Why are communties successful?

Jacob and I have interesting conversations late at night.

Two nights ago we were reading from the Book of Mormon. The specific section we read was Helaman Chapter 1 verses 1-8. In it, the chief leader has died and three of his sons are vying to take his place. The voice of the people chose one of them as their leader, but another son tried to convince these people to consider him.

Jacob then explained how this reminded him of presidential elections and how the popular vote is superceeded by the electoral college. From there, we spoke about different governments (including student bodies) and what makes some of them work well, while others essentially crumble.

Taken by Ed Yourdon on Flickr

Traditionally, communities are formed by people who share a common interest. But if all communities are based on that then why don’t all communities work?

Maintenance. If a community gets too large, then it cannot be maintained. There are then two types of communities that seem to flourish above all others: small communities and communities based around one on one interactions.

Small communities are easy enough to understand. When you have a manageable amount of people the community tends to thrive.We compared the Westminster community to the University of Utah community. Westminster only has a few thousand students, so the student body officers can believably get to know and interact with many of them. But up at the U, there are easily over 10,000 students up there in many different departments. How do you get that many people together? The MUSS tries along with the ASUU, but a lot of people feel left out and even inconvienced by their efforts.

However, the other type of communities are a little trickier to understand. Take for instance the nerdfighter community. Each nerdfighter carries out a one on one interaction with Hank and John Green when they watch their videos. That common interest in that interaction is what holds hundreds of thousands of nerdfighters together as a tight knit community.

It’s also why authors can build a community around their books. Each reader has a one on one interaction with that book and can then link to the community because of that interaction.

What about you guys? What do you think makes a community successful? What makes a community flop?

Thanks for reading.


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