47 Replies Latest reply on May 8, 2014 12:49 PM by max.calderon

    Has anyone turned off the ability for community members to create open groups?

    nbussard

      Our community is about three years old, and we have hundreds of groups. Many of the open groups are redundant, and we are embarking on a clean-up effort shortly. As we do that, I am wondering whether it might make sense to turn off the capability for end users to create open groups. They would only be able to create private or secret groups on their own; for open groups they would need to email us and have us create it for them. The advantage of this is that we can check and see if an appropriate group already exists and counsel them away from reinventing the wheel when possible. We also do not restrict them from putting up a collaboration site on their own.

       

      Has anyone else done this? What has your experience been?

      TIA

        • Re: Has anyone turned off the ability for community members to create open groups?
          tmaurer

          I would wonder whether the unintended effect would be that people would create a private group instead, since that would be the path of least resistance.

          • Re: Has anyone turned off the ability for community members to create open groups?
            clairetaz

            Nikki

            We have 667 groups (245 open, 175 member-only, 247 private). The open ones are sharing information, best practice, and expertise, and the private ones are mostly for team collaboration. We don't restrict the creation of groups, anyone can create a group. We encourage open sharing where at all possible. I support this non-restrictive group creation because it encourages ownership, innovation, creativity, and collaboration. Many of these groups are for collaboration around a specific project or deal and some may only be active for a short time. This doesn't matter because they serve their purpose and avoid unproductive communication practices.

             

            Some of the types of group that endure over the longer term are the product expert groups and innovation groups where there is a lot of activity, Q&A, ideas. We tag these and build libraries. For example, we created a global 'expert communities' space where we pull in all the expert groups with places/group widgets'. If any expert team wants to promote their expertise in that expert library space they simply add the tag to their group.

            • Re: Has anyone turned off the ability for community members to create open groups?
              tmaurer

              I think what is surfacing here is something that is much more visible (and potentially detrimental) for older communities. And to some extent, it centers around the lack of an ability in Jive to merge anything other than spaces.

               

              My example is the Ideas in the Jive-n & Jive-x. There are many of them that are either completely redundant, or mostly redundant, and there is no way for anyone - not the content creators, not the space owners, or even the sysadmins - to merge two or more ideas into one.

               

              Similarly, in my community we have run into situations where two different people have set up similar groups for a project. They might not notice this until there is a significant amount of content in each of the groups, and at that point the only option is to take significant amount of time to move content one item at a time, or spend money to buy a product extension that accomplishes this. If there was a simple way that the group owners could merge two groups, or content owners could merge ideas, this conversation might be less complicated.

                • Re: Has anyone turned off the ability for community members to create open groups?
                  glikins

                  I couldn't agree more, Tracy.  I don't want to restrict users from creating open groups (nor could I, in a company whose philosophy revolves around "open"), yet without management tools, there's little hope of *helping* groups collaborate better.  In many cases it's not because they don't want to, either -- it's just that two groups evolve and then a merge needs to happen.  Our experience at this point with bulk content mover has not been great, and it seems as if this should be built-in functionality.

                    • Re: Has anyone turned off the ability for community members to create open groups?
                      nbussard

                      Gina Likins, "Openness" is one of the core values of our company, so i would say our philosophy revolves around open as well. I am really looking to challenge the notion that adding an extra step in the process of creating a group in addition to the 1,400 open groups we already have (I just checked the number) would ever be considered contrary to openness. There are a few potential risks, but none seem to be as big as losing our audience due to the perception that our community has become a free-for-all or a dumping ground (it has recently been compared to a trash can by a few of our users).

                        • Re: Has anyone turned off the ability for community members to create open groups?
                          glikins

                          It's a dilemma, for sure -- that's why I wish there were more tools available to help me manage (so that there'd be less of a need to be prescriptive).  I'm facing adoption challenges just because Jive isn't an Open Source product!  (We are an open source company.)

                          • Re: Has anyone turned off the ability for community members to create open groups?
                            felipecastrodejong

                            I've heard the dumping ground metaphor being applied to Jive and a number of collaborative or document sharing platforms as well.  It is not about the place but how people 'frame' it.  Using the same analogy, you have the chance to turn trash can culture into a recycling one without one-sided prescription. 

                             

                            Hope this doesn't sound as I'm oversimplifying your governance issue, but I was thinking about starting a town-hall-like discussion on your community addressing some of this concerns and get some feedback on how to recycle current open spaces.  This should drive some participation (mainly Jive diehard users though),  let people exert their corporate citizenship and a good chance to identify adoption and traction opportunities and key use cases from doing so.

                              • Re: Has anyone turned off the ability for community members to create open groups?
                                glikins

                                Felipe Castro de Jong -- we're working our way towards governance; slowly but surely.  On the Spaces side, we have "governors" for each of our top-level Spaces, which are functional (as opposed to departmental).  They are responsible for curating the content in their Space and ensuring that it's up-to-date, etc.,

                                 

                                On the Groups side, we're working to develop a model for "community coaches."  We don't have the staffing to be able to do the sort of "grooming" that we'd like to be able to do from within the team, so we're heoping to create a system where more active users can, over time, obtain more responsibility for the community.  Thankfully, it's a model that my users are familiar with -- it's called the "onion skin" approach, where (in open source land) developers are given increasingly more power as they soak into the community and contribute more).  

                          • Re: Has anyone turned off the ability for community members to create open groups?
                            clairetaz

                            I like the idea of merging groups... but I have to defend Jive in that there are great ways to get around that. I tend to use that places-groups widget a lot. I just bridges the information into the target group. Also, you can then just put both groups into a stream and it doesn't really matter 'where' it is.

                              • Re: Has anyone turned off the ability for community members to create open groups?
                                nbussard

                                Let me pose this to you all: how do you solve the problem of people not being able to find a group to post to because there are so many that represent the same thing? I know people can cross-post by @mentioning, but not many people know how and I can't easily train the 13,000 people in my company. Keep in mind the scale—1,400 OPEN groups, or about one group for every 10 people, so dozens of groups related to the exact same topic.

                                  • Re: Has anyone turned off the ability for community members to create open groups?
                                    John Schwiller

                                    Perhaps Simon Levene or someone at PwC can post pics of their group discovery facility which provides a drill-down mechanism to discover if groups exist? From memory (about 18mths ago) the bubbles show vibrancy and scale so the most active group in a set can be identified.

                                     

                                    Edit: I believe the PwC development used http://okfnlabs.org/bubbletree/  and the UK User Group (private) thread from the meeting where it was showed suggested there would be a follow-up session on it (and also a request that Jive consider adding it to the core).

                                    • Re: Has anyone turned off the ability for community members to create open groups?
                                      clairetaz

                                      Oh that is a great question Nikki and I love John's PwC idea of providing a way to see which groups are most active with bubbles... a mentor once described to me that an Enterprise Collaboration Platform was like a load of bubbles and the 'active' groups were bubbles that rise to the surface, while others sink to the bottom of the pool. This image led me to create a 'story in bubbles' of our rollout that was quite popular. Each slide showed the pictures of community bubbles and it changed shape over time. It showed how the sponsored communities rose and grew in number and activity while those without executive backing shrunk and dropped out. Glad to know there are others thinking in bubbles.

                                       

                                      But, to answer your question - I would say that this is an area for improvement BUT, we must remember that a user can 'post anywhere' and it will be picked up by someone and @mentioned to a relevant group or person, whereas the alternative might be that it is sent around to multiple dead ends by email.

                                      • Re: Has anyone turned off the ability for community members to create open groups?
                                        felipecastrodejong

                                        nbussard, I have been experimenting with the 'Groups' widget lately as a workaround for that purpose.  The key here is having a strong, consistent taxonomy that allows you to clearly identify ANY group in less than 4-5 tags.  By surfacing these groups' similarities, your best case scenario is a Darwinian 'survival of the fittest' and the worse might be a best practice cross-pollination.

                                          • Re: Has anyone turned off the ability for community members to create open groups?
                                            glikins

                                            We've got a Groups Directory and are using tags to surface Groups as well.   The issue, for me, is the (eventual) need to collapse Groups.  As the organization's needs, projects, teams and departments change, there will be a corresponding need to combine Groups (especially when Jive is used as the document store as well as the social platform, as categorization, for example, doesn't work across Groups).  Making that easier would be a win.

                                            • Re: Has anyone turned off the ability for community members to create open groups?
                                              tmaurer

                                              But back to Nikki's question - how do you get a strong, consistent taxonomy across 13,000 people? I've personally seen that as a struggle in a team of just a few people.

                                               

                                              And to Gina's point below, we have situations where the org structure changes. With spaces, I can collapse them into one another. With groups, it isn't possible.

                                                • Re: Has anyone turned off the ability for community members to create open groups?
                                                  glikins

                                                  Tracy Maurer -- when you collapse spaces, how do you deal with the link breakage? 

                                                  • Re: Has anyone turned off the ability for community members to create open groups?
                                                    felipecastrodejong

                                                    If I understand Nikki's needs well, this is more about group governance. Agreed that taking taxonomy to individuals discussion is doomed to be a Sisyphus-like nightmare!     If it is a governance matter, then the taxonomy should be defined by a trusted source or federation.

                                                     

                                                    I would suggest a sort of 'recommended corporate taxonomy' shallow enough to peacefully coexist with any custom tagging a group might come up with.  We've been exploring the option of tags with a unique special character (or a combination of many) that is 'reserved' to that taxonomy (e.g. an underscore at the end of the tag indicates it's 'corporate').

                                                     

                                                    PS. While I'm writing this I'm reading John Schwiller update on bubble tree...might be some kind of silver bullet, but need to read further

                                                      • Re: Has anyone turned off the ability for community members to create open groups?
                                                        glikins

                                                        Felipe Castro de Jong --

                                                         

                                                        I would suggest a sort of 'recommended corporate taxonomy' shallow enough to peacefully coexist with any custom tagging a group might come up with.  We've been exploring the option of tags with a unique special character (or a combination of many) that is 'reserved' to that taxonomy (e.g. an underscore at the end of the tag indicates it's 'corporate').

                                                         

                                                        Yes  -- that's what we have (a "defined" taxonomy for Groups; in our case designed by community input and then "codified").   We have a challenge because (as far as I know) there's no way to ask a user to choose one (or more) of the recommended tags when creating their Group.

                                                         

                                                        IOW, ideally, I'd have checkboxes (like the categories use, really) at the bottom of the Group creation page to allow/require Group owners to categorize their Group so it shows up in the taxonomy-driven directory.  We are asking them to, of course (communications, communications), but we're asking them to do a *lot* of things, and it'd be nice to prompt them where possible.

                                                      • Re: Has anyone turned off the ability for community members to create open groups?
                                                        clairetaz

                                                        We are a large company that is building our Jive internal community progressively, and we have to demonstrate value as we go (we have 5K but aim for 100+K). So we have designed an on-boarding strategy that takes a new group of interested users on a 'journey' that first assesses their business / collaboration needs, identifies their sponsor, and nominates their 'community manager' (this is not an official job but something a key business stakeholder/driver will do). That person then works with me, and the KM consultant to build their use cases to meet their business need. During this 'on-boarding' we create a project in my 'community manager's' group and we work together in there to build their use cases and community design, and to coach the new stakeholder in community management. So, by the time their users are invited to the platform, they are already somewhat 'managed' by the new community manager who directs them to their group for the purpose. Each of these business groups are brought into the platform with a specific business goal, strategically linked to address corporate ambitions. Their community manager tends to design the library if needed, any practice 'space' for cascading information, and links everything with group-tag widgets etc.

                                                         

                                                        Of course, this does not mean that users still don't create random groups... we encourage it! But it does somewhat manage and drive the roll-out to be all about building groups for the use case. AND it helps to spread the community management best practice. All on-boarding projects are 'open' so everyone can follow who is coming in, what their objectives are, who is going to drive the community, and who will be invited.

                                                         

                                                        What we had hoped to do with V7 was to create 'group templates' for the use case purpose (e.g. 'expert group' with Ask/Unanswered Questions widgets in the overview page and tiles in the activity page designed for purpose... and default tags so that it would appear in the right library). We didn't manage to do this yet because the template is only for the Activity page.

                                                          • Re: Has anyone turned off the ability for community members to create open groups?
                                                            nbussard

                                                            Thanks, everyone. All of this is good advice, which I know because I followed it for the first 1.5 years or so when my community was growing. Surfacing groups by tag, recommending a standard tag structure, onboarding new community managers in an orderly fashion—all great, and it works wonders for getting the community off the ground. But with just over one person running a community for this many people, and after all of that great "go ahead and create your own group" momentum has led to people happily having their way with the community, something different has to be done.

                                                             

                                                            We do have one use case where we want the default no-resistance option to be an open group, but for all the rest, people should be forced through a mild and friendly checkpoint before they create groups for the reason I listed before: they need to share with the people who are already having discussions, not start new silos. At 1400 groups, even an open group is essentially a silo because it will never gain critical mass of membership and it will almost never be found.

                                                             

                                                            One thing I am doing to address this is to create a global nav in Jive 7 with our most popular groups. That will at least keep people from recreating the big obvious ones, I hope. The nav will include direct links and then a "View more" type link that will either go to a set of search results for similar groups or to a document that anyone can edit. I think I will wait until we launch with this (less than 2 weeks!) and work on the cleanup, then reassess and see if we need to change the permissions. I'll let you know how it goes.

                                                             

                                                            Oh and +1 as well for being able to create templates for groups with overview pages. The purposeful places templates that only have activity streams are not getting us very far down the path that Claire describes.

                                                             

                                                            Thanks all!

                                                  • Re: Has anyone turned off the ability for community members to create open groups?
                                                    apaddock

                                                    I totally agree with you, Tracy. Our community has been around for nearly 5 years (wow time just flies when you are having fun!!) and we have over 20,000 groups the bulk of which are private/secret. We have also move to a social intranet model where we have the organization represented by spaces the creation of which is managed by a governance board and only groups can be created by employees. We do not have restrictions on the access type of groups and I am sure that are many non-visible groups that serve similar purposes and audiences.

                                                    We also implemented a custom menu structure that gives our community more of an intranet look.

                                                    Menu.png

                                                  • Re: Has anyone turned off the ability for community members to create open groups?
                                                    historian

                                                    First, we are a new community with few groups.

                                                     

                                                    In our case we have a situation where we are two user types; Type A that can only see and contribute to the "Alpha" content and Type B that can see both "Alpha" and "Bravo" content. Because type A cannot and should not see Bravo content we've restricted our users from creating anything but Private or Secret groups. This is to prevent the off chance that a Type B is discussing Bravo content in a public place where Type A might see it.

                                                     

                                                    Confusing? Yes...

                                                     

                                                    But to your question, our users are strictly limited to Private and Secret Groups. Admins are the only user type allowed to make Open or Member groups.

                                                    • Re: Has anyone turned off the ability for community members to create open groups?
                                                      apaddock

                                                      Hi Nikki

                                                      We have a separate environment set up for our Client Collaboration activities where the only groups that our employees can create are secret. Our environment runs on 4.5.x and was a precursor to the new Jive 7 functionality for support of external user groups so we also have extensive customization that prevents our clients finding out about each other where they shouldn't, i.e. we have no global functions such as status updates, personal blogs, personal messages. The only collaboration happens in groups you are explicitly invited to.  As of last month we have almost 900 active groups and just over 2000 external users registered so it is a relatively small set up.

                                                      If you want any more info I will be happy to help.

                                                      Best wishes,

                                                      Alison

                                                      • Re: Has anyone turned off the ability for community members to create open groups?
                                                        mstoner15

                                                        This is an excellent thread. I recall several years ago the Social Business experts told us we really should NOT have a lot of governance on any social platform. Well, our company is facing the same issues discussed here. We want users to feel empowered by a self service tool and have the freedom to create any space on topics that will engage members.

                                                         

                                                        However, five years later I can't tell you how many spaces we have that are not only redundant but also inactive. With such large organizations it's really difficult to maintain/control the siituation. We are currently working on a life cycle solution to cover all of our employee network platforms. I think this is something Jive could look into as a great feature enhancement (my apologies if something already exists). You could set some reasonable limits like if a space is inactive for 6 months it is archived. If no communication comes from that space owner within the next 6 months it is deleted. Just thinking out loud here but I will continue reading the rest of this thread which I found really interesting and helpful for all Jive Admins.

                                                         

                                                        Cheers,

                                                        Margaret

                                                        • Re: Has anyone turned off the ability for community members to create open groups?
                                                          RichardRashty

                                                          From my experience, I have found that the concept of allowing anyone to create groups during the seeding and soft launch phase can work if you prepare for tighter controls at a later date.   Typically at this point the community consists mostly of the 5-10 groups I used to seed the community, create the ROE valuation, and to some extent perform the UAT.  Now as I am going thru the seeding/piloting phase, I have identified and communicated the governance process to the initial community members that the ECM/CMs will review groups created to ensure that there is no duplication, and they will agree in the Community T&C that the ECM/CMs have the right to merge or delete duplicate groups, and change the governance of group creation. 

                                                           

                                                          I used to prefer to grant everyone the ability to create groups, but over the past 2-3 years, I have changed my thinking.  I think restricting everyone from creating groups except for a select group of CMs is a good thing.  At least requiring a registration for group creation, even as simple as filling out a spreadsheet, allows for a cohesive and organized social ecosystem.  I agree that allowing open access to group creation leads to silos, and many abandoned groups, groups with 2-5 members, as well as much more work for the ECM/CMs in group mgmt.  It is not that I want to control anyone or dissuade that Ad-Hoc collaboration, but the reality is most people are not that organized, and they each work in different ways.  I agree with Tracy Maurer that it would be great if JIVE had a way to merge groups, which would provide a good technology solution for allowing a more open group creation governance.  

                                                          • Re: Has anyone turned off the ability for community members to create open groups?
                                                            djalexander76

                                                            We have restricted users from creating groups and subspaces and require new community requests to be vetted/approved by the community management team.  Although it does create more work for my team, we find it valuable for the following reasons:

                                                             

                                                            • As others have mentioned, we avoid redundancy since we receive many "new community requests" for communities that already exist.
                                                            • We have the opportunity to talk them out of creating spaces to mimic their org structure when there are better solutions such as using categories or tags. 
                                                            • Requiring them to complete a 5-6 question form confirms their commitment to some degree. Building a community takes time and energy and if they don't have 5-10 minutes to fill out a form do they really have the time to train users, create content, and all the other tasks required to build a vibrant community?
                                                            • Seeing the requests come in helps our team understand the requestor's business objectives better so we can deliver more effective training & coaching.

                                                             

                                                            That being said, I can also see the value of allowing users to create their own communities during the initial phase as long as you are prepared for a clean-up effort later.

                                                            • Re: Has anyone turned off the ability for community members to create open groups?
                                                              jessekane

                                                              I'll be honest, I'm surprised that there are so many people in favor of adding layers of process to creating groups. The request for a new space, which we designated as the replacement for formal intranet websites, goes through an approval process at my company, but groups are mostly self-service.

                                                               

                                                              While I can see how an approval process can make my administrative responsibilities as a Community Manager easier, I'mo not convinced it benefits the entire ecosystem. Any effective approval process is going to restrict collaboration by creating "good" and "bad" reasons for creating groups. It will also discourage people from using groups in new and innovative ways. Many great ideas happen at the most unexpected and unstructured moments and I love Jive for supporting that. I would rather trust the market forces of social collaboration to separate the good from the bad groups any day.  Even if it means I have to get my hands dirty with some Jive house cleaning every few months.

                                                               

                                                              P.S. I do think a way to automatically archive or delete unused groups is a much needed feature.