Viable Web Communities: Two Case Studies

  • Dario Taraborelli
  • Camille RothEmail author
Part of the Understanding Complex Systems book series (UCS)


Addressing the question of what makes an online social system “viable” requires some preliminary conceptual clarifications in order to define the scope of the present analysis. Section 4.1 of the present chapter is devoted to framing the problem conceptually: we first introduce the notion of a collaborative Web community by considering the properties that characterise it; we then discuss a number of ways in which the viability of these systems can be defined and the challenges faced by empirical research in identifying measurable indicators of viability. In Sect. 4.2 we present an empirical analysis of two paradigmatic cases of collaborative Web communities and discuss methodological issues emerging from the study of their dynamics from the point of view of viability. We conclude by presenting in Sect. 4.3 a simple model of viable online communities based on the empirical and conceptual considerations of the first two sections.


Online Community Content Production Group Growth Collaborative System Collaborative Community 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This work was partly supported by the PATRES project (NEST-043268) funded by the FP6 programme of the European Commission and by the Future and Emerging Technologies programme FP7-COSI-ICT of the European Commission through project QLectives (grant 231200). We are grateful to Nigel Gilbert, Volker Grimm, Nic Geard, Przemek Grabowicz, as well as members of the Centre for Research in Social Simulation (University of Surrey) and participants in the 2008 Dagstuhl seminar “Social Web Communities” for valuable feedback and insights on earlier versions of this work.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Research in Social SimulationUniversity of SurreyGuildfordUK
  2. 2.Centre d’analyse et de mathématique socialesCNRS-EHESSParisFrance

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