Please forgive me in advance for this long-winded post.
I came across some quotes from an author by the name of David Timms that discusses the difference between Society and Community, and I felt I wanted to share some of them here.
Western culture is adrift. At some point in the past, we left the moorings of community and settled for society. The shift has profound implications. Society speaks to our ability to organize ourselves as a group of people. Community speaks to our connectedness to one another. Society refers to structures and systems. Community refers to relationships. ... A stronger society does not necessarily produce a stronger community.
A community requires more than policies and procedures. Indeed, community cannot be legislated with bylaws or constructed with a constitution.
In short, we have generally failed to build community and, instead, settled for society. ... We function satisfactorily with many people but have virtually no meaningful connection with any of them.
Indeed, one evidence of our inclination to prefer society instead of community is that we've learned to resort more to systems rather than rely on people. If someone injures us, we immediately consider lawsuit options through the courts. We use ... systems to our advantage if at all possible. We no longer negotiate firsthand with people ... and we insist that the various systems protect our personal rights. All of this breeds a culture absorbed by personal rights rather than collective good, something that reflects a strong society and a weak community.
Our. This tiny word forms an immediate bridge between you and me. It speaks of a shared experience and a shared ownership. It speaks of community.
I became a moderator here because I wanted to help promote a sense of community and to moderate those things that threatened to create rifts in that community. I know there are many of you out there who want the forums to be about community, more of a shared experience of Star Trek Online.
We have rules, yes. The forums aren't collectively owned by all of us and the company that does own them has established rules to guide and govern what goes on here (society). There are way too many of us here to establish deep relationships with everybody. But I don't think that society has to be mutually exclusive with community ... and that community is something that no company can own.
I think that Star Trek as a whole has long tried to portray balancing the needs of the society and the needs of the community. The Federation is a society, but many of its' ideals are about community. IDIC (Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations) is about community -- being connected to people that aren't like us. The balance has not always been there, of course, and all of Star Trek's heroes have struggled with it at one time or another. They didn't always know what the greater good was, but they pursued it with conviction.
We're struggling with that balance here, too. There are lots of individuals here with their own needs, desires, and feelings and the 'greater good' isn't always obvious. We make mistakes, too. To offend when we don't start out to offend. To let zeal run ahead of our consideration for others.
I do it, too, sometimes. We, all of us, are not perfect.
I guess what I'm saying is, I still believe in community and I believe it's worth working for. I am nobody's servant, but I still want to serve all of you as best as I can. The quotes I just shared are inspiring me to try to make sure that I don't neglect to connect with and respect people while I'm busy enforcing the rules. It's easy to lose sight of the people behind the posts, especially since we're not eye-to-eye. But I think we all share a common interest in Star Trek, and maybe the principle of IDIC is something we can rally behind when things get tense. The people are more important than the game.
Our fleet has a set of principles I like to call the Four F's: Friendship, Freedom, Fun, and Fair-Play. I believe they're about a sense of community. I'm not always good at keeping all of them in play, but I think it's worth trying.
I know, some of you maybe could care less about the STO community. It's just a game, after all. You've got a real life out there and real relationships and responsibilities that you need to stay on top of. I get it. I have that, too. But there are a heck of a lot of nice people here, even if they don't always express themselves nicely, and maybe we have enough of ourselves left over to connect with them at least a little bit.Our
community. I like the sound of that.
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