more on ... Re: [internetworkers] RTPnet awards nominations online, reception, and conference

Michael D. Thomas mdthomas at mindspring.com
Sat Mar 13 10:24:59 EST 2004


> Internetworkers are welcome to attend the reception. Personally, I
think
> one of the things that make Internetworkers work so well is that there
are
> so many people who help keep it functioning well. While Michael and
Thomas
> may be our leaders, there are many more who contribute to this virtual
> community.

This is absolutely true -- INW exists because /many/ people want it to
exist and are willing to put forth an effort. 

While doing development for the web site or organizing a gathering may
be "high profile," INW works because many people want it to. There are
many types of contribution -- coming to the gathering, contributing to
the list, telling other people about us, etc. All of them matter and all
of them lead to our success.

Unlike geographically defined communities, e.g., Raleigh, Chapel Hill,
etc., the barriers of entry/exit of a virtual community are low. This
virtual community doesn't exist because we are especially good at
calling bars to arrange a gathering and posting an email once a month.
If there wasn't some other kind of gravity, people would "leave" --
"leaving" meaning "stop contributing." When everyone starts deciding,
"why bother going to the gathering?" the gatherings die. When everyone
starts deciding, "why bother with the email list" the email list dies.

(In fact, in the early days, we agreed that when INW stops drawing
people and/or becomes uninteresting to us, we'll stop doing it. So far,
that day hasn't come.)

The gravity that keeps INW together is a broad-based belief that INW can
be a valuable part of the Triangle area and people's lives. What keeps
it working is a respect for each other and the community as a whole.

That said, it's also important to note that we wouldn't exist at all
without the sponsorship of Paul Jones and ibiblio. We have a sustainable
model that doesn't require /any/ money because our web site and mailing
lists are hosted at ibiblio.org.

Cheers!






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