What do you need to build communities of constructive, respectful individuals who collaborate together toward a common good, both in their words and actions? What is the impact of various social, technical, and product choices – such as strong ties between real world and online identities, reputation metrics, technical incentives, informal and formal community management structures – on civility and behavior of online communities? Are online communities more lenient toward online bad behavior as compared to face to face interactions? What societal shifts have occurred that make us divide the "real" from the online world? What can we learn from purely anonymous communities who express high levels of civility between their members? Finally, how does the changing nature of technology – the proliferation of devices, increased focus on ephemerality, and greater fragmentation of time and focus between many different sites and services – change the way we think of online communities and collaboration in the online space?
To answer these questions, this presentation will focus on examples from a wide range of online communities: other sites that seek to engage experts in high quality knowledge-gathering (e.g., Quora, StackExchange); more general purpose discussion fora (e.g., Reddit); and new discussion apps based on anonymity (e.g., Secret, Yik Yak). In hopes of share some specific best practices, as well as obvious pitfalls. This an exercise in thinking about how online communities can learn from each other to create self-sustaining communities of people who look out for each other, mentor and and teach new members, respect community norms while looking out for those who do not yet know them.