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Trust in Social Q&A: The Impact of Text and Photo Cues of Expertise

Jennifer Golbeck and Kenneth R. Fleischmann

(Submission #48)


Users increasingly rely on social Q&A sites to answer questions that are important to their everyday lives. Social Q&A differs significantly from library-based reference services in that there is no guarantee that the individuals answering questions have relevant expertise or are relying on authoritative sources. This raises an important research question: what factors influence users’ trust in social Q&A? This paper seeks to determine the role that text and photo cues of expertise have on users’ trust in answers in social Q&A. The results of an experiment with 241 subjects indicate that expertise cues in text lead to significantly higher trust among both experts and non-experts. However, expertise cues in photos increase trust among non-experts but do not increase trust among experts. These results indicate that both the expertise of the user and the expertise cues provided in the answer affect user trust in social Q&A.


Program Track:  Track 5 - Information Use
Submission Type:  Research Paper

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