Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/49422

Redesign as an Act of Violence: Disrupted Interaction Patterns and the Fragmenting of a Social Q&A Community

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Title: Redesign as an Act of Violence: Disrupted Interaction Patterns and the Fragmenting of a Social Q&A Community
Authors: Gazan, Rich
Issue Date: 2011
Citation: Rich Gazan (2011). Redesign as an Act of Violence: Disrupted Interaction Patterns and the Fragmenting of a Social Q&A Community. ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2011), 9-13 May 2011, Vancouver, BC, pp. 2847-2856. New York: ACM.
Abstract: The worst-case scenario for the redesign of an established
online community is a subsequent mass migration of its
core members to other sites. Using data from transaction
logs, content analysis and participant observation, this
paper presents a descriptive analysis of the fragmentation of
a social question answering (Q&A) community in the
immediate aftermath of a fundamental redesign, where site-
based communication mechanisms no longer functioned.
The ways in which the community and its diaspora reacted,
reconnected and resettled on other sites provides empirical
data to support recent research on the life cycle of online
communities. The results suggest that many of the same
processes that help social Q&A sites generate content and
motivate participation can work to dismantle an established
community if communications between members are even
temporarily disrupted. Modeling a redesign as an attack on
a community can help future designers anticipate
alternative paths of communication and information flows.
URI/DOI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/49422
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