I love my communities
The bottom line is I love my communities. They are not closed caverns into which I crawl to be affirmed or have my beliefs validated. They are windows through which I can look and see new views.
Stephen Downes commented on a post of mine about communities where he said "- but I still think that groups depend on sameness, which means the members must already be relevantly the same (something, I suspect, that characterizes the Portugal group) or willing to assume sameness."
Surely sameness characterizes many communities. But I think "sameness' is not quite the right word in my most vibrant communities. It is some shared love. Love of a topic. Love of our connections. Love of our ability to find ways to talk and listen even when we violently disagree. Enough love to not walk away when things get tough or icky.
I love my communities where I struggle to get along with some members, because these are the people who have something to teach me. I love my communities where I feel loved, even if people don't agree with me, or for whom my style is an irritant (and I know this happens... more than I wish.) I love my communities who let me take risks, and when I trip and fall, laugh and learn with me, from my mistakes, not berrate me.
Recently on the email list of a community I belong to, but where I mostly sit on the periphery, there was another dust up. There were challenges to the topic leader but feelings were hurt and lots of meta conversation sprang up on the WAY the challenges were offered, handled by the topic leader and the community leader. This is a smart community, with some key members who have a style that some would characterize as combative, aggressive or other such words.
I believe these can also be signs of love, but we sometimes aren't connected enough to sense that. We mistake it for hostility, lack of respect. Or it may be hostility and lack of respect, but we aren't skilled enough to work through it. That is also community.
Anyway, enough Sunday morning, mocha-stimulated ramblings. I just had to declare my love before I got back to work.
By the way, the picture is a great artifact from last week's KM4Dev community gathering in Zeist, Holland. Upon arrival, everyone had their picture taken. On the last day, this display went up and everyone could leave a comment for another under their picture. It was an amazing community indicator, some love for everyone from members of the community, new and old. (Half of the gathering were new members)
As a note, here are some other things I want to blog about to catch up:
Now, back to drinking a great home made mocha and working!