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Journal vidarh's Journal: Digital communities 2

It's interesting to see how size affects community. When I started reading Slashdot in '98, the size of it meant that while I didn't keep in touch with many people on the site "outside" of the comments section, I did recognize many names, and used to care whose messages I commented on, and care what certain people replied to me.

As the site grew, however, the sheer number of users means that I most of the time feel no connection to the person I'm replying to - most of the time it's a username I don't recognize, and someone I know nothing about. It doesn't help that, like many geeks, I'm not the most social person... :)

Maybe the introduction of the friends system and the journals will change that again, to some extent. Another thing might be chat (yeah, I know there's an IRC channel, but some of us are behind firewalls during the day - a proxied java irc client might be a nice thing :) and permanent discussion forums, more like news.

The user base of Slashdot contains a lot of extremely interesting personalities, and it would be great to be able to "connect" more with people than the current comments frenzy allows.

Anyway. If anyone reads this, feel free to e-mail me at if you have comments :)


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Digital communities

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  • ...but I thought that I would point out that there are a lot of little sub-communities existing within Slashdot that have been there for a while. There is the roughly FortKnox centered community, there are a few troll communities, there is the editor-based community, and then there are a few other small additions here and there. I belong to the FK one, with a few additions based on locality and other random conflagrations of events.
    • I guess the change is perhaps more in how the interaction is happening. When the site was smaller, discussion was still centered mostly on the new articles, but you'd still start recognizing a lot of people due to the size, and the lower number of comments meant it was a lot easier to keep track of who had said what.

      I think it's great that things spring up around the journals, though I'd love more general purpose discussion forums. I guess I'm in many ways just an old Usenet junkie (it's also interesting how, when talking about the internet or computers, I can consider myself "old" at 27 while I absolutely wouldn't like it if someone called me old in other contexts...)

      Or maybe I'm just longing for the good old BBS days (though I don't miss using a 2400 bps modem)

In less than a century, computers will be making substantial progress on ... the overriding problem of war and peace. -- James Slagle