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Old 08-20-2007, 10:41 PM   #1
elmuchoprez
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What exactly is the magic that makes this community work?

In thinking about this project, I started wondering if anyone could pinpoint the exact voodoo that has made zefrank.com such a hit?

Yes, The Show is what brought most of us here, but for some reason lots of people stuck around even after the show was done. There's something going on that is more than just the show; after all, if it were just that, sites like rocketboom would play host to a similar community, but they don't. And it's not like there's been any orgy of information here since the show ended; it's a blog update every couple days (that's really just links to other stuff) and that's about it.

And yet people keep coming back here; poking around the old videos(that one about Ze taking improv lessons gets better every time I watch it), splashing around the ORG (which I still don't quite get), trying to beat their own high scores in that racing rocketship game (I don't think the ranking system has ever worked quite right)... I don't know what else other people are doing, but it's clear based on the number of people interested in this project that it's far from a dead community. Not only that, everyone that comes here wants to get involved with some new project (and the fact that most never come to fruition doesn't seem to bother most).

So, the question I'm curious about is: What is it about this place that keeps everyone so interested in keeping it going? A community based learning endeavor would be easy if you could define and harness whatever the mojo is around here that keeps people active and engaged.... any thoughts on what that might be?
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Old 08-20-2007, 11:19 PM   #2
Brynn
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Could it be the cozy "wheat-peach-and-pumpkin" color scheme?
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Old 08-21-2007, 01:07 AM   #3
trisherina
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elmuchoprez View Post
So, the question I'm curious about is: What is it about this place that keeps everyone so interested in keeping it going? A community based learning endeavor would be easy if you could define and harness whatever the mojo is around here that keeps people active and engaged.... any thoughts on what that might be?
Intermittent reinforcement.
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Old 08-21-2007, 03:04 AM   #4
Odbe
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Once you pin it down, define it, categorize it, analyse it, investigate it, rationalise it, conjugate it, sugar coat it, strip it down, paint it back up, canonize it, demonise it, redefine it and commercialise it...

...then it won't be magic any more.
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Old 08-21-2007, 03:29 AM   #5
l'azizza
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^ I'm not feeling the "majic/mojo anymore. Sry Odbe.
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Old 08-21-2007, 04:00 AM   #6
Frieda
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magic is a verb, just like love and life

YOU make it happen
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Old 08-21-2007, 05:54 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Odbe View Post
Once you pin it down, define it, categorize it, analyse it, investigate it, rationalise it, conjugate it, sugar coat it, strip it down, paint it back up, canonize it, demonise it, redefine it and commercialise it...
...then it won't be magic any more.
exactly! but that's the process of grant writing, you got to kill it! then resurrect it. words are dead things until spoken or read.
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Old 08-21-2007, 11:34 AM   #8
michaelG
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Odbe View Post
Once you pin it down, define it, categorize it, analyse it, investigate it, rationalise it, conjugate it, sugar coat it, strip it down, paint it back up, canonize it, demonise it, redefine it and commercialise it...

...then it won't be magic any more.
That is a poor excuse not to analyze and quantify, and articulate your findings.
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Old 08-21-2007, 11:50 AM   #9
BobofBobs
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Warning: Chunks 'o' Text Ahoy!

And who said anything about commercialization? We're not selling this--we're spreading it. It does take away from our magic when we give it to someone else; nay, magic is user-dependent and its power comes from the willingness of its participants to meet on common ground.

In the beginning, there was zefrank.com. Ze made some things. People came, and he made some forums. He made more things, and more people came. He made the show, and the ORG, and LOTS LOTS of people came. There was a shared experience of everyone remixing for ray, or dressing up vacuum cleaners--things that we wouldn't do with strangers, but we didn't feel like strangers because of the platform on which we were standing. And by the time the show ended (sniffle), we had gotten enough momentum that creation of things kept on happening. He thought so we didn't have to, and then we got to go out and think. That's the magic--we learned how to think, and approached it on our own terms. We have a bond that connects us because we've all given a little piece of ourselves, a drawing or a picture or something, to everyone else. If we are to make another online space for people, it has to be a place without passivity. A place based on interaction through creation and feedback where people can learn and grow. It's the little tingly feeling you get when you see that you have ORG feedback that makes me come back--the knowledge that together we are creating an amazing and diverse body of work.

So there's nothing wrong with quantifying it, except there is no way to do so. It's not something that can be understood without experiencing it. However, a first step is to understand the symptoms of awesomeness and sportsracerhood. Then we can compare the projected symptoms of our ideas
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Old 08-21-2007, 02:22 PM   #10
eliza
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I’d like to toss a few thoughts and observations on the subject of community in general. When I taught a group of 12 kids I found it much harder than teaching a group of 40. Certain and oft times negative or dominate personalities had more of an impact on the group which seemed to stifle the creativity of the majority, leaving many uncomfortable with feelings of isolation. I also observed that a sense of elitism and entitlement followed the smaller group. Of course the larger group was more chaotic, but in many cases the little things that plagued the smaller group seemed to take care of themselves in the larger group. Both had their positive and negative elements. However, regardless of the size, both groups needed clear directions and stated goals.

Another subject is community vs. the individual. I suppose the communal idea can fly in the face of individual freedoms, but I’m not entirely certain people want freedom, least not all that much. Freedom is invariably coupled with responsibility and commitment while community implies consensus. What seems to complicate matters is that in our society we laud the individual’s accomplishments and unless participating in the communal effort are seldom impressed with the results. Though one of the best examples of a community project I have seen here is the one line at a time Haiku. There’s an activity with direction that is limited and has a stated goal. Most people can manage that with usually pretty good and some times surprising results. How that translates to other projects seems to vary.

Pealing another layer. How do you make it all work while keeping current people interested, inviting new people of various levels of skills and still generate grant money?

Here’s a conundrum. I keep hearing community this community that while at the same time gobs of money monies money is being thrown at people who have a single minded idea. How can both approaches be accomplished at the same time?

Finally, one last thought. There are people who will find and write just about any grant for 10% of the booty and that method is generally accepted by the grant giving community. So if you are applying for a $200k grant there are people willing to meet with you for a few hours and put it all together for $20k. Not only that, they will also find other grant goodies that are available. Tossing that possibility out on the table let me approach this question in an algebraic manner. You have the place and the money now what are you going to do with it?

Last edited by eliza : 08-21-2007 at 02:30 PM.
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Old 08-21-2007, 06:50 PM   #11
Awed_Job
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elmuchoprez View Post
What is it about this place that keeps everyone so interested in keeping it going? A community based learning endeavor would be easy if you could define and harness whatever the mojo is around here that keeps people active and engaged.... any thoughts on what that might be?
Everyone here either makes stuff or is a supporter of those who makes stuff. What got us all in the door was clever ideas and humor. What keeps us around is witty banter, deep philosophical discussions, poop and occasional challenges. Any effort worth undertaking has a payoff whether self-realized or publicly lauded.

In short, a chance to dream, expand and excel or just goof around. Your choice.

Having an active M.C./cheerleader/mad scientist/court jester at the helm continuously replenishes the mojo should it dip below the critical mass level.
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