Last modified 13 years ago Last modified on 05/05/06 17:03:33


This page is used to figure out what communities actually are, and how LeMill could best support a thriving community.

Definition of a community

A community is defined as a group of individuals, who have commonly defined practices, beliefs, and understanding, and who are pursuing a joint goal for an extended period of time. A community must have (Barab & Duffy, 2000):

  • common cultural and historical heritage
  • dependencies to other communities, and other communities that are dependent of it
  • membership that continually renews itself

Personalization and customization

Both personalization (modifying what the user sees based on the user's actions) and customization (modifying what the user sees based on the user's preferences) are important in a web service, to provide users with the content and services they need for their own personal empowerment (Zuboff & Maxmin, 2003).

The three criteria for a succesful content service are (Anderson, 2004):

  • wide repertoire of content
  • low price (at least some services or content completely free)
  • search and recommendation features that allow the user to find the content that he needs (like Amazon's "people who bought this also bought" feature)

There are basically two ways to do recommendations: either based on static metadata in the content objects, or based on the relations between content objects that form as people use them. Static metadata is problematic, since the meanings of metadata values can change over time, while the values stay the same, and the vocabularies used will always limit what can be expressed. A better solution might be the combination of these two: semantically dynamic metadata, where the metadata is altered based on how the community uses the content.


Anderson, Chris (2004) The Long Tail.

Barab, S. & Duffy, T. (2000): From Practice Fields to Communities of Practice. In Jonassen, D. & Land S. (ed): Theoretical Foundations of Learning Environments, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, NJ, USA

Zuboff, Shoshana & Maxmin, James (2003), The support economy: why corporations are failing individuals and the next episode of capitalism. London: Penguin.

Comment by tarmo on Fri May 5 11:17:17 2006

Deme is an open-source platform for democratic processing of documents:

Comment by tarmo on Fri May 5 11:34:13 2006

Clay Shirky has a nice article about considering the group the user, and how that will affect the social functioning of the system (avoiding flamewars, edit wars, etc.):

Comment by tarmo on Fri May 5 17:03:33 2006

Concept map about communities of practice: