17 Replies Latest reply on Apr 29, 2015 9:41 AM by jessekane

    Do you allow users to create their own private and secret groups?


      At First American, over half of our communities are private. Right now, we disabled the ability for a user to have the Private/Secret option because we discourage the creation of Secret Groups. Our tendency is to have communities as open as possible. If there is a reason for Secret Group, they should review with us and it most cases, it is justified.


      If an employee needs to make their group private, they contact us and we just change the settings for them - no questions asked. We hope that this process alone filters out those who do not have a good reason to have private groups.


      I know Jive does not currently have the capability de-coupled but I'd like to know...


      Do you let your community have the option to create Private or Secret Groups? If so, has this ever become an issue for you? Are you seeing too many secret groups? Or do you manage it on the back-end - maybe once a week or once a month review all the groups?


      I'm looking for a best practice to minimize the tedious work of setting their group to private, even if it takes 10 seconds.

        • Re: Do you allow users to create their own private and secret groups?

          We did the same thing.  The question is, how can you have transparancy and collaboration if everything is private?  We do have private groups and secret must be approved.

          • Re: Do you allow users to create their own private and secret groups?

            We allow our users to create private and secret. They need it to collaborate on articles, etc., that aren't ready to be seen by the whole company. I even encouraged one social group that was discussing The Walking Dead TV show to take their group private because one of our EVPs complained about seeing all the chat in the general activity stream (spoilsport).

            • Re: Do you allow users to create their own private and secret groups?
              Dennis Pearce

              We do it the same way as Shirlin.  Users can create their own open and members only groups but we have them fill out a simple Google form to request a private/secret group or a top level space (if they want a subspace they have to go to the owner of the parent space and have them create it).  We never turn anyone down flat and we've even embedded the form in a Jive html widget to make it easy to fill out, but just that little speed bump has kept our restricted groups down to under 20% of the total.


              It's beneficial not just for keeping the numbers down.  Since secret groups and restricted spaces are invisible to people who don't have access to them, forcing requests gives us a chance to check whether a similar place has already been created that the requester didn't know about.  If so, we get the requester together with the group/space owner to determine whether they can use the same place or really do need a new one.  If they do then we honor that request.

              • Re: Do you allow users to create their own private and secret groups?

                That's funny, my preferred approach would be exactly the opposite: let them create all the private and secret groups they want, but restrict the open ones. I posted about this a while back here Has anyone turned off the ability for community members to create open groups?


                Before you jump to conclusions that I am anti-transparency, allow me to elaborate the reasoning. First and foremost, people sometimes need to collaborate in secret, and if they can't do it on your community, they will use a different tool. It's just a fact that not everything is appropriate (or even legal) to share.


                Second, people who use the group to collaborate "in secret" learn to use the platform and have a chance to serendipitously find other conversations of interest. So, if this is the one place in the company where they can collaborate on that initiative that is not yet ready for primetime, they will go there. And while they are there, they will increase their engagement with the platform.


                Third, it allows for experimenting and staging of content. Experimenting is key, especially for new community managers. If they can't try things out without someone looking over their shoulder, they may not try it at all.


                Last, but not least: information overload. This is a huge issue and among the biggest complaints people have about my community. If I don't need to see it, if it's only relevant to a few people in a specialized content, why show it to me? In activity streams, in search, etc., etc.? Contribution (IMO) is not the be-all and end-all of developing a thriving community. Being able to retrieve relevant information is just as important. I can't do that if there is extraneous noise.


                Dennis Pearce and Shirlin Hsu, are these issues in your communities? I would love to hear how you've managed them.

                  • Re: Do you allow users to create their own private and secret groups?

                    Nikki Bussard agree X1000 this is the approach we've taken at Pearson and it has been a good strategy for our engagement.

                    • Re: Do you allow users to create their own private and secret groups?

                      I LOVE suggesting to people that they can create their own secret group to learn how to use Jive. It can be a group of one, two or whatever, but makes them feel secure that their "mistakes" won't be seen by others.


                      And you are so right about restricting private/secret making them go elsewhere. Even with no restrictions, we have people who decide to go elsewhere. I can only imagine what would happen if we made it more restrictive.

                      • Re: Do you allow users to create their own private and secret groups?
                        Dennis Pearce

                        Nikki's scenario is a good example of why there is no one right way to manage a community and no single best practice, because change management in a social community is so culture- and path-dependent.


                        In our case, Lexmark has acquired 14 companies over the last four years (mostly all small software companies with specific niche technologies) so it's really important for us to stay as open as we can so that it's as easy as possible for everyone to figure out who knows what.  Where we do have a need for restricted access, spaces tend to work better than groups for us.  For example, our hardware R&D area has a top-level space open to everyone, but under that are subspaces restricted to the teams working on various new products.  The main advantages of spaces over groups for us are (1) granularity over who can do what within the space  and (2) ability to provide access through user groups synced with our LDAP.  The product teams need to see what each other are doing but not everyone in the company does, which means access has to be granted to hundreds or thousands of people but not everyone.  It's too impractical to try to manage that in a group.


                        So the need for restricted groups isn't as strong in Lexmark as maybe some other places.  Also as I mentioned, we have a request form but it's really simple -- basically name and type of group and who will be the admin -- and we have never turned anyone down.  Because of all these acquisitions we have a constant stream of new employees joining the company, not aware of who might also be working on the things they are.  The request process gives us a chance to match up requesters with places that already exist.  I looked back through our records and we average about 30-40% of requests per year never being implemented because we were able to connect the requester with something that already is up and running.


                        Nikki's process sounds perfectly reasonable for her environment but it just wouldn't work here, especially when we first started.  We would have had nothing but redundant secret groups because everyone would have erred on the side of caution when creating their places.  We already had some evidence from previously managing eRoom and EMC CenterStage envionments to know that this behavior was a pretty safe bet if we hadn't set it up the way we did.

                          • Re: Do you allow users to create their own private and secret groups?

                            Dennis Pearce, thanks for providing that context. You are right that everyone's context is different. We don't really use spaces, so that option is not available to our members. If they already have a legitimate place to collaborate in a "closed room" so to speak, then I see how you wouldn't need private/secret groups. And you also make a good point that making the request very simple is key. I love that 30-40% statistic. That is what I would like to see happen for open groups. No issue with people creating them, I just would like some light governance to help people make better decisions about whether one is really needed.

                            I also completely agree with you that my approach would not work for starting a community...I am only talking about a mature community. In a new one, I agree the tendency would be dozens of redundant groups with <10 people.

                            Great discussion!

                        • Re: Do you allow users to create their own private and secret groups?

                          Sorry, forgot to mention that the reason I would restrict creating new open groups is because, in a mature community, it's highly unlikely that a new group is required--there probably is already one (or ten) related to the topic you want to discuss. Bringing the conversations around a single topic together improves collaboration and learning, generally speaking.

                          • Re: Do you allow users to create their own private and secret groups?

                            our admin monitors the new created groups and we also do a two step creation of groups. We do a short discovery workshop with the employee who needs a group to determine scope because maybe a place is a better solution.

                            Our community managers do this job and interviews and have rights to create groups. It's a quick process and employees like the coaching.


                            The thing I miss personally is that it's not possible split private en secret groups. Would like to have this option that certain people only can make secret groups...

                            • Re: Do you allow users to create their own private and secret groups?

                              Anyone can create an open, members only or private group at Discover. We hide the option to create a secret group with a customized change to the theme. It was a compromise to get Law's approval of Jive because they were convinced "secret group" equaled "improper conduct by employees."  Similar to other posts, I wish Private and Secret were not attached so we could offer secret as an option for some groups (but not everyone).