Building Successful Online Communities: Evidence-based Social Design

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Online communities are among the most popular destinations on the Internet, but notall online communities are equally successful. For every flourishing Facebook, there is a moribundFriendster--not to mention the scores of smaller social networking sites that never attracted enoughmembers to be viable. This book offers lessons from theory and empirical research in the socialsciences that can help improve the design of online communities. The social sciences can tell usmuch about how to make online communities thrive, offering theories of individual motivation andhuman behavior that, properly interpreted, can inform particular design choices for onlinecommunities. The authors draw on the literature in psychology, economics, and other social sciences,as well as their own research, translating general findings into useful design claims. They explain,for example, how to encourage information contributions based on the theory of public goods, and howto build members' commitment based on theories of interpersonal bond formation. For each designclaim, they offer supporting evidence from theory, experiments, or observational studies.The bookfocuses on five high-level design challenges: starting a new community, attracting new members,encouraging commitment, encouraging contribution, and regulating misbehavior and conflict. Byorganizing their presentation around these fundamental design features, the authors encouragepractitioners to consider alternatives rather than simply adapting a feature seen on othersites.

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Über den Autor (2011)

Robert E. Kraut is Herbert A. Simon Professor of Human-Computer Interaction at Carnegie Mellon University. Paul Resnick is Professor at the University of Michigan's School of Information.

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