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The Art of Community


Given the open source movement, the growing popularity of the Internet and social networks, and the cornucopia of new tools for collaboration, more and more people are looking for ways to build community around things that used to be done by individuals or tightly controlled groups: art, product development, news, political statements, and so on. We'd like to help people build communities to do these things.

We thought that it would be a great idea to write a book about community using a wiki so that a community could grow around the book, and edit and write the book with us. It is in this spirit that we invite you to participate and help us write the Art of Community as a community. The book will be published in print form in Spring 2008 by O'Reilly Media. But even after publication, the wiki will live on! Changes and additions may go into a new edition.

We are selecting a different person to lead each chapter, similar to Beautiful Code. You can help by contributing to any of these chapters! You can also create your own, although we don't guarantee print publication of all chapters; contact the lead editors or O'Reilly Media if you'd like to submit your chapter for the printed book.


This book melds community and technology. It's for people who are aware that the Internet and computer technology are having an impact on how communities are built and work together, and who want to be effective in this environment. Some chapters, but not all, will cover particular technologies that help communities form and collaborate. Other chapters may not cover technology per se, but will talk about community in the context of available or emerging technology. Even the chapters about technology are not guides to particular tools. They are general overviews about the value of technology (as well as problems to look out for) for people working in communities.


Try to stay conversational, but with good grammar and a sense of poise to your writing. This book is practical and educational, but is neither a technical how-to or a policy statement.

Chapters should be about 6,000 words in length (which will come out to 10 pages when printed), but this is a very flexible rule. Let each chapter be the right length for what you have to say. Some parts may have to be left out of the printed version; the editors will work out the final version of each chapter with its lead author.

Where to start

Pick a chapter, and begin contributing!

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