Since I have been part of this course I have learned a lot about online communities but till now not so much about design and I think that my judgment on this might not be so good.
But what the hell, I’ll give it a try.
I think the most important part to keep in mind during the development and design of a online community is diversity.
I think that if a online community make’s it easier for everyone to use it keeping the principles of cultural diversity in mind and adapting them depending on the country or continent that they operate. Maybe even divided sections for different countries.
If you think about it it’s like the binary language, it’s full of zeros and ones and they are exactly the same like one and other but when they get translated from the browser it does depend on the language you chose on your browser. So if there would be a way to find a common system that is effective and fast and also have the tools for everyone in order so they can translate the common system to something more understandable in their culture, I think that would be a almost perfect system. So I think I would go with this principle, generality.
As for fostering an online community I think that I would do polls and ask for random reports from random users, ask them what do they like and dislike from the community and try and compare the results so improvements can be done in a efficient way.