Guidelines for Communities of Inquiry and Practice That We Sponsor

By Claude Whitmyer, founder  of MeaningfulWork.Com, co-founder of The University of the Future, LLC (FutureU™)

MeaningfulWork.Com is published by The University of the Future, LLC (aka FutureU™). Therefore the following community guidelines apply to events and activities sponsored by MeaninfulWork.Com just as they do to those sponsored directly by FutureU™.

The tools of web-based meetings, virtual teams, and online or blended classrooms will help us meet the challenges of today’s rapidly changing commerce and learning sectors. Oldest and perhaps foremost among those tools is the online bulletin board or discussion forum. In the courses and events delivered or facilitated by FutureU™ (and therefore meaningful-work.com, we feel duty-bound to provide discussion forums . . .

  • that are safe and comfortable
  • that provide our clients, customers, students, and peers with a place to communicate what’s on their minds
  • that deepen our learning together
  • that improve the effectiveness of our communications

To help create this open and friendly environment, whether using forum software provided by FutureU™ or something from within your own organization, we ask that all participants agree to the following community norms. These norms will evolve as the community grows but let’s begin with these agreements:

First, by participating in any of FutureU’s events or activities (including those sponsored by meaningfulwork.com) you explicitly agree that each participant owns their words and that, together, we are creating shared meaning.

You further agree to…

  • Participate thoughtfully and respond in a timely manner.
  • Be open to new ideas and possibilities.
  • Take responsibility to ask for what you want or need.
  • Operate in the spirit of open inquiry, knowing there is no one right answer, but everyone has part of the answer.
  • Question your own assumptions and examine them as deeply as possible.
  • Consider all points of view and listen with care not only to the words themselves but what’s behind them as well.
  • Keep people’s postings and other contributions confidential, unless permission is explicitly given by the author to do otherwise.
  • Respond to others’ requests by being explicit about your agreement or lack of it
  • Take personal responsibility to actively clear up any issues as they arise with the person or people directly involved.

A Note About Etiquette

Keep in mind that comments entered in hasty reaction to someone else’s posting will be available for others to read long after you have entered them. We believe it’s wisest to exercise moderation and tolerance.

If you feel yourself writing a note in anger or some other negative emotion, don’t send it. Wait a day and then rewrite it from a more neutral place, if at all.

By participating in any of FutureU’s online spaces or activities, you are explicitly agreeing to our right to ban “trolls” or those who disrupt discussions or offend the community and to do so at our sole discretion and with no recourse to appeal.

Learn more about FutureU’s approach to online manners check out our “Guide to “Netiquette (Internet Etiquette)”.

Finally, all participants are bound by legal restrictions that are an unfortunate requirement of today’s pirate-mad and lawsuit-happy environment. See our “Terms & Conditions of Use” which basically say that participants will respect each other’s and FutureU’s intellectual property rights and will behave toward each other with the decency and manners that will avoid legal conflicts among participants or between FutureU and participants.