Feeds

The seven types of commentard

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

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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.

®

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
Criticism of Uber's journo-Data Analytics plan is an Attack on DIGITAL FREEDOM
First they came for Emil – and I'm damn well SPEAKING OUT
'It is comforting to know where your data centres are.' UK.GOV does NOT
Plus: Anons are 'wannabes', KKK says, before being pwned
Google's whois results say it's a lousy smut searcher
Run whois google.com or whois microsoft.com. We dare you, you PIG◙◙◙◙ER
Holy vintage vehicles! Earliest known official Batmobile goes on sale
Riddle me this: are you prepared to pay US$180k?
'Open source just means big companies can steal your code.' O RLY?
Plus: Flame of the Week returns, for one night only!
NEWSFLASH: It's time to ditch dullard Facebook chums
Everything hot in tech, courtesy of avian anchor Regina Eggbert
Hey, you, PHONE-FACE! Kickstarter in-car mobe mount will EMBED your phone into your MUG
Stick it on the steering wheel and wait for the airbag to fire
prev story

Whitepapers

10 ways wire data helps conquer IT complexity
IT teams can automatically detect problems across the IT environment, spot data theft, select unique pieces of transaction payloads to send to a data source, and more.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence
Download Choosing a Cloud Hosting Provider with Confidence to learn more about cloud computing - the new opportunities and new security challenges.