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Dissertation Information for Clifford A. Lampe

NAME:
- Clifford A. Lampe

DEGREE:
- Ph.D.

DISCIPLINE:
- Library and Information Science

SCHOOL:
- University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (USA) (2006)

ADVISORS:
- Paul Resnick
- W. Russell Neuman

COMMITTEE MEMBERS:
- Judith S. Olson
- Mark S. Ackerman
- Marc A. Smith

MPACT Status: Fully Complete

Title: Ratings use in an online discussion system: The Slashdot case

Abstract: Large-scale, online communication systems allow many-to-many interactions among users, which can result in a variety of positive outcomes. However, the prevalence of information overload and the prevalence of user misbehavior in online, text-based environments may create barriers to realizing the benefits of online interactions. Attempts to manage online communication systems in the past depended on techniques that cannot be applied to, or do not allow, large-scale interactions.

Slashdot is a large-scale, long-lived Web discussion community that uses a form of recommendation system to provide feedback about the quality of comments users post to the site. This dissertation examines how users employ the ratings provided by the system, whether comment ratings have an effect on how new users of the site participate, and how users making recommendations about content actually provide ratings.

I find that users do employ ratings to change how they view content, but that there is some resistance that prevents them from doing so readily. To overcome this friction, I recommend dynamic changes based on the choices of other users who seem more willing to make interface changes based on comment ratings. I find that new user participation on Slashdot is affected by feedback on the initial comment made by the new member, but that the number of times the new user visits the site before and after posting their first comment is just as important in determining how the new member will participate in the future. Finally, I find that ratings are being sufficiently applied to comments, but that some comments are not receiving fair attention because they appear later in the life of a discussion, or deeper in the threaded architecture used to organize comments.

This work finds that initial scoring of comments based on the identity of the user posting the content helps to relieve the pressure of attaining sufficient ratings on comments. Also, labels used to describe comments provide valuable feedback for customizing how users with different motivations may read comments. I also find that comment ratings positively affect user experiences in a large, online discussion system, with surveys reporting high levels of user satisfaction with the rating system. The Slashdot case shows how the use of recommendations in an online discussion system creates organization that ameliorates the problems of information overload and user misbehavior, while still allowing for large-scale, heterogeneous interactions.

MPACT Scores for Clifford A. Lampe

A = 0
C = 0
A+C = 0
T = 0
G = 0
W = 0
TD = 0
TA = 0
calculated 2008-01-31 06:30:45

Advisors and Advisees Graph

Directed Graph

Students under Clifford A. Lampe

ADVISEES:
- None

COMMITTEESHIPS:
- None