You scratch someone's back and we'll scratch yours: Collective reciprocity in social QA communities

Wu, Philip Fei and Korfiatis, Nikolaos ORCID: (2013) You scratch someone's back and we'll scratch yours: Collective reciprocity in social QA communities. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 64 (10). 2069–2077. ISSN 1532-2890

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Taking a structuration perspective and integrating reciprocity research in economics, this study examines the dynamics of reciprocal interactions in social question & answer communities. We postulate that individual users of social Q&A constantly adjust their kindness in the direction of the observed benefit and effort of others. Collective reciprocity emerges from this pattern of conditional strategy of reciprocation and helps form a structure that guides the very interactions that give birth to the structure. Based on a large sample of data from Yahoo! Answers, our empirical analysis supports the collective reciprocity premise, showing that the more effort (relative to benefit) an asker contributes to the community, the more likely the community will return the favor. On the other hand, the more benefit (relative to effort) the asker takes from the community, the less likely the community will cooperate in terms of providing answers. We conclude that a structuration view of reciprocity sheds light on the duality of social norms in online communities.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: communities of practice,virtual communities,message systems
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > Norwich Business School
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Groups > Innovation, Technology and Operations Management
Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Centres > Centre for Competition Policy
Depositing User: Pure Connector
Date Deposited: 19 Jan 2015 17:30
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2023 09:30
DOI: 10.1002/asi.22913

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