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Thanks Pearson and Ning, but it just doesn’t work

July 11, 2011
Thanks Pearson and Ning, but it just doesn’t work

It’s been over a year since Ning went over to its plan to change the Ning business model from a community driven free service to a money-driven paid one.  Pearson tried to help by sponsoring educational Nings such as this one that wanted to continue as communities, but the stipulation was that it was at the lowest level, restricted to 150 members only.

This Ning has that many members and could easily have twice as many. Last year we went through the process of going through membership and trying to identify spammers and lurkers and were forced to cull some potential contributors to make room for newcomers to the community as we ran the latest versions of our multiliteracies courses at

This proved to be unweildy, too much trouble, and required constant maintenance and awkward decision making.  As much as I appreciate Ning’s obvious affordances for paid customers, and Pearson’s attempt to assuage the situation for educators, it is simply unworkable.

Now we are entering the season where our courses will run again and this requires a decision on where our communities can best sustain themselves.  It is clear to me that Ning under its present management is not a suitable environment for expanding, altruistic, and unfunded endeavors such as ours.

I don’t believe in tearing down what has been built and developed online so on my part I plan to do little further with this Ning. I do NOT plan to remove it. There is a nice archive here.  If you are still a member you can continue to post here. If membership shrinks we can add new members (but I’m not going to remove anyone else who at any time acted on an impulse to be here).  We are still subsidized for the foreseeable future, that grant just ticks over automatically.  But the 150 member cap means that a community can neither grow nor thrive here, and I plan to devote my energies elsewhere, in places which will scale out to allow for organic community development.

I will continue to get notices of activity here and will respond to messages and clear out spam in case that happens. However I will not link here from my future Multiliteracies courses (though the links will remain in the archived versions).

Thanks for your understanding and for sharing in this community during its heyday.

NEW: Update from September 2013

To this sad saga, we append the following coda, this msg received from the new owners of

Hello (owner of this Ning, not Vance, but another co-moderator of the original course):

For the past 7 weeks, we have attempted to contact you several times to keep your Ning account in good standing.

As of today, we have not received payment for your outstanding balance of 6.00, which was first due on 2013-08-05.

We will now block access to your network for you, your administrators and your members until we receive your payment.

We urge you to sign in to your account at, update your credit card or PayPal information, and submit your payment today.

You can also settle your bill by calling us toll-free at 866-992-0972 (U.S. only) or +1 650-713-3087 (international), Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.(Pacific time zone).

We would like to avoid suspending your service, so please act today and submit your payment now.

If you no longer want to subscribe to our service, you can cancel it at any time. To cancel your account, call us or submit your request online by signing into, selecting “My Networks” and then clicking on “Cancel” next to the appropriate network.

Thank you,
The Ning Team

P.S. Failure to pay your account balance may result in assignment to our collection agency, which may have a negative impact on your personal or business credit standing.

2012, Ning, 2000 Sierra Point Pkwy, Suite 1000, Brisbane, CA 94005

Vance’s reactions:

  1. None, I will ignore this.  We are not required to cancel paid services never requested.
  2. Hard to blame Pearson, but apparently they are no longer subsidizing these Nings
  3. Organize pickets to go to the address above and stage a stand-in with placards and pots and bullhorns
  4. Alternatively, not miss any opportunity to inform colleagues about the true nature of a corporation that would threaten underpaid educators (4 to 5 digit salary figures at best) with legal action over a $6 balance for something that the educator never requested in the first place; we started a free account, we passed it over to Pearson when they offered to subsidize educator’s Nings, and we never requested’s paid services at any time. Ning has been consistently arm-twisting in its treatment of its former fans, and is needlessly buying itself negative karma with it’s corporate hardball tactics, completely out of touch with the sharing communities it started out with.)

Views: 96

Tags: evomlitmultiliteraciesning


Comment by Vanessa Vaile on July 14, 2011 at 6:55am
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Where then will Multiliteracies/ evomlit pitch its tent?  Like the Scarlet Pimpernel, here, there and everywhere? Aka distributed networks…
Comment by Vance Stevens on July 14, 2011 at 8:45am
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Hi Vanessa, thanks for your ongoing participation. And when I say ongoing, I mean in spaces such as the EduMOOC event going on now and for the next few weeks

We’ll be forever at, and the sidebar there will point you to our current spaces.  We like to experiment with such spaces.

We might do a “Hangout” in Google+ next Sunday for if no one else volunteers for the time.

Multiliteracies (evomlit) is always exploring, and thanks for the feedback 🙂

Comment by Vanessa Vaile on July 14, 2011 at 7:50pm
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Happy to volunteer to greet/mooc-buddy EVOMLIT newcomers or whatever. I registered at Cloudworks this morning and went by Wiggio but noticed that it asks for a Multiliteracies password.  Now with these on top of Google+ and playing around with pages (about the right speed for my local and adjunct colleague readers), I’m ready for an assimilation break
Comment by Vance Stevens on July 15, 2011 at 8:43am
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Thanks for letting me know about the Wiggio password request. Does it want your Wiggio password or one specific to this group? I’ll look into it (when I get time, need a break myself 😉

And thanks for your offer to be a greeter.  We have had one in previous sessions.  You’re hired!

Comment by Vanessa Vaile on July 15, 2011 at 2:41pm
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Wiggio asked for the Multiliteracies one.
Comment by Vance Stevens on February 1, 2012 at 1:12am
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Latest from the fat cats at Ning:!/VanceS/status/164531257340997632

Final comment – this post was copied from the Ning blog when it was discovered on Aug 21, 2013 that it was missing.  I believe it was here before, but it is found that several posts are missing.  I might attempt to copy and paste them all before the Ning blog disappears.  This has been an effort to see how feasible that is.  It seems to have worked ok 🙂


From → Uncategorized

One Comment
  1. Once upon a time there was the #NING, loved by 70 #Uzbek ESP Teachers…
    Conversation with Gina Bianchini – Founder of Ning and Mightybell
    cannot find myself among attendess! but I was there and asked directly aboutt my ning
    I’m quite disappointed with Ning too.Know that Gina was forced out and went on to Mightybell
    They’ve blocked our ning only for a delayed $20 year payment

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