Which Type Of Community Are We?

in #gridcoin5 years ago (edited)

I've done considerable research online into electronic and virtual communities in an attempt to discover what papers, if any, are available that give a cogent explanation of the common nature of these almost intangible communities.

The paper I quote from in this post was published in The Information Society, v. 14, no. 2, May 1998 by Lee Komito Department of Library and Information Studies, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.


In this paper it is said that community can variously refer to a moral community, a normative community, a community of practice, an intentional community, or a proximate community.

I'd like to look at these derivations and give a brief synopsis of each:

Moral Communities

One powerful image of community is that of individuals who care about each other and help each other, sharing a sense of common responsibility, united by a sense of common purpose and commitment.
(Quoted from The Net as a Foraging Society: flexible communities - http://www.ucd.ie/lkomito/virtband.htm)

Normative Communities

A different perspective on community is a cognitive or normative one. In this view, community is evidenced by the existence of agreed rules of appropriate behavior. If a group of people share a common value or meaning system, they constitute a community.
(Quoted from The Net as a Foraging Society: flexible communities - http://www.ucd.ie/lkomito/virtband.htm)

Proximate Communities

Attributes such as shared norms or reciprocity are aspects of the social interactions of physical communities: people in a particular location who interact with others as individuals and are enmeshed in multiplex and many-stranded social relations which create dense and overlapping networks.
(Quoted from The Net as a Foraging Society: flexible communities - http://www.ucd.ie/lkomito/virtband.htm)

Fluid Communities: Foraging Societies

In most proximate communities, individuals are rooted to a specific location by social, economic, cultural forces. Individuals are 'tethered' by house, property, employment, land, or even just emotional investment, and this pattern has existed since the Agricultural Revolution, when land became a productive resource, which was to be controlled, allocated, and inherited. Thus, there is an involuntary aspect to people's participation in proximate communities: leaving the community may be, at the very least, costly and wasteful and, at the very most, impossible. People do not have the option of withdrawing their support and participation from the group, and this involuntary participation contrasts strongly with ease of movement in and out of technologically mediated social groups.
(Quoted from The Net as a Foraging Society: flexible communities - http://www.ucd.ie/lkomito/virtband.htm)

The Net as a Foraging Society

To anyone with experience of electronic groups, the familiarity of the preceding description of foraging societies is striking. For instance, in electronic groups, social status is rarely based on external attributes, such as occupation or gender in the 'real' world; it is dependent on abilities or achievements demonstrated in the group itself. The ideology of most electronic groups is strongly egalitarian, with a distinct lack of respect for authority. In many electronic discussion lists, there is no moderator to enforce rules or decisions. If there is conflict or ill-mannered behavior in a group, individuals must rely on self-imposed adherence to norms of behavior. Recourse to central authority is unpalatable, and many participants would not accept transforming a group into one in which a central authority or moderator can impose sanctions (requiring approval for postings or removing individuals from the list). As in foraging societies, various strategies (joking or appeals to collective values) are used to achieve consensus. If this fails, individuals resolve the conflict by leaving, just as they do in foraging societies.
(Quoted from The Net as a Foraging Society: flexible communities - http://www.ucd.ie/lkomito/virtband.htm)

After much research, I think the above synopsis gives me a better educated understanding of community and its various forms.

My research also brings to the fore the general lack of agreement regarding virtual communities and reflects the differing intellectual stances regarding the concept of community.

It is my belief that we need to make decisions as to which form of community we are now and which form of community we want to be.

I'll leave this up to the readers to make their own decision as I am a firm believer in 'the will of the people'.

So as a prima facie community member I apologise for any of the moral deficiencies that I have allowed to become the norm in this community.

I will fight for the right of the individual to be heard and for complete transparency overall.


Courtesy of @joshoeah


hmm, i didn't get exactly what this was about.
imho you can decide what kind of individual you want to be, a community is formed by individuals in a bottom up spontaneous aggregation, hence "deciding" on community properties doesn't make much sense in this chaotic context.

I suppose if enough people with similar individual attributes come togerther as an online community, then certain shared themes will permiate the social structure.
Deciding for example not to allow a greed focussed discussion to propogate on Gridcoin would be the example of this. As soon as someone on Gridcoin starts trolling about profitability a host of others will drown that dissent with examples of altruistic science; those users are deciding what kind of community they want and make it real through their actions.

Very true, I suppose community self regulation also comes in the form of 'peer pressure' as well so it can work both ways ..


Courtesy of @joshoeah

Also most peole like to feel part of a community and will post opinions they feel most others will find acceptable, if not valuable. There are always ikonoclasts who want to challenge, of course.

I agree that one can decide what kind of individual you want to be but it becomes far more difficult when 'peer pressure' takes hold ..

I suppose that the points I'm trying to make are that communities should be aware of the bracket they fall into and commit to changing their ethos in order to create better, fairer and more transparent entities ..


Courtesy of @joshoeah

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