Online communities depend on positive contributions from productive members in order to thrive. However, many members may behave in ways that are detrimental to the health of these communities. Three studies were used to examine negative behaviors in each of three different types of online communities. First, gaming behaviors and work quality were examined through a lab experiment and a field experiment in an online marketplace for work. In such communities, improving workers’ perceptions of task significance led to increases in both quality and quantity of work. Second, withdrawal behaviors and decreased contributions were examined in an online volunteer community. Better time management and the prevention of burnout and stress could encourage both retention of members and continued productivity. Third, trolling behaviors were examined in an online social network community through interviews and an exploratory study. Allowing community members to identify and define negative trolling behaviors while defending false accused members could aid administrators in moderating these types of behaviors without wrongly banning legitimate contributors. These three studies provide insights into the causes and effects of problematic behaviors that could hinder online contributions. These insights further help to prescribe methods to moderate and manage the negative impacts of these behaviors.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. July 2016. Major: Business Administration. Advisors: Shawn Curley, Yuqing Ren. 1 computer file (PDF); vi, 123 pages.
Fables of Negative Behaviors in Online Environments: Motivations and Management of Online Contributions.
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