You might already know, but Second Life, and other immersive, virtual communities are one of my current interests. I'm still coming up to speed on what they are and what they can do, and I'm certainly not very well entrenched in any of these communities. But I'm learning. And I think the possibilities are really interesting
This interview is with Howard Rheinngold, one of these big thinking, futurist types. Here's one tidbit:
The research on open-source production seems to indicate that a mixture of motives is necessary for creating public goods like open-source software, Wikipedia, etc. Reputation, profit, learning, fun, altruism. Profit is in there, for sure. It's just not the only motivation.