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Proceedings of the 2009 International Conference on Communities and Technologies

Fullname:Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Communities and Technologies
Editors:John M. Carroll
Location:University Park, Pennsylvania
Dates:2009-Jun-25 to 2009-Jun-27
Standard No:ISBN: 978-1-60558-713-4; ACM DL: Table of Contents; hcibib: CT09
Links:Conference Website | IISI Website
  1. Community knowledge
  2. Support and rapport
  3. Social capital
  4. Activism
  5. Socio-technical tools
  6. Development and regulation
  7. Reuse
  8. Communities of practice
  9. Placed community
  10. Social networking
  11. Privacy and personalization

Community knowledge

Toward an analytic framework for understanding and fostering peer-support communities in using and evolving software products BIBAFull-Text 1-10
  Andrew Gorman; Gerhard Fischer
The fundamental challenge for social computing is to contribute to fostering communities in which humans can transcend the limitation of the unaided, individual human mind by helping each other. Going beyond antidotal examples requires an analytical framework in which to interpret data in order to understand the context- and application-specific nature of these collaborations. We have studied peer-support communities (PSCs) in the context of the SAP Community Network (SCN), which relies on forums and conferences to support their collaboration.
   This research attempts to create a deeper understanding of the effectiveness of social support provided by peers in software development communities from the following perspectives: Responsiveness -- how responsive are communities to the needs of its members? Engagement Intensity -- how timely is the peer support? Role Distribution -- how wide is the participation of users and in what kind of roles do they participate? Reward System -- what is the impact of explicit reward (point) systems on community behavior?
   The data gained from analyzing these perspectives (and their comparison with open source software peer-support communities) has provided insights and led to an increased understanding of what works in PSCs. Here we articulate some initial design guidelines to further improve the potential benefits gained from these communities.
Measuring self-focus bias in community-maintained knowledge repositories BIBAFull-Text 11-20
  Brent Hecht; Darren Gergle
Self-focus is a novel way of understanding a type of bias in community-maintained Web 2.0 graph structures. It goes beyond previous measures of topical coverage bias by encapsulating both node- and edge-hosted biases in a single holistic measure of an entire community-maintained graph. We outline two methods to quantify self-focus, one of which is very computationally inexpensive, and present empirical evidence for the existence of self-focus using a "hyperlingual" approach that examines 15 different language editions of Wikipedia. We suggest applications of our methods and discuss the risks of ignoring self-focus bias in technological applications.
Understanding collective content: purposes, characteristics and collaborative practices BIBAFull-Text 21-30
  Thomas Olsson
User-created media content is being increasingly shared with the communities people belong to. The content has a role of a motivator in social interaction within the communities. In fact, the content creation and management can be often seen as a collective effort where group members participate to create common memories and maintain relationships. We studied how four communities interact with content that is collectively created and used, i.e. collective content. The aim was to explore communities' collaborative interaction activities and the purposes of the content to be able to specify what collective content actually is. We report users' motivations for creating the collective content and its role in community interaction. We determine the factors and characteristics by which collectivity (i.e. the extent to which something is collective) of the content can be described: the community's contribution, the relevance of the content and the level of sharing. Based on the results, we present a new dimension of collectivity for categorizing media content and thus being able to better illustrate the community aspects in content interaction.

Support and rapport

Supportive communication, sense of virtual community and health outcomes in online infertility groups BIBAFull-Text 31-40
  Jennifer L. Welbourne; Anita L. Blanchard; Marla D. Boughton
Women are turning to online health groups to deal with the stresses and complications of infertility. Online groups may provide a resource that is potentially absent in their face-to-face communities. This study examines how the sense of virtual community (SOVC) that develops in these groups serves as a buffer between perceived stress and physical health symptoms. A sample of 122 women from two virtual communities completed an online survey. Results show that observing the exchange of emotional support was positively related to SOVC while observing informational support was negatively related to SOVC. Further, SOVC was negatively related to physical health symptoms and additionally, served as a buffer between stress and physical health symptoms. Implications for SOVC and virtual health community research are discussed.
The community is where the rapport is -- on sense and structure in the YouTube community BIBAFull-Text 41-50
  Dana Rotman; Jennifer Golbeck; Jennifer Preece
YouTube is a video sharing repository, enabling users to post, share and discuss videos. Its stated mission is to create "an online video community"; however, YouTube is not commonly thought of as a community. Our aim in this study is to answer the question whether users have a "sense of community" towards YouTube, and if such feelings exist are they reflected in the explicit ties among members. To accomplish this, YouTube was examined using two different and complementing methods. Using Grounded Theory, we performed a detailed analysis of more than 30 videos and their corresponding textual comments, which discussed two topics: users' feelings about the YouTube community, and users' accounts of interaction within the community. We then performed a structural analysis on the ties these users display on their YouTube channels. This analysis showed that although users perceive YouTube to be a cohesive community, the explicit relationships in the friendship and subscription network are almost random. We suggest that users' sense of community is not necessarily related to the structure of the YouTube network, and may result from subjective affinity towards other users. This study also points out the importance of triangulating qualitative and quantitative data to get a deeper understanding of the nature of an online community.

Social capital

Social capital, social network and identity bonds: a reconceptualization BIBAFull-Text 51-60
  Hao Jiang; John M. Carroll
We argue that along with social network analysis, or approaches focusing on social ties and social networks, researchers in information science can also benefit from looking at the identity bonding perspective. In this paper, by synthetic and critical reviewing literature on related work from sociology and information science, we provide a new theoretical lens that calls attention to the role played by social identity in creating and increasing social capital.
Communities, technology, and civic intelligence BIBAFull-Text 61-70
  Douglas Schuler
In this paper, we ask what it would take to envision and support collective intelligence that was socially and environmentally ameliorative. To help answer that question we introduce the concept of "civic intelligence" as a manifestation of collective intelligence that could serve the needs of researchers and practitioners working at the intersection of communities and technology. We build a case for its importance and relevance, and provide several examples, and some preliminary models and frameworks. We also discuss implications for members of this community. We argue that an examination of the social context is critical and that a civic intelligence orientation surfaces important research questions. We present some thoughts on future projects that would help promote understanding about civic intelligence while improving it. Finally we present some choices before us as we move forward in an environment that is dynamic and uncertain.


Communities real and imagined: designing a communication system for Zimbabwean activists BIBAFull-Text 71-76
  Tad Hirsch
In this paper, I describe how various understandings of community activated the design of Dialup Radio, a mobile phone-based independent media distribution system for Zimbabwean civil society and human rights activists. I identify three distinct communities and discuss their influence on the design process. Finally, I consider the challenges activist designers face in simultaneously addressing the needs of present-day users and the imagined future communities their projects hope to create.
Empowering rural citizen journalism via web 2.0 technologies BIBAFull-Text 77-84
  Marco A. Figueiredo; Paola Prado; Mauro A. Câmara; Ana M. Albuquerque
Once acquainted with the modern information and communication tools made available with the advent of the Internet, five Brazilian rural communities participating in a pilot project to develop a self-sustaining telecenter model, engaged in citizen journalism using inexpensive digital video cameras. Community members used Web 2.0 collaborative tools to post short videos on the telecenter portal. The 95 video blogs published between September 2006 and May 2008 recorded various aspects of community life, including religious celebrations, oral history arts and crafts traditions, folklore, and environmental concerns. This study evaluates the impact of video blogging in these communities.
Technologies within transnational social activist communities: an ethnographic study of the European social forum BIBAFull-Text 85-94
  Saqib Saeed; Markus Rohde; Volker Wulf
ICT support for transnational social movements and civil society organizations is an important field of research: not only due to the increased political importance of this sector in a globalizing world but also due to their organizational characteristics. Transnational social movement organizations are typically characterized by a lack of resources, an absence of formal hierarchical structures, and differences in languages and culture among the activists. In order to design appropriate technological support for social activists' communities, it is important to understand their work practices which widely differ from traditional business organizations. This paper investigates into the organizational practices of the European Social Forum, in particular its 2008 meeting in Malmo, Sweden. We describe organizational practices in preparing and conducting the event. Since the goal of our research is directed towards enhancing the capabilities of social movements by means of ICT, we focus particularly on the usage of ICT.

Socio-technical tools

The conference room as a toolbox: technological and social routines in corporate meeting spaces BIBAFull-Text 95-104
  Christopher Plaue; John Stasko; Mark Baloga
HCI, CSCW, and ubicomp researchers have developed new technologies and interaction techniques to support collaboration, ranging from electronic whiteboards to software supporting display sharing. However, very few longitudinal studies have explored the technological and social routines of individuals using personal devices in conjunction with shared displays under authentic settings in meeting rooms. We extend previous work in this area by studying routines within two multi-purpose meeting spaces at two design and manufacturing-oriented corporations, with particular emphasis on the shared display found in each location.
   Our contribution to this space is a holistic approach to understanding the dynamics between people, devices, information, and the physical environment of meeting spaces. We argue that while it is important to improve technological infrastructures, such as enhancing display sharing abilities, understanding the social and technology routines that currently support collaboration are beneficial to technology designers aiming to enhance existing practices. In this paper, we analyze the routines occurring in these two spaces and discuss several routines that are impacted not only by technological limitations, but social conventions. We explore the types of interaction with devices and displays and identify other factors that contribute to the communities of information -- items discussed, presented, or displayed -- within these environments. To further explore the integrity of these routines, we introduced a second shared display to each space and observed groups responding very differently to the new technology, some integrating it into their routines while others dismissed it. We argue that meeting spaces need to be toolboxes containing many tools, some redundant, to successfully support information sharing routines.
Experiential role of artefacts in cooperative design BIBAFull-Text 105-114
  Dhaval Vyas; Dirk Heylen; Anton Nijholt; Gerrit van der Veer
The role of material artefacts in supporting distributed and co-located work practices has been well acknowledged within HCI and CSCW research. In this paper, we show that in addition to their ecological, coordinative and organizational support, artefacts also play an 'experiential' role. In this case, artefacts not only improve efficiency or have a purely functional role (e.g. allowing people to complete tasks quickly), but the materiality, use and manifestations of these artefacts bring quality and richness to people's performance and help them make better sense of their everyday lives. In a domain such as industrial design, such artefacts play an important role for supporting creativity and innovation. Based on our ethnographic fieldwork on understanding cooperative design practices of industrial design students and researchers, we describe several experiential practices that are supported by design-related artefacts such as sketches, drawings, physical models and explorative prototypes -- used and developed in designers' everyday work. Our main intention in carrying out this kind of research is to develop technologies to support designers' everyday practices. We believe that with the emergence of ubiquitous computing, there is a growing need to focus on the personal, social and creative side of people's everyday experiences. By focusing on the experiential practices of designers, we can provide a much broader view in the design of new interactive technologies.
Active artifacts as bridges between context and community knowledge sources BIBAFull-Text 115-124
  Federico Cabitza; Carla Simone
The aim of the paper is twofold: i) understanding how to provide additional information that is reflective of current organizational context in knowledge production and use; ii) proposing an architectural solution that can be applied to this need. To this aim, we introduce the concept of Active Knowledge Artifact (KA), i.e., an electronically augmented (i.e., active) artifact that puts together the archival functions of artifacts belonging to organizational ISs with context- and content-aware functionalities to promote collaboration awareness and support knowledge management. Through a case study in the hospital domain, we illustrate an approach where documents are augmented with information intended to support context interpretation and evoke the knowledge that actors need to coordinate their actions in that context. The autonomous provision of Awareness Promoting Information (API) and Knowledge Evoking Information (KEI) by means of modular and reactive mechanisms embedded in each KA is what makes KAs active computationally.

Development and regulation

wConnect: a Facebook-based developmental learning community to support women in information technology BIBAFull-Text 125-134
  Mary Beth Rosson; John M. Carroll; Dejin Zhao; Timothy Paone
The under-representation of women in computer and information science (CIS) has created a crisis in availability of qualified CIS professionals and diversity of perspectives. Many interventions are being explored but these are primarily institutional programs like curriculum enhancements and mentoring. We describe wConnect, a developmental learning community that leverages social relations and social networking software to support women in CIS. This is a practical issue of some urgency that presents an opportunity for community informatics to impact the CIS profession. We report our progress and lessons learned, so that other organizations can initiate similar outreach activities.
And the ringleaders were banned: an examination of protest in virtual worlds BIBAFull-Text 135-144
  Bridget M. Blodgett
Protest has made the jump between the offline and the online spaces and is frequently used in most virtual worlds available today. Despite the frequency of these protest actions in virtual worlds, and their similarities to offline protest actions, further research is needed to see how the adaptation to a virtual environment changes the protest. This research uses case studies to examine several major protest actions that have occurred in several different virtual worlds over the last 10 years. The author finds that the use of the technology in virtual world enables very different methods of protest. She makes the argument that these differences are large enough that they require a deeper exploration and grounding in theoretical models for the field to grow into its potential.
Hometown websites: continuous maintenance of cross-border connections BIBAFull-Text 145-154
  Luis A. Castro; Victor M. Gonzalez
Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) become particularly relevant in contexts where place-based communities get dispersed and migrants look for ways to keep strong connections to the homeland. This paper presents the case of a website currently being used by migrants and non-migrants of a dispersed community to keep in touch with each other as well as to keep connected with daily life in their hometown. In particular, this work aims to understand the main types of information conveyed as well as temporal patterns of community exchanges as afforded by the website. This work analyses and classifies Guestbook entries, Photos and News notes suggesting that people use the site to reconnect, strengthen their local identity and be part of community life. We found out that user-generated content tend to increase during periods when there are fewer visits to the website. Results presented here are relevant towards understanding the nature and role played by ICTs in maintaining cross-border connections.


Overhearing the crowd: an empirical examination of conversation reuse in a technical support community BIBAFull-Text 155-164
  Derek L. Hansen
This paper describes a mixed method, empirical analysis of conversation reuse in an online technical support community. I find that the same characteristics that make the conversation successful (its highly personal, immediate, and socially engaging nature) make reuse of the conversation problematic. The archived discussion and wiki are reused to satisfy an immediate need, while the ongoing conversation is reused to help learn the practice. Use of the discussion archive and wiki repository are compared, showing benefits of the decontextualized, distilled wiki content for reuse. Implications of the findings on the design of "reuser friendly" tools and strategies are discussed.
An analysis of the social structure of remix culture BIBAFull-Text 165-174
  Giorgos Cheliotis; Jude Yew
We present findings from our study of a music sharing and remixing community in an effort to quantify and understand the structural characteristics of commons-based peer production for products of aesthetic/cultural or entertainment value. We also provide a normative perspective on the strategies that such communities should employ with respect to the use of 'remixing contests', which are popular means of attracting new user-creators to the community and boosting its creative output. Until now research has shied away from the quantitative study of what lies at the heart of this 'remix culture', i.e. remixing, presumably because of the difficulties inherent in attaining relevant large datasets amenable to numerical analysis and an early focus of research efforts on communities whose products serve a more functional purpose (e.g., open source software), rather than aiming at entertainment or personal and artistic expression. This paper contributes to the literature of social network analysis of online communities, the literature on commons-based peer production, and the research agenda of cultural analytics.
Spinning online: a case study of internet broadcasting by DJs BIBAFull-Text 175-184
  David A. Shamma; Elizabeth F. Churchill; Nikhil Bobb; Matt Fukuda
Personal video streaming websites have become common on the Internet. They are increasingly used by broadcasters, bands, and entertainers as performance spaces and community gathering places for "fans". In order to understand how such live broadcasting sites fare as venues for gigs and for the maintenance of fan communities, we studied a video streaming site that is home to a vibrant DJ community. We spent time as audience members, analyzed site usage data, interviewed and charted the online presence of DJs who perform regularly on the, and talked with the site designers about their vision for the site. We found DJs use a number of tools to maintain close connections with three communities -- their peers, with sources for new music and for related show content, and with their fans. When streaming live performances, DJs use visual interface cues to gauge audience reaction and tailor their sets accordingly. DJs talked about the broadcast channel as 'a place', and reported close social connection with invited and regular audience members. We conclude our paper with observations regarding the nature of community involvement on performance centered webcasting sites.

Communities of practice

Supporting community engagement in the city: urban planning in the MR-tent BIBAFull-Text 185-194
  Ina Wagner; Maria Basile; Lisa Ehrenstrasser; Valérie Maquil; Jean-Jacques Terrin; Mira Wagner
Urban design today faces complex demands. It has become a necessity to negotiate between stakeholder objectives, the expectations of citizens, and the demands of planning. In this paper we describe how we use a set of participatory technologies in combination with methods for preparing and enabling a heterogeneous group of participants to create a vision of an urban project. Our observations show how space, materials, and different types of content affect participants' collaboration and their debate of the urban issues. We discuss how these participatory technologies and events may help build a community of practice around an urban project.
Conversations in developer communities: a preliminary analysis of the yahoo! pipes community BIBAFull-Text 195-204
  M. Cameron Jones; Elizabeth F. Churchill
In this paper we describe several issues end-users may face when developing web mashup applications in visual language tools like Yahoo! Pipes. We explore how these problems manifest themselves in the conversations users have in the associated discussion forums, and examine the community practices and processes at work in collaborative debugging, and problem solving. We have noticed two valences of engagement in the community: core and peripheral. Core engagement involves active question asking and answering and contribution of example content. Peripheral engagement refers to those who read but don't post, and those who post legitimate questions and content, but whose posts receive no response. We consider what the characteristics are of each of these groups, why there is such a strong divide, and how the periphery functions in the community process.
Makumba: the role of the technology for the sustainability of amateur programming practice and community BIBAFull-Text 205-214
  Cristian Bogdan; Rudolf Mayer
We address the issue of sustainability of practice, which we regard as crucial for the sustainability of the community at large. In the absence of material reward, sustaining a specialized activity such as programming is not trivial especially when members move often in and out of the community. Our case is the group of voluntary, amateur student programmers from a European-wide student organization. We present this setting as an Amateur Community and as a Community of Practice, and show how such framing helps in understanding sustainability of practice. Although being totally voluntary and managing a large intranet, the group has been thriving for six years. To explain such high practice sustainability we examine the role of the technology framework used by the group during this time. We then propose a more general framework for understanding practice sustainability in the context of amateur communities of practice.

Placed community

Facilitating participatory decision-making in local communities through map-based online discussion BIBAFull-Text 215-224
  Bo Yu; Guoray Cai
GIS has been widely used for supporting decision-making in local communities. However, limited studies have been conducted to use maps directly as a communication tool to support community discussion. In this paper, we explore the potential of using geospatial annotations to facilitate map-based online discussion in local communities. We developed a prototype system, which explicitly links participants' discussion contributions with geographic references. The system is based on conceptual understanding of map-based discussion space, which guides the generation of system requirements. We demonstrate the utility of such systems by a hypothetical scenario of building a Smoke-Free campus in a university community.
Supporting community in third places with situated social software BIBAFull-Text 225-234
  Joseph F. McCarthy; Shelly D. Farnham; Yogi Patel; Sameer Ahuja; Daniel Norman; William R. Hazlewood; Josh Lind
The Community Collage (CoCollage) is designed to cultivate community in a café, a quintessential "third place", by bringing the richness of online social software into a physical community space. The system shows photos and quotes uploaded to a web site by café patrons and staff on a large computer display in the café, providing a new channel for awareness, interactions and relationships among people there. We describe the CoCollage system and report on insights and experiences resulting from a 2-month deployment of the system, focusing on the impact the system has had on the sense of community within the café.

Social networking

Leveraging social software for social networking and community development at events BIBAFull-Text 235-244
  Shelly D. Farnham; Peter T. Brown; Jordan L. K. Schwartz
Professional networking is a primary goal of people attending conferences and events. Over the past year we have developed an online social networking and community tool for events, Pathable, to help attendees meet the right people. Pathable provides an online directory of attendee profiles, communication tools, and a recommendation system optimized to help people find each other based on commonalities. We performed a questionnaire study at a pathable-enabled event to assess the importance of social networking, and found that quality of conversations and sense of community were strong predictors of who said they would return year after year. In addition, the more people used Pathable to meet others at the event, the greater their event attachment and sense of community. Based on lessons learned from an overview of seventeen Pathable-enabled events, we provide guidelines for leveraging social software to optimize professional networking and community development at events.
Bowling online: social networking and social capital within the organization BIBAFull-Text 245-254
  Charles Steinfield; Joan M. DiMicco; Nicole B. Ellison; Cliff Lampe
Within an organizational setting, social capital facilitates knowledge management processes in that it enables individuals to locate useful information, draw on resources and make contributions to the network. This paper explores the relationship between various dimensions of organizational social capital and the use of an internal social network site (SNS). We hypothesize that the use of a SNS contributes to social capital within the organization in that SNS users are able to maintain larger networks of heterogeneous contacts. Additionally, the affordances of the site support social interaction between users, thus helping individuals maintain existing relationships and deepen developing ones. We find that bonding relationships, sense of corporate citizenship, interest in connecting globally, and access to new people and expertise are all associated with greater intensity of use of the social network site.
Analyzing (social media) networks with NodeXL BIBAFull-Text 255-264
  Marc A. Smith; Ben Shneiderman; Natasa Milic-Frayling; Eduarda Mendes Rodrigues; Vladimir Barash; Cody Dunne; Tony Capone; Adam Perer; Eric Gleave
We present NodeXL, an extendible toolkit for network overview, discovery and exploration implemented as an add-in to the Microsoft Excel 2007 spreadsheet software. We demonstrate NodeXL data analysis and visualization features with a social media data sample drawn from an enterprise intranet social network. A sequence of NodeXL operations from data import to computation of network statistics and refinement of network visualization through sorting, filtering, and clustering functions is described. These operations reveal sociologically relevant differences in the patterns of interconnection among employee participants in the social media space. The tool and method can be broadly applied.

Privacy and personalization

Information revelation and internet privacy concerns on social network sites: a case study of Facebook BIBAFull-Text 265-274
  Alyson L. Young; Anabel Quan-Haase
Despite concerns raised about the disclosure of personal information on social network sites, research has demonstrated that users continue to disclose personal information. The present study employs surveys and interviews to examine the factors that influence university students to disclose personal information on Facebook. Moreover, we study the strategies students have developed to protect themselves against privacy threats. The results show that personal network size was positively associated with information revelation, no association was found between concern about unwanted audiences and information revelation and finally, students' Internet privacy concerns and information revelation were negatively associated. The privacy protection strategies employed most often were the exclusion of personal information, the use of private email messages, and altering the default privacy settings. Based on our findings, we propose a model of information revelation and draw conclusions for theories of identity expression.
How much do you tell?: information disclosure behaviour indifferent types of online communities BIBAFull-Text 275-284
  Johann Schrammel; Christina Köffel; Manfred Tscheligi
Online communities of different types have become an important part of the internet life of many people within the last couple of years. Both research and business have shown interest in studying the possibilities and risks of these relatively new phenomena. Very controversial aspects of these communities are their implications and effects on privacy issues, as research has shown that users generally provide information rather freely on such communities. However, no systematic comparison of differences in information disclosure behavior considering different types of communities is available. Furthermore only few is known about the information disclosure behavior related to demographic variables, usage contexts and usage patterns. To better understand these aspects of online communities we conducted an online survey that questioned users of various popular online communities about their information disclosure behavior and usage patterns of these sites. More than 850 users responded to our questionnaire. In this paper we present the main results of the analysis and provide linear regression models that allow understanding the involved factors in detail.
Please help!: patterns of personalization in an online tech support board BIBAFull-Text 285-294
  Sarita Yardi; Erika Shehan Poole
We analyze help-seeking strategies in two large tech support boards and observe a number of previously unreported differences between tech support boards and other types of online communities. Tech support boards are organized around technical topics and consumer products, yet the types of help people seek online are often grounded in deeply personal experiences. Family, holidays, school, and other personal contexts influence the types of help people seek online. We examine the nature of these personal contexts and offer ways of inferring need-based communities in tech support boards in order to better support users seeking technical help online.