the new scientist tech reports that researchers at cornell university, new york, and microsoft research in washington state have developed a software that identifies the most informative people in an online community, based on their posting patterns.
“the researchers worked out how to spot key players within discussions by analysing the connections between thousands of messages on several topics. the work could help website designers automatically reward, or highlight, the most valuable members of a community, or improve methods for searching through a conversation for the most relevant information […] “you have a socially recognised role of some people as experts in some way in a community,” says howard welser, a sociologist at cornell university, who led the work. “that role was what we were trying to measure. the indicators we found had to do with the structure of their interaction with others.” […] scott golder, at the information dynamics lab at hp labs in palo alto, california, says the work shows how people take on roles in an online environment, and how those roles influence the nature of the community they take part in.”
journal reference: journal of social structure