[Air-l] how to measure participation rates

Carlo Hagemann c.hagemann at maw.kun.nl
Tue Dec 2 11:06:16 PST 2003

Hi Katerina,

I did a thing like that semi-manual. A bit boring maybe, but not 
impossible and I am definitely not a programmer.
Just like Nancy did, I used one text file. I made it so that every 
message was on a single line, with the AUTHOR (or so) tag in front.
I deleted everything that was not the author tag, and transferred the 
result of this to MS Excel.
In Excel I sorted, and then did some counting. I even computed a Lorenz 

If you want to know more about how I did this, I can send you the 
It takes some hours work to figure it all out (which I have done for you 
now ;-) ), but once you have done that, you can easily apply it to all 
the discussions you want.

Kind regards,

Carlo Hagemann

Katerina wrote:

> As part of my study of an online community I have to measure the 
> participation rates among participants, in a way similar to Nancy 
> Baym's in her classic study of the r.a.t.s online community. From my 
> participation and observation of this particular community so far, it 
> is obvious to me that most of the messages are contributed by a small 
> group of heavy users. However, I need to quantify it, measure it and 
> present it as a table containing percentages of posters and posts 
> contributed. My question is how can I do it? What is the method of 
> measuring these rates? Does it simply consist in noting down how many 
> messages each member writes? Prima facie that may look like an easy 
> procedure but once starting to do it it turns out to be extremely 
> difficult since this online community is made up of more than 20 
> conferences each one comprising more than 50 different topical 
> discussions. Overall the number of messages written every week is 
> enormous. Any ideas on how I can measure overall participatio rates of 
> such an environment?
> Thank you,
> K. Diamantaki
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