Psybernet

Six Principles for Participating in Online Groups

Making a Group Lively, Enjoyable and Useful

1. Be present in the group.

2. Foster group identity.

3. Develop a relationship with each of the members.

4. Make posts easy to read.

5. Work towards achieving the group's purpose.

6. Enhance the knowledge base.


Each of these principles has associated social and technical competencies. Some of the points are especially relevant if you are an owner, moderator, host or facilitator of the group, however leadership from participants can be helpful if it complements the work of those in formal leadership roles.


1. Be present in the group.

Introduce your self
Make an automated signature - include a link
Post regularly


2. Foster group identity.

Create a folder with the group's name
Filter
Welcome new members
Look at the list of members - post it
Address posts - sometimes with the name of the group
Offer summaries of discussions to include new people


3. Develop a relationships with each of the members.

Welcome people
Address people by their preferred name
Reply, add, acknowledge, answer questions, offer information
Help others attain online group literacy.
Assume goodwill, aim at being generous and respectful
Be aware of the people who do not post much, include them.
Be aware of Netiquette
Thank people

4. Make emails easy to read.

Edit posts so as not to include too much quoting
Keep most posts short
Quote minimally from other posts.
Add a ">" before quoted text and insert a blank line before your response.
Distinguish conversation from data (appended data at end of post)
Observe group rules re HTML and attachments
Do not use all CAPITALS (often perceived as shouting)
Set line length to 70 characters or less
Edit quotes that have broken into long and short lines
Format tables or graphical layout in fixed pitch font in text based groups.



5. Work towards achieving the group's purpose.

Save the welcome message and guidelines document.
Be conscious of the purpose as you post.
Initiate threads (conversations) that are on topic for the group.
Be the "owner - nurturer" of threads you start.
Keep the conversations on topic.
Use new headings as the topic branches into new conversations.
Offer summaries, ask enabling questions.


6. Enhance the knowledge base.

Learn how to search the archives.
Assist others in this skill.
Post annotated links to the group when appropriate
Quote and link to the archives.
Remove trailing material from posts (it clogs the search engine).





Version 1.00 June 2000

This document was developed by Walter Logeman http://www.psybernet.co.nz and is based on many conversations, particularly those with my friend and colleague Dan Randow of http://www.groupsense.co.nz. You may and please do, distribute this document in full keeping this note attached. I would appreciate feedback and suggestions for future development.

Walter Logeman: [email protected]


Created 2000. Last Updated: (style) Thursday, 23 January, 2003