From [[http://cpsquare.org CPsquare]], the community of practice on communities of practice.
Subscription tools allow an individual to "subscribe" to some element. Implicit in subscription is that the person then gets some sort of alert to advise them of new information, or the new information is organized in some way for easier access.
Subscriptions tools may vary significantly between applications and platforms. There is a trend towards replacing platform specific subscription capabilities with RSS.
Uses in communities of practice
Subscriptions enable a member to manage their experience of content on one or many interactive websites by being able to specify areas of focus, get alerts to new content and quickly find content they care about.
Subscription tools are important to help make sense of large amounts of information or activity and to draw attention to information or activity. Subscriptions tools may vary significantly between applications and platforms. There is a trend towards replacing platform specific subscription capabilities with RSS.
- Together/apart, Synch/Asynch:
Type of subscription
- Bookmarks. The ability to mark a discussion posting or piece of content to easily find at a later time. Some bookmark features allow the member to add metadata or to organize into topical folders. ?redundant with “new” indicators.
- If a member sees something they want to respond to in a discussion, but don't have the time or information needed, they can mark a post and come back to reply later.
- Show new content. Members can be led sequentially through all new content on a site to which the member has subscribed. Sometimes this is done by showing all the new material on a summary page with links to full content. ?redundant with “new” indicators.
- "Show all new" can allow a member to find new material which otherwise may be buried in larger sites. This is related to "new flags."
- Email subscriptions. When a member subscribes to a discussion topic, wiki page or blog, they receive links to or full content from each new post or change via email. In some systems, email subscriptions blend with the ability to reply to a web based discussion via email, blurring the lines between these features.
- Email subscriptions will remain important for members who may not have access to RSS aggregator tools or who have very limited internet access and bandwidth.
- Digests. Digests compile individual email subscription returns into digests. With some tools the member can specify frequency of digest delivery. In some systems the digests apply site wide, in others the digests divide out by site sub-areas.
- Where email volume is an issue, digests can be very useful. In some systems, you can reply to individual pieces within a digest, contact the posts' authors and other more specific sub-features.
Individual subscription management
- Subscription management features. When there are multiple subscriptions and subscription types, subscription management features allow the user to change and organize their subscriptions across all areas, rather than having to manage each subscription individually.
- When a community site becomes more complex, a member's ability to manage their experience becomes more important. Easy of subscription management is one way to do this.
Community subscription management
- Subscribing others. Where a person has permission to subscribe others to a topic or area.
- In some situations a community manager might want to subscribe all members to a specific area such as announcements.