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Defining a community of practice

Last month's meeting at Tiocan, near Geneva was pivotal for Community Forge, as it was the first time we had really engaged with a broad spectrum of users, potential users, and other actors in the movement. We made tangible progress on many fronts, but the headline issue, how we should coalesce into a Community of Practice wasn't properly addressed. Nor was it addressed at all in Lyon. It seems that many people aren't clear what a Community of Practice is, what they would do in it, for it, or what they would get from it - consequently the matter never reaches the top of the agenda.

So here I want to think through, in practical terms, what tools might be best deployed to facilitate knowledge sharing in the movement.

  • Resources database. Such as the one at complementarycurrency.org, but much richer. It might contain hundreds of reports, teaching materials, videos, theses and anything which fits into its category system. There would be powerful search tools.
  • Software support. For users of Cyclos, GETS and Drupal there would be support forums
  • Project database, with map. It seems that the rich data on complementarycurrency.org can't be maintained, so we might aim for much less metadata. This would aim to be the definitive map for counting and pinpointing CC systems.
  • User profiles. To help users find each other and know each other better.
  • CC profiles, to tell the stories and learn the lessons from existing projects
  • Public announcements/requests, which anyone in the community could make.
  • Groups, for specialist discussions to take place. This would be a way to discuss and reach consensus on issues.
  • There would be a point system which recognised users' level of engagement with the community, perhaps with some kind of monthly or annual incentive! There could be a reminder to users to login at least once a month.

Finally, I would like to propose that complementarycurrency.org, which long ago attempted to fulfil some of these functions, and which will be redevloped in Drupal, be used for this.

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