How do I create a group?

After you’ve logged in to the Commons, click on the Groups tab; then, select the Create a Group button next to the group directory. Enter a group name and group description; you can also write some news about your new group. Then, click Create Group and Continue. You will next be able to choose whether to enable discussion forums; select whether your group will be public, private, or hidden; determine the member roles in your group; create a group avatar; and invite members to join your group.

This is covered in more detail here.

How can I join a group?

There are three types of groups on the Commons: public groups, private groups, and hidden groups.

Public groups (like MLA Commons Help) will appear in the directory of groups, and anyone can join by clicking the Join Group button on the group’s page. All content in public groups is visible, even to people who aren’t logged in to the site.

Private groups will also appear in the directory of groups, but membership may be restricted in different ways. You will automatically be a member of your divisions and discussion groups and of any MLA committee that you serve on. To join another division or discussion group, add it by signing in to My MLA on the MLA Web site. To request to join other private groups, click Request Membership on the group’s page. If the request is approved, you’ll be able to view the group’s content.

Hidden groups won’t appear in the directory of groups, and their content is viewable only by their members. New members must be invited to join by existing group members.

What are “contacts”?

On Facebook, “friending” is social networking:  members search for people they know, used to know, or want to know. The friending tool enables members to contact others or to accept requests for contact from others (and determine the extent to—and ways in which—others can contact and interact with them).  On the MLA Commons, contacts are academic social networking:  the contact tool enables Commons members to connect with one another and share resources and knowledge.  By accepting a contact request, you become part of your contact’s “network.” To accept a contact request, you can follow the link in the e-mail you receive requesting contact or, once you’ve logged in, look for a small number on the right in the top black navigation bar; this indicates the number of notifications you have pending. Click that number, and then follow the prompt to a Web page that allows you to accept or reject the contact request.

What are mentions, and how are they used?

The @mention system links others to the hyperlinked profile of the individual mentioned while notifying the individual of the mention by e-mail. If you are in a group and want to reach out to specific members, simply put the @ symbol in front of their user name to send a notification to their e-mail address, and the mention will show up in their @mention activity stream.

How can I edit my portfolio?

After logging in to the Commons, go to the top black navigation bar and select your avatar and then Edit. From here you can update your institution, title, interests, Web sites, and additional profile fields.

A more detailed guide can be found here.