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#101772 - 04/26/03 09:21 PM online communities
Buffalo Shrdlu Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/24/02
Posts: 7210
Loc: Vermont
wordminstrel raises an interesting point, not that I agree with it, or the way it was raised, but I'm curious about research that may have been done on the phases that online communities go through as they develop. anyone aware of research that may be available to peruse? I vaguely remember some conversation about this around the time I began frequenting these environs, but I might be mistaken.
I expect that there is lots to do with numbers of people(critical mass...), types of forums, type of people that join, etc... could be enlightening!
just curious!


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#101773 - 04/26/03 09:25 PM Re: online communities
Wordwind Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 6296
Loc: Piedmont Region of Virginia, U...
There's a book...AnnaStroph, I'll bet, knows the title...

Edit: Just google: 'online communities' book

I added in '2002' and Google came up with 13,000 hits.

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#101774 - 04/27/03 08:28 AM Re: online communities
Faldage Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/01/00
Posts: 13783
AnnaStroph…knows the title

You bet she does. We even got a copy. Not that we've read it yet.


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#101775 - 05/08/03 12:12 AM Re: online communities
lapsus linguae Offline
journeyman

Registered: 09/11/00
Posts: 56
Loc: Sydney, Australia
while not exactly covering the question asked, this site is somewhat interesting.
http://www.rider.edu/~suler/psycyber/psycyber.html


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#101776 - 05/08/03 03:32 PM Re: online communities
AnnaStrophic Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 6511
Loc: lower upstate New York
Not that we've read it yet.

Actually® I did skim through it. Consuelo gave it to me last year at the International Linguistics Symposium (aka Wordapalooza) during the ritualistic book swap. It was written in the early 90s, so much of the info is extremely obsolete now. Funny how time flies in the cyber-world.


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#101777 - 05/08/03 03:55 PM Re: online communities
Buffalo Shrdlu Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/24/02
Posts: 7210
Loc: Vermont
thanks, Lapsus, for that link. a quick peruse gave me this interesting list:

Every list seems to go through the same cycle:

1. Initial enthusiasm (people introduce themselves, and gush a lot about how wonderful it is to find kindred souls).

2. Evangelism (people moan about how few folks are posting to the list, and brainstorm recruitment strategies).

3. Growth (more and more people join, more and more lengthy threads develop, occasional off-topic threads pop up).

4. Community (lots of threads, some more relevant than others; lots of information and advice is exchanged; experts help other experts as well as less experienced colleagues; friendships develop; people tease each other; newcomers are welcomed with generosity and patience; everyone -- newbie and expert alike -- feels comfortable asking questions, suggesting answers, and sharing opinions).

5. Discomfort with diversity (the number of messages increases dramatically; not every thread is fascinating to every reader; people start complaining about the signal-to-noise ratio; person 1 threatens to quit if *other* people don't limit discussion to person 1's pet topic; person 2 agrees with person 1; person 3 tells 1 & 2 to lighten up; more bandwidth is wasted complaining about off-topic threads than is used for the threads themselves; everyone gets annoyed).

6a. Smug complacency and stagnation (the purists flame everyone who asks an 'old' question or responds with humor to a serious post; newbies are rebuffed; traffic drops to a doze-producing level of a few minor issues; all interesting discussions happen by private email and are limited to a few participants; the purists spend lots of time self-righteously congratulating each other on keeping off-topic threads off the list).

OR

6b. Maturity (a few people quit in a huff; the rest of the participants stay near stage 4, with stage 5 popping up briefly every few weeks; many people wear out their second or third 'delete' key, but the list lives contentedly ever after).


fun stuff!!



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#101778 - 05/08/03 03:57 PM Re: online communities
Buffalo Shrdlu Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/24/02
Posts: 7210
Loc: Vermont
hehe. try this one:

http://www.rider.edu/~suler/psycyber/listbulb.html

never happened here.

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formerly known as etaoin...

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#101779 - 05/08/03 09:38 PM Re: online communities
Jackie Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11605
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
Every list seems to go through the same cycle: Holy cow--these people know us!!


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#101780 - 05/09/03 07:28 AM "...the lessons of history..."
wofahulicodoc Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/06/01
Posts: 4493
Loc: Worcester, MA
The only thing missing from that list is a time frame. Not even an estimate, sad to say. We might be surprised to find that the range of life-cycles is realtively narrow.


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#101781 - 05/09/03 08:10 AM Re: online communities
Wordwind Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 6296
Loc: Piedmont Region of Virginia, U...
In reply to:

Holy cow--these people know us!!


This was one of the many topics discussed at W'Apaloo last summer in Michigan. Someone had a book there in which the life of online communities was the central topic. But it must be a fairly hot topic with so many websites also addressing the various stages these communities go through.

And some communities are DOA. I posted on a nature board a few times, but, honestly, there were very rare posts there--weeks without a single post--and no conversation at all the way I've seen it develop here on AWAD, maestronet.com, the Brown Cafe, and Straight Dope.


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