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Class assignment on the MAKE/Instructables community Answered

I need the Instructables/MAKE community help with a class project. "To develop a persuasive argument in response to this question: "Are virtual communities, real communities?"" I decided to pick Instructables community, being that it is mostly online, making it a plausible virtual community. This community is also very open minded and sophisticated, and have no doubt that I will get plenty of input and good arguments. I hope can accomplish this and not sidetracked by all of the cool stuff the is always on the front page. So let the posting begin! Funny note, someone in my group picked myspace under the same prompt, that is going to be funny ass to see how that pans out.


As westfw said, we aren't exactly out slaying dragons together. But we are discussing, debating, helping, hating, and the like.

Hey, come for a visit, and we can kill chickens together!

Har har, I preffer to avoid killing my chickens, I have enough cats and coons trying to already.... I was agreeing with westfw's statement, that a true "online community" is more like a MMOG, and the one online game I play/ed was Runescape, which involved slaying a lot of dragons...

OK,..... but the offer is still on the tab.... Alright, they're in the barn.

I'll remember if I turn up for bus-raising (8 Ball says probably not). Are you saying you have dragons in your barn?

The roosters are pretty vicious, but they probably don't merit the term "dragon".

How different from our rooster... little english coach bantam... he likes to sit in my sisters' lap and watch tv....

Yep, any chicken that's not laying is fair game.

Hmm, I always hated one tiny thing about hunting, especially small game...and that was picking out the little lead pellets embedded in the meat.....I prefer to behead the chicken and give it a clean death :-)

Yeah, the chickens get decapitated. My kids sometimes hunt with .22s to avoid all the pellets. I just spit 'em out when I hit one.

Yes, when I said "picking them out" I meant I hate biting down on one, and then having to pick it and any fur/feathers out that they pulled in :-)

A friend of mine, his family owns a chicken farm, and the 'left-overs' from last season, the ones that didn't go to the manufacture, we get to release them into the woods, and hunt them.

I like free range chickens, but usually the coyotes get them. One of ours got mixed up in a paintball incident, and ended up angry and multicoloured.


9 years ago

So, to further clarify what I am trying get here, is already being done here. With more detail I would like more elaboration on how this community being better than a real one, I find this interesting... The dragon chicken stuff is hilarious, and is what I expected. The antics are what this place so much fun.

If you like the dragon chicken stuff, you would've loved our "vampire goat". We had to get rid of the goats as they kept getting in and on all the cars. One even ate half of the "Book of Revelation" (in greek!).


9 years ago

I don't think I consider Instrucables to be a "Virtual" community in the same sense as say, Gaia or WoW. Too rooted in the real world, you know...

do you 2 know each other in the real world, or like many here, do you know each other because of instructables? If you are seriously going to compare instructables to an mmorpg, then you do not entirely understand what a virtual community is. wow or gaia is more on the level with a cult or a phenomenon, that will pass with time. People on instructables are her as people who make things and tell other how to as well, not a lvl 6 dwarf, or a mage or some other fantasy nonsense. So to clear things up, I am asking about virtual communities, not virtual reality or video games. Take some pride in my question, one person in my group, like I said, has decided to approach myspace as a virtual community. Please be of more substance than myspace.

. Get a grip! westfw provided you with a very reasonable response. If you want "better" help, then, as Kiteman pointed out, you need to provide more details as to what you are looking for.

the phenomenon you and others are producing is exactly what I was aiming for. I will also post a more detailed prompt. this is part social experiment

To me, a "virtual community" implies that there are aspects of the community that do not exist in the real world, or that replace similar components of a real-world community. Money, objects, applications, personnas, shared fantasy, etc. (fantasy is common, but not necessary.) Similar to "Virtual Machines" that create simulated peripherals or even CPUs. MMORPGs can be virtual communities, and social networking sites are on the edge, but Instructables projects are very rooted in things that you can actually do/make in the Real World, and that makes it more of an online community than a "virtual" community. Merely being online (or even with communications done exclusively online) does not make a community Virtual. That's all IMNSHO, of course. I think that Instructables is too "real" a community (and perhaps not community-like enough) to make your original question very interesting. Of course, you're free to think differently; most class assignments are more about whether you can support your own arguments than whether you're RIGHT or not. Do you have working definitions for what you think makes a community "real" and/or "virtual" ? Without agreements on such basics, I don't see how you're going to get able to get any concrete information. (for instance, consider "virtual communities are MORE real than many real communities, because people talk to each other online more than they talk to their actual physical real-world neighbors." But that's just a failure of a neighborhood to be a "community", right?) (Hmm. The "social networking" sites for younger kids, like gaia or neopets, might be the best examples of virtual communities, since they specifically work some to hide real identities in order to address paranoia about such things. The "adult" social networking sites less so; some seem to practically job-hunting sites. You CAN project a virtual personna, but I don't think it's that common. Likewise anonymity on Instructables is a pretty thin veneer; real world details are too relevant to the content...)

This is the Wikipedia definition of a virtual community: A virtual community, e-community or online community is a group of people that primarily interact via communication media such as newsletters, telephone, email, online social networks or instant messages rather than face to face, for social, professional, educational or other purposes.

A 'virtual community' seems to imply that the people or members envolved in the group are for some reason not themselves - for example a internet gaming 'clan' where people pretend to be something they are not or that does not exist. Where as on Instructables there are 'real' people showing and sharing constructive projects with each other.

Ahem, what exactly do you want? You haven't actually specified the help you need. Or are you expecting the iblers to write the project for you? If you're after evidence of the type of community this is, try reading the forums and the comments added to a random selection of Instructables.

So to you, no i do not want you or anyone to do my "homework". If I had a year to complete this, I could read all of the data on this site. Most people here enjoy stating their opinion or views, I am relying on that.

In that case, you'd best ask some questions, or provide a more structured framework for comments. Do you want people to give examples of occurances that show this is (or is not) a community? Are there specific points you want to cover?


9 years ago

I am already gathering research from this site, and other sites that have reviewed it. No I am not expecting anyone to do this for me. People responses will be used for data, and to articulate the argument. Most people here always have something to say, mostly intelligent things, some funny, some unintelligent. So to help clear things up; I am asking for peoples input. What ever they think. What a community thinks, is the community.