Creating a community

You may create a new community in many different ways. We illustrate some of the possi­bilities for our three example cases above. We begin with the “Astronomers’ Platform”. When you start from scratch, you proceed as follows.

      Select  File    New    Community  in the top menu of your home folder; this is the only place where you can create new communities this way. The ‘New Community’ action form has several sections.

      In the ‘General’ section you enter the name of the new community (e.g. ‘Hobby Astro­nomers’) and optionally tags and a description. The tags will also be dis­played in the ‘Other Communities’ folder to other users. The associated community work­space will be created along with the new community. This workspace, which is initially empty, will appear in your home folder and you will be its owner and man­ager. It will carry the same name, description and tags as the new community.

      Next you choose the ‘Admission policy’ for the new community: open, closed or hid­den. You should only create a non-hidden community if you are really sure that your community is also of interest to other users of your BSCW server. Non-hidden com­munities will appear in the ‘Other Communities’ listing of each and every regis­tered user of your BSCW server. In our case, we choose the open community since we want to attract users to join our community of hobby astronomers. The admission policy of a community may be changed later on by a community manager. So, if you feel that enough members have joined your community you might change its admis­sion policy to ‘closed’.

      Finally you select the ‘Role of community members’, i.e. the community role in which all community members access the community workspace. You should select a role that is appropriate for the purpose of your community. E.g., if you want community mem­bers only to be able to read the workspace contents you should select Restricted member, if you want to allow community members to contribute to the workspace con­tents you should select Associate member, which also includes change actions (the default offered). Note that selection of the role Member allows community members to remove other workspace members including the community itself which is usually not what you want. In our case, we would select the default Associate member since we expect future community members to contribute to the community workspace, but not to change community workspace membership. The community role can be changed later on by a community manager.

      In the section ‘Members’ you can select the initial members of the new community. If you already know some hobby astronomers who are users of your BSCW server you could create your community starting with these community members. You may use the same mechanisms for selecting the new community members as if you were in­viting new members to a workspace – with the difference that you cannot invite mem­ber groups of other workspaces (also see 11.5 Hierarchical organization of com­mu­ni­ties and 11.6 Inviting communities to member groups and vice versa). You yourself as creator and manager of the community are not auto­ma­tically one of its members. But you are a member of the new community workspace in the role of manager.

      The other sections ‘Auto-Versioning’ and ‘Attributes’ concern the auto-versioning po­li­cy of the new community workspace and optional user-defined attributes.

The new community workspace ‘Hobby Astronomers’ will appear in your home folder, but is not listed under ‘Communities of your-user-name’ as long as you are not a member.

You would normally proceed to generate a structure and contents for the workspace. After­wards, you would wait for other users to join your community. You could also directly invite more members to your community.

      Click the icon members + community shown in the ‘Share’ column of the community workspace entry to view the members of the community workspace. This icon generally indicates that a workspace has a community as member.

      Select action  Access    Invite Member  in the action menu of the community.

Next we consider our “Bulletin Board” example case. Let’s assume that the workspace repre­senting the initial contents of the departmental bulletin board already exists with yourself as manager and some other users as members that are also to provide input. You now add to this workspace a community of all members of your department (by default, you have to be a man­ager of the workspace to do this).

      Select action  Access    Add Community  in the action menu of the workspace.

      The new community that will become a member of the workspace will carry the same name as the workspace.

      In the ‘Add Community’ form you choose the ‘Admission policy and visibility’ for the new community: open, closed or hid­den. In our case we choose the hidden community because we don’t want to announce the community to other users and plan to invite the members ourselves.

      You then select the ‘Role of community members’, i.e. the community role in which all community members access the community workspace. In our case, we would se­lect Restricted member since we want to grant only read ac­cess to the community mem­bers.

      Finally you invite the members of the new community, in our case the members of your department. Con­sider using a ‘Search for BSCW users’ with the department name as search criterion.

In our last example case “Crowded Workspace” you want to turn the many members of the work­space into one community, which as a whole will then become a member of the work­space, thus essentially improving server response time of operations on this workspace. By default, you have to be a workspace manager to do this.

      Click the members icon in the ‘Share’ column of the workspace entry to display its mem­bers’ page.

      Select the workspace members that are to become members of the community by tick­ing the check boxes in front of the respective member entries. (It might be quicker to select all members by clicking select all and then deselecting managers and owners.) Select  Edit    to Community  in the top menu or click to community in the multi-selection toolbar. Work­space owners cannot be turned into community members this way.

      In the ‘Add Community’ form you proceed exactly as described above for adding a com­munity to a workspace using action  Access    Add Community . The default offered as community role is the role that most members have with respect to the workspace. So, in the standard case that all workspace members apart from the manager have the role Member, access rights remain unchanged if this role is chosen as community role. Note that access rights are changed for community members who had a workspace role different from the community role. As admission policy you would choose the hidden community in our example case, because the reason for creating the commu­nity was not to attract other users to this workspace, but to improve server response time.