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Online Community Builder's Purpose Checklist
by Nancy White
Target Audience What kinds of participants (target audience) do you want to draw in or need to participate?
How would you describe them?
How motivated are your participants to participate? What is "in it for them?"
Do they have adequate computer equipment and Internet access to have a satisfactory experience on your system? Do you tell them the minimum requirements up front?
Do you want your community to be public or private? If private, what determines eligibility?
What is the ideal size for your group? Is there a limit to how many members can participate? Do you have a sense of how your community can expand if there is greater interest?
Where might you find potential participants?
How might you communicate with your participants to market your online interaction space? (Remember: If you build it, they may not come!)
Are you building from an existing pool of participants? Or drawing in new people?
Type of Member Interactions
What kinds of discussions/interactions do you want to foster?
Is it information sharing? Knowledge sharing?
Is it social networking? Relationship or focused on helping people find each other?
Is it meeting oriented?
Is it learning oriented?
Is it task oriented? (Project/team/class etc.)
Is it question & answer?
Is it discussion focused?
Are the discussions focused or wide-ranging?
Are the discussions started by you or by the members?
Are the discussion intellectual? Social? Sensitive? Controversial? Are they focused around information such as documents or other static content?
Will the activities generate content/knowledge that needs to be captured?
Do they need to be synchronous (same time) and/or asynchronous (different time) interactions? or a mix?
Do they have a strong visual component (pictures, diagrams)?
How long will the online interaction last?
Are there specific timelines or a project to be accomplished?
Is it an ongoing online interaction space - open ended?
Is it time delimited?
Guidelines, Rules and Governance
Is there the need for rules, agreements or governance for the online interaction?
Will there be strong and defined rules, or more general and/or casual guidelines?
How will you communicate this to the members?
Will there be problem resolution processes? How will you share that process?
If this is a work team, what processes and agreements will you need?
Do members have to agree to a "Terms of Service" or other form of agreement before becoming members?
Who makes decisions in the community about the online interaction space?
The online interaction platform owner?
Who will facilitate in your online interaction space?
If not you, how will the facilitators be trained?
What will be their responsibilities?
How will they be supported and/or compensated?
What kind of reporting will you have them do to monitor as needed?
What is the desired outcome for the group? What is the INTENT?
What is the purpose and desired outcome for the group? What is the INTENT? Does it have a mission or a vision that you can communicate to potential members?
Are the benefits measurable and visible to members and potential members? Are the benefits focused on the individual member? The group?
Is the outcome determined by the organizer? Group members? Both?
If the group is part of a larger organization, is it consistent with organizational goals and culture?
Is the group's purpose something that can only be done/accomplished online? Will it replace something offline? Or is it some combination?
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