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VCC Primer

Real Community Centers are complex, i.e., they are typically large buildings that provide many different services. Virtual Community Centers (VCCs) are similar in that they also provide many different services. A VCC is a virtual building with a Reception and several other floors.

The VCC Floors have a unifying conceptual framework for the way the different items on a floor are established and populated.

  1. The Floors of a VCC are accessible through the elevator on the left of the Reception.
  2. Each floor has a flexible number of items. For example:
    • The Deliberations floor has rooms for deliberations.
    • The Experts floor has rooms of individual experts where visitors can learn about the expert and communicate with them.
    • The Classrooms floor has rooms for complex courses or corners for lectures and presentations.
    • The Library floor has published items that can be books, reports, videos, articles, etc.
    • The Workshop floor has individual events such as workshops, conference, or symposia.
    • The Participatory Modeling floor has Projects and many tools for sub-Projects.
  3. For most floors, establishing a new item (e.g., a deliberation room or a library item) requires two steps:
    • Initializing the item: This step requires in most cases the item title and a brief description. In some cases, the type of the item needs to be selected. For example:
      1. Adding a new Library item requires a brief descriptive title, a short description, and a choice of type (e.g., Book, Article, Video, ...). The descriptive title and the type cannot be changed after the item has been initialized.
      2. Opening a Deliberations room reuires a title and a short description.
      3. Initializing an event on the Workshop Floor requires a title, a short description, and a choice of the type. The event title and type cannot be changed after initialzing the event.
    • Fully establishing the item:
      1. After a Library item has been initialized, the item needs to be populated. In this step, many different options are available.
      2. After a Deliberation room has been initialized the owner can add or edit information and select many parameters related to status and access. After the status of the room has been set to "Open", all who have access can publish their remarks.
      3. After an event has been initialized on the Workshop Floor the owner can populate many different elements and many elements are populated by activities other carry out (e.g., submit a presentation).

For most floor items, the owner can add co-owners. In some cases, the owners also can add staff members. For example, a booth in the Exhibition Hall or on the Who We Are Floor can have staff members who have a number of privileges (e.g., communicate with visitors).

We envision a vast network of collaborating VCCs, constituting a global commons empowering a global citizens movement. Most of the VCCs are open for anyone to join, although a few are restricted to invited members only.

The VCCs have a number of other key features designed to help participants in keeping track of and/or find what they need within the network of VCCs and within the specific VCCs in which they are members.

Virtual Buddy: the little Gnome normally shown in the upper right corner of a page is your personalized intelligent Virtual Buddy, designed to keep track of activities and places within the network of VCCs that are specifically of interest to you. Please click on it and explore a bit. We are working to make the Buddy more useful. In some cases, just below the Virtual Buddy is a button that "beams" you to Reception.

In the Reception, the lower right corner provides a number of useful services and corners:

  • Find: The "Find" button provides powerful search capabilities. You can search for almost any aspect of the VCCs, e.g. Deliberation topics, people, or Library items.
  • FAQs: The FAQs provides access to a crowd-sourced set of frequently asked questions. Most participants can add questions and answers in many places.
  • Group Confabs and Chirps: Confab is the direct messaging service on Place4Us. Group Confabs are a versatile tool for group conversations. Single chirps are messages between a participant and a number of other participants.
  • Blog Corner: This is a place where Place4Us participants can publish their blogs and others can view them.
  • VCC Admininistration Room: This room provides information on the VCC adminstrator(s) and a tool to contact one or several of them.

The VCC Reception also has on the right side a Billboard and a News Box. The Billboard is included if there are active entries to the billboard. The VCC Administration populates the Billboard. The News Box is included if there are active Place4Us news or specific VCC news.

If you are planning to set up a new VCC, the process for that is explained in Open New VCC.

Please do contact the Place4Us Administration if you have any immediate questions or concerns.