After focusing last week, I decided to concentrate more on the aspects of community forming and how groups for alternate reality games come to exist out of a random starting point somewhere on the Internet. Thinking about these issues, I was reminded of the idea of communities of practice. Etienne Wegner, in his article “Communities of Practice: Learning as a Social System”, defines communities of practice along the following lines
Members of a community are informally bound by what they do together—from engaging in lunchtime discussions to solving difficult problems—and by what they have learned through their mutual engagement in these activities. A community of practice is thus different from a community of interest or a geographical community, neither of which implies a shared practice.
In so many ways, members of alternate reality games form communities of practice in that they are centered on beating and solving a particular game at hand. While it makes sense as to why people would come together to work on these massive games together, I was interested in just how they would form differently from other communities of practice.