When I joined this site, the members really helped me get involved and it's still the most involving and participatory online community I visit. I love the chat and the people there. But here's a few of my ideas regarding community spirit: Since the beginning of time communities have developed and evolved. Essentially though, communitas remains if they are linked by collective identity and cooperation working on that. Although experiencing change can unsettle people, it is never a realistic threat to a good community, because things always come back to the strong community core principles: for example when new policy, practice or even personnel are introduced either most people will reject it, in which case it will fail to become established and was never a problem.. or most people will accept it, in which case it becomes a communal norm and is not a problem. This is also known as progression. Sometimes this just happens automatically and sometimes it requires a wholly public deliberative process, through which all interest groups can be heard and people can make their own minds up. Basically what I am trying to say is: blaming the contest, only serves to iconize it. Like Kieren outlined, it makes a great drama out of something that would otherwise develop alongside the core community that people come back to- which is made up of the 'regulars' and other associated people, brought together by their desire to correspond with each other and their interest in the ESC/Europe. People who say the contest is killing the chat undermime the strength of the chat itself- they don't have to enter the contest if they don't want to, they can even ignore it.. and if the core community stays true to chat then people who come to the site only to enquire 'when does the show start?' or fuss about voting will be ignored and will fail to establish themselves. That is the power of community. If you can't fit in with the majority of members of a community, you won't integrate! That, I think, demonstrates how unrealistic it is to think that there is a threat posed by contest dissidents and members who won't chat. They will come, but they will never conquer. Much more troublesome in my eyes are the people who try control things because they are unsatisfied with them. I understand that they may think that they have good intentions and think they're advocates for the community.. but by not implementing the deliberative process- transparently discussing issues with everybody as Jonny mentioned- it more likely sets things out on their terms, it's sorta selfish. And that is more detrimental to chat, because you cannot control a collective.. you must allow it to develop naturally and progressively--> solidarity in the community. It's a bit of a paradoxical outlook to think that the way to encourage site participation is to control how that participation happens or how people may comment! So people can cancel contests, they can ban users, they can rip the site apart and blame it on me if they like.. but then who really ruined the site? Think about it.