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Lada Adamic: Expertise Sharing Dynamics in Online Forums

Thursday, February 26, 2009
4:30 pm


101 Sherrerd Hall
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Reception immediately following in 3rd floor open space

Web-based communities have become a place for millions to seek and share expertise. This talk will present findings drawn from several online question-answer (QA) forums. We find that QA forums are frequently used to seek out support and conversation, in addition to factual expertise. Where the type of expertise exchanged is primarily factual, one can identify experts both through network-based ranking algorithms and user supplied ratings. The users themselves respond to point and monetary incentives in addition to the altruistic motives of helping and correcting others. Finally, we find that on the individual level, participation can be highly intermittent, but that the users who stay active tend to specialize and adopt strategies for gathering points. These and other insights have significant implications for future knowledge generating online communities.

This is joint work with Mark Ackerman, Jun Zhang, Jiang Yang, Kevin Nam and Eytan Bakshy.

Lada Adamic