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Sustainability would also be an important point to think through: can a group of volunteers take on the facilitation? Do we have a group that is large enough to keep the conversation ongoing? (Alice Van der Elstraeten)


For me the biggest challenge is sustaining a conversation. I think the hardest thing to do in on-line collaboration is to develop a conversations that lasts beyond the 1-2 hours meetings. We have had good experience using a range of different tools during on-line collaboration and are starting to improve on how we design and facilitate on-line but I think what we have not been able to do is maintain momentums and create meaningful relationships. This is something that seems to be missing from the on-line collaboration that was so much part of the F2F meetings. (Michael Victor)


Echoing others here, a big challenge is the continuity of engagement, discussion and conversation; connecting and collaborating over time with a community to sustain interactions that offer value to the participants - maybe as a source of ideas and connections, helping progress towards a product or output, enhancing capacities and learning, or making space to learn and reflect. Particularly with the surge in 90-minute virtual meetings and webinars - that increasingly also need rich and creative process and engagement design - we need effective online ways to support inclusive, open, purposeful dialogue. I'm hoping that the current zoom pandemic will help people recognize the value of good online interaction and collaboration, beyond any specific event, and the need to invest in it... (Peter Ballantyne)


Sustaining engagement depends on the kind of activity. If it is just maintaining continuous flow of updates on a mailing list, then the administrators of the list must always workout a sustainability plan and be ready to actively participate in implementing it. Once the administrators relax, then the group might become dormant and this may force some members to leave the group or to loose interest.

Sustaining an online conversation will always depend on the kind of topic, duration and timing based on respective participants' time zones. Involving participants in proposing topics of discussion will always encourage participation as everyone will have developed a sense of ownership in the entire project. Continuous mentions, appreciation and awarding of active participants will always attract more to participate. However, if time is set without consulting members about their respective suitable time to be engaged in an online discussion, then this might eliminate some due to unfavorable time.  

Lastly, duration of participation need to always be made as short as possible. Always participants have a great number of activities to engage in during the day and keeping them for a long time might discourage many from continuing to participate.  (Robert Kibaya)





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