Today I’m at the Communities and Technologies conference, at the workshop on studying interaction in online communities.
Bob Kraut is discussing some of the data analysis issues in his study in Usenet newsgroups of what independent variables predict whether a message would get responded to.
They first did some machine learning techniques to identify the signature of messages that have a “self-introduction”. Then they used that as a regressor, along with some directly measurable variables like using first-person pronouns.
He and Moira Burke have a paper tomorrow where they did a controlled experiment. They found that the key ingredient is saying that you’re part of the community, not that you share the interest/condition around which the group has formed.