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BlueWolf's Howl

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May 28, 2003

Knowledge Management

I'm currently reading a book about Knowledge Management. It's pretty interesting (to me) and it has fueled my desire to create/participate in some type of online community where I can deepen my knowledge base about computing, networking, and other techie stuff.

Although the desire exists, it may be thwarted by the social environment. I know the concept I have in my mind, but I haven't seen it in any of the forums that I've frequented to date. I'm not sure it *could* exist - given the current state of the world.

In the old days... there were newsgroups for sysadmins. Newsgroups were the domain of the more experienced computer users and such groups were havens for us techies. You could get a question answered, commiserate, and share knowledge. That was a long time ago -- when there were more jobs than there were sysadmins...

Now the newsgroups are easily accessed by anyone who can click. No more need to download and configure a newsreader. They're now called "discussion groups" and some of the most computer illiterate people proudly display their ignorance on a regular basis. The signal to noise ratio is deafening.

Many of the email lists are certification-oriented. They're good for helping each other get through the constant barrage of tests that are forced on us by the unrealistic demands of the HR weinies... The questions and answers are pretty well focused on the material of the test -- not on real-life scenarios.

The newsgroups and email lists that *do* focus on real-life scenarios are ca-ca (that's a technical term - use it carefully). It's always some dork who's underqualified for the job they're doing who just wants the answer to the problem they're facing...and they want it NOW. They don't want to know any background to the answer, they don't want to understand what went wrong, they just want to know what to do to FIX it.

Those groups are the hardest to deal with... There are so many good, experienced admins who are either unemployed or underemployed -- and all the tech jobs are being "outsourced" to overseas companies because it's cheaper... Of course it's cheaper -- they're hiring unqualified people...who are using the answers they harvest to mask their lack of understanding and knowledge. And here we are, giving them the answers... No, I can't participate in that kind of activity. I refuse to hand someone a knife to slit my throat.

In that kind of environment, it's hard to share knowledge. Still, I see the benefit of sharing experience, knowledge and ideas with those who are "like me." I want to share with people who will reciprocate. I want to talk about what new things we could possibly try with the technology that we have today. I want to hear what other people are trying when attempting to solve the same problems that I'm facing. I want to share that new and fascinating aspect of such-and-such that I ran across today. And I want a sense of community.

I just don't know how to create or find such a forum. I don't know how to keep it safe from the mind moochers. I don't see how I can convince other admins to trust each other when I can barely find it within myself to trust others. It's not easy in such a tight job market. Yet, at the same time, I can see that it's crucial to help each other in such a situation.

I know there are others "out there" that echo my sentiments. How do I find them? How do they find me? And how do we help each other grow and learn without helping those who would readily walk over the top of our dead carcasses?

Posted by BlueWolf on May 28, 2003 11:07 PM