Results of a Collective Awareness Platforms Investigation
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- Pacini G., Bagnoli F. (2016) Results of a Collective Awareness Platforms Investigation. In: Bagnoli F. et al. (eds) Internet Science. INSCI 2016. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 9934. Springer, Cham
In this paper we provide two introductory analyses of CAPs, based exclusively on the analysis of documents found on the Internet. The first analysis allowed us to investigate the world of CAPs, in particular for what concerned their status (dead or alive), the scope of those platforms and the typology of users. In order to develop a more accurate model of CAPs, and to understand more deeply the motivation of the users and the type of expected payoff, we analysed those CAPs from the above list that are still alive and we used two models developed for what concerned the virtual community and the collective intelligence.
KeywordsCAPs Virtual community Collective intelligence
1 CAPs: Brief Review
Collective Awareness Platforms are important crowdsourcing instruments that may promote cooperation, emergence of collective intelligence, participation and promotion of virtuous behaviours in the fields of social life, energy, sustainable environment, health, transportation, etc. [1, 2].
CAPs do not obey in general to the usual market dynamics: they are developed by volunteers or after a public support (namely, EU projects). Also the participation of the public in CAPs is not due to an immediate return, and there are several motivations, exposed in the following, whose lack of analysis may lead to the failure of the CAP, with an evident waste of effort and public funding.
The core of our investigation is that of examining the motivations for the participation in CAPs based on a model of the individual user based on what is known of human behaviour beyond rationality: human heuristics, emotional components, peers and group influence. In particular, we shall analyse the role of payoff (which in general depends non-linearly on the number of participants), incentives, motivations (reputation, emotional components) and community structure.
2 The Analysis
The subject of the action of the CAP: which field/problem/need this platform is addressing.
The health state of the CAP: is it alive, dead, completed or failed?
Number of participants, kind of community/group/hierarchical structure that the CAP is promoting.
Messages and communications among participants, communication network.
Role and structure of the expected payoff from the point of view of users.
2.1 Applicative Field, Status and Target
For what concerns the activity level of CAPS we found that the 75 % of them are alive after at least three years from opening. Some of them may have moved their activity to other media (such as Facebook). What is remarkable (and will be the subject of a further investigation) is that inactive CAPs are, almost all, platforms developed within European projects.
An important aspect of this study is the evaluation of CAPs audience, intended both as a number and as a type of user. For what concerns the geographical target, we found that 50 % have a worldwide audience, 20 % a European one and the others are devoted to local targets. We divided the audience by category of users that may be involved in a CAP; almost half of the CAPS analyzed are addressed to citizens and about a 20 % are dedicated to researchers.
2.2 Social Media Impact
3 Second Analysis
In order to develop a more accurate model of CAPs, and to understand more deeply the motivation of the users and the type of expected payoff, we further analysed those CAPs from the above list that are still alive. Our results are based exclusively on the analysis of documents found on the Internet.
The first one is the autocatalytic one, which can be expected if the value of a CAP is given by the direct user-production (Wikipedia for instance). In this case, the more the users the more the payoff. The second scenario (always increasing) is similar, except that user participate in cataloguing and searching data, not in their production. It is the case for instance of AirB&B. The third scenario, asymptotically neutral, is given by CAPs that provide access to static pieces of information. After that user contributed, for instance by discussing and furnishing support, they may expect to receive a return which does not depend on the number of users. The final scenario, finite resource sharing, is typical of CAPs offering tools for accessing a finite resource, for instance alerting about free park slots. In this case there is an optimum in the number of users, after which the payoff decreases.
3.1 CAPs as Virtual Communities
An aggregation of individuals or business partners
Who interact around a shared interest,
Where the interaction is at least partially supported and/or mediated by technology and guided by some protocols or norms.
This characterization is based on the existing divisions but also attempts to provide a framework for establishing divisions that are as clear cut as possible, without potential for overlaps.
What is being done?
Who is doing it?
Why are they doing it?
How is it being done?
The first level can be further specified.
What? This is the first question to be answered for any activity. It is the mission or goal or simply the task. The task can be to Create (make something new) or Decide (evaluate and select alternative).
Who? The question is about who undertakes an activity. Possible answers are: Hierarchy, (someone in authority assigns a particular person or group to perform a task) or Crowd, (anyone in a large group who chooses to do so).
Why? This question deals with incentives, the reason for which people take part in the activity. What motivates them? What incentives are at work? The possible answers are: Money, where participants earn money from the activity, Love, in the sense of intrinsic enjoyment of the activity, the opportunity to socialize, the idea of contributing to something larger than themselves, Glory (or reputation), which is the recognition of themselves among their community.
Almost two-third of CAPs are developing applications on sustainability, ITC and sociology.
Most CAPs do not report on their stakeholders outreach and audiences and therefore it is impossible to evaluate their impact.
As for potential user involvement, almost half of the CAPs analysed are addressed to citizens and one fifth are dedicated to researchers.
Most of alive CAPs share information as the payoff for users, and since this resource is in general furnished by users, the expected payoff per user is constant or increases with the number of users themselves, and this is an indicator of a possible further increase of the CAPs audience.
The support of the European Commission under the FP7 Programme Collective-Awareness Platforms under the Grant Agreement no ICT-611299 for the SciCafe2.0 is gratefully acknowledged.