why web communities matter
run into a lot of people who either don't really do much web stuff (talking consumption and/or production), and still others who say things like, "waste of time", etc. While I concur that a great amount of your life can dissapear down the pipeline, there are reasons that the web matters.
I am a regular at the Pelican Parts 911 bulletin board. I have been a member for over 2 years now, and have more posts than I'd care to mention (over 4K). During that time there have been ups and downs, but what has amazed me is the sense of community that exists in this online house. There is a very diverse group joined by a single common interest (old Porsche 911s). While some people come and others go, most stay for the technical information and entertainment.
This weekend we found out that one of the members (and not one of the "regulars") had died. He was a firefighter, and 16 years ago was stuck by a needle during a rescue...he contracted hepatitis C. He joined the PP board a year or two ago becuase like many of us, he had realized a long time dream of buying an old 911, and he was looking forward to fixing it up and driving it. Unfortunately, his number was up, and the project evidently was never finished. Almost immediately, the community mobilized, with offers of those local (he lived in MA) to help out by fixing the car. Other offered donations, and I am using my PayPal account to collect funds. We already have over $1K. From people that never met our fallen member. One of the local guys will contact his widow and see what she would like done...have us fix the car and sell it for her, or just donate the money...whatever she wants.
People who have never "met" in the traditional sense, reaching out to help those who they similarly have never "met." Community in the truest sense of the word. That's why the web matters.