Designing self moderating online communities
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Designing self-moderating online communities. Julita Vassileva Computer Science Department University of Saskatchewan. Outline. Why do we need self-moderating online communities? Existing self-organizing communities How do successful communities work? Case study: the Comtella community

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Designing self moderating online communities l.jpg

Designing self-moderating online communities

Julita Vassileva

Computer Science Department

University of Saskatchewan


Outline l.jpg
Outline

  • Why do we need self-moderating online communities?

  • Existing self-organizing communities

  • How do successful communities work?

  • Case study: the Comtella community

    • Motivating participation

    • Self-regulating the quality of contributions


Online communities l.jpg
Online communities

  • Formerly: “newsgroups”, “forums” or “message boards”, “blogs”

  • Now: “virtual / online communities”, “social software”, even “social computing”

  • People send messages, questions, answers.

  • Anyone is free to sent anything

  • Everyone can see the all the postings.


Too much stuff l.jpg
Too much stuff…

  • And sometimes bad stuff

  • How to find what you want?

    • need to organize the postings

    • a moderator of the newsgroup

    • worked well with small groups

  • It is important to design software and “the rules of the game” for self-organization by the participants.

    • For example, Orkut allows joining only by invitation from insider.

    • A classical example – Slashdot.org


Self organizing online communities l.jpg
Self-organizing online communities

  • Slashdot.org

    • A Linux-geek newsgroup/discussion forum

    • Users can ask questions and give answers to others’ questions

    • Users can rate the answers and the questions

    • Users who ask good questions or give good answers earn “karma”

    • Ratings by users with high karma have more weight

    • Every user has only a limited amount of ratings to give (depends on the karma-level)

    • Users with high-karma have the privilege to be a moderator for some time

    • Result: excellent forum, good quality postings are visible, low quality postings are not easy to find. Everyone has a chance to build up his/her karma. A form of democracy, people-ruled. Maintenance costs – close to zero (self-organizing).


The eps game from cmu louis von ahn laura dabbish http www 2 cs cmu edu biglou esp pdf l.jpg
The EPS Game (from CMU)Louis von Ahn, Laura Dabbishhttp://www-2.cs.cmu.edu/~biglou/ESP.pdf

  • Goal: to label web images

  • Why? Try to Google image with a car http://www.google.com

  • Two players (random) are shown the same image

  • Each player has to guess how the other player will label the image (have 2.5 minutes per image)

  • If their guesses are correct, both score and move to next image

  • Players can not communicate (otherwise they can cheat)


Slide10 l.jpg

Player 1 guesses: Handbag

Player 1 guesses: Purse

Success! Agreement on “Purse”

Player 2 guesses: Purse

Player 2 guesses: Brown

Player 2 guesses: Bag

Success! Agreement on “Purse”

After agreeing on 15 images – big bonus of points for both players.

Example from http://www-2.cs.cmu.edu/~biglou/ESP.pdf


Features of successful online communities l.jpg
Features of successful online communities

  • Need to serve some real users needs

  • Need to have a critical number of users (“critical mass”)

  • Need to have a constant stream of new information

  • Examples: KaZaA, Blogs, Orkut


How to achieve this l.jpg
How to achieve this

  • Need to cultivate in the user the feeling of being a member of the community

  • Contribution to the community should be rewarded

    • With reputation (ranking)

    • With visibility

    • With more rights / privileges

    • With cash…

  • Harmful behaviours (cheating) should be punished

    The success of every social system depends on having the right motivators and the right inhibitors to stimulate and regulate individual behaviour!


Case study comtella a p2p system for sharing papers l.jpg
Case study: Comtella – a P2P system for sharing papers


First deployment in cs department fall of 2003 l.jpg
First deployment in CS DepartmentFall of 2003

  • Main problems:

    • Ensuring participation - unable reach critical mass

    • Motivating users to contribute new papers

  • If there is no one on-line, you can’t find anything

  • If no one contributes new papers, very soon everyone will have the same papers, so no point in using the system


New deployment 4 th year ethics class 35 students l.jpg
New deployment: 4th year Ethics class, 35 students

  • Users earn “status” by participating. They need to:

    • bring new resources in the system

    • comment on the resources they have seen

    • keep online

    • log on the system frequently

    • download resources (share them with others)


Status l.jpg
Status

10%

Gold

60%

  • High-status users are rewarded with

    • Visibility in the Community (visualization)

    • Better search options

  • Low-status users (free riders) are punished

    • Visibility in the Community (“Hall of shame”)

    • Not so comfortable search options.

Silver

30%

Bronze


Community visualization l.jpg

Sorting Criteria Bar ->

List of all the available

interest areas :

Community visualization

Hall of Fame

Hall of Shame


Results l.jpg

The total number of the original contributions

The average number of the original contributions per participant

Table 1. The number of comments and the total number of the shared links.

Week

1

2

3

4

5

6 & 7

9 *

10

The number of Comments

31

220

141

75

292

251

395

797

The number of links shared

30

186

122

72

251

240

324

472

* Week 9 in this table is the first week when the visualization was introduced.

Results

BUT, also some poor contributions

- not really relevant links

- links similar to other contributions

 clearly, many students were trying to submit as much as possible to get a higher status (a form of cheating)


How to deal with the decrease in quality of contributions l.jpg
How to deal with the decrease in quality of contributions?

  • Measure quality

    • Track how many people download a contribution and how they rate it (like “Impact factor”)

    • Reward users for rating contributions

    • Track “cheaters”

    • Compute a reputation of a user as a contributor and as a rater

  • Reward quality – good users become moderators

    • Give status points

    • Give more rates to give away and higher weight of these weights (like Slashdot)

  • Punish poor quality

    • Lower status, lower weight of ratings, less ratings to give

    • Less visible contributions


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