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Interdisciplinary Description of Complex Systems : INDECS, Vol.2 No.2 December 2004. -

During the last decade, the advance of Internet has enabled the emergence of previously nonexistent type of human social structures - virtual -online- communities. As compared to the traditional communities, online communities are distinguished by the drastic reduction of the requirement for the physical proximity and geographical clustering of their members. The primary cause of this shift away from ‘physically concentrated’ communities to dispersed virtual ones is new long distance communication tools that Internet has provided. Along with the increase in quantity of communication that the new technology brought about, it also strongly influenced its quality. The paper suggests two simple mathematical tools for analysing the ‘soft’ qualitative sociological internal properties of virtual communities. The suggested tools are applied and their utility discussed on the example of one such virtual community, Croatian NGO ‘Society’.

mailing list analysis; online communities; scale-free distribution; quantitative analysis of qualitative properties; social energy

Autor: Duje Bonacci - ; Physical Chemistry department, Ruđer Bošković Institute, Zagreb



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