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Updated by Nick Kellet on Nov 13, 2015
Nick Kellet Nick Kellet
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Lurker Research (A Collection of PDFs)

In this paper we examine the possibility of evaluating the value of an online community in a company by focusing on the practices around the online community, which we call active lurking. We divided the practices into two types: independent practices that are completed within only an informal context, and connecting practices that have relationships with the formal organizational structure.

We conducted a questionnaire for 2,584 participants in two types of online communities in a large
manufacturing company, and semi-structured interviews of 102 participants. We concluded that our
practice-based evaluation is useful for managers or designers of an online community to help them to understand, evaluate, and manage its practical impacts on their business activities before or after building it.

Lurk Moar

Status Confirmed Year 2006 Origin 4chan Tags lurking, slang, rule 33, internet behaviors, forum, internet culture, axiom Additional References Encyclopedia Dramatica Urban Dictionary Wikipedia Lurk Moar is a phrase used by image board and forums posters alike to inform other users they need to post less and study the community before posting again.

In this paper the authors discuss whether the voluntary participation in virtual interaction improves the learning outcome in the field of Civil Engineering on the basis of their experimental evidence. The focus of this study concerns the students who never took an active online part, the so-called lurker.

The experiments have taken place three times since 2001 during the study of the subject Structural Concrete, which is the largest part of the Civil Engineering Master Degree course.For this purpose the authors evaluated the passive participation within online discussion forums and proved that lurking can be considered a natural process of human communities.

Even in busy online communities, usually only a small fraction of members post messages. Why do so many people prefer not to contribute publicly? From an online survey that generated 1,188 responses from posters and lurkers from 375 MSN bulletin board communities, 219 lurkers spoke out about their reasons for not posting. While lurkers did not participate publicly, they did seek answers to questions. However, lurkers’ satisfaction with their community experience was lower than those who post. Data from 19 checkbox items and over 490 open-ended responses were analyzed. From this analysis, the main reasons why lurkers lurk were concerned with: not needing to post; needing to find out more about the group before participating; thinking that they were being helpful by not posting; not being able to make the software work (i.e., poor usability); and not liking the group dynamics or the community was a poor fit for them. Two key conclusions were drawn from this analysis. First, there are many reasons why people lurk in online discussion communities. Second, and most important, most lurkers are not selfish free-riders. From these findings, it is clear that there are many ways to improve online community experiences for both posters and lurkers. Some solutions require improved software and better tools, but moderation and better interaction support will produce dramatic improvements.

The asymmetry of activity in virtual communities is of great interest. While participation in the activities of virtual communities is crucial for a community's survival and development, many people prefer lurking, that is passive attention over active participation. Lurking can be measured and perhaps affected by both dispositional and situational variables. This work investigates the concept of cultural capital as situational antecedent of lurking and de-lurking (the decision to start posting after a certain amount of lurking time). Cultural capital is defined as the knowledge that enables an individual to interpret various cultural codes. The main hypothesis states that a user's cultural capital affects her level of activity in a community and her decision to de-lurk and cease to exist in very active communities because of information overload. This hypothesis is analyzed by mathematically defining a social communication network (SCN) of activities in authenticated discussion forums. We validate this model by examining the SCN using data collected in a sample of 636 online forums in Open University in Israel and 2 work based communities from IBM. The hypotheses verified here make it clear that fostering receptive participation may be as important and constructive as encouraging active contributions in online communities.

Goal: The project idea was to explore what it means to have 'legitimate peripheral participants' in a CoP, and strategies to promote this idea when establishing a CoP - to overcome reluctance to commit because of fears of increased workload, and also to explore the literature in this area.

The rise of social networking services have furthered the proliferation of online communities, transferring the power of controlling access to content from often one person who operates a system (sysop), which they would normally rely on, to them personally. With increased participation in social networking and services come new problems and issues, such as trolling, where unconstructive messages are posted to incite a reaction, and lurking, where persons refuse to participate. Methods of dealing with these abuses included defriending, which can include blocking strangers. The Gamified Flow of Persuasion model is proposed, building on work in ecological cognition and the participation continuum, the chapter shows how all of these models can collectively be used with gamification principles to increase participation in online communities through effective management of lurking, trolling, and defriending.

Beyond Lurking
What is participation? Over the last decade of Internet studies, the concept of participation has been the subject of much attention. It has most commonly been understood as the process of actively contributing content and commentary online, be it via blogs, wikis, news sites, video and photo sharing services (Karaganis, 2007). In particular, the metaphor of voice has taken hold: with the emphasis being on ‘speaking up’ and ‘having your say’. Online participation in this sense has been discussed within the rubric of democratic potential, of citizens contributing their ‘voice’ to a wider form and contributing to a diverse online public sphere. Participation, in this sense, is understood as visibly adding contributions to public or semi-public spaces: rarely is attention given to other forms of participation, such as private email discussions, or behind-the-scenes direct messaging in social media environments (Nonnecke & Preece, 2003).

Participation Inequality: The 90-9-1 Rule for Social Features

Summary: In most online communities, 90% of users are lurkers who never contribute, 9% of users contribute a little, and 1% of users account for almost all the action. All large-scale, multi-user communities and online social networks that rely on users to contribute content or build services share one property: most users don't participate very much.

The a-symmetry of activity in virtual communities is of great interest. While participation in the activities of virtual communities is crucial for a community's survival and development, many people prefer lurking, that is passive attention over active participation. Often, lurkers are the vast majority. There could be many reasons for lurking. Lurking can be measured and perhaps affected by both dispositional and situational variables. This project investigates social and cultural capital, situational antecedents of lurking and de-lurking. We propose a novel way of measuring such capital, lurking, and de-lurking. We try to figure out what are the triggers to active participation. We try to answer this by mathematically defining a social communication network of activities in authenticated discussion forums. Authenticated discussion forums provide exact log information about every participant's activities and allow us to identify lurkers that become first time posters. The proposed Social Communication Network approach (SCN) is an extension of the traditional social network methodology to include, beyond human actors, discussion topics (e.g. Usenet newsgroups threads) and subjects of discussions (e.g. Usenet groups) as well. In addition the Social Communication Network approach distinguishes between READ and POST link types. These indicate active participation on the part of the human actor. We attempt to validate this model by examining the SCN using data collected in a sample of 82 online forums.

By analyzing a graph structure of the network at moments of initial postings we verify several hypotheses about causes of de-lurking and provide some directions towards measuring active participation in virtual communities.

While much has been written regarding the learning behaviors of students participating in online courses, little research has been conducted to ascertain whether or not students are still engaged and actually learning even when not actively involved in online discourse with other students and faculty. This study of inactive students enrolled in an online graduate course attempts to identify how much time is spent in course related activity, what the reasons are for their “invisibility”, and if their preferred learning styles influence their online behavior. The data shows that these students do, in fact, spend a significant amount of time in learning related tasks, including logging on, even when not visibly participating, and they feel they are still learning and benefiting from this low profile approach to their online studies. However, preliminary analyses of course grades indicate that the mean grade is slightly better for high visibility learners than for no visibility learners. Findings suggest that further research in the area of the so-called invisible learner is a critical area of investigation to better understand the dynamics of asynchronous learning and teaching

The massive presence of silent members in online communities, the so-called lurkers, has long attracted the attention of researchers in social science, cognitive psychology, and computer-human interaction. However, the study of lurking phenomena represents an unexplored opportunity of research in data mining, information retrieval and related fields. In this paper, we take a first step towards the formal specification and analysis of lurking in social networks. We address the new problem of lurker ranking and propose the first centrality methods specifically conceived for ranking lurkers in social networks. Our approach utilizes only the network topology without probing into text contents or user relationships related to media. Using Twitter, Flickr, FriendFeed and GooglePlus as cases in point our methods’ performance was evaluated against data-driven rankings as well as existing centrality methods, including the classic PageRank and alpha-centrality.

Empirical evidence has shown the significance of our lurker ranking approach, and its uniqueness in effectively identifying and ranking lurkers in an online social network