Title: Solving the disengagement problem in peer production sites
Speaker: Dr. Ya’akov (Kobi) Gal, Ben-Gurion University
Abstract: Peer production sites such as wikipedia, citizen science and e-learning platforms depend critically on maintaining the engagement of their participants. The vast majority of users in such systems exhibit casual and non-committed participation patterns, making very few contributions before dropping out and never returning to the system. We present a methodology for extending engagement and productivity in such systems by combining machine learning with intervention strategies (whether automated or induced by a human overseer). We demonstrate the efficacy of this approach on two real world problems: How to support student group-learning in the classroom, and how to increase the contributions of thousands of volunteers in one of the largest citizen science platforms on the web.
The topic is quite interesting and the technique related can be used in many websites and apps. The idea is to predict when the users will leave the system and give right encouragement at the right time. Another inseresting issue is whether it is ethical to manipulate people like that. I feel users still have a choice to leave or not in this case, we do not force them to stay. And a similar case is that some websites and apps will change their ui from time to time to advertise or promote their new functions or activities. Can we blame them for manipulating people? Personally I don’t think so.
He also mentioned about the issue of badge encouraging system. When users obtain the badge (or other similar designations/titles), their contributions will drop dramatically. This is an interesting observation which I believe deserve further efforts for proposing a brand new encouraging system. Besides, it is really a good suggestion to communicate with experts in social psychological field when doing research related to human behaviors.