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Training Presentation Moderating Community of Practice (COP) Discussions Author R.A. Dalton, CKMP, Master Facilitator 1.

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Presentation on theme: "Training Presentation Moderating Community of Practice (COP) Discussions Author R.A. Dalton, CKMP, Master Facilitator 1."— Presentation transcript:

1 Training Presentation Moderating Community of Practice (COP) Discussions Author R.A. Dalton, CKMP, Master Facilitator 1

2 Training Standards Understand the definition of moderation. Understands what a moderator wants to achieve. Understands what constitutes good discussions. Understands what a moderator is. Understands what a moderator does and what a moderator tries to grow. Understands moderator behavior. Be able to explain how a moderator should handle a bad member discussion post. Be able to explain how to handle a discussion post you know for certain is flat wrong or misleading. Be able to explain what to do with a posted member question that has received no answer from the CoP membership or subject matter experts (SMEs). Be able to explain what to do with a discussion that is posted to an inappropriate area of the CoP. Be able to explain what to do with a CoP conversation that is no longer relevant, obsolete or very dated. 2

3 Definition of Moderation from Wikipedia Moderation is the process of eliminating or lessening extremes. It is used to ensure normality throughout the medium on which it is being conducted. 3

4 COP Facilitator Best Practices for Discussion Moderation See that each and every new CoP discussion post is read every day. Maintain a professional discussion environment, cultivate a climate of respect for opposing opinions and respect trust. Edit and paraphrase the original discussion post subject field where called for in order to ensure a better chance of getting an answer or attracting replies in cases where the subject the poster typed in was to cryptic or not clear enough. Do not however alter the body of the discussion post! Move a discussion post, if not relevant to the topic or contribution item it was posted in, to where it is appropriate. Delete any discussion posts not appropriate to your CoP and send an email message to the poster explaining what happened and why. 4

5 The Art of Moderating Good Conversations Online WHAT AN ONLINE MODERATOR WANTS TO ACHIEVE: The ongoing goal is civil and social discourse which leads to a transfer of knowledge and experience: all kinds of people having conversations and arguments about a variety of subjects relevant to your CoP and treating each other decently. Authentic conversations -- from the head, the heart, and the gut. A feeling of ownership. Participants become evangelists. A spirit of group creativity, experimentation, exploration, good will. A shared commitment to work together toward better communication, better conversations. If this is achieved, nothing else is needed. A system where people figure out where the conversation is going, by themselves, and settle conflicts among themselves. A place where everybody builds social capital individually by improving each other's knowledge capital collaboratively. Based on an article courtesy of 5

6 The Art of Moderating Good Conversations Online (cont.) GOOD ONLINE DISCUSSIONS: Enable people to make contact with other people. Enable people to help other people resolve their problems. Enable people to create a gift economy for knowledge-sharing. Create conditions for ongoing collaboration that return individual effort with a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. Provide a way for people to get to know each other beyond their usual masks. Make newcomers feel welcomed, contributors valued, recreational hasslers ignored. Based on an article courtesy of 6

7 The Art of Moderating Good Conversations Online – Slide 2 A MODERATOR IS... A moderator is like a host at a party. You don't automatically throw a great party by hiring a room and buying some beer. Someone needs to invite an interesting mix of people, greet people at the door, make introductions, start conversations, avert fisticuffs, encourage people to let their hair down and entertain each other. A moderator is also an authority. The moderator is the person who enforces whatever rules there may be, and will therefore be seen by many as a species of law enforcement officer. A moderator is also an exemplar. Good moderators model the behavior they want others to emulate: read carefully and post entertainingly, informatively, and economically, acknowledge other people by name, assume good will, assert trust until convinced otherwise, add knowledge, offer help, be slow to anger, apologize when wrong, politely ask for clarification, exercise patience when your temper flares. Based on an article courtesy of 7

8 The Art of Moderating Good Conversations Online (cont.) A MODERATOR IS... (cont.) A moderator is also a cybrarian. Good moderators nurture the community memory, pointing newcomers to topics and content, providing links to related conversations, past and present, hunting down resources to add to the collective pool of knowledge -- and teaching others to do it. Well performed voluntary cybrarianship is contagious. A moderator can be a character in the show, but the show is collaborative improvisation, with the audience onstage. Based on an article courtesy of 8

9 The Art of Moderating Good Conversations Online (cont.) WHAT A MODERATOR DOES, WHAT A MODERATOR TRIES TO GROW Successful discussions can't be manufactured, but you can design the conditions under which they are most likely to emerge, and encourage their growth when they do. Discussions don't just happen automatically when you provide communication tools: under the right conditions, online discussions grow. They are gardened. All online discussion areas tend to fail to cohere without careful intervention. But the intervention has to be ground-up, not top-down. All online discussion areas are challenged by human social foibles and technological bugs that tend to split groups apart. Positive effort is required to create the conditions and garden the growth of a self-sustaining group. Clear rules, sparsely enforced, with an explicit expectation that the community's own norms will emerge later, is important at first. Establish the top-down part at the beginning, then move on. Based on an article courtesy of 9

10 The Art of Moderating Good Conversations Online (cont.) WHAT A MODERATOR DOES, WHAT A MODERATOR TRIES TO GROW ( cont.) The kind of rules established before opening day helps determine the kind of crowd that will be found there a year later. The early crowd has a strong impact on later arrivals. Making rules after launching, or changing them from the top down is a mistake. Keep the rules as few as possible. Keep them simple and based on ordinary human courtesy. Most military personnel will act professional. Eventually, natural discussion leaders emerge in each CoP, and Facilitators should scout and mentor them with an eye toward getting eventually getting them to take on larger roles such as Topic Lead. Establishes and maintains a climate of trust. Without trust knowledge transfer in discussion areas will be inhibited or in many case prevented altogether. Ensures discussion areas are maintained as neutral ground for all. Based on an article courtesy of 10

11 The Art of Moderating Good Conversations Online (cont.) MODERATOR BEHAVIOR Remember that both civility and nastiness are contagious. Patience is rule numbers one through three: Deliberately add a time delay on your emotional responses before you make any public posting or private e-mail. You need to be cautious about learning by trial-and-error because errors at the beginning can set long-ranging reactions in motion. Establish trust early or expect suspicion for a long time. Bend over backwards to be fair and civil when challenged. You are performing the public drama of the foundation myth of the community. Moderators represent the authority of what few rules there are. People will challenge you just because you represent authority so expect that from time to time.. Use Aikido: One ounce of elegance and grace is worth ten pounds of argument. You can charm or seduce discussions back on topic, and conflicts away from the brink of brawl, but you cant force them. Based on an article courtesy of 11

12 The Art of Moderating Good Conversations Online (cont.) MODERATOR BEHAVIOR (cont.) You feed the behavior of challengers when you lash out at them. The way moderators respond to public conflict with citizens, especially the first such conflicts, provides the opportunity to wield the most powerful tool for modelling civil discourse. Do it right, and the community absorbs the lesson. It's also the most dangerous time, if you react angrily, unfairly, or even sarcastically, feeding a downward emotional spiral. Challenges are relatively infrequent if you handle the first incoming barrages gracefully. After that, challenges will be less frequent and less important. However, the opportunity and necessity for the host to model hospitable behavior continue as the community grows. Force backfires on authority online. You have to persuade and pull because pushing is an automatic loss for authority. Avoid taking sides. Not all conflict is to be avoided. If a conflict is important enough to have its hooks into the attention of a large number of members of the population: use it as an occasion to remind people that civility is essential if discussions are to cohere into communities. Conflict tests the boundaries of the community. Based on an article courtesy of 12

13 The Art of Moderating Good Conversations Online (cont.) MODERATOR BEHAVIOR (cont.) Don't freeze a topic to make a point. Think about whether the topic belongs to more people than just you. People get really upset if you use your moderator power unjustly. Moderators get to know people -- from the beginning. Introduce yourself, let people get to know you. Be a good natured servant of the conversation, but you don't have to be characterless, egoless, or colorless. Welcome new people, and after the first ones get to know each other, continue to encourage old timers to welcome newcomers. Eventually, the community takes over the public welcoming function. People's first reactions are most important. Praise them by name. Be interested. Read their profiles and point them to information that you think will be personally relevant to them. Names have power. Put your newcomer up on a pedestal by name, for doing something that adds to the community, and that newcomer will amplify that behavior forever after. Based on an article courtesy of 13

14 The Art of Moderating Good Conversations Online (cont.) MODERATOR BEHAVIOR (cont.) Communicate via email with both promising newcomers and troublemakers. Encourage people to talk among themselves. Check your participation files and learn who your regulars are. Don't spook your lurkers, but encourage them when they come out. Moderators catalyze, facilitate, nurture -- and get outta the way. Let the community co-create its own dramas, shared language, founding myth. These all must precede discussion of creating a social contract -- dramas that all witness and participate in, shared language, rituals, myths, jokes, customs are how people get to know and value one another enough to want to go to the trouble of creating a social contract. Based on an article courtesy of 14

15 The Art of Moderating Good Conversations Online – Slide 6 MODERATOR BEHAVIOR (cont.) Be a model cybrarian. Show people how to start new topics or suggest them. Show them how to use the tools (links from posts, etc.). Be the memory of the conference -- point and link to relevant info in the past or elsewhere in the community. Encourage others to search and retrieve and link info that is valued by other members of the group -- and praise people who do so. Revive old topics by adding to them from time to time. Retire old and obsolete topics: put up a list of topics to retire, with a week for public pleading. If people plead, encourage them to revive. Then retire the rest. When in doubt, ask. In most circumstances, don't kill a topic if you can retire it. Pose questions for the group to consider. Encourage people to hide long responses or big graphics. Act as a fair witness. Point people to the classics of Netiquette. Point out the pitfalls of the medium that cause people to misunderstand each other (lack of visual and aural cues). Based on an article courtesy of 15

16 Author of this training presentation and license for use R.A. Dalton, CKMP, Master Facilitator Office Phone (870) 365-7496 (Mon-Fri 9AM-4PM U.S. Central Time Zone) Email: Website: http://rdalton.biz LinkedIn public profile: dalton/46/634/836 dalton/46/634/836 This PowerPoint presentation is released for use under the following license: 16

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