Feeds

The seven types of commentard

Researchers say labels beyond 'lurker' and 'contributor' needed

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Throw out your old definition of online communities as comprised only of lurkers and contributors commentards. A team of academics has come up with seven categories of people who hang out online, and the same number of post types.

The new classification reached the light of day in the February 2012 issue of International Journal of Managing Information Technology, in which Xuequn Wang and Yanjun Yu collaborated on a paper titled Classify participants in online communities (PDF).

The paper's premise is that “ … relatively few studies have tried to understand what kinds of participants constitute online communities [and] the previous way to classify participants is not sufficient and accurate...”

Specifically, Wang and Yu feel that there are more types of online community members than just “lurkers” and “contributors.” The pair end up defining seven, based on how often they contribute and the quality of their posts.

To assess posts, the pair devised the following taxonomy:

Type 1: Posts which provide new information

Type 2: Posts which ask questions

Type 3: Response posts which answer questions

Type 4: Response posts which provide feedback

Type 5: Response posts which thank for help

Type 6: Response posts which say something bad

Type N: Non-posts by those who read but don't post.

From that taxonomy the pair then offer the following seven categories of community members.

Outsiders: Don't know about the community and may or may not care

Non-interested knowers: Know about the community but don't visit

Trouble makers: Occasionally make Type 6 posts, often amid Type 1 and Type 3 contributions

Lurkers: Consume content but don't add anything new

Non-contributing Participants: Ask questions and thank fellow members but don't contribute new information

Partial-contributing participants: Post using Types 1 to 5, but aren't regulars.

Contributor: Lots of Type 1 and Type 3 posts, combined with regular visits.

The paper goes on to say that a mix of these types is desirable, but that online communities need each type of members in different proportions as they grow and age. To that end the study says online communities have four life cycle stages:

1. Attraction

2. Build-up

3. Maintenance

4. Deterioration.

Please ensure that The Register can be considered to be well and truly in the second phase by going nuts with lots of comments from Types 1 to 5.

®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Facebook's Zuckerberg in EBOLA VIRUS FIGHT: Billionaire battles bug
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention contacted as site supremo coughs up
Space exploration is just so lame. NEW APPS are mankind's future
We feel obliged to point out the headline statement is total, utter cobblers
Win a year’s supply of chocolate (no tech knowledge required)
Over £200 worth of the good stuff up for grabs
Down-under record: Australian gets $140k for pussy
'Tiffany' closes deal - 'it's more common to offer your wife', says agent
Internet finally ready to replace answering machine cassette tape
It's a simple message and I'm leaving out the whistles and bells
Swiss wildlife park serves up furry residents to visitors
'It's ecological' says spokesman, now how would you like your Bambi done?
The iPAD launch BEFORE it happened: SPECULATIVE GUFF ahead of actual event
Nerve-shattering run-up to the pre-planned known event
STONER SHEEP get the MUNCHIES after feasting on £4k worth of cannabis plants
Baaaaaa! Fanny's Farm's woolly flock is high, maaaaaan
FedEx helps deliver THOUSANDS of spam messages DIRECT to its Blighty customers
Don't worry Wilson, I'll do all the paddling. You just hang on
Red Bull does NOT give you wings, $13.5m lawsuit says so
Website letting consumers claim $10 cash back crashes after stampede
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.