A friend of mine recently asked me what 'community' means to me, and once I sat down to think about it, I kept going... and going... and going... So I thought I'd document these thoughts here for anyone else that's interested in starting a dialogue.
The broadest definition I can think of for what community means to me is a community as a group of individuals or a group of groups. Examples of this could be understood from the way people describe the international community, which is a group of human groups. Or, community could be understood from an example of a hacker community, which is a group of human individuals that have a common interest. These examples point us to a definition of community that means a group is at least more than one individual or more than one group. I think my friend was specifically referring to human groups, and not a group of chimpanzees or a group of wolves.
A human community is a group of human individuals or a group of human groups. Irregardless of the type of group, whether ant, human, or wolf, I think all individuals must have the ability to communicate with any other individual within the group. This means that a community does not need to exist at the same time or in the same place as long as there is some way for the individuals of the group to communicate with one another. Communication between the individuals of the group or between groups is not limited to speaking or facial expressions, if we're thinking about humans. I think communication can occur consciously, subconsciously, and be understood on either the conscious or subconscious level. The most important factor about human communities is communication, and communication occurs when two or more individuals understand each other.
Instead of asking, what is a community, I think we should be asking, what is communication between human individuals and how does it give rise to a human community?