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Encouraging Commitment in Online Communities

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journal contribution
posted on 01.01.2011, 00:00 by Yuqing Ren, Robert Kraut, Sara KieslerSara Kiesler, Paul Resnick

Community designers can draw from theories of commitment to make design decisions that influence whether and how people will become committed to a community. Commitment is harder to achieve than a flow (or trickle) of visitors, but for most online communities, commitment is crucial. Committed members work harder, say more, do more, and stick with a community after it becomes established. They care enough to help with community activities and to sustain the group through problems. Committed members are those most likely to provide the content that others value, such as answers to people’s questions in technical and health support groups (Blanchard and Markus 2004; Fisher et al. 2006; Rodgers and Chen 2005), code in open source projects (Mockus et al. 2002), and edits in Wikipedia (Kittur et al. 2007). They are more likely to exercise voice, demanding change and improvement when dissatisfied, than to exit (Hirschman, 1970).


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