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Encouraging Contribution

Encouraging Contribution

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Encouraging Contribution

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  1. Encouraging Contribution

  2. Today’s goals Introduction to view of social design based on social science theory Application to the problems of contribution to online groups Introduction to Wikipedia assignment

  3. Broad Definition of Online Community • Any virtual space where people come together for interaction, to get or give information or support from peers, to learn, to discuss, to be with others online (Preece, 2003) • Persistence • Common or complementary goals • Interaction, often text-based • Differences among them in purpose, size, organization, etc. both shape how they operate and are factors that can be influenced by community designers & managers

  4. Online communities face challenges typical of off-line groups • Community start-up • Recruit, select and socialize members • Encourage commitment • Elicit contribution • Regulate behavior • Coordinate activity But anonymity, weak ties, high turnover, & lack of institutionalization make challenges more daunting online

  5. Theory as a Tool for Community Design • “There is nothing so practical as a good theory” --Lewin • Prior social science research will be relevant to making design decisions • “If you want to understand something, try to change it” --Lewin • Conclusions from conventional groups and organizations may need to be modified for the online environment • Analytic, one variable at a time approach may not be compatible with the multidimensional, synthetic task of design • My approach: • Use empirical methods to assess whether existing theory explains success in online groups & develop new generalizations • Translate theory into design claims • Test design claims in field experiments

  6. Online communities face challenges typical of off-line groups • Community start-up • Recruit, select and socialize members • Encourage commitment • Elicit contribution • Regulate behavior • Coordinate activity But anonymity, weak ties, high turnover, & lack of institutionalization make challenges more daunting online

  7. Reasons To Care • Overall goal. Creating sufficient volume of contribution of the resources the group values to provide benefits to group members and others who rely upon the online community • Different communities require different types of contribution • Social support forums: Conversational facts, empathy, offers of help • Recommender systems: Votes, opinions, comments • Facebook: Invites, accepts, wall posts, pictures • WoW guild: Time, particular skills • Threadless: T-shirt designs • OSS: Patches, code, translations, documentation • Wikipedia: New articles, facts, copy-editing, administration work, cash (& yesterday, letters to congressmen)

  8. Unequal Contribution Is Rampant • Across many Internet domains, a small fraction of participants contribute the majority of material • Code in open source projects • Edits in Wikipedia • Illegal music in Gnutella • Answers in technical support groups • Often leads to a power-law/Zipf curve distribution • Is this a problem? • What causes it? • How can social website designers reduce inequality of contribution?

  9. Apache Code 4% of developers (15 people/388) produced • 83% of the MRs and deltas • 88% of added lines, • 91% of deleted lines. Mockus, A., Fielding, R. T., & Herbsleb, J. D. (2002). Two case studies of open source software development: Apache and mozilla. ACM Transactions on Software Engineering and Methodology, 11(3), 309-346.

  10. Most communities have extremely unequal contribution WP Gnutella Apache

  11. Apache Usenet Support Forum • 50% of questions from 24% of info seekers • 50% of answers from 2% of providers Lakhani, K. R., & Hippel, E. V. (2003). How open source software works: "free" user to user assistance. Research Policy, 32, 923-943.

  12. Lurking in 77 health and 21 software support email-based lists Nonnecke, B., & Preece, J. (2000). Lurker demographics: Counting the silent. ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI Letters, 4(1), 73-80.

  13. George Kingsley Zipf, a Harvard linguistics professor: Identifed the relationship btw frequency of an event or object & its rank. (1935) Zipf's law states that the frequency of the Nth largest occurrence of the event is inversely proportional to it's rank y ~ N-b, with b close to unity. Characterizes many phenomenon, where small events are common & large events are rare: e.g., word frequency, earthquakes, city size, author posts, web site visits Digression on Zipf’s curve: Word frequencies

  14. Guassian(normal) vs Pareto (long-tailed) distributions

  15. Number of posts per author X Rank of author Zipf curves: Usenet posts by author rank Power law: log(y) = log(C) - b log(X) Zipf curve: y = C X-b

  16. Inequality of contribution is closer to linear in small, face-to-face groups Is this a online effects Is it a size effect? Unevenness contribution is more extreme online in large online groups than small offline ones Author Rank in Usenet groups

  17. Is “under contribution” (i.e., uneven contribution) a problem?

  18. Is “under contribution” (i.e., uneven contribution) a problem? • Many sites thrive with small numbers of people producing most of the content • Apache server • Usenet • Apache technical support group • Wikipedia

  19. Misleading Because of Survivor Bias • Many communities die or never start up from lack of participation • ~70% of SourceForge development projects have no active members & only 25% of newly registered projects ever get a single new participant • ~50% of “active” listserves have no traffic (Butler, • Generally too much to do • 2/3s of Wikipedia articles are stubs • In Usenet ~ 40% of initial posts get no response • Tasks differ on importance & attractiveness  Hard to direct volunteers to do the most needed or least pleasant work • E.g., In software development, writing code is more fun than user support or documentation  Need tools or techniques to stimulate particular contributions

  20. Themes • What causes contribution & “under-contribution”? • What can a site manager/designer do to insure that the important contributions are made

  21. Utility models in economics & psychology People contribute to achieve outcomes they desire  Increase the direct & indirect benefits from contributions Theories of persuasion Goal setting Multiple Theories in Economics & Social Psychology Relevant to Contribution

  22. Naïve Task Analysis of Online Contribution To get people to contribute needed content : • They need to understand what is wanted • They have to be motivated to provide it • They have to be competent to provide it

  23. To increase contributions focus activities through requests • Make the list of needed contributions easily visible to increase the likelihood that the community will provide them

  24. In week after email reminder, contributes quadrupled, to ~ 20 ratings/person from ~5.4 Is this sustainable? Email request to contribute to MovieLens quadruples ratings

  25. Identify who should do the contribution • 400 Chat rooms • “Can you tell me how to see someone’s profile” • Count number of people simultaneously present • Ask by name or not • DV=Time to response Markey(2000)

  26. Ask someone who is willing & able to help: Intelligent Task Routing (Cosley, 2007)

  27. Architecture • Find intersection of articles that need work & are related to articles that a user has worked on

  28. Suggestions

  29. Suggestions Quadruple Editing Rates

  30. Challenges as a special type of request • Have qualities of challenging goal & game http://www.threadless.com/loves/travel

  31. Goal Setting Theory • Goals motivate effort, perseverance & performance • Trigger for both self-reward (e.g., self-efficacy) & external reward (e.g., money, reputation, promotion) • Goals are more effective if • Specific & challenging rather than easy goals or vague ‘do your best’ • Immediate, with feedback • People commit selves to the goals – because of importance, incentives, self-esteem, … • People envision the specific circumstance & method they will use to achieve them

  32. Goal Setting Experiment • Send email to ~900 MovieLens subscribers • Gave non-specific, do your best goal or specific, numerical contribution goals • Assigned goal to individual subscribers or a nominal group of 10 subscribers (the “Explorers”)

  33. Results Specific, challenging goals increased contribution Group assignment increased contributions Goal Experiment Results

  34. Featured Status in Wikipedia as a Challenge Wikipedia edits before and after reaching featured status

  35. Weekly minutes playing World of Warcraft, by level Ducheneaut, N., et al.(2007). The life and death of online gaming communities: A look at guilds in world of warcraft. in SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems. San Jose, California, USA. Goals Setting In WoW

  36. Design claims re: goals • Providing members with specific and highly challenging goals will increase their contributions. • Goals have larger effects when people receive frequent feedback about their performance with respect to the goals. • Externally imposed goals can be as effective as self-imposed ones, as long as the goals are important to community members

  37. Motivations for Contributing

  38. That contribution occurs at all seems problematic • Why do people • Upload their music? • Work on open source projects? • Answer helpdesk-like questions in technical & help support groups? • Outline craters as a Mar’s click worker • Assumption that people are working against their self-interest • Expending effort • Giving away labor and intellectual property when others get economic return for similar activities  Search for rational self-interest explanations for seemingly anomalous behavior

  39. Expectancy-Value Model of Motivation • Quasi-economic, expectancy-value model: People work hard to the extent that doing so increases personal payoffs • Expected Utility = P(contribution leads to outcome) X (value of the outcome – contribution costs) • You swim hard (effort)  • You have fast race (individual performance)  • You win the race (Individual outcome)  • You are proud, get reputation as good athlete and girlfriend is grateful (evaluation of outcome)

  40. What motivates contributors? • External personal value • Reinforcement • Pay • Privilege • Reputation • … • Intrinsic value of task (e.g., fun, curiosity, challenge) • Social utility • Reciprocity • Identification with the group • Altruism • These are leverage points for interventions to increase motivation

  41. Design claims: Matching experiences with motivations increase people’s willingness to volunteer Recruiting Retention Different people have different motivations to volunteer Clary, E. and Snyder, M., (1999). The motivations to volunteer: Theoretical and practical considerations. Current Directions in Psychological Science. p. 156-159.

  42. Variety of Motives to Participate in Online Communities Methods Data: Open ended responses to “Why did you join this virtual community?” Sample: 27 active online groups with a variety of topics >= 10 post/day over 3-day period >= 15 unique poster >= 80% posts get replies N: 399 respondents 2 judges classified reason into 7 categories (kappa=.88) Ridings, C.M. and Gefen, D., (2004). Virtual community attraction: Why people hang out online. Journal of Computer Mediated Communication. 10(1): p. np.

  43. Classification of motivations

  44. Motives Differ by Group Type Information & social motivations dominate But motives differ systematically across groups Health & professional groups seek support Hobby groups seek friendship

  45. Motivations for contributing to the Apache server project (Roberts et al, 2006) • Data: Surveys of ~320 Apache developers + log data • Distinguish between intrinsic & extrinsic motives for contributions • Intrinsic Interest • It is the satisfaction of seeing the results. • It gives me the chance to do things I am good at. • I really enjoy it. It is fun. • It gives me a sense of personal achievement. • Outcomes • Participation • Function points written & accepted • Performance • Change in rank in the Apache meritocracy • Extrinsic Motivation • Average number of hours per week for which respondents were paid for their Apache development • Status • It gives me the chance to attain a recognized qualification or skill. • It increases my opportunities for a better job. • It gives me status in the Apache community. • Use-Value • I fixed a bug or problem that was causing me trouble. • I added a feature I wanted or needed to use. Roberts, J. A., Hann, I.-H., & Slaughter, S. A. (2006). Understanding the Motivations, Participation, and Performance of Open Source Software Developers: A Longitudinal Study of the Apache Projects. Management Science, 52(7), 984-999.

  46. How can you increase motivation to contribute?

  47. To Increase Contributions Focus Provide Outcomes that Motivate Contributors • Individual motivation influences behavior through reinforcement, goals setting, efficacy, intrinsic motivators (e.g., fun & curiosity), … • Increase individualmotivations & incentives • Make the task fun • Offer rewards as incentive (e.g., money, reputation, perks) • Larger rewards induce more contribution than smaller rewards. • Luxury goods create better incentives than money as rewards for more difficult tasks. • Rewards of status, privileges, money, or prizes that are task-contingent but not performance-contingent will lead to gaming by performing the tasks with low effort. • People won't game the system for private verbal reward • Offer rewards as reinforcement • Rewards work better as reinforcers if they are delivered right after the desired behavior. • Rewards generate more consistent performance over time if they are unpredictable.

  48. To Be Continued …