Community Roles

Community Roles

by Peter Rawsthorne -
Number of replies: 2
I'm also quite interested in the people activities of building communities and the roles and tasks that are required in building a vibrant and self-sustaining community. Also how the roles in the successful community are expanded out to also support the meta-community. During my experiences I have seen a few things work and some that don't. But I believe that having good coverage over the roles and related tasks are important to building community. And within these tasks people do things that keep the community lively. This is a list adapted from a book titled "Building community on the Web".

What do people think? What other roles are required for encouraging meta-community?

Greeter (Welcome Newcomers):
  • Greet newcomers upon arrival
  • Conduct system tours
  • Answer basic questions
  • Help people get into conversation, find courses, other activities
  • Seek and participate in external and related community events
Host (Facilitate the core activities):
  • Stimulate a conversation, keep it on topic, create and prune topics or threads
  • Lead players in learning quests and content creation
  • Ensure content is correctly categorized and currated
  • Answer activity-related questions (eg, how to use chat tools)
Editor (Evaluate content):
  • Select high-quality content to highlight
  • Suggest improvement
  • Encourage use of quality framework
  • Develop quality framework
  • Mark inappropriate content for possible removal
  • Identify contributor merits
Curator (Care for content):
  • Select high-quality content to highlight
  • Categorize content
  • Librarianship duties
  • Find and link to related resources
  • Mark inappropriate content for possible removal
  • Identify contributor merits
Cops (Remove people and/or content that violate the community standards):
  • Judge and remove content
  • Ban a member from the system for a particular length of time
  • Develop community engagement standards
  • Enforce standards
Teacher (Teach members to become leaders):
  • Develop OER
  • Provide mentorship, support student lead OER development
  • Help select leader recruits
  • Conduct classes and training sessions
  • Offer one-to-one tutoring
  • Evaluate students (through written exams, interactive sessions, peer evaluations)
  • Identify contributor merits
Events Coordinator (Plan and run events):
  • Coordinate the time, place and participants in an event
  • Coordinate rich media infrastructure
  • Develop and promote tagging, feeds, etc.
  • Promote the event (calendar, email, web)
  • Host or referee the event
  • Post transcript or winners, participate in follow-up conversation
  • Identify contributor merits
Support (Answer questions about the system):
  • Answer technical or social questions
  • Request changes or upgrades to the system
  • Update frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) list
Manager (Support leaders):
  • Define and promote working groups
  • facilitate work group meetings and discussions
  • Identify contributor merits
  • Recommend leaders for commendation
  • Identify categories and assist curation
Director (Create and maintain the leader program):
  • Define roles and responsibilities of leader positions
  • Create and update leader documents (application, manual, code of conduct, NDA, weekly report template, etc.)
  • Identify, encourage and consumate partnerships
  • Make policy changes as needed
  • Keep leadership positions staffed

Adapted from "Building Community on the Web" by Amy Jo Kim


In reply to Peter Rawsthorne

Re: Community Roles

by Sylvia Currie -
I'm so glad Peter brought up the topic of community roles. It's important community members have confidence that there are people tending to these things. A few public HELP requests that go unnoticed can turn members away very quickly. And then there are the many tasks that most members aren't unaware of, but that's okay.

In our case study presentations we have seen some pretty fancy technologies being developed to support networks of communities, but what are the roles when we start looking at these more complex environments?

I realize I'm not doing much more than repeating Peter's question, but I felt compelled to jump in anyway! :-)

btw, That Amy Jo Kim book is great. It went out of print really fast, but I see it's now available for download.

In reply to Peter Rawsthorne

Re: Community Roles

by Alice Macpherson -
Roles are good ... where are the people behind the functions? Let's add that as well. I also think that we need to differentiate that which is uniquely human, that which is or could be handled with a technology solution, and which needs to be a combination.
I think we need to ensure that the (appropriate) personal aspects appear front and centre so that we get a sense of the human host in or behind the function. Use 'bots to free up the humans.