You may create a new community in many different ways. We illustrate some of the possibilities for our three example cases above. We begin with the “Astronomers’ Platform”. When you start from scratch, you proceed as follows.
• Select File New Community in the top menu of your home folder; this is one of two places where you can create new communities this way (the other is your address book).
• In the ‘New Community’ form you enter the name of the new community (e.g. ‘Hobby Astronomers’) and optionally a description and keywords. The latter will also be displayed in the ‘Other Communities’ folder to other users. The associated community workspace will be created along with the new community. This workspace, which is initially empty, will appear in your home folder and you will be its owner and manager. It will carry the same name, description and keywords as the new community. The name of the workspace may be changed independently of the name of the community.
• Next you select the ‘Role of community members’, i.e. the community role in which all community members access the community workspace. You should select a role that is appropriate for the purpose of your community. E.g., if you want community members only to be able to read the workspace contents you should select Restricted member, if you want to allow community members to contribute to the workspace contents you should select Associate member, which also includes change actions (the default offered). Note that selection of the role Member allows community members to remove other workspace members including the community itself which is usually not what you want. In our case, we would select the default Associate member since we expect future community members to contribute to the community workspace, but not to change community workspace membership. The community role can be changed later on by a community manager.
• Finally you choose the ‘Admission policy’ for the new community: open, closed or hidden. You should only create a non-hidden community if you are really sure that your community is also of interest to other users of your BSCW server. Non-hidden communities will appear in the ‘Other Communities’ listing of each and every registered user of your BSCW server. In our case, we choose the open community since we want to attract users to join our community of hobby astronomers. The admission policy of a community may be changed later on by a community manager. So, if you feel that enough members have joined your community you might change its admission policy to ‘closed’.
The new community workspace ‘Hobby Astronomers’ will appear in your home folder. You would normally proceed to generate a structure and contents for the workspace. Afterwards, you could either wait for other users to join your community or directly invite some users interested in astronomy to your community.
• Click the icon shown in the ‘Share’ column of the community workspace entry to view the members of the community workspace. This icon generally indicates that a workspace has a community as member.
• Select Access Invite Member in the action menu of the community.
Directly after creation, the new community has no members; even you as the creator and manager of the community are not automatically made a member of the new community, and the community workspace is not listed under ‘Communities of your-user-name’ as long as you are not a member.
If you already know some hobby astronomers who are users of your BSCW server you could create your community starting with these community members selected from your address book.
• Go to your address book by selecting GoTo Address Book in the top menu.
• Select the users that are to become members of the new community by ticking the check boxes in front of the respective user entries and click in the multi-selection toolbar.
• In the ‘New Community’ form that appears next, you proceed exactly as described above. The only difference is that the new community is not empty, but has the members indicated. The community workspace, initially empty, will again appear in your home folder.
If you have no entries selected in your address book and click , you create a new community with no members initially. This action is equivalent to selecting File New Community in the top menu of your address book (or home folder).
Next we consider our “Bulletin Board” example case. Let’s assume that the workspace representing the initial contents of the departmental bulletin board already exists with yourself as manager and some other users as members that are also to provide input. You now add to this workspace a community of all members of your department (by default, you have to be a manager of the workspace to do this).
• Select Access Add Community in the action menu of the workspace.
• The new community that will become a member of the workspace will carry the same name as the workspace. The community name may be changed later independently of the name of the workspace.
• In the ‘Add Community’ form you select the ‘Role of community members’, i.e. the community role in which all community members access the community workspace. In our case, we would select Restricted member since we want to grant only read access to the community members.
• Next you choose the ‘Admission policy’ for the new community: open, closed or hidden. In our case we choose the hidden community because we don’t want to announce the community to other users and plan to invite the members ourselves.
After you have added the (initially empty) community to the workspace, the icon shown in the ‘Share’ column changes to . Clicking this icon displays the member list of the workspace, now showing also the newly added community. Invite the members of your department to the community by selecting Access Invite Member in the action menu of the community. Consider using a ‘Search for BSCW users’ with the department name as search criterion in the ‘Invite Member’ form.
In our last example case “Crowded Workspace” you want to turn the many members of the workspace into one community, which as a whole will then become a member of the workspace, thus essentially improving server response time of operations on this workspace. By default, you have to be a workspace manager to do this.
• Click the icon in the ‘Share’ column of the workspace entry to display its members’ page.
• Select the workspace members that are to become members of the community by ticking the check boxes in front of the respective member entries. (It might be quicker to select all members by clicking and then deselecting managers and owners.) Click in the multi-selection toolbar. Workspace owners cannot be turned into community members this way.
• In the ‘Add Community’ form you proceed exactly as described above for adding a community to a workspace using Access Add Community . The default offered as community role is the role that most members have with respect to the workspace. So, in the standard case that all workspace members apart from the manager have the role Member, access rights remain unchanged if this role is chosen as community role. Note that access rights are changed for community members who had a workspace role different from the community role. As admission policy you would choose the hidden community in our example case, because the reason for creating the community was not to attract other users to this workspace, but to improve server response time.
If you do not select any workspace members prior to clicking in the multi-selection toolbar, the action is equivalent to using Access Add Community in the action menu of the workspace.