A conceptual and operational definition of 'social role' in online community

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A conceptual and operational definition of 'social role' in online community is a 2009 conference paper written in English by Gleave E., Welser H.T., Lento T.M., Smith M.A. and published in Proceedings of the 42nd Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, HICSS.

[edit] Abstract

Both online and off, people frequently perform particular social roles. These roles organize behavior and give structure to positions in local networks. As more of social life becomes embedded in online systems, the concept of social role becomes increasingly valuable as a tool for simplifying patterns of action, recognizing distinct user types, and cultivating and managing communities. This paper standardizes the usage of the term 'social role' in online community as a combination of social psychological, social structural, and behavioral attributes. Beyond the conceptual definition, we describe measurement and analysis strategies for identifying social roles in online community. We demonstrate this process in two domains, Usenet and Wikipedia, identifying key social roles in each domain. We conclude with directions for future research, with a particular focus on the analysis of communities as role ecologies.

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