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Classify Participants in Online Communities

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Author(s): Xuequn Wang | Yanjun Yu

Journal: International Journal of Managing Information Technology
ISSN 0975-5926

Volume: 4;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 1;
Date: 2012;
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Keywords: Online communities | Contributors | Lurkers | Content contribution

ABSTRACT
As online communities become increasingly popular, researchers have tried to examine participating activities in online communities as well as how to sustain online communities. However, relatively fewstudies have tried to understand what kinds of participants constitute online communities. In this study, we try to contribute online community research by developing “common language” to classify different participants in online communities. Specifically, we argue that the previous way to classify participants is not sufficient and accurate, and we propose a continuum to classify participants based on participants’ overall trend of posting activities. In order to further online community research, we also propose potential directions for future studies.

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