I see the words ‘online community’ and I hesitate before clicking. In my experience a lot of “online communities” are one way dispersal of information, with feedback forms and email-in-options only. That’s not a community. Thats a portal. So what about one of the biggest and bestest supported “world communities”, World Community Grid?

World Community Grid’s mission is to create the largest public computing grid benefiting humanity. Our work is built on the belief that technological innovation combined with visionary scientific research and large-scale volunteerism can change our world for the better. Our success depends on individuals – like you – collectively contributing their unused computer time to this not-for-profit endeavor.

Is it really a participatory community or is it just an agent you download and let run while your PC is idle? Interestingly enough, there are real elements of a global village here. For a start there are forums. One of the forums has a great idea: member maintained FAQs, wiki style

Start Here: Community-maintained FAQs [read only] Frequently-Asked-Questions and other useful Readmes created and maintained by the member community.

Let me tell you, user generated FAQs is pretty unusual and trusting. The other feature I like is the Team option… at a quick glance I could see the United States Marine Corp, Slashdot, The Seychelles and other countries have developed teams (you don’t have to join a team). Now teams or guilds, or clans or tribes help unify a community surprisingly enough – we come together in small groups and that helps us morph into a larger one, negotiating to move back and forwards between the smaller groups while keeping within the boundaries of the large community. Some of these World Community Grid Teams have gone so far as to set up web pages and other community tools to keep in touch. Throw in customisation (My Grid) and really cool smilies and well, do they have a community? Yessirreeee!