[Air-l] case studies of mailinglists

Quentin (Gad) Jones qgjones at acm.org
Thu May 23 10:02:01 PDT 2002

Ben Davidson wrote:
> Quentin,
> First, what are 'non-linear feedback loops' 

Non-Linear Systems are Systems which are not characterizable by linear
or first-order equations, but are governed by any variety of complex,
reciprocal relationships, or feedback loops.

In the case of online discourse in places like email lists, newsgroups
etc. it works as follows: An increase in the membership of a virtual
public will probably result in an increase in virtual public
communication and communication load. Communication load being the
processing effort required by users to deal with a set of
communications. However, it will not be possible for individuals to
expand their involvement in virtual public communication indefinitely
because of limits to the resources available to them to process group
communication. Once virtual public communication becomes unmanageable or
incoherent to individuals, then, the pattern of their involvement will
alter, which in turn will impact on subsequent discourse dynamics.  In
taking this approach, it can be seen that the notion of communication
loads abstracts the individual idea of information overload to the group

> and what is 'asymptote'?

asymptote n. a straight line that is closely approached by a plane curve
so that the perpendicular distance between them decreases to near zero
as the distance from the origin increases to infinity.[C17: from Greek
asumpt tos not falling together, from A-1 + SYN- + ptotos inclined to
fall, from piptein to fall]

> > The Boundaries of Virtual Communities:
> > From Virtual Settlements to the Discourse Dynamics of Virtual Publics
> > By: Quentin (Gad) Jones

> I'd like to read more.  Is the PhD online anywhere?

I haven't put the entire thesis online yet because I have just started a
new job and because I am thinking through advice I have received not to
put the entire work online (It is 250+ 10 point single spaced).  I am
also thinking about turning it into a book.  

Various related papers do exist which I am happy to forward to anybody
that is interested including:

Jones Q., Ravid G., and Rafaeli S. "Mass Interaction, Information
Overload and Computer Mediated Communication Tools": Submitted to
Information Systems Research, March 2002. 

Jones Q., Ravid G., and Rafaeli S. (2002). "An Empirical Exploration of
Mass Interaction System Dynamics: Individual Information Overload and
Usenet Discourse." In: Proceedings of the 35rd Annual Hawaii
International Conference on System Sciences, IEEE, Big Island, Hawaii.

Jones Q., Ravid G., and Rafaeli S. (2001) "Empirical Evidence of
Information Overload in Mass Interaction." Proceedings of CHI'2001. The
ACM's Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Seattle, USA.
ACM Press.

Jones Q., and S. Rafaeli (2000). Time to Split, Virtually: 'Discourse
Architecture' and 'Community Building' as means to Creating Vibrant
Virtual Publics. Electronic Markets: The International Journal of
Electronic Commerce and Business Media. 10(4) 214-223.

Jones Q., and S., Rafaeli. (2000). What do virtual 'Tells' tell? Placing
cybersociety research into a hierarchy of social explanation. In:
Proceedings of the 33rd Hawaii International Conference on System
Sciences, (HICSS), Hawaii, IEEE Press.  *** arguments modified and
improved upon substaintually in the PhD thesis". 

Jones Q., and Rafaeli. S., (1999) "User Population and User
Contributions to Virtual Publics: A Systems Model." Proceedings of the
ACM International Conference on Supporting Group Work (Group99).
Phoenix, Arizona, USA, ACM Press. *** early and immature **** 

Jones Q., (1997) "Virtual-Communities, Virtual-Settlements &
Cyber-Archaeology: a theoretical outline." Journal of Computer Mediated
Communication.  Vol 3., Issue 3., Dec.

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