Place is perhaps the most slippery of the components to fully grasp. For IMCoPs it includes the tangible resourcing and the architecture of spaces and tools offered in the online environment. But far more pertinent is the sense of place that comes with association, affinity or identifying with a place and the people who inhabit it. For community management this entails creating a safe environment where community engagement and risk taking can evolve. In such an environment the community management and the core group members work to exemplify and sustain reliability and standards while supporting ownership and member-driven trajectories.
Advice for management in cultivation of the PLACE component of community
Tools: Fit the tools to the community. Understand the ways that members wish to interact and engage then support centrally maintained or endorsed tools that enable this.
Reliability: Nurture a safe environment for experimentation and high quality resources. In a supportive environment set standards and support members to develop and share quality resources – editors, mentors, reviews.
Resourcing: Seek new partnerships and platforms to support community assets. Always be on the look out for ways to fund and extend community activity.
Evolution: Design for evolution by keeping it flexible and extensible. Know that design is fluid and needs to be open and targeted to member needs.
Resources: Support high standards and quality resources. Develop standards, mechanisms and functionality to support and sustain standards in all community resources.
Public and private: Support both public and private spaces to the benefit of the whole. Recognize that the need for private spaces and sub-communities will emerge and prepare capacity to support this before hand.
Ownership: Foster ownership. Use distributed leadership and effective feedback mechanisms to foster a sense of ownership.
Status: Position the community within the domain. Work to promote and publicize the work of the community and attract the key leaders and practitioners in the field.