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Paradise or Bust (BBC2) gives a lesson in transparency for online communities

Paradise or Bust (BBC2) gives a lesson in transparency for online communities

Paradise or Bust (BBC2) gives a lesson in transparency for online communities

In last night's second episode of BBC 2's captivating Paradise or Bust, the purse strings on Vorovoro get stretched tighter and tighter in order to keep the project running, whilst online discontent grows; seemingly in direct proportion to project leader Ben Keene's stress levels. For me one of the central themes running through the programme (other than how to build a traditional Bure long house and a non-traditional, but pretty cool nevertheless, composting toilet) has been how important the transparency of the project is to the online Tribe. Adding momentum to the wave of discontent sweeping the forums it seemed, was 'Chief' Warren's own 'disconnect' with the realities of Ben's financial commitments and outgoings. That and the online community's natural desire to see how its voice has been heard and acted upon. The online community had been active for up to 6 months in advance of the actual start of the project, so naturally tribe members were keen to see how Ben was spending the money. And with a trip to the mainland required to use the Internet café it's hardly surprising that the online tribe felt disconnected, in terms both of geography and understanding of what was going on. Clearly there are parallels to be drawn with any community, ours included. And it's a sobering lesson in how important it is to not take your community for granted and keep that two-way conversation active in real-time. No doubt in future episodes there will be many more instances where there are divides between what project leader Ben wants to do and what the tribe think should be done, and it will be interesting to watch how these conflicts are resolved. Especially since there seems to be a feeling that if this turns into a commercial venture, then there will be a lot more financial control needed over the project management. One thing we have learned already is not to set up a Web 2.0 community-based project without Internet access. (Paradise or Bust is repeated on BBC2 at 11.20pm) See also Web 2 an island paradise - Paradise or Bust

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