The Internet is a silly place. Most people do silly stuff in the Internet at least most of the time.
I’m not an exception.
If you’re building a community in the Internet, the very least you should do is to think about your own behavior. Would you use your own service if it was designed by someone else?
Here’s my current contribution to the humanity via Internet communities:
- Geocaching and Geocaching.fi Wiki. According to my Geocaching.com profile page (needs login), I’ve found 3,099 caches and hidden 99 of them. In the Wiki, I’ve written dozens of articles and made hundreds of edits. None of this work really has any value outside the Geocaching community. And quite frankly, some of it doesn’t have value in it either.
- EuroBillTracker. This is a community that probably makes the least sense of anything I’ve done. According to my profile I’ve manually entered the serial numbers of 4,048 euro bills to the system. 117 of which were also entered by another member of the community.
- OpenStreetMap. According to my profile page, I’ve posted around 500 change sets to the community edited map. If an average set is about 20 changes that would make my grand total around 10,000 edits. Most of my edits have been manually copying features from aerial maps to be used on OpenStreetMap.
- Wikipedia. I’ve done a few changes in both the Finnish and English Wikipedias. The contributors of Wikipedia have done a really good job and nowadays the articles mostly make sense. That’s probably why I never became a huge contributor.
- PartioWiki. According to my profile in PartioWiki, I have contributed around 500 edits. I basically concentrated on correcting spelling and grammatic errors in the articles.
It would be easy to say that all of this “contribution” has been utter waste of time.
But I refuse to say that.
I’ve started this project partly because I’ve seen what the Internet is capable of. Ultimately, every great Internet community is about something silly. You have to at feel first-hand what a community feels like. If you’ve never done anything silly yourself, you might be limiting your thinking to the things that aren’t silly enough to be remarkable.