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Community Guidelines

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General Rules

1. Malicious Abuse. Abviously, anyone making erroneous changes or acting in any mailicious manner will have their IP blocked and will no longer be able to access the site.

Adding Pages

iGuide allows you to add missing object pages to the database. These pages are reviewed by our editors prior to going live. After adding a page, you will be able to see it live online during your session, so you can make additional changes if necessary. When your session expires, you will no longer be able to see the page on iGuide until our editors review and approve it.

Making Changes

iGuide allows you to edit pages.

Adding Real Market Data

Anyone can add price comparables, or "Real Market Data" to an object page.

Reporting Abuse or Problems

All users are obligated to report abuse for the good of the community. Simply click the Report Abuse command button at the top of every Item Details Page.

Actions to cultivate a successful community of practice

What makes a community of practice succeed depends on the purpose and objective of the community as well as the interests and resources of the members of that community. Wenger identified seven actions that could be taken in order to cultivate communities of practice:

  1. Design the community to evolve naturally - Because the nature of a Community of Practice is dynamic, in that the interests, goals, and members are subject to change, CoP forums should be designed to support shifts in focus.
  2. Create opportunities for open dialog within and with outside perspectives - While the members and their knowledge are the CoP's most valuable resource, it is also beneficial to look outside of the CoP to understand the different possibilities for achieving their learning goals.
  3. Welcome and allow different levels of participation - Wenger identifies 3 main levels of participation. 1) The core group who participate intensely in the community through discussions and projects. This group typically takes on leadership roles in guiding the group 2) The active group who attend and participate regularly, but not to the level of the leaders. 3) The peripheral group who, while they are passive participants in the community, still learn from their level of involvement. Wenger notes the third group typically represents the majority of the community.
  4. Develop both public and private community spaces - While CoP's typically operate in public spaces where all members share, discuss and explore ideas, they should also offer private exchanges. Different members of the CoP could coordinate relationships among members and resources in an individualized approach based on specific needs.
  5. Focus on the value of the community - CoP's should create opportunities for participants to explicitly discuss the value and productivity of their participation in the group.
  6. Combine familiarity and excitement - CoP's should offer the expected learning opportunities as part of their structure, and opportunities for members to shape their learning experience together by brainstorming and examining the conventional and radical wisdom related to their topic.
  7. Find and nurture a regular rhythm for the community - CoP's should coordinate a thriving cycle of activities and events that allow for the members to regularly meet, reflect, and evolve. The rhythm, or pace, should maintain an anticipated level of engagement to sustain the vibrancy of the community, yet not be so fast-paced that it becomes unwieldy and overwhelming in its intensity. (Wenger, McDermott & Snyder 2002)

Anticipated reciprocity

A person is motivated to contribute valuable information to the group in the expectation that one will receive useful help and information in return. Indeed, there is evidence that active participants in online communities get more responses faster to questions than unknown participants (Kollock 1999, p. 178).

Increased recognition

Recognition is important to online contributors such that, in general, individuals want recognition for their contributions. Some have called this Egoboo. Kollock outlines the importance of reputation online: “Rheingold (1993) in his discussion of the WELL (an early online community) lists the desire for prestige as one of the key motivations of individuals’ contributions to the group. To the extent this is the concern of an individual, contributions will likely be increased to the degree that the contribution is visible to the community as a whole and to the extent there is some recognition of the person’s contributions. … the powerful effects of seemingly trivial markers of recognition (e.g. being designated as an “official helper”) has been commented on in a number of online communities…”

One of the key ingredients of encouraging a reputation is to allow contributors to be known or not to be anonymous. The following example, from Meyers (1989) study of the computer underground illustrates the power of reputation. When involved in illegal activities, computer hackers must protect their personal identities with pseudonyms. If hackers use the same nicknames repeatedly, this can help the authorities to trace them. Nevertheless, hackers are reluctant to change their pseudonyms regularly because the status associated with a particular nickname would be lost.

On the importance of online identity: Profiles and reputation are clearly evident in online communities today. Amazon.com is a case in point, as all contributors are allowed to create profiles about themselves and as their contributions are measured by the community, their reputation increases. Myspace.com encourages elaborate profiles for members where they can share all kinds of information about themselves including what music they like, their heroes, etc. In addition to this, many communities give incentives for contributing. For example, many forums award Members points for posting. Members can spend these points in a virtual store. eBay is an example of an online community where reputation is very important because it is used to measure the trustworthiness of someone you potentially will do business with. With eBay, you have the opportunity to rate your experience with someone and they, likewise, can rate you. This has an effect on the reputation score. The participants may therefore be encouraged to manage their online identity in order to make a good impression on the other members of the community.

Sense of efficacy

Individuals may contribute valuable information because the act results in a sense of efficacy, that is, a sense that they have had some effect on this environment. There is well-developed research literature that has shown how important a sense of efficacy is (e.g. Bandura 1995), and making regular and high quality contributions to the group can help individuals believe that they have an impact on the group and support their own self-image as an efficacious person.

Sense of community

People, in general, are fairly social beings and it is motivating to many people to receive direct responses to their contributions. Most online communities enable this by allowing people to reply back to contributions (i.e. many Blogs allow comments from readers, one can reply back to forum posts, etc.). Again, using Amazon.com as an example, other users can rate whether one's product review was helpful or not. Granted, there is some overlap between increasing reputation and gaining a sense of community. However, it seems safe to say that there are some overlapping areas between all four motivators.