacto significando no propósito de uma comunidade – vamos dizer que o propósito é partilhar informação. Se eu leio, você me alcançou. Se o propósito é gerar nova informação, então há uma razão mais forte para que todo mundo poste – e gere. Leitores provém uma audiência provém page-views – eles são uma influencia, albeit não vistas e às vezes difícil de compreender. Leitores podem ser convertidos em postadores.

Aprendizado Mesclado – "Aprendizado mesclado é a combinação de várias formas de ensino ou para processos educacionais que envolvem o uso de uma diversidade de métodos e fontes ou para experiências de ensino que são derivadas de mais de um tipo de fonte de informação. Exemplos incluem a combinação de materiais baseados na tecnologia e materiais tradicionalmente impressos, estudos de grupo e individual, direção estruturada e estudo auto-dirigido, tutorial e treinamento".

Arquivos – (ou Tópicos Arquivados) Tópicos de uma interação online que foram fechados para participação, mas mantidos como um histórico da interação. Arquivos de chats (conversas) geralmente são chamados de transcritos.


Back Channel – Comunicação (e-mail, mensagem instantânea) enviado pessoalmente para um ou mais indivíduos ao contrário de um fórum público de conferência. Backchannel é raramente documentado, mas tem um grande impacto nas interações online.

Blog ou Weblog – "Um weblog, também conhecido como *blog, é um site frequentemente atualizado consistindo de entradas datadas arranjadas em ordem cronológica reversa para que o leitor veja os post mais recentes primeiro. O estilo é tipicamente pessoal e informal. Avaliar livremente ferramentas na www faz com que fique fácil para qualquer um publicar seu próprio weblog, para que então haja uma grande variedade na qualidade, conteúdo e ambição de weblogs. Ainda, um weblog pode ter em qualquer lugar um monte de dezenas de milhares de leitores diários. Weblogs apareceram primeiramente no meio dos anos noventa e se tornaram mais populares, uma vez que ferramentas de publicação simples e gratuitas como o se tornaram disponíveis na virada do século." Existem muitos outros termos relacionados ao ato de bloggar.

Blogosfera – "A totalidade de weblogs ou redes relacionadas a blogs." (da Wikipedia)

Blogroll – "Uma lista de sites recomendados que aparecem na barra lateral de um blog. Esses sites são tipicamente de tópicos similares, sites que o blogueiro lê regularmente, ou sites que pertencem aos amigos e colegas do blogueiro. O termo "blogroll" também evoca o conceito de logrolling político (quando legisladores prometem votar por um outro pet bills) -- que não é diferente do hábito de bloggers de terem links recíprocos postando links que linkam o seu blog".

Bookmark (Favoritos) – Marcar um documento ou um lugar específico num documento para verificação posterior. A maioria dos browsers têm uma característica de bookmarking que te permite salvar o endereço (URL) de uma webpage para que você possa facilmente revisitar a página numa outra hora; Um marcador ou endereço que identifica um documento ou um lugar específico num documento.

Bookmarking Partilhado – Ao invés de favoritar os websites em um browser pessoal, usuários favoritam num site da web que permite que os taxem seletivamente, partilhem e acessem a sua lista de URLs favoritadas de qualquer computador conectado a internet. Exemplo:

Bulletin Board (Fórum de Discussão) – Nome dado a espaços de conferências online. Bulletin Boards são ferramentas assincrônicas e podem ser organizadas em formatos lineares ou em cascata.


Chat (Conversa) – Interação por texto feita na web ao mesmo tempo (sincrônica). Tipicamente rápido, ele pode ser usado para eventos com um grande auditório onde têm apresentadores e audiência, um grupo menor de reuniões de trabalho ou interações sociais, ou em pequenas seções um-pra-um. Algumas aplicações de chats agora estão integrando voz também como texto de chat.

Comentários/Comentar (Relacionado a blogs) – Comentários são uma forma de prover discussões em posts de blogs. Leitores podem deixar um comentário em um post, que pode corrigir erros ou conter sua opinião sobre o post ou sobre o assunto do post.

Comunidades de Prática (CdP) – Comunidades de prática são grupos que emergem sobre uma disciplina ou problema - um tópico relacionado ao trabalho como design gráfico ou o comportamento de instrumentos financiais derivativos. Eles não tem agenda; São definidos pelo tópico que os inicia, não por projeto, ranking, departamento ou até mesmo afiliação corporada. Eles estão onde o aprendizado e a inovação ocorrem... Aprendizado é social, nós aprendemos. Administradores que se focam nas comunidades e times podem melhorar performance. Chefes geralmente tentavam quebrar a gangue pelo refrigerador. Agora eles os apoiam com web sites". Tom Stewart na revista Fortune em 28 de Maio de 2001.

Comunidade Virtual – (Também chamada de comunidade online, e-comunidade) Uma comunidade virtual é uma comunidade para pessoas partilharem interesses em comum, idéias, e sentimentos sobre a Internet ou outras redes colaborativas. Um possível inventor desse termo e um dos seus primeiros proponentes foi Howard Rheingold, documentado em seu livro, The Virtual Community. Rheingold define as comunidades virtuais como agregações sociais que emergem da Internet quando muitas pessoas continuam com discussões públicas longas o suficiente e com sentimentos humanos o suficientes para formar redes de relacionamentos pessoais no cyberespaço. Veja também

Comunicações Mediadas por Computador (CMC) – Comunicação feita através de ferramentas online tais como e-mail, webpages, interação online ou conferências.

Conferência – Uma coleção de tópicos ou assuntos, geralmente organizada em torno de um tema ou assunto importante. Espaços de interação online são às vezes coleções de conferências. Conferencias criam um senso de "espaço" e ajudam os usuários decidir onde "ir" ou ler no espaço de interação online.

Conferência Discutida – Interação na web baseada em texto onde os posts seguem uma estutura de “árvore”. Resposta podem ser appended a posts particulares. Esse formato é bom para questões técnicas e respostas ou para organizar grandes quantidades de informação.

Conferência Linear ou Conversacional – Posts aparecem em sequencia cronológica, um após o outro, dentro de um tópico. Criam um senso de “conversação” e empresta a si mesma a construir interações de grupos, mas não permite resposta a um post particular.

Congelando um Tópico - Uma função administrativa onde o software é colocado para parar de permitir postagens em um tópico. Geralmente usado para fechar um tópico ou discussão, mas ainda o deixando disponível para leitura.

Cybrary – Uma biblioteca eletrônica ou repositório de documentos.


Discussão – Uma série de posts em um único tópico. Esse termo é usado de várias formas. Quando o tópico começa a sair de sua intenção original, às vezes as pessoas sugerem que se inicie uma nova "Discussão". Veja também Tópico.

Distribuído – Refere-se a um grupo de pessoas que não estão na mesma locação geográfica. Geralmente usada em conjunção com termos como em "time distribuído".

DRO - Disputa de Resolução Online (ODR, Online Dispute Resolution) – Um processo para prover serviços mediadores para reconciliar disagreements usando o ambiente online. É uma prática emergente fora da offline dispute resolution. (Para mais veja

Download – Copiar arquivos da web para o HD para uso posterior, offline.


Editar um Post – Voltar atrás e mudar um post em um espaço de conferência online. No ambiente de WebCrossing, usuários podem editar seus posts em até 30 minutos após seu post original. Posts não podem ser editados após esse tempo exceto pelo(s) administrador(es).

E-Learning (ou Aprendizado à Distância) – Um tipo de educação onde os estudantes trabalham por si sós de qualquer localidade conectada a Internet e comunicam-se com a faculdade e outros estudantes via e-mail, foruns eletrônicos, video conferências e outras formas de comunicação através de computadores.

E-mail – Nome curto para “eletronic mail”, a transmissão de mensagens através de redes eletrônicas de comunicação. Alguns sistemas de e-mail são confinados a um único sistema de computador, Intranet ou rede, mas outros são gateways (portais) para a Internet, permitindo ususários mandarem e-mails de qualquer lugar no mundo. (Para algumas dicas básicas sobre e-mail efetivo, veja

Emoticon – Também conhecido como smilies, eles são caracteres do teclado usados em combinações para produzir símbolos representando um leque de emoções. Exemplos são feliz :-) e triste :-( . Emoticons são usados em comunicação eletrônica para mostrar o humor e expressar emoções que são difíceis de comunicar através de textos. Para uma lista compreensível de emoticons, entre nesse link


F2F – Gíria para "face a face" que significa interação offline.

Facilitador – Uma pessoa que ajuda um grupo atingir seus objetivos. Originado da palavra "facilitar" ou "fazer com que seja fácil". Facilitadores online precisam das mesmas habilidades de que facilitadores offline juntamente com um leque de tecnologias usadas. "Um bom líder fala pouco, mas quando o trabalho está feito, o aim preenchido, todos os outros dirão, 'Nós fizemos sozinhos'." Lao-Tse, 400BC

Feeds – Também conhecidos como webfeeds ou blog feeds. "Um web feed é um documento (geralmente baseado em XML) que contém itens, geralmente sumários de estórias ou posts de blogs com os web links para versões maiores. Websites de notícias e blogs são fontes comuns para web feeds, mas feeds são geralmente usados para entregar informação estruturada desde informação sobre o tempo até listas de "dos 10 +"... Mais geralmente, feeds são subscritos para diretamente para usuários com agregadores ou leitores de feeds, que combinam os conteúdos de web feeds múltiplos para disponibilizar em uma única tela ou séries de telas. Alguns web browsers modernos incorporam características de agregadores. Dependendo do agregador, usuários tipicamente subscrevem a um feed por manualmente digitar a URL de um feed ou clicando em um link num web browser." - Wikipedia

Feedreaders – Uma ferramenta que colecona todos os feeds que uma pessoa subscreveu e os coloca juntos numa forma legível e organizada no desktop ou num browser. Também chamado de "newsreader" ou "agregador". Ver "Feeds"

Ferramentas de Interação – Veja também o artigo, ferramentas para interação online.

Ferramentas de Trabalho em Redes Sociais – Sites de Redes Sociais ajudam as pessoas a descobrir novos amigos ou colegas por iluminar seus interesses partilhados, habilidades relacionadas, ou locação geográfica em comum. Exemplos comuns incluem o Friendster, LinkedIn e o 43people. Adendo: No Brasil, a Rede Social mais conhecida por todos é o Orkut.

Folksonomia – "Uma palavra portmanteau combinando 'folk' e 'taxonomia', refere-se a forma colaborativa mas pouco sofisticada na qual a informação é categorizada na rede. Ao invés de usar uma forma centralizada de classificação, usuários são encorajados a assinar livremente palavras-chave escolhidas (chamadas de tags, etiquetas) a pedaços de informação ou data, um processo conhecido como tagging/etiquetagem". Exemplos de serviços na web que usam etiquetagem incluem: flickr,, etc.

Foruns Eletrônicos – Também conhecidos como conferência, fórum ou lista de discussão. Um grupo de discussão online onde os participantes trocam mensagens de textos eletronicamente, geralmente através da Internet.


GMT - Meio Tempo de Greenwich – Um padrão de tempo que é útil de usar quando trabalhando com grupos globais. GMT é medido da linha do Meridiano de Greenwich no Observatório Real em Greenwich, UK. GMT permanece o mesmo por todo o ano (sem "horário de verão")



Indicadores de Presença – Uma ferramenta de software construída num espaço de interação online que mostra quem está online no espaço em cada dado tempo. Esses são úteis para ajudar construir um senso de “grupo” e são geralmente bundled com ferramentas de mensagem instantânea permitindo usuários que estão online ao mesmo tempo para mandar mensagens rápidas uns aos outros.

Interação Assincrônica – Discussões online ocorrendo independente de tempo ou localidade. Participantes mandam mensagens para uma localidade central (fórum de discussão) onde são arquivadas para conferência posterior de outros participantes. Exemplos de interação assincrônica são os fóruns de discussão e os e-mails.

Interação Sincrônica (Tempo Real) – Discussões Online ocorrendo independente de locação, mas ao mesmo tempo. Participantes podem concordar em um tempo para entrar no fórum de discussão e mensagens são recebidas no momento em que são enviadas. Essa forma de comunicação eletrônica também é chamado de “conversação”, e podem incluir audio e/ou vídeo.

IRC - Internet Relay Chat – "Um sistema de conversação que permite que as pessoas contectadas em qualquer lugar na internet para participarem de discussões ao vivo. Para participar de uma discussão de IRC, você precisa de um cliente IRC e de um acesso à Internet." (




Lista de Email (ou listservs tm, Listas de Discussão) – Uma função de grupo de email que manda ou "envia" um único email para um grupo de pessoas. Listas de e-mail usam uma variedade de ferramentas de software com propriedades que podem ou não incluír modos múltiplos de participação (mensagens individuais, digestivos diários contendo todas as mensagens do dia, etc), arquivamento automatico de posts num website (tais como http://www.yahoogroups) e níveis variantes de controle moderador.

Listserv (tm) – Ver Listas de E-mail. Uma tecnologia mais velha, listservs são essencialmente listas de discussão que permitem que você mande múltiplas cópias de e-mail por mandar uma simples mensagem a um endereço central. Alguns listservs são bem úteis; outros nem tanto. Listserv é um nome de trademark pela compania Lyris.

Login – O processo de ir a um website que requere que o usuário coloque um username (nome) e senha para conseguir acesso àquele espaço. A maioria dos espaços de conferência online requerem login. Isso permite que posts sejam atribuídos a um usuário único e acompanhar o progresso do usuário através do espaço de discussão.

- M -

Mashup – "Website ou Aplicação Web 2.0 que usa conteúdo de mais de uma fonte para criar um serviço completamente novo." Wikipedia

Mensagem – Texto adicionado por um usuário em um espaço de discussão online. Também conhecido como "post".

Mensagem Instantânea – Uma mensagem pessoal sincronica mandada entre dois usuários. Exemplos de ferramentas de mensagens instantâneas incluem ICQ, AOL Instant Messenger, Microsoft Messenger (msn) e Jabber.

- N -

Netiqueta – Um set de "comportamentos" online geralmente conhecidos como netiquetas, ou etiqueta na Net. Para uma lista compreensiva de regras para uma variedade de formas de comunicação online, veja o User Guidelines de Arlene Rinaldi e Netiqueta na Florida Atlantic University: que também inclui algumas traduções para outras linguas.

- O -

Offtopic (mudança de tópico) – Quando uma assunto de conversação ou tópico sai de sua conversa original.

- P -

Permalink – “A URL do artigo individual, completo, designado para referir-se a um item de informação específica (geralmente uma história de notícia ou item de blog) e permanecer não mudado permanentemente, ou pelo menos por um grande período de tempo para prevenir o apodrecimento do link.” Wikipedia.

Podcast – Um blog em audio, tipicamente atualizado semanalmente ou diariamente. Você não precisa ter um ipod (um produto da Apple) para ouvir um podcast; mesmo que você possa fazer um download de podcast para um ipod, você também pode ouvir podcasts em um computador, ou vários outros tocadores de mp3. - Social Signal

Post – Uma mensagem adicionada a uma discussão online. Também conhecido como "mensagem".

- Q -

- R -

Registro – Um processo de providenciamento de algumas informações para conseguir um usuário e uma senha para um espaço de interação online para a permissão do log in.

Remix – Pegar um pedaço de documento existente (música, video, etc.) e mudá-lo, às vezes combinando o material original com novo material.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) – Da sua forma mais simples, um mecanismo para permitir que você se subscreva a conteúdo da web atualizado tais como posts de blogs e mensagens de foruns. “O formato RSS provém conteúdo da web ou resumos de conteúdo da web junto com links as versões completas do conteúdos e outras meta-datas. Essa informação é entregue como um arquivo XML chamado de feed RSS, feed web, RSS stream ou canal RSS. Além de facilitar a sindicação, RSS permite que um leitor frequente de um site a acompanhar as atualizações usando um agregador. ”

- S -

Semear – Postar uma mensagem inicial ou séries de mensagens em uma discussão para começar uma discussão.

Sistemas de Administração de Conteúdos (Content Management Systems) – Programas de software designados a incorporar ferramentas e processos para administração de documentos.

Skype – Um dos maiores provedores de VOIP.

Slip - Quando dois usuários num espaço de inteação online assíncrônico postam ao mesmo tempo. A importância de se antenar em slipping é que em alguns sistemas de conferência você pode perder mensagens de outros usuários se elas foram postadas ao mesmo tempo.

Software Social – “Software que permite a participação, contribuição e networking (inter-conexão); como por exemplo blogs. Softwares que permitem conteúdos ou serviços combinados por terceiros (essa combinação é geralmente referida como remixaem ou um mashup: uma referência a cultura de DJ onde novas composições são criadas por amostrar e combinar sons existentes ou gravações).” - Motive Glossary.


Tags/Tagging – "Tags são as palavras chaves que as pessoas adicionam a artigos em seus blogs ou em webpages através de social bookmarking como o, Technorati, Yahoo!, My Web 2.0, etc." - Wikipedia

Teleconferência (também audio-conferência) – Conexão feita apenas por voz com múltiplos participantes. Podem estar usando linhas telefonicas normais ou Voz Sobre IP (VOIP) em computadoes. Podem ser usados em conjunto com outras ferramentas para ciar um display tal como chat, abrindo o mesmo set de slides, etc.

Terminologia da Internet – Para mais termos relacionados a Internet (incluindo os técnicos) veja

Termos de Serviço (TdS) – A regra escrita de um espaço de interação online. Em espaços online comerciais ou públicos, TdS geralmente referem-se a acordos legais comerciais que sites requerem antes que usuários acessam e/ou postem em um espaço de interação online.

TIC - ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) – Abvreviação para "Tecnologias de Informação e Comunicação". Um termo geralmente usado em desenvolvimento internacional.

Tópico (ou tópico) – Uma séria de posts sobre um único tema ou idéia. Ver também Thread.


Upload – Copiar um arquivo do HD de um usuário para um espaço de interação na web, e fazer o arquivo acessível a outros membros do espaço de interação online.


Video Conferência – Uma conferência ou interação entre dois ou mais participantes em sites diferentes usando redes de computadores para transmitir informações de audio e vídeo. Às vezes o audio é feito via telebridge separada. Um ponto-a-ponto (duas pessoas) sistema de vídeo conferencia trabalha como um telefone por vídeo. Cada participante tem uma camera de vídeo, microfone, e auto-falantes montados em seu computador. Enquanto os dois participantes falam um com o outro, suas vozes são levadas através da rede e entregues ao auto-falante do outro, e quais quer que sejam as imagens que aparecem na frente da camera de vídeo aparece numa janela no monitor do outro participante. Video conferencia multipoint permitem três ou mais participantes sentar numa sala de conferência virtual e comunicar como se estivessem sentados próximos um aos outros.

Vodcast – Um post de blog em forma de vídeo. "VODcast é um termo emergente derivado do audio "podcast" e video."

Voice Over IP (VOIP) – “Encurtamento para Voice over Internet Protocol, uma categoria para hardware e software que permite que as pessoas usem a Internet como o meio de transmissão para chamadas de telefones por mandar a informação de voz em pacotes usando IP do que circuitos de transmissões tradicionais do PSTN. Uma vantagem do VoIP é que chamadas de telefones pela internet não incur uma surcharge além do que o usuário está pagando pelo acesso a Internet, bem da mesma forma que o usuário não pague pelo envio de e-mails individuais sobre a Internet.” - Webopedia


Web 2.0 – 'Web 2.0' encapsula uma repensagem e reinvenção de como a web é e pode ser usada - circa late - 2004. A fraseologia é de que a engenharia de software, onde o lançamento de uma nova versão é denotado por appending um número ao título do software. Criticas chave do termo são de que a web não é um software, e de que muitas das idéias colecionadas sobre o título de Web 2.0 não são 'novas' seja num sentido programático ou tecnológico. Além do seu uso inicial para descrever uma aproximação para desenvolvimento de software, o termo também entrou para o uso popular como um sinônimo de "novidade"- levando a comparações com as palavras da moda da era pré-ponto-com como 'killer app', 'Bleeding/leading edge', etc.

Webring – "Um WebRing é um serviço de internet e conceito que mantém junto um grupo de sites que tem o mesmo tema. Em cada WebRing, sites membros linkaram os seus sites em círculos. Seu propósito: permitir que mais visitantes os alcancem rapidamente e facilmente." Blogs também formam webrings, alguns chamados de Blogrings.

Wiki – "Wiki é um pedaço de software de servidor que permite usuários criar e editar livremente conteúdo de web pages usando qualquer web browser. Wiki apoia hiperlinks e tem uma sintaxe de texto simples para criação de novas páginas e cross-links entre páginas internas. Wiki permite a organização de contribuições para ser editada em adição ao próprio conteúdo permitindo usuários do dia a dia criar e editar qualquer página em um website é excitate em si só e encoraga o uso democrático da Web e promove a composição de conteúdo por usuários não técnicos." Wikipedia

WYSIWYG – “What You See is What You Get”/ "O que você vê, é o que você tem" que se refere a ferramentas de formatação em processadores de texto, wikis e ferramentas de criações de weblog que permite usuários formatarem sem saber o código.


Tradução por Isadora Garrido

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Friday, April 27, 2007

The same story the world over

Tinariwen is an amazing musical group from the Sahara. I'm listening to a cut from their latest work, Aman Iman: Water Is Life

As I was listening and reading the album notes, I came upon this quote. The last line grabbbed me.
So forget the myths, forget the 'guns-and-guitars' fantasies and tales of blue-men on their camels. The humanity, the wonder and the epic sweep of the real Tinariwen story doesn't need any photoshopping or romantic embellishments. It is the raw tale of an everyman, who was cut off from history and embraced the modern world, who lost his home and found solace in the guitar, who through pain and exile invented a new style of music that could express who he is and where he's going. Nothing mythical or exotic about that. You can find the same story the world over.
On Monday of this week a bunch of us gathered on a phone call and IRC chat to mull over what happens when our human hatefulness spreads itself across our online haunts. It was both a fascinating and unfulfilling conversation, crammed into an hour, with some participating in the chat, some on the phone and, for me, a sense of many quiet ears listening, but unseen. We stayed mostly at the conceptual level and our forays into sharing our feelings and experiences did not have the space to ripen and deepen. But that's what you get on the phone in an hour, eh?

The persistent question I was left with was how can the online world accelerate or decelerate our global path towards destruction or balance? I'm particularly torn at a tension between the basic patterns of humanity, such as the story of Tinariwen, which is repeated the world over, and this strange new phenomena of network response. We can now echo our truths and lies quickly over the world. Our ability to transmit our stories in ways that are outside of our local context, our circle of known people (community or whatever) is, I think, an earthshaking change. I don't think I have fully appreciated the dimension of this change yet, nor its implication on our behavior.

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Robin Good on Twitter

Stephen Downes pointed to this one and it is too good not to repoint to. And yes, I have about 6 blog posts that aren't just pointers in the works. Maybe one of them will escape the pull of "just a draft" gravity!

Robin Good on Twitter
In this beginner's guide to Twitter I have taken a look at the following questions:

* What exactly is Twitter? - a full review of what Twitter is and does

* What do I need to use Twitter? - The different ways that you can use Twitter, and the technologies required

* How are people using Twitter? - Twitter is being used in a number of ways to a variety of effects

* Why do people love Twitter? - What the blogosphere and press have to say about Twitter when they are singing its praises

* Why do people hate Twitter? - What the blogosphere and press have to say about Twitter when they are less than impressed

* What tools are there to extend Twitter? - While the strength of Twitter lies in its simplicity, that hasn't stopped a micro-industry forming around it. I take a look at some of the tools and services available
This is the best overview I've seen so far!

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It is about BOTH technology and people

Although Hugh at gapingvoid probably had other intentions with this cartoon, it struck me as a key flag about why technology stewardship is important.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Video of Video - more self referential stuff

Last year I was unable to go to Portugal for SHiFT, so I ended up presenting on blog based online communities via video conference. Turns out the video conference was video taped. Hm, pretty funny! Clearly I forgot about the web cam after a while. (Ugh!)

Last week I got to meet some of the brilliant guys behind shift at the Setubal Bloggers Dinner and Nancy's Birthday Party. I am still promising to blog about it and share the photos. But if you want to see pictures now, they are on Flickr.

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RSS Made Easy - Thanks to my friends

Lee and Sachi have a new element to their consulting practice, CommonCraft - It's the CommonCraft Show. Their first one on RSS in Plain English is a winner. Here it is...

There are two types of Internet users, those that use RSS and those that don't. This video is for the people who could save time using RSS, but don't know where to start.

Back to work. Yes, I know, I am still too blog silent!

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Sunday, April 22, 2007

Well it looks like I'm on the new Blogger

Nothing like being a delinquent blogger and not blogging for a bit while on the road, then try to blog and something is not the same! It seems without any notification, Google moved me to the new Blogger. Poof. My old "Blog this" bookmarklet now throws an error. Time to do more work.

It has been hard to get back into my blog rhythm. The garden calls for weeding. I want to hang with my family after being away for two weeks. This may mean a bit of a blog hiatus!

Spring fever, eh?

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Monday, April 16, 2007

Listening for Patterns

Originally uploaded by jaycross.
I have a bunch of things I want to blog about; blogger dinners in London and Setubal, Portugal. Learnings about mapping group collaboration patterns for an intranet rollout. Pretty sights while on the road. Ideas for a keynote I'm doing for the TCC Online Conference on Thursday. But I MUST work.

So I'm grabbing one of Jay Cross' picture from a gathering April 7th that just makes me smile, because trying to listen for, and notice patterns, has been a theme across this current three stop, 2 week trip. Jay's picture sums it up.

More later, including pictures and videos from last nights Setubal Blogger's Dinner and Sing Along Birthday Party. I can highly recommend coming here for your birthday!

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Pearls Before Breakfast -

Pearls Before Breakfast -

An astonishing story about beauty and our blindness to it in our ever forward-moving daily lives.

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Toby Blogs Me on Online Community Building

Building Community With Online Communities - Part One

While I'm flat out working and not blogging, I'll leave it to my friends ! Thanks, Toby! I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series!


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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Blogging Codes of Conduct and Context

It can be both frustrating and useful to be wrapped up in offline work and not be able to follow an emerging conversation or story, like the current one on Blogging Codes of Conduct. I got an email from Jon Garfunkel who alerted me to his alternative approach, a Comment Management Responsibility system based on a pick and choose concept much like Creative Commons.

Both Tim's and Jon's approaches have value, but I found myself more drawn to Jon's because he set out a range of options with far more neutrality in the language that opened the door for application in more diverse contexts.

Reading the comment's on Tim's post, it is quickly apparent that we come at blogging with diverse values, needs, goals and contexts. Our language (or even our intents) does not always cross our cultural chasms and can in fact carry quite different meaning in different settings. We don't really have a shared sense of what we mean by "civility" so it is hard to create a code to "enforce" civility.

Further, I believe there are very different needs for organizations to have such language on their sites than for individuals. Or between business and personal sites. For example, the draft code Tim suggests talks about "we" (as Jon noted) which carries a very different tone than "I will do this on my site." We make assumptions about what "we" is - is it the organization hosting the site? Is it some secret cabal that makes judgments about what is acceptable? (Remember, we humans are paranoid and even more paranoid online... grin.)

The bottom line for me is still "role model what you want to see." Set the tone. Meankids set a tone and it grew from there. We get what we ask for, some times in perverse ways. But in the end, the person we can best control is ourselves, not others.

This is true offline, but we have more familiar social processes that help us see when things are going awry a bit faster. We have practices to nudge them back before they "get out of control." Online we often don't see them coming as clearly. Because we live in a networked world online, vs a bounded offline groups, dynamics expand out faster. Offline we actually have more (and more sanctioned) methods of exclusion. When we make something open online, it takes on a whole new meaning. It moves FAST!

I am really happy to see the conversations that have emerged around our blogging and commenting pratices, values and behaviors. I think norms and agreements have tremendous value in this world, but context matters. It is central to our experience of each other. I'm not sure a code of conduct as a semi-generic tool really helps us live into agreements with each other. It still takes interaction and context. So in the short run, I believe the conversation about how we act online will have a far greater impact than the artifact of codes we create along the way.

(Edited Wednesday to fix spelling error)

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The Culture of Love and Complex Problem Solving

Dave Pollard has a great blog post up that made me think of my rantings about the Culture of Love. How to Save the World:
"What has, in my experience, led to the creation of extraordinary natural enterprises is a fortunate synchronicity of a group of people with complementary gifts who love each other (no I do not think 'love' is too strong a word) and who have learned something new on a subject about which they had no preconceptions at a time when they had the energy and predisposition and resources to do something about it. People who love each other are more willing to be open to new ideas, more willing to 'let go' and 'let come' and to persevere past the inevitable hurdles in new enterprise creation and operation."
In my experience, Dave nailed the two most important things. Love and letting go. An interesting combination.

If you read on in this interesting post, Dave suggests, with an image, a process for complex problem solving. The one thing I wonder about is researching before you identify the problem. I think research actually shows up a couple of times. I think research, or too much research up front, also can set up blinders because we can use our preconceptions to guide our research.

Traps of habit are hard to break.

Waving to y'all from London.

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Saturday, April 07, 2007

On the Road Again

You know the routine, too busy to blog getting ready to go on a biz trip, and too busy on the road to post. It is a challenging tension. I want to blog, but I also want to focus on the F2F interactions. So, you know why I'm quiet!

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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The chocoholic can't resist

From: Bloomsberry & Co.

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Monday, April 02, 2007

What do we mean by a code of conduct?

RAMBLE ALERT!! This is just flowing out.

First, following on from Johnnie and Chris, I can't resist reposting this YouTub vid. I watched it in a blissful moment after eating a piece of buttered toast made with some amazing chocolate bread from our local farmer's market. Bread and music put me in a lovely state of mind. And I think that feels like really useful context for me before I start to ramble about bloggers codes of conduct.

Now, what I want to write about. What do we mean by a "bloggers code of conduct?" What is the context, because for me, context is everything. (Oh, and this is not a new topic. Nor, if we think about it, is it just about the online world, but I'll save that for later.)

I start with a few bloggers whose voices I appreciate and listen to:

From a comment by Euan on his blog: Saying we need a blogging code of conduct to behave ...
"if we each apply our own sense of right and wrong and take responsibility for reacting when we see something we think is damaging our emerging ecology then we give it a fighting chance of working."
"One of the things I learned early on was that, even though it felt counter intuitive it was better to wait an hour or so before doing anything. Almost invariably things started to sort themselves out and not seem as bad as they had in the beginning and even if I did have to intervene I could do so on the basis of more information and calmer reflection."
From Johnnie Moore
"...1 If you look that entire content of this blog, you'll get some notion of how I conduct myself. It varies a bit.

2 You'll also see how visitors conduct themselves. It, too, seems to vary.

3 The past is not necessarily a guide to the future.

Frankly, I find this too long and detailed so I don't think I'll bother. Especially, as I'm sure that potentially "disruptive" elements will have have even less interest than I do in idealised prescriptions for behaviour." (My response in his comments)
David Weinberger
Tim joins many in pointing to the BlogHer Community Guidelines. Count me in. I'm adding them to my comment form this morning. I'll probably work on some minor personalizations over the next few days...
Actually, I think it is worth pulling a bit from my comment on Johnnie's blog:

"...I agree, a bloggers code of conduct is not the way for most of us. It may be really useful to some who need that framework. Just don't legislate me!

What helps me is a bit of reflection and transparency. Your three bits work for me not because they are any kind of rules, but because they captured something about you. They could give me a sense if I were new to your blog, even before I read the blog for a long time.

Chris Locke shares his persona on his blog pretty clearly. So I use that context to interpret his actions. That doesn't mean I have to like nor agree with his participation in a blog that appeared to be about belittling other people. But he didn't hide behind anything about it. I did not agree with his initial response personally, but I believed it. I was deeply heartened to read he and Kathy have talked.

There are other responses on blogs where I really can't get a context of the person. I let those float past me if I can. (Sometimes I can't. What can I say. Just a human being. Anger is part of me.)

In life I have had a range of friends, and as I think about why I treasure each one of them, it is because they are genuine in who they are. Some are very different from me, with values and lifestyles I do not want to embrace. But they are genuine in that lifestyle. More, they are aware and reflective about it. They live their context.

One blog post is rarely enough context. Many of us are not blogging as journalism with the exposition of who, what, when, where and why. So when we can capture and share a bit of our context, I think it can be useful. Few blog posts are read with a long term knowledge of the blogger...

First, the term 'code of conduct' conjures too many negative things for me. So please, someone come up with a range of options for that name. Ugh. We don't all have to do the same thing, or call it the same thing. Our diversity is still one of the biggest pluses. I'm not advocating for one set of rules, nor labels. And certainly I'm not advocating legislation. No, no, no.

(OK, slight interruption. Just took a call from a group wanting me to join the Republican Business Leaders Coalition or something like that. Second time they called me. Last time I told them, "I'm not a Republican." They said they wanted a diversity of voices. I said, I think you want donations, no? They said no but I was never asked my opinion about anything until I get the same pitch today. Hm, something about context again, eh? In any case, the man who called was very good at the end about disclosing the website, number, sponsor, etc. It was too fast to catch. I said thanks for the context. Next time, start with it!)

I'm looking for a set of heuristics that help me make sense of others' writing. I'm looking for context.

I can't and won't read every person's blog on a regular basis. But I will read many blogs. If something takes me aback, a link that gives me context about the writer, the purpose of the blog (or it's self aware non-purpose!) will help me read the post in a way that just might be closer to the way it was intended by the writer. Then I can choose my response.

In our "fast, furious, flying by" world, we read too fast. We interpret too fast. Reflection is a luxury for vacations and long airplane rides. I think this destroys context.

Context is central to how we make sense of the world. It is that hard-to-express thing that describes fuzzy concepts such as community, understanding, friendship, hate. By posting our personal codes, heuristics, "about us" or WHATEVER, we add a little bit of context to this fast-flying world. Online and offline. And that requires us to slow down a moment and reflect on ourselves. It is not about getting lost in mountains of meta conversations. Just being a bit more self aware.

For me to be self aware, I need my friends to help me see myself as others see me. I need others to be reflective with me. That requires conversation. Interaction. Sometimes in public (like here in my blog) and sometimes in private (like a phone conversation that I hear happened between Kathy Sierra and Chris Locke, thanks to friends they have in common. Ah, again, FRIENDS.)

So, in thinking out loud with you here in my blog (thanks to those who kept reading through this rambling) three things surface:
  • context
  • self awareness/reflection
  • friends
Maybe that's it.

Keeping with my intent to use more visual work, this little web book may say it all. A collection of pictures and short messages about being a neighbor. Mr. Rogers is still one of my heroes, even if I don't want to be just like him. I thought of him as I "read" the book.

Background: Some folks writing about bloggers codes of conduct
  • Cyberjournalist - In the context of journalism, a code of conduct makes a lot of sense. The question then to bloggers is, do you see yourself as a journalist? Does it matter to you? Should you share that with your readers?
  • Tim o'Reilly's initial offering
  • Blogher's Community Guidelines - Blogher's guidelines are part of a bounded community, with a "buck stops here" leadership team of three. I see it as quite different from the blogosphere. Again, a different context. This is related to, but not the same as community terms of services, user agreements etc. But worth seeing in that context.
  • Tailrank's collection of posts about codes of conduct. Let's see how this evolves over the next week. (added after first posting)
I'll add more as I have time to fish them up.

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The Power of Conversation

I'm very very happy to read the update from Kathy Sierra, Update/Joint Statement with Chris Locke. Here's their joint statement. (Warning, the page is getting lots of hits, so sometimes it doesn't load.)

Thanks for talking, Chris and Kathy.

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