Motivating Participation by Displaying the Value of Contribution

Al Mamunur Rashid, Kimberly Ling, Regina D Tassone, Paul Resnick, Robert Kraut, John Riedl

Proceedings of ACM CHI 2006 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, pp. 955-958.

Paper (PDF format)


One of the important challenges faced by designers of online communities is eliciting sufficent contributions from community members. Users in online communities may have difficulty either in finding opportunities to add value, or in understanding the value of their contributions to the community. Various social science theories suggest that showing users different perspectives on the value they add to the community will lead to differing amounts of contribution. The present study investigates a design augmentation for an existing community Web site that could benefit from additional contribution. The augmented interface includes individualized opportunities for contribution and an estimate of the value of each contribution to the community. The value is computed in one of four different ways: (1) value to self; (2) value to a small group the user has affinity with; (3) value to a small group the user does not have affinity with; and (4) value to the entire user community. The study compares the effectiveness of the different notions of value to 160 community members.