Friday, September 12, 2008

Why I came into the FOC08 course

I came to this course primarily because I had tagged a few items I'd written with "online facilitation" in delicious or swicki. This course came up when searching that tag. What developed my interest was the course outline. The topic is organized. And since the topic itself is "Online Facilitation" I thought I might find people who would be interested in organizing people. Unfortunately, it seems that content management seems to be the focus here, like every other forum out there.

The greatest need we have in the web community is to organize people, not content. The technology is not doing wonders. The only thing to wonder is why our traditional organizational structures have been dropped flat. I don't attribute such negligence to intelligence but to ignorance. The technocrats had no knowledge of ethical ways to organize people.

I believe that people are looking for interaction but are going the wrong way about it. There seems to be little commitment or responsibility. The people here are not even organized enough to elect me into membership. There is no membership. However, if any person here believes that I am disturbing the "community" they can quickly trump up a "membership" and have me elected out by a "majority".

The Internet is Anti-community. It is a complete failure. It has been shored up by myths and untruths. It is a conglomeration of the most idiotic ideas ever thought.

I am going to follow through on this course and complete it if I have to do it alone. And I'm going to do it to the best of my ability, looking for the better answers to tough questions.


  1. Hi artie,
    I am afraid that I am part of the failure. Weeks behind in both my Masters and this extra course, I have been less than what I would like.
    I really enjoyed our discussion that we had on my blog and I have been wanting to get time to read some of your blog. So today when I finally got around to week 4-5 (I Know... really behind) to read what your thoughts had been, I came across this post. And I feel sorry for my lack of participation with you and others in this course.
    Like we have discussed before, i often feel like I am on the outer with online communities, and I become involved in this to try and get better at being involved.
    But I do need to catch up with it all.
    How can I find more hours in the day... ??

    hope to be more active in weeks to come as I catch up.


  2. I react badly to Artie's moralising, judgemental and somewhat selfish tone that ends with Trish feeling like she has to apologize to Artie, and Artie assuming power over Trish and others through unfounded, unfair, unreasonable, and unsupported assertions. Trish, you need not feel sorry - life happens and you have no reason to feel indebted to Artie. Your local community and your family and your work colleagues take priority, and if that means you have to look away from this course for a period of time, then you do that. FOC08 is a course, and it is not an objective to form a community. You are not behind, you are at your own pace. The course is designed in such a way so as to increase your chances of finding others like you who are exploring the topics for the first time, but it is not designed to make you feel obliged to people you don't know nor are likely to get to know. 5-6 hours a week for a short number of weeks focused on a list of tasks that will take you 5-6 hours leaves not enough time to achieve what Artie sets out to achieve - but if it does happen that you find a generous and enriching personal connection with someone else in this course then that could be nice, that could be great, but not if you have to feel guilty or indebted to others, that is surely not what you came for.

    As for Artie, I still respect and value you with us and if I was to take out your references to this course or people in this course generally and apply them to other spaces where they do actually call themselves online communities - I would agree very much.. I just need to ensure your expectations don't get confused or confusing for others. If you are looking for an online community, you might try looking through Google Groups for people who have been communicating for longer and know each other better online. Who knows, maybe in a year or so, the veterans of this course will have formed an online community...

  3. @trish, if it's any consolation, I started this course last year but didn't finish it until mid February this year.

    There is no such thing as 'failure' because you pick out what you need for your learning needs. That may mean reading a couple of blogs only or it may completing the course and doing all the assignments. It's what suits you, your learning needs and your time frames ie you control your own learning.

    @artie: I really feel that there is a contradiction in terms going on here. I cannot see how you can talk about 'organizing people' in relation to facilitation. Surely as facilitators we show people the sign posts, we don't goose step them down the road. I do not want my learning organised or my involvement in communities.

  4. Everybody,

    I did not even have Trish remotely in mind when I wrote this. Why Trish should show up and feel like apologizing is beyond me. But I'm glad Trish showed up. We've had some good conversation in the beginning of the course.


  5. I would like to propose that the four of us:


    vote on whether to delete this whole fiasco. I will do the will of the majority.

  6. Definitely do not delete it. It is and will be an important point in our history together. I think it is civil and acceptable dialog, even if it is a disagreement with some heavy language.


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The ordinal discussion arts lead us into coherent group building and groups become the building blocks of communities.

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