Although this book is designed for those who create on-line communities, it will be equally useful to those who are thinking of establishing a community, those who would like to improve the one they have, and those who are looking for valuable communities to join. That's a lot from one book!
As the author says, "This book is a strategic handbook for community builders." It espouses 9 design strategies:
(1) Define and articulate your PURPOSE
(2) Build flexible, extensible gathering PLACES
(3) Create meaningful and evolving member PROFILES
(4) Design for a range of ROLES
(5) Develop a strong LEADERSHIP program
(6) Encourage appropriate ETIQUETTE
(7) Promotic cyclic EVENTS
(8) Integrate the RITUALS of community life
(9) Facilitate member-run SUBGROUPS
The book also proposes 3 design principles:
(1) Design for growth and change
(2) Create and maintain feedback loops
(3) Empower your members over time
Each of the design strategies has its own chapter. There is also a good structure to propose questions to answer. In addition, you also will find excellent examples of existing Web sites, some of which will be new to you. Not only are the sites discussed, but they are also illustrated with many actual Web pages. I have missed that in many other books about the Internet. This one provides and makes superb use of its visual examples!
I thought that the best practice examples worked, because each one was better than any other feature that I have seen at another Web site.
Also, the author provides a Web site so that you can keep up-to-date with her latest insights and to share information.
But to me the best part of the book were the many astute, rich comparisons of on-line communities to real world communities. Ms.