Real world global communities on the Internet – Comment

Real-World Global Networks at


For the past 23 years I have been studying global communities.  I took over TheInternetFoundation (net org com) from Network Solutions in July 1998 after the original Internet Foundation was cancelled for US political reasons.

It is not “networks”, though global communities use hardware and software. Rather it is people working on similar topics, or exact topics. I have looked in detail at about 15,000 topic groups on the Internet. What I found is that these groups form, human memory changes, but the people and groups involved never actually form global communities. There is a residual of words and images and sounds and data, but actual sharing almost never happens at global scale. People talk about something, but do not connect into efficient communities. Facebook, YouTube, Zooniverse, ResearchGate and hundreds of thousands of efforts all fail on different parts of the whole.

“global network” OR “global networks” has 31.8 Million entry points
“global community” OR “global communities” has 46.6 Million entry points

If you read a few hundred sites and give snippets of a few, that is only adding to the mess on the Internet. More partial copies of a yet another topic group’s words, images, sounds, data, algorithms.

“How language organises our experience” – at global scale – must include things like

“language” with 2.86 Billion entry points
“experience” with 4.6 Billion
“experience” (“language” OR “languages”) with 4.3 Billion entry points

Yes it is hard to gather, index, curate and organize that size topic. Google’s “two second answers” are counter productive for any topic that takes longer to understand, and for all global topics. Something better in needed.

The reason “covid”, “global climate change”, “nuclear fusion”, “poverty”, “homelessness”, “clean water”, “famine” never get completed is people stop with a few of something. The schools teach “read a few, or a few hundred, and you have covered a topic”. But that is not true anymore, and maybe never was.

I am tired today, so it is a struggle to write clearly. All I can suggest is pick a topic and study it completely and in detail. See what Internet tools people use, and see where there are barriers to communication, indexing, sharing, and collaboration. If you just write word summaries of things you find and read that interest you, that is not much different than a magazine of your interests. To be truly a community, you need to find the people in a group, talk to them and let them talk to each other, share what they find, and have a framework that loses nothing, and that helps understand the whole.

This morning I was working on “world protein production” to see why phasing out animal meat production is so slow. There are many people who passionately want to reduce global dependency on using animals for food, when the same biochemicals can be made otherwise. “Solar system colonization” cannot take cows and chickens along, and their feed and water. So new tools are needed. And new scales are needed. “Global” generally has lots of millions and billions of things, and people stop at ten or a few hundred.  A core element is “industrial” “production” (“amino acids” OR “proteins”) with its 49.2 Million entry points, and hundreds of thousands of members.

Look at I set up the Famine Early Warning System in the mid 1980’s to have a small group track and intervene in famine processes globally. Small groups, small countries, can catalyze global changes, but it takes commitment and consistency. It takes resources and lots of people.

I like the topics you are looking at, but they are much more complex, and many more people involved in complex ways, than words can convey without loss.

Put links to your home page, your organization and your student work with each video, and your profile.  Give people a way to contact you.  Write why you are doing things, not just what you find.  What do you want to change or do?

Richard Collins, Director, The Internet Foundation

Richard K Collins

About: Richard K Collins

Director, The Internet Foundation Studying formation and optimized collaboration of global communities. Applying the Internet to solve global problems and build sustainable communities. Internet policies, standards and best practices.

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