The work of online community building may be an art, but it can still benefit from a foundation in science. There are theoretical foundations for our work, especially among research of interpersonal (one-to-one) and group communication.
Let me clarify that theories are just that: theories. They are not hard rules, or facts. They are not necessarily true in all circumstances. However, theories give us a lens through which we can view a phenomenon in our community, explain it, and design communities more thoughtfully. Knowing a handful of group and interpersonal communication theories will help you to create more member-centric online spaces.