Specialists and Synthesists in a Question Answering Community

Gazan, Rich Specialists and Synthesists in a Question Answering Community., 2006 . In 69th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Information Science and Technology (ASIST), Austin (US), 3-8 November 2006. [Conference paper]

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English abstract

The most sustainable online communities are those that allow and encourage their users to have a voice in how the community evolves. The proliferation of online communities with collaborative filtering mechanisms, where user feedback is aggregated to shape future interactions, makes it necessary to understand why participants in online communities value the content they do. Building on the concepts of users as specialists and synthesists developed in previous research, this study examines Answerbag, an online question answering community where users rate one another’s answers to provide collaborative filtering. In this environment, specialists are operationalized as those who claim expertise in a given topic and answer questions without referencing other sources, and synthesists as those who include one or more references to external sources in their answers. The results of the study suggest that within the Answerbag community as a whole, the answers of synthesists tended to be rated more highly than those of specialists, though answers provided by specialists were rated more highly within certain categories. The consequences of differences in the perceived value of information provided by specialists and synthesists are examined, and avenues for future research are discussed.

Item type: Conference paper
Keywords: online communities ; virtual communities ; Answerbag ; information provision
Subjects: I. Information treatment for information services > IJ. Reference work.
B. Information use and sociology of information > BH. Information needs and information requirements analysis.
B. Information use and sociology of information > BA. Use and impact of information.
L. Information technology and library technology > LC. Internet, including WWW.
I. Information treatment for information services > II. Filtering.
B. Information use and sociology of information > BG. Information dissemination and diffusion.
Depositing user: Norm Medeiros
Date deposited: 10 Jan 2007
Last modified: 02 Oct 2014 12:06
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10760/8793

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