Notes: Lin, et al. (2007). An empirical study of web-based knowledge community success

Lin, Hui., Fan, W., & Wallace, L. (2007). An empirical study of web-based knowledge community success. Proceedings of the 40th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences. pp 1530-1605.

on web-based knowledge communities:

A Web-based knowledge community can be viewed as a website, a web-based information system, and a community. It is a new form of communication whereby community users share knowledge for mutual learning or problem solving and conduct social interactions. As a website, system quality is important to ensure user satisfaction and participation. As a Web-based information system, information quality is a key component as the purpose of a WKC is knowledge acquisition and exchange. Without high quality information, users are less likely to feel satisfied with the community and to continue using it. Information quality and system quality together form usability factors as in Preece’s community success framework.

on satisfaction, community belonging, and contribution:

As users become satisfied with a community, they are more likely to feel a sense of belonging to the community and identify with other users in the community. This will enhance their participation and communication with other users which in turn increases their usage.

on encouraging sharing (pro-sharing norms):

One way to encourage knowledge sharing is by forming groups of users with similar interests. This will promote more collaboration among users. Another way to promote knowledge sharing is by offering incentives. Incentives such as bonus points and recognition for frequent contributors can encourage knowledgeable users to share their expertise with novice users. Rewards and recognition can boost user participation which subsequently enhances the pro-sharing norms in the community.

Notes: Juristo et al. (2007). Analysing the impact of usability on software design

Juristo, N., Moreno, A.M. & Sanchez-Segura, M. (2007). Analysing the impact of usability on software design. The Journal of Systems and Software. 80. 1506-1516.

some basic stuff for the background section on wtf do I care about design/usability in the context of community interaction.

on interface usability and functionality:

As a result of this analysis we are able to demonstrate that usability really is not confined to the system interface and can affect the system’s core functionality.

on usability (interaction >> interface):

Usability deals with the whole user–system interaction, not just the user interface. The user interface is the visible part of the system (buttons, pull-down menus, check-boxes, background colour, etc.). Interaction is a wider concept. Interaction is the coordination of information exchange between the user and the system.

Notes: Harper et al. (2007). Social comparisons to motivate contributions to an online community

Harper, F.M., Xin Li, S., Chen, Y. & Konstan, J.A. (2007). Social comparisons to motivate contributions to an online community. Persuasive Technology. pp. 148-159.

on designing software to encourage contribution:

…designers of Web sites can hope to affect the volume of user contributions through design. They might take action to change the costs of the contribution by making contributions easier to make.

on providing comparisons of levels of contribution, compared to peers:

Online communities wishing to promote contributions of a certain kind may wish to display information that leads members to evaluate their level of contribution. While many Web sites display information about superstar users (such as with Amazon’s “Top Reviewers” list), it is also possible to compare users with their peers in the system. In this way, users may be motivated by the presence of more attainable goals.

how would the “members” page on a WP class blog site fit with this model of peer comparison? is there something similar in Bb?

Notes: Butler et al. (1999). Connecting the design of software to the design of work

Butler, K.A., Esposito, C. & Hebron, R. (1999). Connecting the design of software to the design of work. Communications of the ACM. 42(1). pp. 38-46

this is an article on work design, but makes sense if “work” is defined as educational interactions and discourse. much of the article is spent discussing such fascinating topics as UML and OO programming. Ignore that, and think about the meaning of work design, and implications of explicit and implicit designs.

on designing work processes in software:

When we design interactive software we are also defining much about the work of its users. The software embodies a model of work processes for its end users because part of its job is to manage the content, format, and sequencing of the information that users need to do their work. The effect is that any application will preferentially enable certain work processes, and users will have to work harder to follow any others.

on trying to avoid responsibility for designing work processes:

Developers may try to avoid the responsibility for promoting a particular work model by oversupplying information or features for flexibility. But this strategy is futile. It simply loads the user with an additional process, one for dealing with the resulting clutter.

even if Bb and WP don’t have explicit work processes defined as part of their software design, there are implicit processes exposed by their design decisions. Either those processes are enabling (making it easier for people to do what they need to do with the software), or impeding (causing people to spend time/energy to understand and adapt the software to meet their needs).

Notes: Bishop, J., (2007). Increasing participation in online communities: A framework for human-computer interaction

Bishop, J. (2007). Increasing participation in online communities: A framework for human-computer interaction. Computers in Human Behavior. 23. pp. 1881-1893.

lots of blah blah and lit review, but some interesting stuff buried in the blabbidyblab…

on designing for perceived affordances:

Developing systems that offer perceived affordances is another way of encouraging participation in online communities, as is engaging an actor in a state of flow, whereby they will experience intemperance or even deference. However, this may mean that individuals will act out less positive desires, such as vengeance, and flame other community members that offend them.

Notes: Preece, J. (2001). Online communities: Usability, Sociability, Theory and Methods

Preece, J. (2001). Online communities: Usability, Sociability, Theory and Methods. In R. Earnshaw, R. Guedj, A. van Dam and T. Vince (Eds) Frontiers of Human-Centred Computing, Online Communities and Virtual Environments. Springer Verlag: Amsterdam, 263-277.

article sets out some areas of future research etc… but spends some time talking about design, usability and sociability.

on online communities and impact of software design:

online communities evolve and change constantly depending on their membership. What may be important early in the life of a community may not be significant later on. Success is determined by three key factors: usability, sociability and their affect on the interactions of community members. Developers have little or no control over community members, except in some e-commerce communities where interaction is strongly managed. However, developers can do much to set the tone of a community by designing or selecting software with good usability and developing suitable sociability.

on software usability:

Software with good usability supports rapid learning, high skill retention, low error rates and high productivity. It is consistent, controllable and predictable making it pleasant and effective to use. Usability is a key ingredient for the success of any software. Good usability supports people’s creativity, improves their productivity and makes them feel good. Poor usability leads to frustration, wastes time, energy and money.

on usability and sociability:

The relationship between usability and sociability in design of online communities is important for their success. As in any software development it is essential to have a detailed understanding of users’ needs (i.e. requirements), and these will determine functionality and usability. However, software design alone does not determine success. While online community developers cannot control social interaction, they can strongly influence it by the policies that they put in place and how they manage these policies. With careful planning, well-designed policies can help the community to develop.

3 areas of usability in online community software:

Three areas of central importance for online community development are: design and representation; security and privacy; and scalability.

Notes: De Souza & Preece. (2002). A framework for analyzing and understanding online communities.

De Souza, C.S. & Preece, J. (2004). A framework for analyzing and understanding online communities. Interacting with computers. 16. pp 579-610.

really fascinating paper on semiotics, software design, and human experience. talks a bit about the distinction between human-computer interface and human-human (mediated by computer) interface.

on software design and community success:

well-designed software can make a successful community even more successful. Understanding the impacts of software design on the evolution of online communities is therefore an important part of building technology to support social activity online.

on the difference between interface analysis in desktop vs. online community software:

Evaluating sociability and usability in online communities therefore requires a different approach from evaluating software for a single user application that, by comparison, becomes relatively fixed once it is shipped. Subtle changes to sociability (e.g. a moderator’s style) or usability (e.g. the way a policy is described and presented at the interface) can have profound effects.

on the role of software design in shaping human experience:

technology shapes human experience, and a substantial portion of the overall quality of human experience in technology-enabled environments depends on how well the software used by community members matches the sociability and usability requirements of the whole community. Even the policies that are devised by community managers or the community themselves must be represented in software. They are sociability components manifest through software. Decisions such as where to position a policy, how to present it typographically, and what kinds of navigation or interaction events to associate with it are all usability decisions related to sociability factors.

Notes: Krejins et al. (2002). The sociability of computer-supported collaborative learning environments

Krejins, K., Kirschner, P.A., & Jochems, W. (2002). The sociability of computer-supported collaborative learning environments. Educational Technology & Society. 5 (1). pp 8-22.

an interesting article, despite the insane use of acronyms to describe every fracking term in it…

on social affordances in software design:

Social affordances are properties of CSCL1 environment that act as social-contextual facilitators relevant for the learner’s social interactions. When they are perceptible, they invite the learner to act in accordance with the perceived affordances, i.e., start a task or non-task related interaction or communication.

on perception and action:

Perception and action are the result of both the intentions of the group member and the social affordance of the CSCL environment. Similarly, intentions and social affordances elicit both perception and action.

on group awareness:

Teleproximity is created through group awareness, the condition in which a group member perceives the presence of the others and where these others can be identified as discernible persons with whom a communication episode can be initiated.

on group awareness widgets (as indicators of teleproximity):

Media-spaces use group awareness as a vehicle to provide teleproximity. The provision of teleproximity in media space currently limits group awareness to information about who are present, where they are, and a global indication of what they are doing. In other words, one can see that someone is working at the computer or having a discussion with a colleague but remains uninformed about the subject of the discussion or the kind of activity that is being done and how that activity is related to the (probably also unknown) task.

on commonality and group context: (could relate to tags, threads, etc…)

Commonality is a container term for anything that refers to a mutually shared thing, activity, use, idea, background, interest, status, and so forth. A common term can be used to give group awareness a context. The use of more than one commonality allows us to have different kinds of group awareness at the same time. Each kind of group awareness is limited to those members who are engaged with the underlying commonality.

  1. computer-supported collaborative learning. I love acronyms (ILA). []

Notes: Beenen et al. (2004). Using social psychology to motivate contributions to online communities

Beenen, G., Ling, K., Wang, X., Chang, K., Frankowski, D., Resnick, P. & Kraut, R.E. (2004). Using social psychology to motivate contributions to online communities. CSCW ’04 Proceedings of the 2004 ACM conference on Computer supported cooperative work. 6 (3) pp. 212-221.

the paper describes 2 experiments to redesign web based software to increase meaningful contributions from community members.

on software design to encourage meaningful community contributions:

it is an important and difficult challenge to design technical features of online communities and seed their social practices in a way that generates ongoing contributions from a larger fraction of the participants.

on social uniqueness and social loafing:

The collective effort model posits that people will socially loaf less when they perceive that their contribution is important to the group1 . If they believe that their contributions are redundant with what others in the group can offer, then their contribution is unlikely to influence the group’s outcome. Conversely, if they think they are unique, they should be more motivated to contribute, because their contributions have a larger chance of influencing the outcome that they value.

on the importance of email notification of contributions: (how easy is it to subscribe to email updates in Bb or WP…)

email messages can motivate people in an online community simply by reminding them of an opportunity to contribute.

on setting goals to promote contribution (ratings, posts, etc…):

The most robust result from this experiment was that specific goals led to higher contribution rates than non-specific ones. This is the first study to document that this finding from goal-setting theory applies to contributions to an online community and should encourage designers to be more specific about assigning goals or providing opportunities for individuals to declare contribution goals for themselves.

insights on increasing contribution:

This study provides a number of insights that contribute to solving the problem of under-contribution in online community. First, specific, challenging goals have been shown to be powerful motivators of online contributions, particularly when contributors are not part of a group. The fact that this was shown using a simple email manipulation, without interface modifications, suggests specific challenging goals can have a strong effect on increasing individual contribution in an online community. Second, assignment to a group condition in the context of a large, anonymous online community seemed to raise contribution levels, even though it was a group in name only, with members neither knowing the identities of other members nor interacting with them. Integrating both these findings with usability design principles should provide an even greater performance boost.

  1. Karau, S. and K. Williams, Social loafing: A meta-analytic review and theoretical integration. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1993. 65(4): p. 681-706. []