Revisiting the community thing

It's obvious once you think enough about it

Wouldn't you know it, when I started mulling the ideas in my head along with a peanut butter and marmalade sandwich, it just all started falling in place.

The phrases are wrong to start with. It's not a "real" community, it's a prime community. It's not a Greater Community™, it's a franchise community.

With that in mind, we can refine the definitions a bit.

A prime community is a bottom up, self organizing, and spontaneous group.

A franchise community is top down, imposed from the outside, and seeks to emulate a successful group elsewhere.

Obviously these aren't the only possibilities. While these groups may share a similar structure, the dynamics and goals are going to be completely different.

Taking a step back from my personal preferences, I can't really say that one is "better" than the other.

Blast it.

The things important to a franchise community won't necessarily be that important to a prime community. The values held by a prime community won't necessarily be prized by a franchise community. Since we are talking about (at least) two different things, there is bound to be some confusion. Just as one example, a franchise community will tend to look for an outside solution from the central authority for their problems. A prime community may not recognize a central authority.

The real problems come when the community tries to shift from one type to another. The new dynamics will stress the existing structure and very well may collapse the community. Force a change and all the tensions will shift at once.

This is why communities seldom survive the departure of their founders. This is the "second generation" problem revisited. Historically, the traits needed to create aren't the same traits needed to maintain.

And suddenly we're moving into something much much bigger than Paganism.

Golly gee whiz, it looks suspiciously like a general case for social theory. Like most social theories, it doesn't dictate as much as it gives trends and tendencies. Unusual individuals and circumstances can certainly create their own tensions which will significantly alter the dynamics.

It's even possible for a larger community to be both a prime community and a franchise community at the same time, with each individual enmeshed in a different set of interdependent dynamics.


Now that I've messed with everyone's head, I think I'll go work on my other blog.

Posted: Mon - September 6, 2010 at 11:56 AM
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