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Towards quantitative tools for analysing qualitative properties of virtual communities

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  • Duje Bonacci

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    (Rudjer Boskovic Institute)

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    Abstract

    During the last decade, the advance of Internet has enabled the emergence of previously nonexistent type of human social structures - virtual 'online' communities. As compared to the traditional communities, online communities are distinguished by the drastic reduction of the requirement for the physical proximity and geographical clustering of their members. The primary cause of this shift away from 'physically concentrated' communities to dispersed virtual ones is new long distance communication tools that Internet has provided. Along with the increase in quantity of communication that the new technology brought about, it also strongly influenced its quality. The paper suggests two simple mathematical tools for analysing the 'soft' (qualitative) sociological internal properties of virtual communities. The suggested tools are applied and their utility discussed on the example of one such virtual community, Croatian NGO 'Society znanost.org'. Classification-ACM-1998: J.4; Social and behavioral sciences - Sociology

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    File URL: http://indecs.eu/2004/indecs2004-pp126-135.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Croatian Interdisciplinary Society Provider Homepage: http://indecs.eu in its journal Interdisciplinary Description of Complex Systems.

    Volume (Year): 2 (2004)
    Issue (Month): 2 ()
    Pages: 126-135

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    Handle: RePEc:zna:indecs:v:2:y:2004:i:1:p:126-135

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    Related research

    Keywords: mailing list analysis; online communities; scale-free distribution; quantitative analysis of qualitative properties; social energy;

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    1. Thorbj¯rn Knudsen, 2001. "Zipf's Law for Cities and Beyond: The Case of Denmark," American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(1), pages 123-146, 01.
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