Communities, networks and arguing about arguing

A couple of projects I’m involved with have had various initiatives over the past few years and in fact my organisation has been created to support connecting services amongst other things. One of the projects is where a number of technologies and services have become connected, the other one is part of a new-ish initiative that is more focused on improvement, with technologies supporting and enhancing where appropriate.

I have read a chapter of a paper today and started to become more familiar with some of the organisational complexity that I have come across in recent weeks. Within the chapter they mentioned at least one piece of legislation, three strategies, three programmes and several action plans. Within these there are at least six or seven larger organizations involved in all of them. Then multiple partnerships, some local, some regional, some national and projects that a partnership could be involved with may often involve over twenty agencies so where these partnerships are working on initiatives with other related partnerships – say on local strategic agreements or similar – so that’s a lot of agencies.

Within all of these different groupings you also have communities and neighbourhoods, teams, departments. These could all be funded through different streams and working to different funding timescales. They may have less central overall involvement but any of these different groups could be involved or linked to any of the others. They collaborate already, some of it may be online, maybe not.

I wonder how this fits into ideas of online communities and online networks – government offices, national organizations, local organizations, partnerships, agencies, neighbourhoods, communities, teams, departments – all with humans talking with other humans. What kinds of interests might be shared and what kinds of interests may be conflicting. These conflicts can be replicated in an online environment alongside any other conflicts with people using some technologies with different levels of experience and understanding.

If you have multiple, sometimes independent interests coming into one initiative – it can be difficult to process and bottlenecks can emerge – this sounds more like networks. Finding like minded people who are interested in the same areas but often not located in the same areas – this sounds more like communities. Wanting to share and succeed together definitely sounds like communities. Hmmm. Dunno !

On a lighter note and continuing with the conflicts theme, have been following some people’s posts on Scienceblogs at the weekend. They have been arguing about how to argue and someone has located a nice pyramid of arguing ‘strategies’ – Dr Siegel, Dr Isis and DrugMonkey

Well there’s always another way…