Personal ways of doing things in public

by Lilia Efimova on 22 January 2004

Why Ask Questions in Public? (via David Carter-Tod)

So please, unless you have a question that only I can answer for some reason, ask it in public on a newsgroup or mailing list. I’m more likely to be in a question-answering mood when I encounter your question, you’re giving more people the chance to help you, you’re helping all the people who come after you that have the same question, and you won’t be contributing to the problem that many of us have in keeping up with our private e-mail. You’re even likely to get a better answer, and could spark a discussion of your problem that would give far more information than you would have gotten out of any one individual.

Read the whole article for the arguments of choosing to discuss things in public rather than in private. It comes just in time for my thinking on a paper abstract :)

People prefer personal spaces: it feels more comfortable, fast and easy to ask personally, to have documents on your local drive or to search your inbox for copies of corporate reports…

Think of e-mail. E-mail is where knowledge goes to die (Bill French): most of e-mails I have in my mailbox could be shared without any problem within my company, but nobody could see them and to learn from them. For example, within a company one of the targets for introducing on-line communities usually is about moving one-to-one conversations to a space where more people could learn from them.

In a corporate context most people are not eager to use public spaces (for example, they continue storing documents locally instead of using document management system). I keep on wondering why.

I think that in most cases people don’t mind sharing, but they also need their own, not a “corporate” or “community”, way to do it. So in most of cases they choose to do things in private spaces in their own way rather putting effort “to confirm” to standards of public spaces.

Now think about the power of weblogs for thinking in public or bookmarking with del.icio.us. I guess their sucess is in supportting personal ways of doing things in public.

See also: public – private – secret, professional/personal or public/private balance and your conversation might be public domain

Archived version of this entry is available at http://blog.mathemagenic.com/2004/01/22.html#a951; comments are here.

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