The comment’s section on the Guardians digital multi-media platform is in itself an online community, though I consider it a rather niche one as only a minority of users ever comment.
At least 20% of the comments left on the Guardian website each month come from only 2,600 user accounts, at a time when the audience of the website as a whole was in the order of 70 million.
This can be seen as a negative online community, as the contributors begin to think and act as the key primary audience of the media company, however there are positives too. An online community such as this one sparks intelligent debate, it’s not a place for childish comment such as social media platforms like Twitter (though it does happen), but a place predominantly for interested, opinionated people. This broadens ideas, takes on different angles from the professional, encourages interest and brings articles alive. This indicates change in the news industry, as published content online encourages shared opinions and ideas, a conversation. It can give a sense of inclusion to individuals, as they feel they are helping to shape and generate the news.
I see this as a positive online community as it is a safe place to communicate, formal rules clearly stated on the Guardian website regulate interaction, behaviour, privacy and copyright, appropriating use of communication and encourages that all audiences are ‘members’ to this community. This breaks the boundaries between ‘old’ and ‘new’ members that were discussed in the lecture, making it a friendly environment to discuss current affairs.