I’m looking for inspiration from all over as we work towards creating more tools for sharing and discovering on Glitch. So, tell me - what online communities are you all a part of and love, and why? Could be developer-focused or not.
For instance, mine would be:
Forrst, which is defunct sadly, but was a cool place where developers and designers shared ideas and feedback on designs and code. Zurb bought them and shut it down. Even though it’s not around anymore, I mention it because I think my experience with it lead to me to the field I’m in now!
Pixelart is a community for creating and sharing pixel art, which you’d know I love if you paid attention to my avatar on here hehe
Pixel Art Discord is the only Discord I pay much attention to outside of servers my friends run
Dreams is a creation game from the folks who made Little Big Planet. I don’t own a Playstation, but whenever I’m over someones house who does have it, I make them get the game and we spend hours just looking at their community’s creations - games, music videos, etc.
Many moons ago I was active in the hood.ie community and meatspace, which was a fun chat room where folks could send gifs with their chats.
More recently my communities have moved to more closed systems via Slack. I belong to several instances for previous employees (like npm, lol) and tech community organizing instances from a previous life in Eastern Washington state.
As far as the subreddit question from @wh0 goes I avoided reddit for a long time, but finally gave it a try during the pandemic. There are super local subreddits for my metro area, which I mostly lurk in. Discovering that has been really helpful for traveling to new cities, to know where to stay for a good local experience, where to eat, etc. The other subreddits I frequent have to do with random interests like skincare and the tv show Yellowjackets. It turns out there are A LOT of fandom based subreddits, so I like lurking in those when wikipedia doesn’t answer I question I have about a movie, show, or videogame.
I’ve been lucky to be part of so many great online communities over the years, some of which I’ve hung out in for 20+ years.
Metafilter: In the early days of blogging, this was sort of the water cooler for the whole blogosphere, and really the whole world of social media. It influenced later community content sites like Digg and Reddit, though sadly neither really adopted its thoughtful and deep moderation policy.
Stack Overflow. Though I’m mostly a lurker/reader, by serving on the board I got a really interesting view of how the community evolved, both in terms of being massively valuable to millions of coders, and in the cultural and social challenges around scaling a moderator culture and dealing with the complexity of gamification. I don’t think any other site has taught me as much about the risks and rewards of large-scale web community.
Prince.org. This is a nerdy fan site, but was my entry point into fandom online (it evolved out of a mailing list I joined nearly 30 years ago!) and made me attuned to paying attention to fan culture right from the start of the social web. Later sites like AO3, Dreamwidth (see below), and Wikia/Fandom (which helped inspire the creation of Fastly!) all accelerated the ways that fans pioneered internet culture, but this was the one that spoke to my particular fandom, especially as the community built a reference wiki for researchers after the rise of Wikipedia.
LiveJournal. This is perhaps tied with Stack Overflow for the community that taught me the most about online communities. It pioneered large-scale social networking, rich privacy controls, personalized timelines, members-only communities, the caching infrastructure for social graphs, open source algorithms (Ahem.), customizable user avatars, virtual gifting, accidentally fandom-hostile policy decisions, ham-handed miscommunication of community guidelines, mismanaged advertising rollouts, extensive personal profile customization, and many other fundamental parts of the modern social media world — and did it all more than twenty years ago! It was like having a time machine into the future of online community, in all its good and bad ways, and opened my mind forever to what these platforms could do, while also introducing me to some of my best friends and some of the writers that still inspire me the most. (And since LiveJournal was open source and interoperable, when it lost its way, others could fork it and build healthy new communities like DreamWidth from it.)
Various group chats and private communities. I won’t out any of these, but there are half a dozen janky old half-broken apps full of people I dare deeply about that are running as independent community forums online and they’ve made my life immeasurably richer. This is sort of a placeholder answer in lieu of actually naming them.
I forgot about LiveJournal – I remember feeling so excited about the way they took something like our previously cobbled together web rings and made them feel like they were on a whole new level! I think I forgot about it because I’m trying to repress the memory of my own content there
ActivityPub (Mastodon, GoToSocial, etc.) So many great tech people on here. You can check me out, and the people I follow: @firstname.lastname@example.org
And for my side projects, they have GoToSocial accounts, such as @email@example.com
Reddit (I ask questions on a language’s subreddit as an alternative to StackOverflow, which has become quite toxic. And sometimes I help others like on r/COPYRIGHT, music finding subreddits, web hosting and domain subreddits)
Various Discord servers (e.g. Elk - a Mastodon client, but the dev team and users have a Discord server)
CloudFlare Forum (I used to be a regular here on the Glitch forum. But as my knowledge has become more advanced, I have wanted to help users with more advanced stuff, so I sometimes hang around Cloudflare’s forum to help people with issues there)
I’ve been following up with https://kinopio.club which is a bit of a spatial thinking tool that I’m a fan of. Their discourse lives at https://club.kinopio.club and they have a discord as well.
I mainly enjoy browsing, because a lot of the time people document their process in creating their “spaces” or have images or links to their own creative ways of using the tool since there’s no clear right or wrong way to use it because of the way it is built.