Systemic Reciprocal Rewards: Motivating Expert Participation in Online Communities with a Novel Class of Incentives

Systemic Reciprocal Rewards: Motivating Expert Participation in Online Communities with a Novel Class of Incentives

David DeAngelis (Center for Identity, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, USA) and Suzanne Barber (Center for Identity, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, USA)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 21
DOI: 10.4018/ijats.2014040102
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Abstract

Online communities such as question and answer (QA) systems are growing rapidly and we increasingly rely on them for valuable information and entertainment. However, finding meaningful rewards to motivate participation from the most qualified users, or experts, presents researchers with two main challenges: identifying these users and (2) rewarding their participation. Using an interdisciplinary theoretical framework, we illustrate possibilities for identifying and motivating the most valuable contributors to online communities. We suggest that access to peer-generated content can directly motivate people to apply their own expertise, thereby generating more content. Survey data from 380 participants suggests that users strongly prefer a novel class of incentives—reciprocal systemic rewards—to traditional achievement-based rewards. Overall, this research presents important considerations for many different types of online communities, including social networking and news aggregation sites.
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A Closer Look At Qa Systems

An online QA system is a prime example of a peer production system (Leadbeater, 2008). In a QA system, a self-organized community emerges, and the producers of content are also the consumers. These communities allow each user to create an online identity. Through contributions to the site, users build a reputation through the collective whole of other users. This reputation and its associated measure of trust form the essence of an online community.

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