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User Participation Patterns Over Time in Yahoo! Answers

Jung Sun Oh, Chirag Shah and Sanghee Oh

(Submission #101)


On many accounts, Yahoo! Answers is a success case of an online community in general and of a social Q&A service in particular (Hitwise, 2008). In a previous study, we compared two different Q&A sites, Google Answers and Yahoo! Answers, and argued that the active user participation in Yahoo! Answers accounts for its success to a large extent (Shah, Oh, & Oh 2008). We characterized the participation structure of each site with the statistics pertaining to two major activities taken place in a Q&A site, questioning and answering, and observed that Yahoo! Answers has developed a responsive community with the majority of the users actively engaged in providing answers as well as asking questions. In the current study, we will continue our analysis of user participation in Yahoo! Answers in terms of questioning and answering, while adding the dimension of time to the analysis. In particular, we are interested in seeing whether the participation patterns of users change over time and when people develop certain participatory behaviors in Yahoo! Answers.

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