Communities may be organized hierarchically by making communities members of other communities. This way the organizational hierarchy of an enterprise can be mapped to BSCW communities.
Members of a subcommunity may access the community workspace of a supercommunity. The respective community workspaces are not necessarily related in any inclusion relations. This situation is completely different from the seemingly similar relation between workspaces and their member groups.
For demonstration purposes, take the case of the bulletin board for a large department which we organized as a community workspace above. The associated community has as members all employees of the department. When you as community manager would like to set up, e.g., also bulletin boards for the subdepartments (let’s call them A, B, C), which are also to be implemented as community workspaces, you could proceed as follows:
• Go to the members’ page of the department community by first clicking on the icon shown in the ‘Share’ column of the community workspace entry to view the members of the community workspace and then clicking on the community entry.
• Tick the check boxes of all user entries of the employees of subdepartment A and click in the multi-selection toolbar to create the new community for subdepartment A.
• In the ‘New Community’ form that is presented next, you enter the name of the new community (in our case ‘Bulletin Board of Subdepartment A’) and select the admission policy (in our case Restricted member and Hidden Community) as well as the community role. This also creates the associated community workspace that will appear in your home directory with you as owner and manager. If you do not want to manage the subdepartmental bulletin board yourself, invite someone of subdepartment A as manager to the new community workspace.
• Repeat the above steps for subdepartments B and C. Now the members’ page of the department bulletin board community will show no more user entries of employees of the three subdepartments, but only the three entries of the subdepartment communities.
This way you have created three subcommunities of the original community. You could subdivide the new subcommunities further, proceeding exactly as described above. Note that the members of the subcommunities may access the community workspace of a supercommunity in the community role of the supercommunity, i.e. the community role of the supercommunity determines how members of subcommunities and sub-subcommunities etc. may access the community workspace of the supercommunity – regardless of the community roles in the subcommunities.
Instead of building a hierarchical community organization by subdividing an existing community, you can also proceed bottom up by uniting existing communities so that these communities become subcommunities of the new community. Let’s assume that you have already created three communities A, B, and C for the three subdepartments and now want to create a department community with exactly these three communities as members, so that all members of the three existing communities may access the community workspace of the new department community.
• Make sure that the admission policy of all three communities A, B and C is set to ‘closed’. Hidden communities cannot be invited to other communities.
• Create a new community in your home folder via File New Community in the top menu. In the ‘General’ section of the action form, enter the name of the new community (in our case ‘Bulletin Board of Department D’) and select the admission policy as well as community role (in our case Hidden Community and Restricted member). This also creates the associated community workspace that will appear in your home directory with you as owner and manager.
• In the ‘Members’ section, choose ‘Search for BSCW groups’ and enter as query, e.g. ‘bulletin’, given that this string is contained in the name of the three existing departmental bulletin board communities. Transfer the three communities found to the ‘Selected users’ field and hit [OK] to finally create the community.
• Set the admission policy of the three communities A, B and C back to ‘hidden’.
Alternatively, you could first create the department community D and then invite the three communities A, B, and C as subcommunities via Access Invite Member in the action menu of community D, or you could first create a workspace D and then add a community with the three communities A, B and C as members. Either way, you would use the same mechanism of searching for BSCW groups in the invitation form.
If you have access to a community because you are a member of a subcommunity, this community is also listed under ‘Communities of your-user-name’ in spite of the fact that you are not a member.
Removing a community from the member group of its workspace destroys the community, but not its eventual subcommunities. They are only removed as members of the community before the community is destroyed. In the ‘Remove Member’ form you may, however, also choose the option to move the community members including a subcommunity to the member group of the community workspace, i.e. make them members of this workspace in the community role. In the case of a subcommunity, you should note that you do not move the single members of the subcommunity to the member group of the community workspace, but the member group of the subcommunity workspace which includes at least its manager(s) and/or owner. This has also the consequence that the community workspace becomes part of the subcommunity workspace.