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Topic: The Mystery of the Online Community

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  1. #1
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    The Mystery of the Online Community

    John Dvorak, a leading tech writer, today posted an interesting column in PCMagazine called "The Mystery of the Online Community- Is there any way to weed out the fakes and the vandals?". Here are some excerpts:
    "Though there are a lot of social networks, newsgroups, forums, and club-like Web sites on the Internet and Web, these entities are not true communities, although many purport to be. Worse, they are often peopled with phonies and posers who see the whole thing as an elaborate video game...

    So within any online community, a certain percentage of the participants are out-and-out fakes. I would argue that within some communities the number is higher than 50 percent. The interpersonal dishonesty and fantasizing do not make for any sort of real community. Most of the destructive force within any online community comes from this large group of fakes who see the community as something of a video-arcade adventure game where the user can go in and stir up trouble, then leave.

    Because of this, you have to rethink online communities if you actually want them to be maintained and grow over time. How do you do this? First, you can take a look at some successful initiatives and see what makes them work. In this situation, you want to find a mechanism that is aging well....
    The article goes on to descibe some communities that have faired well and concludes: "So what do they have in common? First, they are self-selecting and not necessarily democratic... driven by technical information, and where destructive forces have no effect because the community is information-driven."

    Maintaining a great community is a hard thing to do in light of destructive people. I have to commend Papachalk and Desound for making this place such a success for the past eight years. And the people here are remarkable! This forum has stood the test of time and continues to grow.

    Dvorak leaves readers with an open question which we can discuss here: "Is there any way to establish and maintain an online community with no fakes and vandals ruining it for everyone? Or is the problem just a reflection of society that we must live with? Your input—ironically, called for in this online forum—is appreciated."

  2. #2

    Re: The Mystery of the Online Community

    This is interesting and I had a feeling that this was the case every now and again. I can assure my friends here that, yes, I DO exist and am not a fake .
    I also think that part of the reason why this forum has stood the test of time is because in general, we don't have patience when it comes to trouble makers. It's easy to tell after a while who is genuine and who is not and who is hanging around just to cause trouble. This will make an interesting thread to read as others put in their view points.
    Steph

  3. #3

    Re: The Mystery of the Online Community

    So an online community isn't a video game? Drat! Guess I have just wasted years doing nothing.
    Colton J. Provias
    Film Score Composer, Location Sound Mixer, and Sound Editor
    Full-stack Web Developer

  4. #4
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    Re: The Mystery of the Online Community

    Quote Originally Posted by C J Pro
    So an online community isn't a video game?
    Maybe it's more like a reality show

  5. #5
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    Re: The Mystery of the Online Community

    So, now you know I'm only here to cause trouble, so what? I don't care!

  6. #6

    Re: The Mystery of the Online Community

    This forum succeeds because everyone has mainly the same interests. Now the Off topic section repeatedly gets shut down because the political threads get heated which in turn results in personal attacks. In the music forum the topics never get personal so any trouble is mainly from personality conflicts which are easier to control than political beliefs.

  7. #7

    Smile Re: The Mystery of the Online Community

    I'm a fake. I'm not really a rank amateur here to sponge off the experts. I'm actually an accomplshed composer with an impressive portfolio.

  8. #8
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    Re: The Mystery of the Online Community

    Quote Originally Posted by js33
    This forum succeeds because everyone has mainly the same interests.
    js33, this forum certainly does succeed because everyone has mainly the same interests.

    A forum is defined as "a meeting place for discussion" and a community is defined as "a group of people having common interests" involving "sharing, participation, and fellowship." Here, people not only engage in discussion but people share their common interests, their experiences, their music and fellowship with each other. In that respect many see this place as not merely a discussion place but as a community. Not seeing a community may cause the people whom Dvorak writes to not comprehend the consequences of their words.


    To deal with people who continually attempt to undermine a community is up to the owners of a forum. Notions of due process, self-determination and appeal may be the basis for democratic governments, but we are not dealing with a democratically elected government. As Dvorak in his article points out "So what do they [successful communities] have in common? First, they are self-selecting and not necessarily democratic." Every forum has their own rules which members agree to.

    Last year Dvorak write a column entitled "The Miserable End of the Open Forum" which we discussed on this forum in this thread. In that column he concluded: "I expect a slow death to nonmoderated wide-open forums and open public commentary, as the courts finally realize that [forums are] commercial publishers with the responsibilities of publishers...the tendency will be to track down the worst offenders. Personally, I think it's long overdue. The current mess has encouraged laziness and accomplished nothing positive." Dvorak is often ahead of the curve and seems to have a keen interest in online communities.

    To survive is difficult enough as forums have come and gone over the years. To succeed and grow in members and professionalism, as NS continues to do, is quite an accomplishment.




  9. #9
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    Re: The Mystery of the Online Community

    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Blaske
    Regarding online communities, I really like forums where everyone MUST post under their real name. Things always seem more civil. In fact, I'd like to see that here.
    Lee, that's a good idea because it is easy for some to hide behind aliases.

    Dvorak also mentioned other models such as Metafilter where "users generally need to be paid members in order to post. This is an excellent filtering mechanism, to say the least, but generally impractical. LinkedIn is an invite-only business networking system." Paid or invite-only memberships are not the answer, but if people would post under their real names this may cause people to think twice about their words.

    When you have a community like Northern Sounds where the many members know one another, the forum becomes self-moderating and the trouble-makers are often dealt with by the community. Self-moderation seems to be the main rule here recently and a good position for a forum to acheive.

  10. #10

    Re: The Mystery of the Online Community

    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Blaske
    OTOH, would it be all that bad if we got somewhat frustrated and disillusioned with all this online prattling, and spent less time in front of our computer screens?

    I've been trying to curtail my participation in online communities. I just bought a pedal steel guitar, and a bouzouki, and I need to figure out how to play them.

    It would be interesting to see how people relate to the internet 25, 50, or more years down the line. I predict that not too far in the future, there will be a lot less typing. Regarding being online, I think we are still in the fad stage.

    Regarding online communities, I really like forums where everyone MUST post under their real name. Things always seem more civil. In fact, I'd like to see that here.

    Lee Blaske
    Hey Lee,

    If you didn't know there is a Pedal Steel forum to "steel" more of your precious time. I have played around on one a few times over the years and while it is a cool instrument I found it hard to break out of the country sound.
    http://steelguitarforum.com/cgi-bin/Ultimate.cgi

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