Here is a list of Frequently Asked Questions about how to use this
site. It starts with general questions that are relevant to the
entire site, and then goes on to address each of the areas you'll
see in the navigation menu under the site's banner. If you have
questions you don't see the answer to here, please post them in
the conversation space
that deals with them!
To start, here's a list of the contents in the order you'll see
them below if you scroll down:
- 1) Context
- 2) Registration
- 3) Search, or How to Find What You're Looking For
- 4) My Profile, Settings & "My Page"
- 5) Other Members
- 6) Conversations
- 7) Stories
- 8) Cybrary
- 9) Groups
- 10) News/Blogs
- 11) Media - Photos, Videos
- 12) Events
- 14) Further Questions
What is this community space for? How can it serve my needs? How
can I use it most effectively?
This is an online space in which you can meet and interact with Art
of Hosting 'mates' and colleagues all over the world. This is a
place where you can share knowledge and explore your emerging
thoughts and ideas; an opportunity to generate learning, and listen
for the wisdom among us. This is a place where you can ask
questions of experienced hosts, a place you can help others gain a
deeper understanding of the Art of Hosting patterns and how they
work in practice; a place where you can explore a subject or
project in depth with others in groups who have joined together for
that purpose. It's a place where you can find the resources you
need, and offer your own contributions, a place to support and be
To use this space most effectively, the old adage of getting what
you put into something holds true - you must participate and bring
your best self to the table; risk sharing your nascent thoughts and
be willing to listen to difference with respect and curiosity. If
you bring the same intent and care to your interactions here on
this community platform that you do to the hosting teams you are
part of, then have the same opportunity to experience the "magic in
the middle" that can happen in the best of them.
Why are specific questions required when I register?
The questions that are required refer to things we all want to be
able to search for, like location, areas of special interest and
what kind of Art of Hosting experience you have.
3) Search, or How to Find What You're Looking For
Where is the search engine on this site and how do I find the
material I'm most interested in?
There is a search box in the top right corner of the black band on
the home page, and on every page of this site. In addition, there
are search boxes at the top of the main page in many of the tabs -
Conversations, Groups, Photos, Videos, Audio, Music, Blog Posts,
and Events - where you can search those sections in particular.
How do I find someone specific here?
You can use the Search box at the top right of the page, or the
search box directly under the "All Members" title in the "people"
page. You can also look at the drop down search menu to the right
and "sort by" alphabet, looking through the pages until you find
who you're looking for.
How do I find people who have specific skills, share my
interests, or live in a particular geographic area?
To find people with specific interests, skills, or who are living
in a specific location, etc. click the "Advanced Search" button.
That will bring up the profile questions we all filled out when we
joined the community. Click the box or combination of boxes for the
skills or roles you're looking for and then click the "search"
button at the bottom of the page. You will see a list of people
whose profile answers match the boxes you chose. To find people in
a particular location, write in the country or city or state. If
you want to see everyone in a given US state, for example, use a
comma in your search logarithm to take the place of a particular
city, like this: ", CA".
How do I find more information and resources reagarding Art of
Go to the Resources tab, where you will find a number of subtabs
that bring you where you need to be.
4) Your Profile, Settings, and Customizing Your "My
How do I unload a photo of myself?
You can either add a photo during the registration process by
following instructions you are given, or later you can go in and
open the "My Page" tab and click on the "change my Photo" link
underneath the temporary image that stands in for you and your name
Can I go back and edit my profile later?
Yes, at any point you can go to your "my Page" tab and the click
the "edit" button in the top right of your profile box. You can
also access your Profile settings through the Quick Links box at
the top right of every page.
Can I customize what shows up on My Page?
Yes. Every "My Page" has a "text" box that is fully editable with
whatever you want to put in it, and you can change the order of the
material in the center of your page by clicking on the blue bar
across the top of each box and dragging it to whatever location on
your page you'd like.
Setting Your Email and Other Preferences
Will I automatically get email notices when someone leaves a
note on my page or a conversation I've started?
You can set your own preferences for how you are notified in the
box on the top right of every page just under the navigation bar.
Click "settings" and then, under “email” you can set your
preferences for the various options. You can always go back and
change them afterward if you change your mind later.
There are a number of other preferences you can set in that same
area, including privacy settings for who can see your content or
comment on it, etc.
What's that little box right under the banner at the top right
of the page with my name on it?
This box offers you a quick way to look at your messages, invite
friends to join you in this community, change your settings, etc.
You can also use it as a shortcut to upload videos or photographs
or music, start a conversation, post a blog entry, announce an
event, or log out. Just click on one of the links showing, or use
the drop down menu for more options.
What are Profile Apps and what can I do with them?
Profile Aps are "widgets", or special bits of code that allow you
to do things like track words on Twitter or add a Sudoku or Chess
game to your "My Page". You find them through the "Add Profile
Apps" link in the left column of your "My Page" under your photo,
name and location. You can move the profile apps boxes around on
your page as described above or you can customize or delete them
through the "edit" button on the top right of the box.
5) Other Members of this Community
How do I invite others to join this community?
There are number of ways to invite others to join this community.
You can use the quick and easy box on the top right (just under the
navigation bar) on every page (choose "Friends - invite"), or
through the "invite Friends" button directly to the left of your
quick and easy box in the "people" tab.
What does it mean to “friend” someone, and how do I do
A "friend" here in this community allows you to give special
privileges to specific people. E.g. your friends can see content
that you only allow friends to see, they can send you messages that
will remain private between the two of you and you can send
messages to them, individually or as a group.
If you find someone you would like to be friends with here, click
on their picture, which will take you to their profile page where
you can click the "Add as Friend" link under their name. You might
want to send them a little message, especially if they don't know
you. They will accept or not, but don't be discouraged or take it
personally if they do not. They may not have logged in since you
sent the friend request, or they may want to keep their friend list
Can I send someone else in the community a private
Yes, but only if you are "friends" with them first. Go to the
person's profile page by clicking on their photo or name, and click
the "Send a Message" link in the left column under their name and
details. That will open a message box where you can send your note
How will I know if I have received a private message?
If you have agreed to receive email notice of messages in your
settings, you will have received an email alerting you. If not, you
will see a number next to your "inbox" in the right hand quick and
easy box that is on every page. Just click on that and it will open
your inbox here and you can read or delete your message.
How can I access other Ning Communities I'm part of?
When you're logged in, click your name in the top right corner of
your screen, and it will take you to your central Ning account page
where your other communities will be listed in a box in the right
column. To visit one of them, just click on its logo.
What are categories and how should I use them?
In the "conversation" area, categories are different sorts of
conversation that we might have here. Have a look through the
existing categories to see where to add your conversation.
The "Stories" and "Resources" are both listed as categories and
they are the place to put your stories and resources. The methods
and tools you'll use to start a conversation, share your story or
post a resource in the Cybrary are the same, and are covered below.
There are specific things to know about these two categories as
well, and they will be covered after the basics which follow.
How do I start a conversation?
Go to the Conversation tab, and click on the "add a conversation"
link on the top right of the page, just under the top navigation
menu. Choose a title for your conversation/story/resource that will
identify its content, and put the body of your message in the
"post" section. You can add images and links, as well as format the
text with bold or italics, etc. as well as include other files if
you'd like. Information for how to do that follows. Choose the
category that best fits your material from the drop down menu under
your post, and be sure to add tags that can lead others back to
find your content.
How do I add a response to an existing conversation?
From inside the Conversation tab, click on the category of the
conversation you want to reply to to open all the conversations
inside it. Scroll down to the bottom of the post you want to
respond to, and click the "reply to this" link if there is no reply
box showing. Be sure to click the "add reply" button when you are
How do I add a image to my post/story/resource?
In the editing menu for your "post" content you'll see an icon that
looks like a camera. Click it and a box will open asking you to
browse your computer for the image you want to include. It will
also give you the option of adding a url where your image can be
found (i.e. on Flickr or some other online photo source). If you
click on the "options" triangle, you'll see that you can also
"wrap" text around your image, make it smaller, or create a "pop
up" window to link to your image full-size.
How do I link to a url from my conversation/story/resource
In your post content box, highlight the text you want to link and
then click the icon in your post menu bar that looks like a chain
link. It will ask you what url you want to link to - be sure your
link starts with a "http://" if it is on the web, or
"mailto:the@emailaddress" if it is an email address. Click "ok"
when you are finished.
How do I add a document or other file to my
At the bottom of your post you will see three boxes, titled "Attach
File(s)", where you can browse your computer to add up to three
files. If you are replying to a conversation, the link will be
called called "Upload Files". Click on that and you will see the
Why should I tag my conversation/story/resource and how should I
You should tag your post with words that indicate the topics you
are covering so that your conversation, story or resource will come
up when someone is searching for material about those topics.
How do I know when a conversation, story or resource was started
or last replied to?
The "latest activity" column will tell you when the last post or
reply to a post was made to the category across from it on the
left. If you want to know when the conversation, story or resource
was initially posted, click on it and it will tell you directly
under the title.
What is an Art of Hosting story and why is it so
The Art of Hosting community has grown through networks of
friendship and the sharing of stories; for us story is the currency
of conversation, the lifeblood of relationship. The stories we tell
about our hosting experiences help us articulate what we have
learned. Reading each others stories is one powerful way we learn
from each other and develop a Community of Practice in which we can
co-evolve and deepen our collective understandings of this
When we share stories, we also provide a glimpse of who we are and
what matters to us; we connect our lives and work to others. The
shared meaning created by sharing our stories contributes to the
shaping of not only our work with the Art of Hosting, but to the
world we all share.
How do I post my story? To post your story, follow the
instructions in "How do I Start a Conversation" above, and be sure
to choose Stories as your category.
Why and How should I add a image to my story?
Images are particularly effective for bringing your story to life,
and making it engaging to read. Add one or more images to your
story using the instructions in the "How do I add an image"
question above. You might like to upload these and additional
photos from your event into an album in the photo page and include
a link to it in your post. Get the url from the album in the
address bar of your browser.
Why should I tag my stories?
Stories are particularly valuable sources of information for others
in the community and you should tag yours with words that indicate
the main topics you are covering - education, community, graphic
recording, etc. Your tag will ensure that your story will come up
when someone is searching for material about those topics.
8) The Cybrary - Resources
What is a Cybrary and what would I find there?
A Cybrary is an online library, in this case a library of resources
that people on this community have contributed. These resources can
be anything of value or interest: articles written about some of
the Art of Hosting patterns, new insights or any documents that are
helpful in some way, etc.
How do I upload a resource entry to the Cybrary?
To post your resource, follow the instructions in "How do I Start a
Conversation" above, and be sure to choose Resources as your
Can I link to a url or add documents and other files to my
Yes, these are particularly useful in the Cybrary as you'll want to
link to media and articles about the hosting practice, etc. as well
want to include documents that would be resources to others. You
would do that using "How do I link to a url" and "How do I add a
document or other file" instructions in the conversation questions,
above. Be sure to tag your resources too, as that's how they will
be found by those who are looking for them.
What are groups for?
Groups are available to support specific working groups or groups
that are using a particular language or focused on a specific
interest. They each have a front page that allows comments, a
section that lists group members and an area for conversation.
Groups can be open to all, or they can be private and
invitation-only, but in this community we have agreed (at least to
start out) to leave all the groups open.
How do I start a group?
If you would like to start a group, go to the Group tab and click
"Start a Group". You will have to wait until your application is
approved, because while anyone is welcome to start a group, the
person who starts it must take responsibility for hosting it and we
want to make sure you are aware of that. If you are in a hurry and
want to make sure your group is accepted right away, email the
community administrator with the name of your group and something
that indicates your intent to create a hospitable space and care
for the group as it evolves.
What's involved in hosting a group?
A group's host will determine the title and description for their
group; welcome new members and invite people to it; they will
respond to questions and keep the conversations fresh. In other
words, they will care for the group and encourage others to do the
Can I change my group settings or details if I change my mind
about something, or want to add a photo, etc.?
Yes! Go to your group page and click the "Edit Group" link on the
right (only the person who started the group - the "group owner" -
will see this link and be able to use it). That will open a window
that will allow you to make changes - e.g. to the group's name,
description and other settings. Directly under the box for your
group's name is a place for an "image" - click the "camera icon"
and a box will open that will allow you to upload an image from
your computer. Put your cursor in the box and a browser will appear
to help you find the image. When you've found it, click "open". and
then click "done" in the box. When you're finished making changes,
be sure to click the "save" button at the bottom right of your page
edit page. If you have any problems with your photo it might be
because your image is too big. If that happens, you can either
re-size it with photo management programs you might have available
to you, e.g. iPhoto, or you can ask the site administrator for
How do I manage my members? i.e. "deputize" other
administrators, keep track of my invites, or heaven forbid, what if
I have trouble with a member and have to ban them?
Go to your group page and click the "Manage Members" link on the
right (again, only the person who started the group - the "group
owner" - will see this link and be able to use it). That will open
a window that will give you two tabs - "members" and "invited". In
the member tab you can click the box to the left of a member's name
and choose to either promote, demote or ban them. Of course we
encourage diversity of thought, so think carefully and explore all
your other options before you decide to ban someone from your
group. If you are having problems of this kind, please feel free to
consult the community administrator before taking any action.
In the "invited" tab, you can see a list of who you've invited to
this group, and either cancel their invitation or resend it.
What’s the difference between a blog post and a
A blog post is an excellent choice when you primarily want to
explore a subject you've been thinking about or offer your ideas on
some topic or another - like announcing something (like a new
conversation here, or a new group; or something 'outside' - that
doesn't need a conversation space; while a conversation is the best
choice when you have a question you want other people to respond to
or when you want to instigate a conversation about something.
People can comment on a blog post if you have given permission, but
you have the choice. There are a number of other benefits to a blog
post - e.g. you can go back and edit (your own) blog posts later,
choose to publish them at another time, etc. The way to use options
will be covered below.
How do I write a blog post?
Go to the "Blog Posts" tab, and click the "add a blog post" link at
the top right of the page, under the navigation bar, or under the
list of blog posts. Fill out the title, and body of your post in
the main window. Remember you can add images and links, and format
your text in a blog post just the same as in conversations and
Why should I tag my blog posts and how should I do it?
You should tag your blog posts with the key ideas you are exploring
so that your blog post can be found when people are looking for
material using those terms.
How do I set a date for my blog post to be published in the past
Directly under the tag field for your post there is the opportunity
to choose a date other than the current one in which your post will
Why would I want to do that?
You may want to have a blog post published while you are away on
holiday, or you may want to write a series of posts all at once
that can be automatically published in sequence, without you
needing to do it manually.
How do I respond to someone else’s blog post?
If the blog posts' author has approved comments, you can add your
thoughts to what they've written using the "comments" box directly
below their post.
Can I moderate other people’s comments on my blog posts?
Yes, it is entirely your choice whether to allow comments and if
you do, you can moderate them so that only the comments you choose
will be published. When you publish your blog post you'll be given
the choice of who can comment and under what circumstances.
Can I look at just my own blog posts?
Yes, at the top of the page in the Blog Post tab you will see links
for "All Blog Posts", "My Blog Posts". Yours will be in the latter.
You can also read anyone's public blog posts by going to their
profile (you can do that by clicking on their image or name) and
then clicking "blog Posts" in the left column of their page, unless
it is grayed out which means they have not written any.
Can I look at all of someone else's own blog posts?
Yes. Just go to the person's "My Page" and look in the left hand
column for "blog posts". If they have written anything, you will be
able to click on that link and read it (assuming it has "read"
How can I find blog posts on a particular subject?
Go to the Blog Posts tab and put the key words for the subject you
are looking for in the search box (it's a blank field) on the top
of the page. Anything that has been tagged with that key word will
show up as a result of your search.
11) Media - Photos and Video
How do I upload my media files?
Go to the drop down menu under the "Media" tab in the navigation
bar, and choose the kind of media you want to upload. Click the
"Add Photos" or "Add Video" link in the Photo and Video pages and
upload your media from the box where you can "browse" for the
material on your computer. Note: the Bulk Uploader doesn't work for
everyone. If it's not working for you, try the simple uploader.
Can I upload photographs and videos from my phone?
Yes. There is detailed information about how to do that in the
"Upload Photo" or "Upload Video" pages.
Can I upload videos from YouTube or Google?
Yes. Just click the "add video" link under the YouTube & Google
icons in the "Upload Video" page.
Can I add photos from my Flickr account?
Yes. Just click the "add photos" link under the Flickr icon in the
"Upload Photos" page.
I’m having trouble with the photo/video batch loader – what
shall I do?
The batch uploader seems to be a bit buggy so don't worry - just
use the "Simple Uploader" - there will be a link to it from the
Bulk Uploader page.
Why should I tag my media files and how should I do it?
You want to tag your media files so that others can find them when
they are looking for a particular subject or person. There is a
text field that will appear below every one of your media files for
tags (directly below your description). Fill it out with all the
relevant descriptors for that file.
Can I map my photo or video?
Yes. If you enter the location where the photo or video was taken
in the appropriate box, it will automatically map it to Google
What’s a photo album, and why do I need them?
Albums can help you keep track of photographs that belong together,
for example photos that were all taken at one training or event, or
photos focused on one subject. We recommend that you always use
Where do I find everyone else’s photographs/video files?
When you click on Photo or Video from the drop-down menu in the
Media tab, you will see links at the top of the page to both your
own videos and to "All Photos" or "All Videos". If you choose "All"
photos or videos you will see everyone else's photos or videos.
Where can I find media files posted by someone specific?
If you want to see videos or photos uploaded by a specific person,
click on their name or photo in the "People" tab or wherever you
see them, and look in the left column of their Profile page under
their picture. If they have uploaded any photos or videos, you will
see a number next to that word, and you can click it to see
How do I rate a photograph/video file or mark it as a
If you particularly like a video or photograph, you can "rate" it
by first opening it (by clicking on the title), and then clicking
whatever number of stars that indicates your rating (you'll find
the stars directly underneath the photo or video description). You
can also mark a video or photograph as a favorite by clicking "Add
to Favorites", right above the comment box, which will enable you
to find it directly through your Photo or Video page.
Can I comment on someone else’s photograph/video file?
Absolutely. Just open the photo or video or audio file and put your
comments in the "Comments" box underneath it. Don't forget to click
the "Add Comment" box to publish your comment.
Can I share a slideshow of photographs with people who are not
on this community network?
Yes. Choose one of your own or someone else's albums and open it.
Directly below the title photo there are a list of options,
including "View Slideshow" and "get Embed Code". The latter gives
you a link and code that allows you to post your photos on any
website. There is also a button to publish them directly to
FaceBook or MySpace.
How do I add my event to the calendar and what information do I
need to include?
Go to the “Event” tab, and click the “add an event” link in the top
right of the page. It will take you through a process where you
title your event, add a picture if you want, a short description,
indicate an event “type” (i.e. “training”,"conference", etc.),
location, website and contact details. When you are finished, click
the “add event” button at the bottom right of the page. (Note: the
“public” option at the top of the right hand column should be set
by default, but if not – just check it unless you want your event
to be private and only visible to invited guests)
What is tagging and why is it important?
On the simplest level, tagging is how we are able to connect with
the people and material we are most interested in on this site. In
other words, tagging offers us an easy way to make links between
the different kinds of information here. It allows us to find other
people who are like-minded or interested in or working on the same
things you are, and it help us find the material we are most
interested in. It's also a way to see and explore the patterns that
are emerging in our midst.
How should I tag my content?
When you've started a new conversation, or written a blog post, or
uploaded some photos or added a resource to the Cybrary, take a
moment to think about what you've posted and some words that would
help identify the content to others. You can take these words from
your copy, or they can be a general descriptive word of something
you've written about in more specific terms. Don't stop with just
the broad, general terms either - you'll want to start there but
feel free to get more specific, and list people's names or other
words that will indicate or describe your content. Important Note:
in this tagging system words from a phrase will be broken up as
individual words unless you either put quotes around your entire
phrase, e.g. "the art of hosting", run multiple words together -
e.g. artofhosting, or put hyphens between the words, e.g.
"art-of-hosting". Remember that whatever you choose as a tag will
be the exact term (including hyphens, etc.) being searched for, so
try to choose what you think most people will use.
14) Where can I find more help, beyond these FAQs?
If you don't find the answer to something you're curious about,
please don't hesitate to ask your question in the
With lots of thanks to Amy Lenzo, webmistress of the World Cafe
community, who did most of the work of putting these FAQ