Originally answered Jun 17, 2017
From Communities of Practice:
Communities come in two main varieties. Communities of Practice have a rich and formal set of activities, governance, and structure, and are based on common roles or specialties, typically work-related. Communities of Interest are for topics that don’t require a lot of formal structure, but need threaded discussions for collaboration and knowledge sharing, typically not work-related.
- Communities of Practice have members with a particular work role or expertise. These communities are focused on developing expertise, skills, and proficiency in the specialty. The motivation is to master the discipline, learn about the specialty, and solve problems together. An example of a role-based community is project management, and an example of an expertise-based community is Microsoft SharePoint.
- Communities of Interest are groups of people who want to learn about a particular topic, or who are passionate about one. They make no commitment to deliver something together. The motivation is to stay current on the topic and to be able to ask and answer questions about it. An example is all people who have an interest in photography.