Goth, as we all know, really has nothing to do with communities: it is Just About The Music. We are also advised that communities formed online are Not Real and that when one makes a 'friend' on Usenet THEY COULD BE A DOG YOU DONT KNOW!!1! In which case you might as well turn off your computer and go out and do something less boring instead. For those of us who'd rather talk to a dog who can type than to the average dumb human, however, there's this here page.
Where does a community start? It starts with its Members. Over the years, there have been an awful lot of us, some sticking around for over a decade, some popping in only briefly to try and sell us Rolexes or persuade us that they're 800 years old. Those people who were part of alt.gothic in the very early days are generally known as Great Old Ones and are treated with some reverence. Few of them post in our threads anymore, but quite a few still grep to see what we're saying about them.
Once a year (in the past, once every six months), a Netscrape polls alt.gothic's denizens to determine their innermost secrets. Amongst other things, this has consistently revealed that approximately two thirds of posters are resident in the USA, with significant numbers based in the UK, Canada and Australia. The difficulties of communicating in a second language probably put off many people from elsewhere, but the group has also had regulars from such far-flung places as Brazil, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, Russia, South Africa and Sweden.
The 'not real' community of alt.gothic has resulted in several marriages and long-term relationships, births, emigrations, job opportunities, band formations and book purchases. It has been there to support its members through illnesses, deaths and divorces. It has spawned many further communities which use different systems of communication. It may be quieter these days, and over the years it has attracted many doomsayers, but the evidence suggests that rumours of its demise remain greatly exaggerated.