On Online Communities

I'm going to Online Community Camp Thursday! I'll link back here, so here are some notes about online community.

I got involved in observing and trying to influence online community social dynamics soon after my first dial-up modem connection to The WELL — The Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link — back in 1990. In 1991, I became the WELL's Conferencing Manager, following the legendary John Coate. I became the Director in 1998 and still work at The WELL, currently part of Salon.com, today.

While I have become increasingly more conversant and interested in the business, technical, marketing and operational issues over the years, my interest in the social dynamics has never faded.

It can't. Community feedback and user-produced content are part of the same interactive reality.

Below are some of the resources I have created for various events and conferences over the years. My perspective has shifted only a little over the years. In the last two years, I have been re-exploring many of the issues as a user on fotolog.net and flickr.com. At the urging of friends at Online Community Summit last October, I set up this blog to look at interface and interactivity from a user's point of view here. I have barely begun this project!

Online community resources I've posted before:
Online Moderator Guidelines and Community-Building Tips
(The WELL host manual for volunteer moderators, offisite version for anybody who moderates discussion) http://www.well.com/confteam/hosting.html

My 1999 presentation at VirComm99. Here's an outline for your amusement and edification. Most of it stands today, despite changes in software platforms and moderator assumptions:
It's the People: Finding and Training Moderators for Virtual Communities and Ephemeral Discussions.


One more accidental resource: Recent controversies at Salon Table Talk.


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