Friday, February 27, 2009

Death of a CoP

I was reading this blog post earlier this month about the collapse of the TR-DEV community of practice on an eLearning blog.

Now Communities of Practice (or CoP) is something of an interest to me. In the MBA program I viewed it from the lens of enabling employees to share knowledge within the company. In the Instructional Design program I've created a CoP of faculty, students and alumni as a space to meet outside of class to share ideas, comment on each others work for feedback purposes and share any good jobs that come along. In my personal life I am a member of several boards to keep up with advances in different technologies.

Now, what happens when the board owner or owner of a CoP decides to call it quits?

Who owns this data? Can someone in good conscience just delete the CoP like the TR-DEV list did? For example, I am a member of the NewtonTalk community which deals with all issues Newton (apple newton that is). The list has been active for a decade now and there is lots of good knowledge that's been developed. A lot of history. If the list maintainers just had enough (after all we all have personal lives to attend to), the deletion of all of the list's resources would amount to a brain wipe given that this list is THE preeminent resource for newton owners.

Even if the community is no longer supported, even if you aren't accepting any more members, you shouldn't delete it.

I am of the belief that if you don't want to manage a CoP any longer, find someone who is interested. No need to give us such a valuable resource.
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