I have never had anything to do with forums of any kind before this one, so I have no real frame of reference. But I am so astounded by what is happening here that I have been studying the psychology of online communities a bit to try to explain it.
Confession time here: every post that I have made was going to be my last—“you have made an idiot of yourself for the last time, girl.”
But wait, it wasn’t me who was an idiot—it was my ‘character’, Trina. Trina is a little like me, but she is not exactly me, and I feel guilty for not being as open about myself as others have. I am basically a very practical person, a business owner, and just wanted to learn about this discovery which promised to change my relationship with food, so I could get on with life. Okay, I believe that I have mastered that, so, being so practical, why am I still here? You people have me! I have to know what is happening with all of you! While I believe that my motivations are largely altruistic: my profound gratitude for everything that I have received here compels me to really want to help-- I have to consider the following:
From Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_community(blast! why won't this link work?)
Peter Kollock (1999) researched motivations for contributing to online communities…..he outlines three motivations that do not rely on altruistic behavior on the part of the contributor:
• Anticipated Reciprocity
• Increased Recognition
• Sense of efficacy
There is another motivation, implicit in the above, which Mark Smith mentions in his 1992 thesis: Voices from the WELL: The Logic of the Virtual Commons:
, as Smith terms it, or "sense of community
" All of these motivations are explained in the article.
While I think that you probably will believe that most of this does not apply to most people here, it has given me some perspective.
And as falconcy said, it is our belief in Seth Roberts that keeps us here. I am drawn to excellence, and I want to know what is next--I believe there is more to come!