Online Collaboration: Quantifying the Problem, Designing a Solution - Session Notes

Submitted by Sarah Pullman on Thu, 2007-10-04 07:40

Session lead: Dave Eaves

Notes by Dharma Dailey

1 sentence take away: It's all about toasty warm fuzzies.

Defining Collaboration.

Collaboration implies very different things to people in the room. For some it means getting work done together for others it implies power sharing in decision making. For the facilitator, collaboration implies that we have an equal opportunity to influence each other.

Online collaboration works well for:

Tasks broken down into chunks that are managable by one person or one discrete group work well for online collaboration.

Online is good for educating on issues and concerns: such as Bugzilla
Bugzilla walks you through the issues and concerns really well, so has taken off.

Online collaboration - Room for Improvement:

Strategic conversations don’t happen well online.

It’s very difficult to establish trust online. Trust is essential for making decisions.

Shared decision making via only online is challenging.

  • Open source model -- is a top down model-- benevolent dictatorships -- decision makers can be influenced but there is generally one person choosing course of action.
  • Champions -- often those who engage in destructive behaviors to champion their ideas are rewarded for that behavior, those who support everyone else are not rewarded well.

Scaling issues.
Projects that generate a lot of volunteer interest may have these additional problems:

  • leaders keep going back to the same people. (online trust issue)
    • those who think differently are harder and harder to engage with while people who think like you tend to stay around.


"Web of Change isn’t a “wham bam here’s my business card” conference. I made sincere personal and professional connections with people that have lasted. Five days on Cortes Island offered me the luxury of time to learn, laugh, and understand my work and my larger place in the progressive community."
Alia McKee