Patterns of Community Development

I've recently returned to the study of design patterns, originally stemming from Christopher Alexander's book, A Pattern Language. While the book concerns itself with patterns in physical architecture, software architects embraced the concept as they saw patterns in the design of software systems. The state of the art in Computer Science has, in only a few short years, embraced the concept of patterns, and with many tools, languages and conferences devoted to software design patterns and languages. But I digress...

In my research, I discovered a set of patterns designed for developing a community (in this particular case, the Jini community) and I found many of the patterns to be remarkable and particularly apropos to what Identity Commons is striving to create. When I noticed that one of the authors as Richard Gabriel, I got even more excited, as Dick is sort of a hero of mine, as he was a primary architect of the Common Lisp Object System (CLOS) in the 80's (did I mention that Lisp is my favorite language?). He's also the author of Worse Is Better that I received on a MIT mailing list in 1991. (I'm still digressing!)

So I'll get to the point: here's a link to the Jini Community Pattern Language (which could easily be renamed the Identity Commons Community Pattern Language!). But first, a note on the terminology of pattern definitions: These patterns have four parts:

  1. Context sets the stage
  2. Problem defines the problem
  3. Force (this one can be confusing) it is a noun, a "force" that exerts pressures on the Problem within the Context
  4. Therefore is the conclusion (or strategy to find one)

There's a lot there, so let me whet your appetite with a few teasers:

I leave the rest to you, dear reader. May we all thrive!