[unrev-II] An Analysis of Growth Pattersn in Computer Conferencing Threads

From: Jack Park (jackpark@thinkalong.com)
Date: Sun Jul 22 2001 - 07:23:22 PDT

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    Abstract: Threads in a computer conferencing systems develop in seemingly
    unpredictable ways. Each time someone starts a new discussion or extends an
    existing line of thought, there is a subtle shift in the intellectual
    spotlight ñ a shift that influences the contribution patterns of subsequent
    users. Active threads may unexpectedly fade to the background, and older,
    inactive threads may regain centre stage. Yet within this complex ebb and
    flow, there are certain indicators that help predict a threadís future. An
    analysis of the 1571 threads in 7 distance education conferences reveals
    patterns of development that can be used to statistically assign growth
    probabilities to individual threads. Possible applications of these
    findings are discussed.

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