Self-organizing, self-policing platforms for social-knowledge applications
Knowledge Exchanges should be used when knowledge needs to be moved across a network of dispersed individuals quickly, and when long email strings containing various disconnected attachments become unworkable. This break point occurs typically when the group grows beyond about 20 members but can be as low as 6 if highly collaborative knowledge sharing and problem solving is needed by people who are not in the same location all the time.
Ease of Use: Questions are submitted to the community and answers to those questions are in the center column. Voting on both questions and answers can be seen on the left. Tagging, the method used for navigating the site, is to be seen on the right. Contents, both questions and answers, can have embedded documents, hyperlinks to supporting material such as research papers, PDFs, images, video, MP3 audio recordings, etc.
Reputation: Unlike traditional online discussion forums, blogs, wikis and other social media, the Knowledge Exchange is based on elegant new software algorithms that automatically protect it from undesirable user behaviors, while it organizes and refines content. Users initially have limited rights on the system but if they behave well they are increasingly given reputation points that enable additional editorial privileges. This avoids the traditional pitfalls of online discussion forums and blog comment threads that are plagued with spam, flaming, and irrelevant or offensive content.
Self-Refinement: Users can easily vote Knowledge Exchange content up or down, based on the degree to which each user finds particular questions and answers to be relevant, helpful, and authoritative. User tagging makes content easy to query and retrieve. These and related self-refining and self-organizing knowledge capabilities ensure that the most useful and relevant content floats to the top of the site. Since trusted end users can edit, order, tag and refine content, the Knowledge Exchange creates a sort of canonical “living” knowledge base that is not attainable via conventional social media or Knowledge Management (KM) systems.
The Power of Tagging: A tag is the equivalent of a subject and is a powerful attribute of our Knowledge Exchange. Tags can be associated with particular organizational functions (e.g. Finance) so that the Finance group, for example, can be alerted via email when a question is added with the Finance tag. Members (students and faculty) are alerted based on tags that interest them. Members are alerted if they post a question and that question gets answered.