In my post about web community building and participation I mentioned making friends and contacts. I think this is an important and much overlooked factor. For people who work online, usually from home, it can be a terribly solitary and lonely existence.
Over the years I have had the good fortune to meet some great people and have made a lot of online friends. Some I have met in person, while a good portion I have only spoken to over the phone.
As I said in the linked article above, I was lucky my early experience of joining an online community was with an established and friendly group of geeks. They showed me the ropes, how to deal with conflicts and how to have a good time just hanging out with like-minded people.
Thinking about it made me realise that perhaps we could all do more to help beginners integrate into our online communities. On my forum I try to welcome every person who joins and foster a friendly atmosphere. Perhaps there is more we can do.
If you have any ideas, or examples of how you have been made welcome to a community, I would love to hear about it in the comments …