Sharing office virtual space didn't start off as a way to create a community. It was born from necessity. I needed a place to base the Second Life arm of the work I do.
Other solutions I'd tried offered more in the way of unfortunate surprises than opportunities to network or work on meaningful projects.
But I kept meeting people across the digital landscape who clearly would be well served by having the automatic head start of an office in Second Life. Sharing space started to pop into my head. I took the opportunity to just as regularly push that idea firmly down.
I didn't want to build. I didn't want to shop. I didn't want to organize. I didn't want to be responsible for the land fees, I wanted it to just happen.
Pfft. The just happening part - well - it wasn't happening. Looking at offices I found stark spaces on nearly uninhabited grey-beige islands. The rooms were tiny closed-in feeling, offering nothing in the way of community and networking options and few options as far as creature comforts.
More noddling around the idea made me sure that we needed more than desk space but less than a commune. The space had to be workable for people either alone or in groups. It had to enable if not foster working cooperatively. It had to work for larger group meetings if needed. And it had to be functional for those with diverse skill-sets and interests.
No it shouldn't be a building full of sterile cubicles. That's depressing enough in the real world. Lots of coworking set-ups showed up in Google. The creative space concept seemed as if they were expecting a little too much collaboration
The real life model of Cubespace came closest to what I was looking for. Workspace sounded appealing as well. Both are shared meeting and work spaces that allow and foster relationships but do not force them.
So the task was set to make thie work on the 3-d web. Steps one through ten complete. Next to get important things like a bulletin board and coffee machine set up - and a fruit bowl on the table because even virtual selves need a nosh to feel like they really belong.