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Accept a new taxonomy for group and its two sub-types - accidental group, and community.

The modification was suggested to Scientonomy community by Nicholas Overgaard on 19 May 2017.1 The modification was accepted on 2 February 2018.


Although it is accept in scientonomy that communities are bearers of mosaics, the notion of community currently lacks a proper definition. To remedy the situation, I suggest differentiating between accidental group and community as two different types of group based on the respective absence and presence of a collective intentionality. This differentiation provides a foundation for the taxonomy of social agents of scientific change.


Accept the following taxonomy for group and its two sub-types:

Group Community Accidental Group (Overgaard-2017).png

Theories To Accept

Community (Overgaard-2017).png

Group (Overgaard-2017).png

Accidental Group (Overgaard-2017).png

Questions Answered

This modification attempts to answer the following question(s):

  • Group: What is group? How should it be defined?
  • Community: What is community? How should it be defined?
  • Accidental Group: What is accidental group? How should it be defined?


The modification was accepted on 2 February 2018. A consensus has emerged after a long discussion that the distinction and the respective definitions should be accepted. It was noted that "these formulations tend to be the starting point for so many of our discussions"c1 and that "despite all disagreements that this taxonomy causes, it is actually accepted by the community".c2 Yet, it was also indicated that whereas the definition of group as "two or more people that share a characteristic" is the best we have at the moment, it may be potentially necessary to pursue the idea of redefining it as "one or more people..." to allow for one-scientist communities.c3 Finally, while a question was raised whether there is any "value in defining accidental groups as something separate from groups",c4 it was eventually agreed that it is important to draw "a clear distinction between the two kinds of groups as accidental groups and communities".c5

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  1. ^  Overgaard, Nicholas. (2017) A Taxonomy for the Social Agents of Scientific Change. Scientonomy 1, 55-62. Retrieved from