Communities, Crowds and Focal Sites: Fine-Tuning the Theoretical Grounding of Collaboration Online
The paper gives a bird's eye view of theories that address collaboration in communities on the Internet. Theories of collaboration in offline communities focus on local dynamics and institutions that produce social control. Some pre-conditions for social control that are highlighted in the literature, such as limited exit options, the multiplexity of the community experience as well as clear group boundaries, are identified. It is argued that such theories are of limited value for explaining collaboration in online communities. Two alternative routes that are more appropriate for explaining why communities ground collaboration online, are presented.
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