This article is from 2000 but it is still relevant:
Community. It is one of those charged-with-meaning words that is meant to distinguish what happens on the Web with what happens in less virtual (and less virtuous) segments of the economy. One promise of the Web is that it blends the value of commerce with the values of personal interaction. Why be content to sell one-size-fits-all products to a disparate collection of individuals when you can meet the shared needs of a single community? Why be content to create a marketplace when you can create a “market space” that lets people swap ideas, trade experiences, learn from one another — and then buy products that reflect their shared interests?
Community. It is one of those devoid-of-meaning words that inspires bemused grins from Internet insiders. Is a stock-market chat room a “community” — or a rumor mill? Is a collection of customer reviews (of books, software, or cars) a community forum — or just a bunch of ill-informed opinions from never-satisfied consumers?
Craig Newmark knows a community when he sees one — because he’s built one of the Web’s most influential communities.