I'm not much of a joiner. I do better at starting things than joining things others have started. I spent the first 16 years of my life not online, followed by 16 years online. Maybe some time I will spend some serious time not-online again, who knows.
Today I found the book My Tiny Life, thanks to Biella, and re-read its chapter "A Rape in Cyberspace". I last read that sometime in 1995 or so, early into my own time online. That was one of a few things that got me interested in virtual worlds. But while I logged into LambdaMOO and a few other MUDs briefly, I didn't join any of them. I observed them, and spent some time developing my own, with modest success.
Another document that I remember reading was a
comp.os.linux.announce titled "Debian and FSF Cooperate". That
and a few other things got me interested in Debian, and I did join it, and
have gotten so tightly bound up in it that there's no way out.
Of course, before I so explicitly and decisively joined Debian, I had sort of joined the larger "free software community". But it's so split up and many-faceted that it took a long time to really feel a part of it. Nowadays I can get git commits accepted into to free software projects that I don't feel I'm part of at all, despite my name appearing in their commit logs.
For a while it seemed perhaps I should join in on Wikipedia. Lots of people I knew were doing so. I looked at it in detail, looked at discussion pages and internal documents and lots of stuff, and decided not to join it. I have no wikipedia login, and have only anonymously edited it once or twice to post corrections on discussion pages.
I joined in on the blogging thing, and sometimes feel part of something there, although it's the most amorphous and vague thing of all.