Communities in BSCW allow workspace access for large groups of users equipped with equal access rights keeping performance independent of community size; communities also offer self-organized platforms for users with similar interests.

You would choose a community in BSCW for the following example cases.

You plan to set up a platform for all hobby astronomers on your BSCW server: a work­space which is announced to all users of your BSCW server, where every user may get access to, and may read and upload relevant documents and links (“Astrono­mers’ Platform”).

You would like to create a workspace for all 250 members of a department in your or­ganization into which you and some other managers insert documents, links or whole subfolders that represent useful information (“Bulletin Board”).

You manage a workspace that over the years has acquired a very large number of mem­bers, and where server response time has become unsatisfactory even for simple operations (“Crowded Workspace”).

A community is a group of users, its members. Every community is member of exactly one workspace, the community workspace, also called the associated workspace of the commu­nity. A workspace can have at most one community as member, i.e. there is a one-to-one cor­respondence between a community and its associated workspace. The community members have access to the community workspace in a single role, the community role (not to be con­fused with the role community members have with respect to the community itself, which is Member – redefined for communities with minimal rights). The managers of the community workspace are also the managers of the community.

Note that workspace access via communities in a single role by a large number of community members gives the performance advantage over shared workspace access by the same number of members, where every member may have a different role with different access rights. Communities are treated as a single user in many contexts, which simplifies the calculation of access rights enormously.

Communities come in three flavours as far as their admission policy is concerned: open, closed and hidden.

Open communities are announced to all registered users of your BSCW server, and users may become members of the community on their own by joining it.

Closed communities are announced to all registered users of your BSCW server, but users may not become members of the community on their own, they have to ask the community manager(s) for admission.

Hidden communities are not announced to the users of your BSCW server. A user can only become a member of a hidden community by invitation of a community manager.

Open and closed communities may be invited to other communities, hidden communities may not. The same goes for the member groups of community workspaces with respect to the in­vi­ta­tion to other workspaces.


Becoming a community member

Creating a community

Managing a community

Communities as shared mailing lists

Hierarchical organization of communities

Inviting communities to member groups and vice versa