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Building Successful Online Communities: Evidence-Based Social Design

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Overview

Online communities are among the most popular destinations on the Internet, but not all online communities are equally successful. For every flourishing Facebook, there is a moribund Friendster—not to mention the scores of smaller social networking sites that never attracted enough members to be viable.

This book offers lessons from theory and empirical research in the social sciences that can help improve the design of online communities. The social sciences can tell us much about how to make online communities thrive, offering theories of individual motivation and human behavior that, properly interpreted, can inform particular design choices for online communities. 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 how to build members' commitment based on theories of interpersonal bond formation.

For each design claim, they offer supporting evidence from theory, experiments, or observational studies.The book focuses on five high-level design challenges: starting a new community, attracting new members, encouraging commitment,encouraging contribution, and regulating misbehavior and conflict. By organizing their presentation around these fundamental design features, the authors encourage practitioners to consider alternatives rather than simply adapting a feature seen on other sites.

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
" Building Successful Online Communities is the book we've all been waiting for. Students, faculty, and professional developers will learn how online communities function. There's something for everyone—empirical findings framed in theory, and gems of advice. The authors are remarkable researchers, teachers, and leaders in the field."—Jennifer J.

Preece, Professor and Dean, College of Information Studies, University of Maryland's iSchool

"While many books have described the patterns and building blocks of successful social spaces from an architectural perspective, Building Successful Online Communities moves beyond the tangible and derives critical features and design claims for thriving communities in the more malleable online world. The authors provide real world examples and observations to help practitioners design an online community. In the process, they create a vocabulary and environment that engages the reader to want to design an online social space."—Kyratso George Karahalios, Associate Professor,University of Illinois

"This work provides the science behind the observations we made in Building Web Reputation Systems. Its format of design claims,thoroughly supported by research and examples, is a must-have resource for anyone thinking of deploying successful online communities."—F. Randall Farmer, online communities pioneer, and coauthor of Building Web Reputation Systems

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262016575
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 3/16/2012
  • Pages: 328
  • Product dimensions: 7.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

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.

Sara Kiesler is Professor of Human Computer Interaction at Carnegie Mellon University. She has been elected into the CHI Academy by The Association for Computing Machinery's Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction (ACM SIGCHI) in recognition of her outstanding leadership and service in the field of computer-human interaction.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

1 Introduction Paul Resnick Robert E. Kraut 1

2 Encouraging Contribution to Online Communities Robert E. Kraut Paul Resnick 2

3 Encouraging Commitment in Online Communities Yuqing Ren Robert E. Kraut Sara Kiesler Paul Resnick 77

4 Regulating Behavior in Online Communities Sara Kiesler Robert E. Kraut Paul Resnick Aniket Kittur 125

5 The Challenges of Dealing with Newcomers Robert E. Kraut Moira Burke John Riedl Paul Resnick 179

6 Starting New Online Communities Paul Resnick Joseph Konstan Yan Chen Robert E. Kraul 231

Contributors 281

Index 283

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