Date: 15 Apr 2003

Motivating Participation in Peer to Peer Communities

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Abstract

One of the most important prerequisites for the success of a peer to peer system is the availability of participants willing to provide resources (files, computational cycles, time and effort to the community). Free riders may do no harm in file-sharing applications, like NAPSTER, because of the nature of electronic data, which can be reproduced at no cost; downloading a copy does not take anything away from the common resources. However, free riders can be destructive in applications where there are costs associated with the resources shared. The paper argues that providing motivation or some kind of incentives for users to participate is very important. It describes various methods to motivate different kinds of users and describes a design of a peer to peer system called Comutella, which is being developed currently to support file and service (help, advice) sharing in research groups and groups of learners.