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garo 2009-05-25 14:25

Social Network Analysis Project
 
1 Attachment(s)
A colleague at my university is writing some software to analyze decision-making in a virtual community. Here is his somewhat technical explanation. Basically I am asking if people in the community object to forum data being used for this kind of research. The data will be fully anonymized before being given to him so absolutely no personal details - not even forum ids will be revealed.

Discuss!

[B]Visualisation Tools for the Mersenne forum[/B]
This paper briefly outlines a proposal to create visualisation tools for the mersenne forum that will reflect the ongoing community process back to the users of the site.
[B]Motivation:[/B]
The ultimate or long-term aim of this research is to develop visualisation tools that will help the community to progressively self-manage. This paradigm is reflected in communities like Wikipedia and open source software (OSS) initiatives in which groups of geographically disparate individuals self-organise to pursue a shared set of objectives. To ensure trust and encourage commitment management of peer-based communities is undertaken in a decentralised manner: i.e. management decision-making is conducted in a collective, participative manner free of centralised control by a single member. Policy rules and social norms develop and in turn evolve to reduce communication overhead and ensure more effective coordination. What begins as a social norm will often evolve into a more explicit policy rule when, for instance, there is a notable increase in community membership. At the same time, guidelines are developed to support and reinforce the community’s organisational structure. Organisation undertaken in this manner is emergent, evolutionary and non-prescriptive.
[B]Approach:[/B]
We propose that underlying technology can assist the complex and evolutionary nature of peer-based communities by firstly providing a means for the community as a whole to reflect on the collective behaviour of the group (Fisher, Smith et al. 2006; Kelly, Fisher et al. 2006), secondly by automating explicit policy rules as illustrated by both the blocking and deletion rules of Wikipedia (Butler, Joyce et al. 2008), and thirdly supporting the communication model, thus reducing communication overhead and helping to identify the misinterpretation of communication.
To help the community cohere and develop in a progressive and non-restrictive manner, we propose the creation of social visualisations. Social visualisations are small graphic interfaces that illustrate different aspects of a community’s process. In Figure 1, for example, topics of conversation are charted against time and group activity. By illustrating the relationship between topic and activity, community members may reflect on how the community is engaged as a whole. At the same, other research on Social Network Analysis (SNA) suggests that exposing the community members to the community process may in fact improve contribution (Brush, Wang et al. 2005).
Any work will be carried out on annonymised data and only with the full support of the community. From initial discussions with members and administrators, we envision the creation of visualisation tools, available to the whole community, that will illustrate some activity on the forum. While unfortunately this is a little vague, it is only from initial discussions, a brief analysis of the community’s organisation and a more thorough observation of the forum’s process, can we begin to develop visualisation tools that will benefit the community as a whole.

cheesehead 2009-05-25 15:25

[quote=garo;174762]A colleague at my university is writing some software to analyze decision-making in a virtual community.[/quote]Looks like an interesting idea.

[quote]Basically I am asking if people in the community object to forum data being used for this kind of research. The data will be fully anonymized before being given to him so absolutely no personal details - not even forum ids will be revealed.[/quote]Some of us have mentioned personal details in postings. (Perhaps that was unwise of us, since they are accessible by the whole Web, but we might have had a delusion that only the mersenneforum community would pay any attention. For myself, I've considered the possibilities and decided that I can live with having revealed what I've posted.) Is there a method of scrubbing such posted details?

"Fun Stuff" and "Extra Stuff" subfora (at least, "Soap Box" and "Miscellaneous Math Threads") should be excluded from what is provided for the research. My guess is that most posted personal details would be in those areas.

garo 2009-05-25 15:32

Well the posts are never going to be looked at by humans - essentially they will be run through some network analysis programs - so I think it will be very hard to scrub the details. In any case, if you look at the project description, the output should not contain post contents (I can't give a 100% assurance). Finally, the output will be available to all of us to derive utility from.

I don't think excluding Soap Box is a good idea. A central theme of the project is self-moderation and community rules (implicit and explicit). I would say that the Soap Box will give us the best information. It will be nice, for instance, to get a graphic representation of everyone's nuisance meter :)

retina 2009-05-25 15:55

[QUOTE=garo;174765]It will be nice, for instance, to get a graphic representation of everyone's nuisance meter :)[/QUOTE]I thought the nuisance meter is already implemented and situated at the left side bar? Although, for some unknown reason, it seems to be called the odd title of "Posts:" in this forum. :P

cheesehead 2009-05-25 16:24

[quote=garo;174765]I don't think excluding Soap Box is a good idea. A central theme of the project is self-moderation and community rules (implicit and explicit). I would say that the Soap Box will give us the best information.[/quote]Okay.

johnmcauley 2009-05-25 16:45

Hello
 
Hey Everybody,

I am Garo's colleague. I'm happy to field any questions or just get your general thoughts on the proposal. I have profile at [url]https://www.cs.tcd.ie/~mcaulejj/[/url]. Basically I am looking into developing tools that support the community to reflect on the collective behaviour of the group. If anybody has any question you can post them here or mail me at john.mcauley at cs.tcd.ie.

Thanks for your cooperation.

Rgds,

John

10metreh 2009-05-25 17:44

[quote=retina;174767]I thought the nuisance meter is already implemented and situated at the left side bar? Although, for some unknown reason, it seems to be called the odd title of "Posts:" in this forum. :P[/quote]

How strong is the correlation between number of posts and nuisance caused? (Some forums allow you to give users "reputations" - I don't particularly think this is a good idea.)

ewmayer 2009-05-26 16:16

I am reporting your friend for gratuitous use of the word "paradigm", which is one of the unwritten forum no-nos. ;)

CRGreathouse 2009-05-26 17:02

1 Attachment(s)
I wrote this Greasemonkey script for the more sensitive members of the forums.[CENTER][ATTACH]3702[/ATTACH][/CENTER]
[code]scr_meta=<><![CDATA[
// ==UserScript==
// @name Mersenne cleanmouth
// @description Censor a certain bad word from the Mersenne forums.
// @include http://www.mersenneforum.org/*
// ==/UserScript==
]]></>.toString();

badWord = new RegExp('\\bparadigms?\\b', 'gi');
var posts = document.evaluate("//td[@class='alt1']", document, null, XPathResult.UNORDERED_NODE_SNAPSHOT_TYPE, null);
for (var i = 0; i < posts.snapshotLength; i++) {
var par = posts.snapshotItem(i);
var txt = par.innerHTML;
if (txt.match(badWord))
par.innerHTML = txt.replace(badWord, '****');
}[/code]

ewmayer 2009-05-26 17:38

1 Attachment(s)
LOL, very nice, your script-foo is string today, Grasshappa.

Now we just need a way to auto-replace that particular offending word with a suitable graphic, perhaps an emoticon-sized rendering of the following image:

10metreh 2009-05-26 17:44

[quote=ewmayer;174891]Now we just need a way to auto-replace that particular offending word with a suitable graphic, perhaps an emoticon-sized rendering of the following image:[/quote]

LOL! :lol:

CRGreathouse 2009-05-26 19:05

Your wish, my command:

[code]scr_meta=<><![CDATA[
// ==UserScript==
// @name Mersenne cleanmouth
// @description Censor a certain bad word from the Mersenne forums.
// @include http://www.mersenneforum.org/*
// ==/UserScript==
]]></>.toString();

badWord = new RegExp('\\bparadigms?\\b', 'gi');
var posts = document.evaluate("//td[@class='alt1']", document, null, XPathResult.UNORDERED_NODE_SNAPSHOT_TYPE, null);
for (var i = 0; i < posts.snapshotLength; i++) {
var par = posts.snapshotItem(i);
var txt = par.innerHTML;
if (txt.match(badWord))
par.innerHTML = txt.replace(badWord, '<img src="data:image/png;base64,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" alt="****">');
}[/code]

ewmayer 2009-05-26 19:27

[QUOTE=CRGreathouse;174900]Your wish, my command. But that's a big image to put inline![/QUOTE]
The paradigm.png should really be shrunk to something like a 64(wide) x 32(high) bitmap first - perhaps the fact that's it's essentially a grayscale image could be used to further reduce the required bandwidth. For something as clearly important as this, no optimization expense should be spared.

Once we've got suitable image-downsizing and compression, then all we need is click/drag/drop capability, so users can effect their own "paradigm shift". Then just license the technology to Google (or the highest non-evil bidder) and we can all retire rich and live out our days in a state of indolence, dissipation and decadent whimsy.

CRGreathouse 2009-05-26 19:29

[QUOTE=ewmayer;174903]The paradigm.png should really be shrunk to something like a 64(wide) x 32(high) bitmap first - perhaps the fact that's it's essentially a grayscale image could be used to further reduce the required bandwidth. For something as clearly important as this, no optimization expense should be spared.[/QUOTE]

You caught me between edits. I shrank it to 50 x 25 and inlined it.

ewmayer 2009-05-26 19:55

[QUOTE=CRGreathouse;174904]You caught me between edits. I shrank it to 50 x 25 and inlined it.[/QUOTE]

Yudaman, Charles! Xyzzy, any chance of getting this crucial anti-pop-metaphor-abuse patch applied to the forum soon? We will know it is active when the following offensive term is replaced by a soothing, reassuring stereographic image of FDR:

paradigm

CRGreathouse 2009-05-26 20:29

1 Attachment(s)
If you're using Firefox, you can download Greasemonkey
[url]https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/addon/748[/url]
(click "Add to Firefox") and install it yourself:
[url]http://userscripts.org/scripts/review/50130[/url]
(click "Install").

Xyzzy 2009-05-28 01:02

:kitten:

johnmcauley 2009-05-28 09:13

Understood, leave paradigms to Kuhn. What do you think of the project though, is it something that might be of interest or benefit to the group?

CRGreathouse 2009-05-28 12:43

[QUOTE=johnmcauley;175066]What do you think of the project though, is it something that might be of interest or benefit to the group?[/QUOTE]

All joking aside (hope you took no offense!), I think it's a great project. I'm very interested to see how it turns out. But I can't say I really understand what it will say (or what you hope it will say) on completion.

johnmcauley 2009-05-28 13:49

[quote=CRGreathouse;175072]All joking aside (hope you took no offense!), I think it's a great project. I'm very interested to see how it turns out. But I can't say I really understand what it will say (or what you hope it will say) on completion.[/quote]

That's a good point. There has been some work carried out in this sort of area before. Judith Donath in MIT and Fernanda B. Viégas ([url]http://www.research.ibm.com/visual/publications.html[/url]) who is now in IBM have both developed visualisations of community based content. The first is on community discussion forums and the second is on Wikipedia. At the same time there has been some work done on improving the communication model of CMC (if you think, that is, it needs improving). Social translucent systems have attempted to recreate the effects of physical face-to-face communication by increasing awareness and accountability ([URL]http://www.pliant.org/personal/Tom_Erickson/Soc_Infrastructures.html[/URL]). Microsoft labs have also used social network analysis to develop a more thorough understanding of Usenet group structure. However, this information is not presented back to the community ([url]http://www.hicss.hawaii.edu/HICSS39/Best%20Papers/DM/03-03-08.pdf[/url]). I think it is more interesting to develop interfaces that allow the group, community or even a particular discussion thread to reflect collectively on the community process. I think there are two ways to approach this initially. The first is based on social network analysis but provides more recent data back to the users. Naturally this approach is restricted by the speed at which the algorithms can churn through the data and by the fact that the visualisation process must be automated. The second is to draw some correlation between activity and content, and to produce visualisations that expose this correlation to the community at large.

Orgasmic Troll 2009-05-28 14:37

[QUOTE=ewmayer;174903]...and we can all retire rich and live out our days in a state of indolence, dissipation and decadent [b]whimsy.[/b][/QUOTE]

I was with you until I realized that the last word did not say whisky (or whiskey)

ewmayer 2009-05-28 15:16

[QUOTE=Orgasmic Troll;175089]I was with you until I realized that the last word did not say whisky (or whiskey)[/QUOTE]

Fear not - That falls under the "dissipation" heading.

In any event, I'll be interested to see what comes of the project. I fear I'm rather out of touch with modern social-networking/twitter/text-messaging culture - I distinctly recall my shock last week when I heard a statistic from a reputable study to the effect that the average American teenager now sends 80 text messages PER DAY. My fear is that with all that chatter, there may be less and less meaningful communication going on.

Heck, most of my friends (including the ones over 30) think I'm "way out" for using my browser in text-only mode.

CRGreathouse 2009-05-28 17:05

[QUOTE=ewmayer;175092]to the effect that the average American teenager now sends 80 text messages PER DAY.[/QUOTE]

I don't buy it. I couldn't accept that as true for the mean teenager, which is much less representative than the median teenager.

Of course it strikes me that there are experts on this thread... :smile:

bsquared 2009-05-28 18:02

[quote=CRGreathouse;175111]I don't buy it. I couldn't accept that as true for the mean teenager, which is much less representative than the median teenager.

Of course it strikes me that there are experts on this thread... :smile:[/quote]

Perhaps the mean is skewed somewhat by [url=http://www.intomobile.com/2009/04/23/pa-man-attempts-text-messaging-record-ends-up-with-26000-bill.html] these guys[/url], although, granted, they are not teenagers.

Uncwilly 2009-05-28 22:19

[QUOTE=ewmayer;175092]Fear not - That falls under the "dissipation" heading.[/QUOTE]Not a heady distillation?

johnmcauley 2009-05-29 09:15

If you consider texts as any form of short message communication, twitter (god forbid), facebook, club penguin (an online game), bebo (the most popular one in Ireland), then 80 a day could well be a conservative estimate.

CRGreathouse 2009-05-29 13:11

[QUOTE=johnmcauley;175211]If you consider texts as any form of short message communication, twitter (god forbid), facebook, club penguin (an online game), bebo (the most popular one in Ireland), then 80 a day could well be a conservative estimate.[/QUOTE]

I'll grant that easily.


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