re title I am unsure of what type of post this fits into. Think they missed a few types personally.
Throw out your old definition of online communities as comprised only of lurkers and contributors commentards. A team of academics has come up with seven categories of people who hang out online, and the same number of post types. The new classification reached the light of day in the February 2012 issue of International …
That PoliticsForum list is interesting - I recognise a lot of those from the old days on Usenet, but there are far too many categories there for taxonomic purposes. However there aren't enough types here. 6 at least needs sub-categories. The out & out flamers (which I haven't seen on ElReg really), the functionally illiterate, the completely clueless and the completely insane. Of this last, I remember on sci.physics in the 90s there was a guy who used to post the weirdest stuff, and no-one could disabuse him of his strange world view. Apparently he really was a tenured professor at some US university too. Plenty more like him in other fora, but none that I remember with those kind of credentials.
There's probably something useful to say about the sociology of online communities as distinct from traditional face-to-face styles of community, but this isn't (yet) it.
Oh they all conform to some sort of pattern of craziness. Take Archimedes Plutonium, for example; search engine bombing was his fixation. Helena Kobrin, the barratriste from $cientology is another example. Palmer the self-styled 'flame giant'. Earl Curley, the airport lounge poster, and on it goes. I haven't posted on Usenet for years. I'll have to fire up the Linux notebook and have some fun, now that I think about it.
"Of this last, I remember on sci.physics in the 90s there was a guy who used to post the weirdest stuff, and no-one could disabuse him of his strange world view."
Hammond, wasn't it? I poked him the ribs a couple of times using sock puppets. Because he'd been so nice to me up front I couldn't use my own handle!
I'd say "pointless Snide comment" is a type 6, but you're right about the "I think I'm a comedian" post types.
I suggest that there is a general class of 'entertaining' (usually pointless) which is very common to theRegister and rare elsewhere. I got hooked by theRegister 2 years ago because of the tremendous entertainment I got from the hilarious posts on the LHC stories.
I think there is also a commentard type of 'timid' - usually only posts in response to others' posts.
I think the "stages of a forum" fits the Douglas Adams model; survival, inquiry and sophistication.
(1) Survival - membership is the lifeblood of a forum, so let's attract as many members as possible.
(2) Inquiry - Why do our members come here? What do they get from our forum? What does the forum get from them?
and (3) Sophistication - Sorry, you're not on the guest list.
Type 1: Posts which provide new information
Type 2: Posts which ask questions
Type 3: Response posts which answer questions
Type 4: Response posts which provide feedback
Type 5: Response posts which thank for help
Type 6: Response posts which say something bad
Type N: Non-posts by those who read but don't post.
Sorry for the long paste but.. with the restrictions gone... ;-)
Aren't 1 & 4 overlapping? "response" could mean response to the article (my post) or a response to another post / response. bzzzzt.
How does one qualify a combination of 2 & 5 ? I always thank people - up front - for trying to help me out. So if I ask a question to the original author and give thanks up front I'm now 2 groups ? That's not even mentioning the possible inclusion of item 4.
Bottom line... Nice study, shame about the time wasted on all this. There are some things which you hardly /can/ theorize about and IMO this is just one of them. How about trolls? They don't say anything bad perse; they only share that which triggers the most likely amount of responses, no matter if those are bad or good ("genuine"); its quantity over quality.
"Yes. That's how taxonomy works. Types aren't mutually exclusive. Do you put bats in with winged creatures or mammals? Hint: it's both."
I guess you put the batwings in "winged creatures" and the reproductive system into "mammals". Which category does the rest of the carcass fit into?
"i think it is the feeding system, rather than reproductive, that makes a mammal a mammal: think mammaries."
No, that is not quite it; egg vs foetus is the root here, since the feeding system is based on this.
"(which is always a pleasant occupation anyway)
...Which tips this post from nitpicking into bad comedy"
So good of you to make a clean breast of it.
"No, that is not quite it; egg vs foetus is the root here, since the feeding system is based on this."
Not quite: ornythorhynchus anatinus (platypus) and a few spiny anteaters are egg-laying, rather than live-birthers, but are still mammals. Feeding via mammaries is pretty much the main criterion.
I think they are missing something with the "non-contributing" posters, just because they don't add information and may only consume and occasionally thank and ask doesn't mean they don't add value to a community. I think this study undervalues "view counts" and "reply counts" even if the relies are just a few words saying "thanks", regular posters like to see their content is appreciated, and seeing the number of people who have read, thanked, or even hit +1 to something you wrote keeps them contributing.
The taxonomy seems to be missing at least one, possibly two categories. It's also far too wordy, so I've tried to simplify things a bit.
Outsiders ... Oblivious
Non-interested knowers ... Indifferent
Trouble makers ... Yoot
Lurkers ... Low-Normals
Non-contributing Participants ... Ned Flanders
Partial-contributing participants ... Canadians
Contributor ... Commentard
To the above I would add these:
- Consume mass quantities of content but don't add anything new ... Leech
- Irritate a significant contingent of community members by posting in one or more of the following forms: all lowercase; all uppercase; text devoid of punctuation; text replete with spelling errors (as distinct from typographic errors, to be sure); txt-styl; or, streamed-inanity ... Unclued
I hope we don't have to learn even the original taxonomy down-pat, though; TMI.
Indeed - point 6 is too vague in that list.
'Something bad' usually relates to either a direct attack on the poster, either ridiculing the poster for their lack of knowledge, grammar, general noobness. Or an attack on the forum in general by posting such an inflammatory statement that people go off topic and the thread descends into a flame war.
Where does 'the Administrator' fit into this list?
Get it really hot to sterilise it (but stop just short of boiling) then let it cool. When it's bath water temperature, add about a tenth of the volume of milk of live yoghurt, give it a good stir, then leave it alone in a warm place to just cool slowly. You'll have turned it all into yoghurt in like, six hours or so, mebbe longer if your warm place isn't warm enough.
Or it could be that there is no Lactobacillus (also called Döderlein's bacillus) present in your boiled milk, luckily a ready supply of Lactobacillus can be found in the human body, I'm not going to say in which gender specific part of the body it can be found, but lets say that I think Cleopatra may have made a lot of yoghurt.
The icon is another clue
I notice particularly that the analysis of the results suggests that there are seven sorts of commentard and four phases to the development of a bulletin board. What is interesting is how this tallies with other technology paradigms.
Seven categories of commentard corresponds very nicely with the seven layers of the ISO networking standard.
The four phases of 'Online Community' development seems to fall in line almost exactly with both the phases of project team development (forming, norming, storming and performing) and project SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats).
Taking this a little further it can be seen that seven is a prime number and four would be a prime number if it wasn't also an even number. There must be some conclusions that can be drawn from these two numbers.
Very astute observations.
You've reminded of my normal reaction when told things like "the average human can handle at most 7 things at once" - the reaction is "bollocks" (for me , on a bad day 3 is too many; on a good day I eat 7 for breakfast).
I submit that it is 7 and 4 because 'it shall be so', and for no other reason : hence comment type "N" was devised, cos 6 comment types just wouldn't do.
The seven layers of hell seem to be what we all are currently descending through...
And there is a philosophical system that describes 4 modes of being, though I am unclear as to the distinctions between mode 1 and mode 3 - Actualities and Existence. Perhaps deep thought, if he's listening, could expound. Deep thought of course, would correspond to mode 4 - God
Cheese is nice
not that USA stuff though
Everyone pretends they don't exist, despite them at times being the vast majority of posts in some stories...
Microsoft and Apple are by far the biggest investors in shill marketing, I just wish someone was brave enough to call them out...
I would LOVE to get my hands on El-Reg IP Address logs to see what they reveal :-)
Is that because all Microsoft and Apple products suck, Barry?
Is that why? But if you were to ask a lot of posters on RegHardware, they'd tell you that all Sony products suck. And you always defend Sony, don't you Barry?
While attacking anything from Microsoft or Apple.
Just what I was going to ask. A few customers of mine in particular get a lot of posts which start out very complimentary about the site (generic "what a good site" comments) with the sole intention of promoting then their own. I just delete the offending advert part of the text and publish anyway. Muahahaha! (BOFH logo)
Sometimes a reply is present from which one can derive that the original author apparently was talking out of some nether orifice, and, having had this pointed out, chose to use the 'delete' button as shorthand for "Thank you for pointing out the errors stemming from my lack of grasp regarding the subject at hand".
I would like to propose a type BD (Bollocks, Deleted) for this.
I don't see him in any of these categories.
Although tbh I have seen one or two posts that were comprehensible (mostly).
Oh, another one just popped up: what about off-topic replies (or replies to clearly very different topics - I always wondered about those)?
1. Those which provide genuine information
2. Those which make controversial but meaningless statements to drum up interest (futurology)
3. Those designed to justify someone's pointless job
4. Hoaxes and/or boasting for pure spite/smugness
5. Enormously biased/out of context to 'prove' someone's existing point of view (Fox News)
6. Misinformation to alter perception/behaviour/stock prices in the announcer's favour
Almost all types of online communities provide a way to "like" or "dislike" a post or comment without actually formulating a response. Is this covered by Type 5? I only ask because technically they are not posts but they do thank posters - and in fact could also be Type 4 too - in that they provide feedback as to whether the post is one people agree with - or don't agree with.
Maybe they need to go back and be paid insane amounts of money to now research how people provide feedback in an online community. For instance some people will like/upvote/share/retweet/+1 etc a post because they agree with it or like it. However some people will downvote/dislike a post because while it may be true - they don't like the idea of it.
It harks back to the likes of Facebook for instance - Someone posts "my dad has cancer", 10 people "like" it. What does it mean? Are they happy that someone's dad has cancer? Are they the sort that acknowledge a post by clicking "like". Some people say that they "like" the post because Facebook provides no other mechanism to respond to the post than in a positive way, but there is a comment box... one can discuss the content of the post however one wishes in this box.
Now taking this example back to an online community like El Reg - the same applies - someone writes "my dad has cancer" - and lets assume that this comment is on topic. If someone downvotes the comment what could it mean? They don't like the comment, they don't believe the comment or they are in the habit of downvoting comments regardless of content. Conversely someone upvoting the comment could be saying they are happy someone's dad has cancer, they could be upvoting to spread awareness of the comment or they could be in the habit of upvoting comments regardless of the content.
Much more research obviously needs to be done :)
Finally - this research is missing an obvious commentard - the spammer. Generally an automated machine who cares little of the discussion to which it wades in to tell you all about the wonderful world of viagra.
I note with dissatisfaction that your recent article on "The seven types of commentard" in no way deal with the diminishing numbers of the Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio) and its endangered habitat in southwest England.
This seems to be a purposeful omission that myself, and a man I know at the pub whose name I cannot recall, find to be blatantly unconscionable.
Colonel E.G. Palmer, (Ret'd)
2nd Royal Tank Regiment,
Recce Troop, Avian Branch
There seems to be at least one type missing from this list. What about those that post just to be heard, neither contributing nor actually saying bad things. They could be termed the 'Me Too' group which could be extended to cover those that reply by simply agreeing with the previous poster.
And of course, the other omission is those who post something that's tenously linked to the forum topic under discussion, but which digresses the thread onto a totally unrelated subject.
So after a couple of pages a thread that started talking about HTML5 ends up talking about the merits of Galaxy vs Dairy Milk or somesuch and give board moderators more work...
Type 1: Posts which provide new information
... I am about six feet tall, easygoing and astonishingly intelligent ...
Type 2: Posts which ask questions
... Why are we here? ...
Type 3: Response posts which answer questions*
(* - Of course, you have to ask the right questions.)
... Will my thirst play me tricks?/The ant about to be crushed ponders not the wherewithal of bootleather
... A clapperboard
Type 4: Response posts which provide feedback
... Only seven? These academics aren't trying ...
Type 5: Response posts which thank for help
... but thank you nevertheless for a very helpful article!
Yrs, etc, an occasionally contributing troublemaker. And a tip of the hat to any fellow obscurantist who recognises the question to my second answer /before/ searching the net for it.
It's worth considering that a good proportion of Type 6 posts are necessary because the contributors of Types 1 through 5 do one or more of the following:
* disseminate misinformation;
* make inaccurate or unarguably false statements;
* demonstrate a complete lack of understanding of the subject; or
* are so backward that they fail to communicate their intended message effectively.
Less and less tech discussions in here.
Just kidding, their description of phases is no more exhaustive than for the type of comments or contributors, at least not for a multi-angle "community". Their description fits a facebook group rather well, because these are usually short-lived 1-topic "communities", but for anything else they are way off the mark.
How could I resist your request for a comment, even if I am only a 'partial-contributing participant'. It's not my fault, I only have so much time in the day. It's a bit like going to my local T**** and being asked for my T**** card. I don't do loyalty cards - I cannot stop HMRC writing a database on me, but I can stop supermarkets.
I still like 'The Register', even if some of the articles verge on the metaphysical.
Pint pot because I like beer !
I'd put TheRegister into group 3 or 4 now:
I don't bother looking at the comments about software any more. I know that they will be only full of comments containing no new information. Just worthless self-important opinions about the value and morality of software vendors and customers.
Like this one.
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