[Air-l] how to measure participation rates
Karim R. Lakhani
lakhani at MIT.EDU
Tue Dec 2 12:23:24 PST 2003
Interesting and very relevant question. As people have suggested it
will depend on the format of your data:
- web based discussion board
- email to web archive
all of those will require different tools for you to pull out the data
you care about. If it is web based - you may want to ask the
organization to give you access to the database that has this
information - thus you will avoid doing a whole lot of cutting and
pasting from the web to your analysis tool (probably excel).
If it is maillist based - you may be able to get access to the archives
- there will be specific headers you can mine to get the information you
In any case becoming friends with a good PERL programmer is a good idea.
PERL is a great language for text and data munging and often what
appear to be HUGE tasks for us non-programmers can be fairly trivial for
them. Look up a local PERL newsgroup in Greece and see if they can
point you to the right people (they tend to be fairly friendly).
As you mentioned, you will most definitely find a power-law relationship
in posting patterns - this should not be news - i guess you need to
perhaps explain why this is the case.
You may also want to examine if the frequent posters are initiating or
responding to threads - in my research on open source projects -
frequent posters are always responding and rarely initiate.
Here are two examples of papers where I did some similar analysis:
This one looks at user-to-user technical support on Usenet for Apache
This one looks at how people join and specialize in an open source project:
Karim R. Lakhani
MIT Sloan School of Management
The Boston Consulting Group, Strategy Practice Initiative
e-mail: karim.lakhani at sloan.mit.edu | lakhani.karim at bcg.com
http://opensource.mit.edu | http://freesoftware.mit.edu
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