Belonging to a Community

As we go through life we all associate ourselves with different communities, usually based on work or study. Since the wide adoption of the Internet as an acceptable place for communities to form, they have. What is funny is that the actual community-based websites, such as Yahoo groups, MSN Communities, and private mailing lists are very non-community like. They are mostly just groups of people. This is because they allow for people to just observe and not get involved. Ebay, and others that have some mechanism of forcing communalism seem to do best. Ebay and Amazon Marketplace operate based on trust relationships between members, and most of the time it works well. Both sites utilize a mechanism where the buyer pays the seller before the item is shipped. In the common view of the evils of society this would seem almost impossible to trust. I have never had a bad transaction on Amazon or Ebay, EVER! This is just simple trust and good faith, not a community. Where the community aspect comes in is where ratings are assigned and some type of history is kept, exposing how trust-worthy each member is. I made the realization of the sense of community earlier when I went back through my Amazon Merchant history and discovered all of the positive comments that had been left about me :-). I feel good knowing that people in the community trust me to do the responsible thing and keep up my standard of responsibility. Another area where Amazon keeps a very nice community is the feedback system for all of their products. Amazon remains objective and only does censoring where they need to, other than that, the reviews are authentic and complete.
Lately I have felt myself falling away from some of my online communities, specificly Microsoft Beta. My Beta Brothers haven’t seen much of me since the release of Windows XP, my last major beta program. The open-source software world also has communities, such as the Mozilla Foundation and its volenteers. The community appears to be dysfunctional in itself, but somehow manages to create a decent web browswer, among other things. That is a situation where if they community didn’t exist, neither would the products.
When I started this I had more to say, but I guess I dont, so if I do ill remove this line and replace it with “UPDATE:” followed by my further babblings.