While reading snips from an O'Reilly chapter on community-building, I was reminded strongly of some conversations I've had recently with current Olin students about Olin.Friday's car-ride talk with Henry is also swimming in my brain; that was about the practice and process of delineating different groups of people, and what this harmed and helped in terms of how your resulting mental construct of the world could then be used. (In other words, Henry gently poked holes in some of my own mental constructs. There are so many different modes of thought that I don't know - ohboyohboy, more stuff to learn!)
Anyway. Passages of relevance!
You'll know you have a healthy community when users comment publicly that "this is the best site I've ever used," "I came here because of the goal, but stay around because of the people I've met," amd "No other place on the Internet is like this." Happy users tend to talk in terms eminiscent of Manifest Destiny and settlers in a little-p paradise. It occurs in almost every healthy, somewhat-social community. Strongly-technical communities, like software development mailing lists, tend not to exhibit this behavior.
A healthy community also develops a sense of history and in-jokes. The phrases "Thanks, applied" and "Rule one" mean something very specific to Perl 5 porters. Everything 2 afficionados understand the intrinsic humor of "Soy." Highly-ranked and respected Perl Monks regularly cite precedents when controversial topics reoccur.
Not making any particular point or asking any particular questions by posting this up - just curious to see what reactions, if any, it gets.