In this paper we make a contribution to the theoretical and empirical discourses regarding Web-based communities and online social interaction. The significance of myth-making within a web-based community is the primary consideration for this paper. This phenomenon provides the critical framework for deconstructing and understanding the interaction and identification of participants within Web-based communities. In order to do this we have utilized empirical evidence drawn from the complete archive of a well-established Web community that has been in operation since 1997. The paper draws upon an interdisciplinary analysis incorporating information systems research, anthropological, sociological and management studies to argue that myth-making is integral to the organizational practices of web-based communities. This work contributes to knowledge regarding the organization of web-based communities by recognizing the significance of activities that maintain long-term social solidarity. Examination of longitudinal data from the online community also reveals the dominance of a small number of participants who construct a negotiated but dominant identity for the group. Myth-making is consequently shown to be an activity that assists in the creation of a participatory community that maintains a social hierarchy and ensures order through tacit forms of governance.
Greenhill, Anita and Fletcher, Gordon, "Myth-making as social exchange: Organizing a web-based community" (2006). ECIS 2006 Proceedings. 101.