Monday, October 5, 2009

On-Line forum

I have questionned members of the long running  Yahoo! group UKFoster-Adopt · Fostering and Adoption in the UK.
This is the summary of the information gathered from some of the members.
The discussions about any subject related to adoption and fostering are 'roaming fairly freely'.  There is no point having someone trying to summarising a thread, as in any case, it would not close it. Too many people have to have the last word.
There is moderation taking place on the forum, as there are moderators who read every post after it is published, approve new members, deal with complaints and complete some 'admin stuff'. One of the moderators compared their role to light facilitation.
Sometimes moderators discuss off-line the behaviour of a member of the group giving concerns, and one of them steps in when things turn nasty.
It has happened in the past that members are put onto pre-moderation. In that situation, 'their posts must be read and approved before they are published but this is a rare event and has only happened a handful of times'.
There has been members banned for trying to sell children (!) or for breaking confidentiality agreement.
However the boundaries are  very wide and the discussions can wanders right off the purpose of the group.
One of the members mentions that the discussions on the forum create a learning environment challenging the members ideas and preconceptions. The participants have respect for each other,  challenge each other  respectfully , as they are a group of individuals with a common interest and passion in fostering. There have been occasions where the group came together supported a peer needing help with a positive outcome .
Another  good point was made by an someone else, who noted that 'with any group the dynamic of power and control more often is held by those who are charismatic, vocal and confident. It is dangerous to believe that freedom of opinion, low key monitoring and a lack of dissonance equates to agreement by the majority'.

(thanks to Tia, Mike, Rhys, Kathy, Jon)

This group feels like a real community. By in large the discussions are respectful  and the participants cares for each other . All the participants seem to have a common interest.  However there is no need for facilitation service as there are no plans for any synchronous events.

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