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Latest incarnation: http://www.aquameta.com/gf (a CommunityWeblog?)
InternetTopicExchange group-forming channel: http://topicexchange.com/t/group_forming/
One thing that's exciting about the Internet is that it allows new communities to form at very low expense. This opens up many possibilities that were not previously available. In particular, it allows activists, thinkers, and other creative, change-oriented people to find one another, regroup, share information and learn more easily. This helps those people progress towards their goals more effectively. Successful examples of lively, focused communities include ShouldExist
, and MeatBall
Although we already see social clustering happening in certain areas, it is still difficult to create high-signal, lively groups around issues that are not (yet?) very popular or well known. We need to better understand how the process of clustering happens, in order to figure out how we can make it easier and more efficient.
People and their interactions are obviously at the center of this process. Thinking about social clustering will require us to consider individuals, motivations, and communication.
Observation and reflection are not the only means to probe this issue. We also want to try things out, experiment hands-on with new means of clustering. This way we will learn what helps people pull together and what doesn't.
The mailing list
This mailing list was created to foster discussion both at the practical and theoretical level on such questions as:
- How and why are communities born?
- What is the essence or ontology of a community? What variables vary from one community to another?
- How do communities grow? Why and how do people discover them and decide to participate in them?
- How does the size of the topic area a community centers around, and the way a community describes itself, affect the community and its dynamics?
- How might the Semantic Web affect net-based communities?
- What existing and future technologies can facilitate the process of social aggregation?
To complement the list, we use the CommunityServerWiki
. [Start here]
Origins of the initiative
SebPaquet proposed a possible [way of enabling easy group-forming] around topics within the community of webloggers. This community is large enough now that there are almost certainly many people who care about the same things and have not found each other. Easy group-forming for bloggers could help in that respect.
PhillipPearson expressed interest and created WcsWiki:RidiculouslyEasyGroupForming to flesh out the idea and discuss the technical aspects. In January 2003 he introduced the InternetTopicExchange, which is the first implementation of the idea. Perhaps inevitably, this led to the [Topic Exchange group-forming channel].
EricHanson proposed that we start a mailing list at his domain, http://aquameta.com. George Lewis of pegasi.net kindly offered to set up and host the list.
is hard at work trying to create a [metadata]
standard for WebLogs
. This metadata would enable categorization of weblogs and of individual posts. Such categorization is a way to facilitate clustering among webloggers.