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Follow the (Slash) Dot: Effects of Feedback on New Members in an Online Community

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Association for Computing Machinery


Many virtual communities involve ongoing discussions, with large numbers of users and established, if implicit rules for participation. As new users enter communities like this, both they and existing members benefit when new users learn the standards for participation. Slashdot is a news and discussion site that has developed a system of distributed moderation to provide feedback about the value of posts on their site. This study examines three explanations for how new users learn to participate in a digital community: learning transfer from previous experiences, observation of other members, and feedback from other members. We find that new user behavior is affected by a combination of their viewing behavior, the moderation feedback they receive, and replies to their comments.


Lampe, Cliff; Johnston, Erik (2005): Follow the (Slash) Dot: Effects of Feedback on New Members in an Online Community. Proceedings of the 2005 ACM International Conference on Supporting Group Work. DOI: 10.1145/1099203.1099206. New York, NY, USA: Association for Computing Machinery. pp. 11–20. Sanibel Island, Florida, USA