Ben Shneiderman's Community Participation research

Máirín Duffy duffy at
Wed Feb 17 20:29:22 UTC 2010

I watched a live Ben Shneiderman [1] talk today and he mentioned some
research he recently did on online community participation - he studied
wikipedia specifically. One of the diagrams he showed about the
progression from consumer to contributor reminded me a lot about Fedora.
Pages 6, 9, and 11 have these tables that suggest usability &
sociability factors they found in their study of wikipedia that helped
influence folks to make the leap from consumer to contributor:

The Reader-to-Leader Framework: Motivating Technology-Mediated Social
Jennifer Preece, University of Maryland
Ben Shneiderman, University of Maryland

"Billions of people participate in online social activities. Most users
participate as readers of discussion boards, searchers of blog posts, or
viewers of photos. A fraction of users become contributors of
user-generated content by writing consumer product reviews, uploading
travel photos, or expressing political opinions. Some users move beyond
such individual efforts to become collaborators, forming tightly
connected groups with lively discussions whose outcome might be a
Wikipedia article or a carefully edited YouTube video. A small fraction
of users becomes leaders, who participate in governance by setting and
upholding policies, repairing vandalized materials, or mentoring
novices. We analyze these activities and offer the Reader-to-Leader
Framework with the goal of helping researchers, designers, and managers
understand what motivates technology-mediated social participation. This
will enable them to improve interface design and social support for
their companies, government agencies, and non-governmental
organizations. These improvements could reduce the number of failed
projects, while accelerating the application of social media for
national priorities such as healthcare, energy sustainability, emergency
response, economic development, education, and more."

Thought it might be of interest to the list. The paper is free to
download at the link above.


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