In the previous post I outlined what I think are two types of virtual communities in H-Net: communities of interest and communities of practice.  They overlap in some ways, but communities of interest tend to need more time and patience to develop the awareness of others in the room that is an essential ingredient to discussion and participation.  Communities of practice already have ground rules, a specialized lexicon, a focus on an occupation, type of content, standards, or qualifications for entry or participation, that establish a common set of assumptions for participation.

Wherever you

Fostering Participation II: Networks as Virtual Communities

Peter Knupfer Blog Post

My last blog post argued that thinking about what we want our members to do on the Commons helps us decide how, as editors, we can lead and influence that direction.  Having rambled around inside the Beast for the last three years, I’ve come to the preliminary conclusion that I want members to participate and share, and that discussion is one form of participation among many readily within reach.  But this still begs the question of how we might encourage participation.  Understanding our audience is the key to figuring that out and active editing is the key to making it happen  If we start

The recurring question of how to encourage discussion is now over twenty years old at H-Net.  Veterans will remember that it dominated internal discussions in our early years.  In those days we were pretty much the only game in town, and people flocked to our lists to express an opinion.  The medium was all so new, so fresh.  H-Net actually got NEH grants to form SWAT teams that would drop in on campuses to teach people how to send an email.  Many lists carried days of debate about their purpose and mission, and the early logs are fascinating testimony to the fitful adaptation of our common