More like the playground. Many people know of other people and put them into groups. The trollers, the whiners, the eternal optimists. The regulars do get noticed and we assume a lot about them by way they answer or ask questions. E.g You seem like a young African American lady in a relationship or at least in a space where she is content. Mother figure of sortsm (purely speculating, but I'm sure you do it too :p)
In a way it can be, although a lot of people on here are people who just seem to appear... There are people I've never seen or never remembered seeing and all of a sudden they're level 8 or above... I'm like where the heck they come from?
I would not think of it as a small town "where everybody knows your name" lol, Cheers theme song popped into my head, lol. Even though there are some that I do not really know I recognize some of the regulars by username which I think is natural. I consider myself regular here but I mostly interact with those that are here for like a day, but gone tomorrow,lol
All the regulars know of each other. There's a ton of people who post occasionally or who sign up to ask one question but the people who stick around I usually recognize their name whether we talk or not.