How to foster a community?
Mike Huffman and I spoke, on the first day of HECC, about the need for a community to support the Indiana ACCESS High Schools, for both technical and non-technical users. I told him that in my experience the open source communities that I am a part of function primarily through mailing lists, and blogs, and IRC, and such online communication tools.
He thinks that a mailing list wouldn't work, or IRC, or blogs, because most of these people already get too much e-mail and don't want to learn how to use IRC or how to blog, and would just prefer a website they could go to.
Moodle has a lot of cool features, but megapixels don't make a community. How can these resources be used best to encourage the growth of a vibrant community around the 1:1 access initiative?
I think it's essential for the Indiana High Schools involved in the Indiana ACCESS project to interact with each other and connect with the real power behind Free Software, it's very backbone, Community.
Anyhow, I invite comments: What do you believe are the qualities of truly effective online communities? How can we encourage those qualities?