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Proceedings of the 2005 International Conference on Communities and Technologies

Fullname:C&T 2005: Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Communities and Technologies
Editors:Peter Van den Besselaar; Giorgio De Michelis; Jenny Preece; Carla Simone
Location:Milano, Italy
Dates:2005-Jun-13 to 2005-Jun-16
Publisher:Springer
Standard No:DOI: 10.1007/1-4020-3591-8; hcibib: CT05; ISBN: 978-1-4020-3590-6 (print), 978-1-4020-3591-3 (online)
Papers:23
Pages:467
Links:Online Proceedings | Book Information | Online Proceedings
  1. Local Communities
  2. Virtual Communities
  3. Knowledge & Scientific Communities
  4. Experiments
  5. Systems

Local Communities

Does the Internet Enhance the Capacity of Community Associations? BIBAPDFFull-Text 1-18
  Christopher Weare; William E. Loges; Nail Oztas
We employ a social network approach to explore the Internet's impact on the capacity of community associations. We focus on how increased e-mail use affects the cohesion and democratic character of associations, and operationalize these concepts employing the standard social network measures of density and centralization. The analysis employs network data from 41 community associations that are comparable on a variety of factors, but which vary in their use of the Internet. It finds that the technological nature of e-mail as well as the background and interests of its users matter. Members of community associations do consider e-mail to be a distinctive communication mode and employ it differently from other modes such as phone and face-to-face communication. Increased use of e-mail is found to be associated with increased network density, a critical support for collective action. In contrast, increased e-mail use can either lead to increased or decreased network centralization, an indicator of the degree to which associational activities provide opportunities for the development of civic skills. In associations with relatively similar levels of e-mail use among members, the technology leads to more decentralized communication patterns, but in associations with disparate reliance on e-mail, e-mail use is associated with increased centralization.
Information Technology in Support of Public Deliberation BIBAPDFFull-Text 19-40
  Andrea L. Kavanaugh; Philip L. Isenhour; Matthew Cooper; John M. Carroll; Mary Beth Rosson; Joseph Schmitz
Increased citizen-to-citizen discussion and deliberation is an important potential of digital government initiatives. This paper presents findings from a longitudinal study of such outcomes using household survey data, focus groups and one-on-one interviews from a mature community network -- the Blacksburg Electronic Village (BEV) in Blacksburg, Virginia, and surrounding Montgomery County. It addresses the questions of who is using computer networking for civic participation, what impact the Internet has on their involvement with other people and local community, and the design problems that citizens experience with local e-government initiatives. A pattern of Internet use is emerging in which local formal and ad hoc groups of interested citizens distribute information on issues of interest among themselves and use online tools to raise awareness and educate, and under some circumstances to deliberate on public policy. Modified tools are suggested to facilitate deliberation and to integrate citizen feedback more effectively into local government decision-making.
Local Communities: Relationships between 'real' and 'virtual' social capital BIBAPDFFull-Text 41-53
  Sonia Liff
The paper explores forms of 'real' and 'virtual' social capital within a geographical area of the UK comprising 65 'communities'. Measures of real social capital based on formal community organisations were compared with web-activity relating to the same communities. Three main types of websites were identified: first a local government scheme which created 'identikit' websites for each of the places which could then be taken up by local people; second a similar scheme operated by a private company and covering the whole of the UK; and third independent, bottom up sites created by social entrepreneurs or community groups. Numbers and forms of organisations and websites, and levels and forms of community web-based participation were measured for each community at two points in 2004. The analysis suggests no strong correlation between these measures of real and virtual social capital. The analysis further suggests that providing a ready made website rarely results in the creation of a developed community site -- although it may provide outlets for more limited information exchanges. However bottom up sites which reflect the heterogeneity of real communities are also rare. Interviews with participants suggest the need to understand more about the social networks, practices and organisational forms that sustain community engagement with community websites.
Extending Social Constructivism with Institutional Theory: A Broadband Civic Networking Case BIBAPDFFull-Text 55-74
  Murali Venkatesh; Dong Hee Shin
A longitudinal study of broadband civic network design is analyzed using social construction of technology (SCOT) approach and then through the lens of institutional theory. SCOT is useful to show how artifacts take on the forms they do; institutional theory, by locating (design) action in a cultural, historical and structural context can complement SCOT by explaining why they tend to assume certain forms. Broadband civic networking initiatives often have mixed goals: ensuring financial viability and realizing normative social aims. In the present case, this tension was resolved by fitting the network's technological and social form to a criterion of legitimacy prevailing among power centers in the broader field; this succeeded in eliciting necessary financial resources to sustain the network, but at the expense of the project's normative aims. Institutional approaches theorize the relation of cultural ideas and social structure, and that of structure and social action, to interrogate micro-politics of social constructions and the (intended/unintended) forms they assume. To engage the Why question, constructivists need to theorize action. Sociological institutional theory offers pointers.
Minimalist Design for Informal Learning in Community Computing BIBAPDFFull-Text 75-94
  Mary Beth Rosson; John M. Carroll
We discuss the role and characteristics of informal learning in a community computing context. We argue that minimalist design can be adapted to the needs of community computing, and that its principles can be used to envision and develop community activities and technologies that promote active learning. We illustrate these ideas with several community computing projects that exemplify how to embed learning in meaningful activities, enable learners to make progress quickly, promote thinking and inference, evoke and leverage prior knowledge, and support error recognition and recovery. We conclude with a discussion of how minimalism might be used more broadly to guide the design of community computing systems and activities.

Virtual Communities

Virtual Community Management as Socialization and Learning BIBAPDFFull-Text 95-110
  Daniel Pargman
How does a (virtual) community thrive and survive over time? From having studied a thirteen-year old Swedish-language adventure mud, I here suggest that our understanding of the answer has to be built on a social theory of learning that takes into account that learning has to do with community, practice, meaning and identity. Making a "career" in a community of practice can be regarded as a movement from the periphery to the core, a movement from being a novice to becoming an expert in the activities that are central to the community. On that journey, the individual is over time "configured" into learning how to act, reason and think about the community in the right way.
File-Sharing Relationships -- conflicts of interest in online gift-giving BIBAPDFFull-Text 111-127
  Jörgen Skågeby; Daniel Pargman
This paper suggests a relationship model for describing, analyzing and foreseeing conflicts of interest in file-sharing networks. The model includes levels of relationship ranging from the individual (ego), to the small group of close peers (micro), to a larger network of acquaintances (meso) to the anonymous larger network (macro). It is argued that an important focal point for analysis of cooperation and conflict is situated in the relations between these levels. Three examples of conflicts from a studied file-sharing network are presented. Finally, the relationship model is discussed in terms of applicability to other domains, recreational as well as professional.
Acceptance and Utility of a Systematically Designed Virtual Community for Cancer Patients BIBAPDFFull-Text 129-148
  Jan Marco Leimeister; Helmut Krcmar
Virtual Communities (VCs) offer ubiquitous access to information and exchange possibilities for people in similar circumstances. This is especially valuable for patients with chronic / life-threatening diseases as they exhibit strong needs for information and interaction. Grounded on the preceding findings of the analysis on the user-centric construction of the VC krebsgemeinschaft.de, this article describes the evaluation of the underlying design elements and success factors by assessing the user's acceptance and usage of the site. The results obtained empirically substantiated insights into the systematic development and operation of VCs in general and for a subgroup of cancer patients in the German healthcare system in particular.
How to win a World Election: Emergent Leadership in an International Online Community BIBPDFFull-Text 149-169
  Justine Cassell; David Huffaker; Dona Tversky; Kim Ferriman
A Bosom Buddy afar brings a Distant Land near: are Bloggers a Global Community? BIBAPDFFull-Text 171-190
  Norman Makoto Su; Yang Wang; Gloria Mark; Tosin Aieylokun; Tadashi Nakano
Information communication technologies on the Internet such as Usenet, Internet relay chats and multi-user dungeons have been used to enable virtual communities. However, a new form of technology, the weblog, or "blog", has quickly risen as a means for self-expression and sharing knowledge for people across geographic distance. Though studies have focused on blogs in Western countries, our study targets the global blogging community. Inspired by previous studies that show significant differences in technology practices across cultures, we conducted a survey to investigate the influence of regional culture on a blogging community. We asked the research question of whether bloggers are more influenced by their local cultures with respect to their sense of community, or rather whether a "universal" Internet culture is a stronger influence of community feeling. Our results, based on a multilingual worldwide blogging survey of 1232 participants from four continents show that while smaller differences could be found between Eastern and Western cultures, overall the global blogging community is indeed dominated by an Internet culture that shows no profound differences across cultures. However, one significant exception was found in Japanese bloggers and their concealment of identity.

Knowledge & Scientific Communities

Archetypes of Knowledge Communities BIBAPDFFull-Text 191-213
  J. H. Erik Andriessen
Knowledge sharing communities can be found in many organizations, but their forms and functions appear to be quite diverse. This implies that questions concerning the functioning of communities, (how do they work) and questions concerning success conditions (how to organize and facilitate them) cannot be answered in a general way. The purpose of this article is to develop the theory in this area by discovering basic dimensions along which communities differ, and by identifying basic types of knowledge communities, underlying the diversity of knowledge sharing groups. Through an analysis of the literature and of a series of communities in large organizations, two basic dimensions and five archetypes of knowledge communities are identified.
Local Virtuality in an Organization: Implications for Community of Practice BIBAPDFFull-Text 215-238
  Anabel Quan-Haase; Barry Wellman
We focus on two phenomena in our case study of a high-tech firm. Local virtuality: The pervasive use of computer mediated communication for interaction with physical proximate people, even when located near-by. Hyperconnectivity: The instant availability of people for communication anywhere and anytime. We show that computer mediated communication has gone beyond long-distance media to be the predominant mode of communication. The result is a high level of trust and community, especially in a department with high interdependence and a common goal.
Taking a Differentiated View of Intra-organizational Distributed Networks of Practice: A Case Study Exploring Knowledge Activities, Diversity, and Communication Media Use BIBAPDFFull-Text 239-261
  Eli Hustad; Robin Teigland
This study examines distributed networks of practice in a multinational organization in the energy and marine insurance industry. By taking a differentiated view of intra-organizational networks of practice, we identified three main categories of intra-organizational distributed networks of practice in terms of their primary knowledge activities -- knowledge sharing, incremental knowledge creation, and radical knowledge creation. We then compared the networks along two dimensions: 1) the degree of diversity among network participants and 2) the communication media used by the network participants. Findings suggest that a higher degree of diversity is related to a higher degree of knowledge creation activities, but too much diversity may be restrictive when the primary activity is radical innovation. In addition, media use findings indicated an unexpected reverse relationship in which networks of practice with high task equivocality used leaner media than networks with less task equivocality. The results also indicate that the degree of diversity of a network's members may influence media use. Finally, support is found for second level media effects of media choice within the networks of practice, such as the degree to which individuals in the core of the network of practice may protect their domain.
Structuring of Genre Repertoire in a Virtual Research Team BIBAPDFFull-Text 263-282
  Roberto Dandi; Caterina Muzzi
Genres are considered "as socially recognized types of communicative actions that are habitually enacted by members of a community to realize particular social purposes" (Orlikowski and Yates, 1994, p. 542). This paper studies the evolution of an email-based genre repertoire and examines whether it is related to the degree of complexity associated to different tasks and to the phases of group development. The analysis focuses on the case of an international research team involved in a European project that uses mainly e-mail and other CMC technologies in order to execute different kinds of tasks.
Principles for Cultivating Scientific Communities of Practice BIBAPDFFull-Text 283-299
  Andrea Kienle; Martin Wessner
Scientific communities can be seen as a specific type of Communities of Practice (CoP). In this paper we analyze scientific communities from the CoP point of view. We show how models and design principles from CoP can be interpreted and adapted for scientific communities. Taking the CSCL (Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning) community as an example, we instantiate the adapted design principles and trace the development of this community based on an analysis of its first decade of existence (1995-2005). This analysis includes an analysis of CSCL conference proceedings and an analysis of the lists of participants and program committee members of CSCL conferences.
A study of Online Discussions in an Open-Source Software Community: Reconstructing Thematic Coherence and Argumentation from Quotation Practices BIBAPDFFull-Text 301-320
  Flore Barcellini; Françoise Détienne; Jean-Marie Burkhardt; Warren Sack
This paper presents an analysis of online discussions in Open Source Software (OSS) design. The objective of our work is twofold. First, our research aims to understand and model the dynamics of OSS design that take place in mailing list exchanges. Second, our more long term objective is to develop tools to assist OSS developers to extract and reconstruct design relevant information from previous discussions. We show how quotation practices can be used to locate design relevant data in discussion archives. OSS developers use quotation as a mechanism to maintain the discursive context. To retrace thematic coherence in the online discussions of a major OSS project, Python, we follow how messages are linked through quotation practices. We compare our quotation-based analysis with a more conventional, thread-based analysis of the (reply-to) links between messages. The advantages of a quotation-based analysis over a thread-based analysis are outlined. Our approach provides a means to analyze argumentation and design rationales and promises a novel means to discover design relevant information in the archives of online discussions. Our analysis reveals also the links between the social structure and elements in the discussion space and how it shapes influence in the design process.

Experiments

Citizen Participation through E-Forum: A Case of Wastewater Issues BIBAPDFFull-Text 321-339
  Vatcharaporn Esichaikul; Valailak Komolrit
To promote democracy, governments have encouraged citizens to voice their opinions on a number of issues. In this paper, the Government-to-Citizen (G2C) aspect of electronic government, focuses on Citizen Relationship Management (CzRM). The highest stage of evolution in CzRM is participative democracy. One channel to promote participative democracy is through e-forums, which can enable a government to become "citizen-centric" to reflect the concept of good governance. In Thailand, e-forums have never been used as a formal consultative channel with citizens. The government has yet to organize a formal e-forum to consult citizens as it has done in off-line public hearings. In this research, a prototype of government e-forum was developed and evaluated. The application of the e-forum is to conduct an online hearing on wastewater issues.
E-Commerce, Communities and Government: A Snapshot of the Australian Experience BIBAPDFFull-Text 341-357
  Andrea Howell; Milé Terziovski
This paper is based on a research study of 12 local government councils in Australia funded by the Victorian e-Commerce Early Movers Assistance Scheme. (VEEM). Multiple cross-case content analyses were used to identify the underpinning themes in the study sample. It was found that the VEEM scheme was successful in raising awareness of e-Commerce within the community, however there is a wide disparity in local government readiness for e-Commerce and community demand for e-Commerce. In order to accelerate the take-up of e-Commerce practices and technologies within communities, the tripartite relationship between State and Local government and the community is considered critical in diffusing e-Commerce. Specifically, the tripartite relationship should support raising awareness of e-commerce, and encouraging adoption of e-commerce.
Collective Action in Electronic Networks of Practice: An Empirical Study of Three Online Social Structures BIBAPDFFull-Text 359-375
  Fredric Landqvist; Robin Teigland
Electronic networks of practice are computer-mediated social spaces in which individuals working on similar problems self-organize to help each other and share perspectives. Based on previous research positing that the interaction created by network participants produces an online public good of knowledge, the purpose of this empirical paper is to use theories of public goods and collective action to investigate this provision of knowledge. While based on the same technology platform and a similar concept, we examine three cases in different professions: education, healthcare, and tourism by examining how the 1) heterogeneity of the individuals, 2) relational structure of social ties, 3) norms of behavior, 4) affective factors, and 5) sanctions for noncompliance impact the creation of a public good. We find that the most successful effort to create an electronic network of practice was within education and that one contributing factor was the site's ability to leverage existing offline networks of practice to create a relational structure of stronger social ties between members. In summary, these results reveal that taking a unitary view of the underlying collective masks possible heterogeneity along a number of important dimensions and as a result may undermine the likelihood that the public good is created and maintained.
Bridging among Ethnic Communities by Cross-cultural Communities of Practice BIBAPDFFull-Text 377-396
  Gunnar Stevens; Michael Veith; Volker Wulf
The integration of immigrants is a big challenge for western societies. In this paper we describe how to bridge between ethnically defined communities by means of computer-supported project work. Our approach is grounded in socio-cultural theories of learning, especially Community of Practice (CoP). To evaluate our approach, we have built up a computer club in a multi cultural neighbourhood of the city of Bonn. Parents and children of mainly German and Turkish origin work jointly to create multimedia artefacts. These artefacts represent aspects of the neighbourhood's recent history. The paper describes the project and its theoretical background. We also provide empirical findings to evaluate our approach.
Supporting Privacy Management via Community Experience and Expertise BIBAPDFFull-Text 397-417
  Jeremy Goecks; Elizabeth D. Mynatt
We propose a novel approach for supporting privacy management that leverages community experience and expertise via the process of social navigation. Social navigation simplifies the often complex task of managing privacy settings, and systems that employ social navigation can advantageously complement user privacy management processes. We implemented our approach to privacy management in the Acumen system; Acumen uses social navigation to enable individuals to manage their Internet cookies both manually and automatically based on the behavior of others in the community. We present the Acumen system in detail and discuss data obtained from a six-week, preliminary deployment of Acumen. Lastly, we discuss challenges that systems implementing our approach must address if they are to be successful.

Systems

Regulation Mechanisms in an Open Social Media using a Contact Recommender System BIBAPDFFull-Text 419-436
  L. Vignollet; M. Plu; J. C. Marty; L. Agosto
This paper presents how an information exchange network can be improved by users' collaboration. This social media is based on content recommendation. Instead of using an automated content recommender system, we suggest an alternative approach where the information comes from trusted users. In order to overcome traditional problems of an open social media, we propose some regulation mechanisms. First each user manually controls her/his contacts network. Second we have introduced a contact recommender system to help users to carefully open their closed relationship network. This recommender system selects the recommended relationships in such a way it should optimize some global qualities of the social media. This paper details the algorithms of this recommendation process.
Supporting Communities by Providing Multiple Views BIBAPDFFull-Text 437-456
  Alessandra Agostini; Sara Albolino; Flavio De Paoli; Antonietta M. Grasso; Elke Hinrichs
A number of dimensions are relevant in order to successfully support community life and development. These dimensions include the easiness and broad spectrum of participation, the provision of value in return to the contributions, the visibility of community activity, the support of different levels of membership, the openness to the external world, and the support for evolving phases of the community life. In this paper we present a system that has been designed in order to tackle those dimensions with a particular attention to participation issues. We present first the sources of requirements that have informed the system design and which include the user observation of two companies. Then we present the system, stressing the features of integration with the daily working environment and the provision of multiple situated views, as a means to address the elicited requirements. Finally, we compare our design choices with a broader set of requirements that we have derived from literature.