community and consistency

from evy's notebook

A friend recently asked me:

What are your thoughts on the relationship between community and consistency? Do you think a community can exist without consistency? Eg: consistency in showing up, or having a consistent role/personality

I'm pretty sure that most people define community in a way that involves some amount of consistency. I've seen communities centered around locations (physical or digital), shared interests or goals, and specific people that show up regularly -- not always all three, but often, and it's hard for me to imagine a community that doesn't involve at least some consistency in the people who show up.

But how much consistency is required for a feeling of community? Especially in the Bay Area, venues are regularly opening and closing and people often move away or move onto other interests. I can think of several communities I'm connected to that have changed:

It seems pretty impossible for a community to not change at all over time. I've been thinking lately about what sort of stability I'm looking for in community. I enjoy short-term experiences of community where I see people regularly or come together with them to make something happen. But what I'm really interested in right now is long-term community. I don't know how much change, or what measures of change (how many people leaving, how much the activities change, etc), would lead to a feeling of instability for me. But I do think it's important to me to build relationships and/or commitments to shared projects or interests, and to continue to invest in those over years and years.