Something I guess I intuitively knew, but never really considered is that online communities are exactly that… communities.
Consider that these places have areas for interacting with other members. People do the usual thing like talk to each other. I think the key is the results of the conversation… they argue, aid other, seek info, organize, dupe each other, and even fall in love. These are the same results the interaction of individuals we expect in our physical communities.
As we are individuals and each have our own expectations and point-of-view we need rules. Not so much to restrict our will as to provide guidance on expectations of behavior. People tend to move is disparate directions without a societal focus and rules help streamline processes and provide one or a few ways of doing things.
No human created body of rules are perfect. So there is always room for improvement. Thus some rules may be changed from time to time to facilitate improving processes. For online communities this means that Terms of Service agreements become ammended. As any change scares people, the changes are interpolated and some members become nervous. This adding meaning to TOSs I think is a little irrational and sometimes appears… vindictive? It almost seems like some people attempt to use changes to the TOS as rationale to distance others from the community.
Once people realize that we are all members of communities and need each other and the rules which guide us I think that our communities will once again thrive. As long as members of communities forget that they need each other the health of the community will wane until it dies.
[Friday, March 2, 2001] [08:30 a.m.]
Think this will be my new way of looking at things…
[Friday, March 2, 2001] [10:31 a.m.]