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  • character theory by Campbell

    Campbell, J., Fletcher, G. & Greenhil, A. published a 2002 report "Tribalism, Conflict and Shape-shifting Identities in Online Communities," which identified three character types based on tribal typologies.  

    • The first character type is the Big Man. These individuals offer a form of order and stability to the community by absorbing many conflictual situations personally. They are often seen as leaders within the community, and they have a strong influence on other members. They are usually respected and admired by the other members, and their actions are often emulated. In terms of community management, it is important to recognize the Big Man and understand their role within the community. They can be great assets when it comes to maintaining order and resolving conflicts.
    • The second character type identified by Campbell et al. is the Sorcerer. These individuals will not engage in reciprocity with others in the community. They may not contribute much to the community, but they are often seen as powerful figures who are capable of manipulating others. They may use their knowledge or skills to gain an advantage over others in the community. It is important to recognize the Sorcerer within the community and understand their motivations. They may be useful allies in certain situations, but they can also cause problems if they are not managed properly.
    • The third character type is the Trickster. These individuals are generally a comical yet complex figure that is found in most of the world's culture. They are often seen as mischievous and playful, but they can also be deceitful and manipulative. They are usually very creative and resourceful, and they can come up with unique solutions to problems. The Trickster can be a great asset to the community, but they can also be a source of disruption if they are not managed properly.

    Understanding the different character types that exist in online communities can be helpful in building and managing successful communities. For instance, by identifying the Big Man, moderators or administrators can be appointed to maintain order and discipline in the group. Similarly, by identifying the Sorcerer, strategies can be developed to encourage members to participate in the community beyond their own self-interest. Finally, by identifying the Trickster, new and innovative ideas can be introduced to the community, which can help to keep the group dynamic and exciting. Overall, the character theory developed by Campbell et al. provides valuable insights into the social dynamics of online communities and can help to guide the development and management of successful online communities.

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