The first of the afternoon sessions this Thursday at AoIR 2005 is on 'Participation and Trust in Online Communities'. Andrew Cox from the University of Sheffield is the first presenter.
Andrew Cox: The Parameters of an Online Community
Andrew's work looked at the links and knowledge sharing amongst people working in different organisations and across different organisational jurisdictions - in this case, the Web developers working for universities. There are a number of online spaces available to them, some used, some not, as well as various conferences. in the UK, they continue to use listservs as a key tool, and in the U.S., the main equivalent uwebd is also listserv-based, and has seen a continuing importance (even though we might consider mailing-lists as a somewhat old-fashioned CMC tool by now). There has been some decrease in list membership in recent years, however, declining by some 5% per annum since 2003. It is also interesting that some 25% of list members have turned off mail delivery of the list (presumably accessing the list via the Web?). And there is ongoing churn of members (new members joining, old members dropping out). List traffic is around 120 per month, and again this has declined gradually in recent years.