By Stan Garfield (Twitter: @stangarfield) - Revised March 3, 2010
Communities are groups of people who, for a specific subject, share a
specialty, role, passion, interest, concern, or a set of problems. Community
members deepen their understanding of the subject by interacting on an
ongoing basis, asking and answering questions, sharing information, reusing
good ideas, solving problems for one another, and developing new and better
ways of doing things.
People join communities in order to:
Share new ideas, lessons learned, proven practices, insights, and practical
Innovate through brainstorming, building on each other's ideas, and
keeping informed on emerging developments.
Reuse solutions through asking and answering questions, applying shared
insights, and retrieving posted material.
Collaborate through threaded discussions, conversations, and
Learn from other members of the community; from invited guest speakers
about successes, failures, case studies, and new trends; and through
This document defines and describes 10 principles for successful communities.
It is based on my experience in creating, leading, and managing communities
and communities programs, both inside and outside of organizations.
Communities should be independent of organization structure; they
are based on what members want to interact on.
Communities are different from teams; they are based on topics, not on
Communities are not sites, team spaces, blogs or wikis; they are people
who choose to interact.
Community leadership and membership should be voluntary; you
can suggest that people join, but should not force them to.
Communities should span boundaries; they should cross functions,
organizations, and geographic locations.
Minimize redundancy in communities; before creating a new one, check
if an existing community already addresses the topic.
Communities need a critical mass of membe