The Virtual Community: Homesteading on the Electronic Frontier. A book by HowardRheingold.
The book was first published in 1993.
The second edition "First MIT Edition" in 2000 adds an extensive chapter (66 pages) "Rethinking Virtual Communities".
From the Amazon review: "Cyberculture authority Howard Rheingold was the first to write about online communities in this style that is part-travelogue and part-anthropological guide."
[bibliography for the book]
"Because of its potential to change us as humans, as communities, as democracies, we need to try to understand the nature of CMC, cyberspace and virtual communities in every import context - politically, economically, socially, cognitively. Each different perspective reveals something that the other perspektives do not reveal. Each different discipline fails to see something that another discipline sees very well. We need to think together here, across boundaries of academic discipline, industrial affiliation, nation, if we hope to understand and thus perhaps regain control of the way human communities are being transformed by communication technologies."
"Some of the most important learning will always have to be done by jumping into one corner or another of cyberspace, living there, and getting up to your elbows in the problems that virtual communities face."
"If online community is NOT a commodity, it is only because people work to make it so. The hope that I hold out for myself and suggest to others is that people will accomplish a task using a tool. Hope should not be vested in the tool itself."
"The first step in acting effectively is to know what you are acting on. Collectively, we know only a small amount about human behaviour in social cyberspaces. We need to know a lot more."' [end of chapter 11: "Rethinking Virtual Communities", written 2000]