People of different religions and cultures live side by side in almost every part of the world, and most of us have overlapping identities which unite us with very different groups. We can love what we are, without hating what – and who – we are not.
We can thrive in our own tradition, even as we learn from others, and come to respect their teachings. Tolerance, inter-cultural dialogue and respect for diversity are more essential than ever in a world where people are becoming more and more closely interconnected.
Cultural differences have been noted in groups of monkeys which live in different regions so it's hardly surprising to note culture becoming an issue within e-communities.
Some of this might have something to do with rules set or not set right from the outset, sometimes it has a lot to do with recognition and egoboo, sometimes it is made up of professional partnerships and other times competition and jealousies. Sometimes it springs directly out of the leader's own approach to leadership and his reasons for creating the group in the first place.
What happens when the tribes' needs change? What does a community do when it realizes it has leaders who are autocratic or it begins to suspect that shady politics, raw ego or financial gain may be in the background of every message sent?
What can a community do when its leader feeds off its members by asking for more and more and never really giving back? How does it butt in and interrupt, asking for a new tone?
Why are some e-groups nothing more than deserted ghost-towns, others a warm safe nest and still others warring battlefields made up of various splintered tribes?
When working with a global group of human individuals, be it with teachers or students, can culture online ever be agreed upon and defined?
This posting is part of a series, Crowd Wise, and is, in part, preparation for the swap-shop on web based communities at the IATEFL conference in Harrogate, April 8th, 2010. Your answers, as brief or as in-depth as you'd like to be, is very much appreciated! To subscribe to all the posts within this specific series, copy and paste this url: http:
Note: if you would like to participate in this conversation anonymously, please do feel free to do so. Alternatively, if you would like to specifically mention an online educational community when making reference to your experiences, adding your group's name and/or its URL, you are most welcome to!