I think the reason why so many community projects die and subsequently have a bad rep at times is that the person who starts the project isn't fully into it and doesn't have the drive to keep making progress. Sometimes I get the indication that some people just want others to do work for them for nothing.
I personally believe the key to having a successful community project is to have a project that you have the drive to complete all on your own while gladly accepting any help - if any comes along. If you continually show progress, then people will be more likely to jump aboard. At worst, you have a personal project you can show off to the world and you'll learn a lot along the way.