Community Capers is a place to showcase and case study issues of online communities. Each month we will focus on an issue of community development and a community of practice that demonstrates a highly effective way to address that issue.

I am updating this blog and relaunching it to focus in on issues of community focused around community building and sustaining.

This original site grew out my doctoral research, where I case studied community development in 12 exemplar Internet-mediated communities of practice (IMCoPs). That research opened my eyes to many of the nuances of community development and to the value of the stories members of these communities could tell.

My stance is that community within a community of practice, arguably the hardest of the three community of practice elements to cultivate (the other being domain and practice (Wenger, McDermott & Snyder, 2002)) can still be best explained by Hillery’s four definitional components; people common ties, social interaction and place). While his components were first described in 1959 they have been revisited and adapted by modern day communitarians like Jenny Preece and Robin Hamman. I myself took 25 recent definitions of community, drawn from the literature, to consider whether they could still be accounted for in these four components. Hillery’s work still stands to provide us a ‘grounded truth’ about community and proves very useful as a structure for firstly story telling about communities and then comparing and contrasting the way those components evolve in different communities.

Through this blog we hope you’ll  hear about communities from a number of perspectives.I will relate my research perspective, we will meet the community managers and members, take field trip to each community and have several opportunities to listen to you the audience open up issues and reflect on each community’s strength and value to the field.



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