A Farm in Every Window: A Study into the Incentives for Participation in theWindow Farm Virtual Community

author: Dominic DiFranzo, Department of Computer Science, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
published: July 19, 2011,   recorded: June 2011,   views: 2919


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Virtual communities have great potential in connecting people from different backgrounds and locations and giving them a common space to share, explore, and solve problems. A key factor into whether a virtual community will be successful is user participation. Insight into why users of virtual communities participate, and how to increase this participation is still poorly understood. There is no unifying model or consensus on incentives or incentivization in virtual communities and this makes studying them very difficult. In this paper we describe our study into the incentive structures for members of the Windowfarm virtual community and look into what ways the community could be improved. We explore user incentives using methodology and models from different disciplines and fields, trying to find which of these best explains the behaviors and interactions in the Windowfarm community. We present this as a case study so that other research groups and community leaders can look into and better understand incentives in virtual communities based on the recent work done in this space.

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