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Online Community Building

Here are the 20 resources from Online Community Building.


Centrinity's FirstClass software is a cost-effective, highly scalable, feature-rich messaging and communications solution for enterprises, learning organizations, governments and service providers. FirstClass uses Collaborative Groupware, which provides users with the ability to effectively communicate and share valuable resources and information via email, conferencing, directories, individual and shared calendars and online chats. FirstClass has been used by thousands of organizations to create powerful online electronic communities that enable individuals and groups of people to work more effectively.

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CivicSpace is a community organizing platform supported by an ecology of users, developers, and vendors. It allows you to build communities online and offline that can communicate effectively, act collectively, and coordinate coherently with a network of other related organizations. CivicSpace enables bottom-up people-powered campaigns to operate on a more level playing field with more traditional top-down organizations, and, similarly, allows top-down organizations to leverage the power of grassroots organizing. Our open source CivicSpace Drupal distribution now powers over 2,000 organization's websites and the top six CivicSpace/Drupal servicing firms employ over 50 staff members.

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CommunityZero is an interactive website that allows a group of people to communicate and exchange information over the Internet in their own private and secure area. Within each area, called an online community, participants are provided access to a suite of powerful tools that enable a group to effectively get organized, share knowledge and communicate.

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Design for Community: The Art of Connecting Real People in Virtual Places

Derek M. Powazek.

A text showing how to design a website, keeping in mind the idea of creating and encouraging virtual community. Features interviews with leaders in the industry, explaining their solutions for fostering positive Web communities.

Drupal Highly Recommended

Drupal is an open source content management platform. Equipped with a powerful blend of features, Drupal can support a variety of websites ranging from personal weblogs to large community-driven websites. Drupal is a free software package that allows an individual or a community of users to easily publish, manage and organize a wide variety of content on a website. Tens of thousands of people and organizations have used Drupal to power scores of different web sites, including community web portals, discussion sites, corporate websites, intranet applications, personal websites or blogs, aficionado sites, e-commerce applications, resource directories and social networking sites. Drupal is ready to go from the moment you download it, and has an easy-to-use web installer.

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E-mint is an independent organization of community professionals and anyone interested in the theory or practice of online communities. Headquartered in London, the young organization focuses on European issues. E-mint members include academic and commercial managers, policy makers, researchers and developers from small independent organisations to large corporate interests. E-mint provides an online space for discussion and holds monthly meetings in London.

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Provides resources for facilitators and moderators of online discussion. Includes an annotated list of articles and other materials to help you set up, maintain, and have a successful experience with online dialogue.

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Full Circle Associates' Online Community Toolkit

Maintains a rich collection of resources aimed at helping online community builders stay informed on current trends, and obtain technical assistance and advice.

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H2O and the Rotisserie

The H2O project is building an interlocking collection of communities based on the free creation and exchange of ideas. H2O aims to apply Internet technologies to the underlying aims of the academy - the free creation and exchange of ideas and the communities formed around those ideas - both within and beyond the confines of the traditional university setting. Anyone is welcome to use the services on the site, including hosting your own project. H2O currently provides the "Rotisserie," which approaches online discussion in a way that encourages measured, thoughtful discourse.

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Hosting Web Communities: Building Relationships, Increasing Customer Loyalty, and Maintaining a Competitive Edge Highly Recommended

Cliff Figallo.

A great 'how to' book on the subject. Topics include a taxonomy of online communities and their differing needs, choosing software, facilitating discussions, building relationships, and revenue models. The author knows the territory extremely well, having played a key role in developing communities at The WELL, America Online, and Salon Magazine.

How to Start a Forum

Michael Green.

This downloadable e-book is a simple 'getting-started' guide for novices looking to set up a web forum and capitalize on the attention it draws.

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In-Team is a web-based software suite for all your 'interactive' High Performance collaboration needs. From a personalized home page, a unique set of integrated tools is accessible for meetings, decision support, distributed team work, communities, discussions, online surveys and knowledge sharing.

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Making the Net Work

A joint UK-US initiative, Making The Net Work provides resources and ideas for organizations and neighborhoods developing online communities or creating local technology centers. Making the Net Work is led by David Wilcox, Drew Mackie and Terry Grunwald.

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This website provides useful links to trainings in managing and creating online communities, relevant software, etc.

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Ning launched in 2004 to give everyone the opportunity to create your own social networks for anything. As of November 2007, Ning powers the largest number of social networks on the Internet. Ning offers the latest social networking features, all infinitely customizable to meet your unique needs. The Ning Platform makes this possible. As a platform, you don't have to appeal to Ning for the features you want. If you have the time and the inclination, you can build them yourself. It's the software equivalent of Home Depot.

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Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN)

NTEN is the membership organization of nonprofit professionals who put technology to use for their causes. We enable our members to do their jobs better and help their organizations strategically use technology so that they, in turn, make the world a better, just, and equitable place.


Obiki is open source online software, built by Green River and Ben Tucker around the concept of collaboration. It's used to create websites and documents, and for working in virtual communities. Obiki is a cost-effective way for groups to join forces and communicate efficiently. What's more, it's user-friendly: in less than 20 minutes you can learn to build and modify websites or create interactive documents yourself, eliminating the time-consuming step of having to submit changes to a webmaster. It's perfect for organizations and projects that are spread out geographically, or for those that want to have complete control of their website.

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Online Communities: Designing Usability, Supporting Sociability

Jenny Preece.

This book focuses on the issue of software design for online communities. Jenny Preece has a strong background in software usability. Here she combines academic research with practical advice to provide valuable insight into how good software infrastructure can help an online community to succeed.

The Art of Hosting Good Conversations Online

Howard Rheingold.

In this great list of pointers for hosts of online conversations, Rheingold outlines what an online host hopes to achieve; characteristics of good online discussions and duties/behavior of a good host.

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Why Don't Face-to-Face Teaching Strategies Work In the Virtual Classroom? How to Avoid the "Question Mill"

Sarah Haavind. The Concord Consortium, 2000.

It's easy to say that leading a course online is different from leading a face-to-face class. It's harder to explain exactly what's different and how to make the shift in order to meet tried-and-true instructional goals. One can fail miserably applying the typical approach to the virtual classroom. As more experience with online teaching accumulates, effective, alternative strategies that meet the intended goals are emerging. Here are a couple of strategies applied to two classical instructional goals: getting a discussion going and summarizing an activity.

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