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boards.ie: An Evolution

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Capstone project presentation on boards.ie's history and evolution from Masters in Library and Information Studies (MLIS) students at the School of Information and Library Studies (SILS), University …

Capstone project presentation on boards.ie's history and evolution from Masters in Library and Information Studies (MLIS) students at the School of Information and Library Studies (SILS), University College Dublin on 29 July 2011. Research work carried out by Paula MacSweeney, Eva Ryan, Karen Skelly, Kelly Tiernan, Laura Cahill, Ceire Murphy, Amye Quigley, and Roisin Tangney. Supervised by Dr. Norman Su.

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  • A qualitative approach was taken to our research and Grounded Theory was used to analyse the data.  (i) Grounded theoryGrounded theory, as developed by Glaser and Strauss in the late 1960s, allows the researcher to focus on the interpretive process by analysing evidence and constructing theories based on the analysis of that evidence. This was chosen as a suitable theoretical framework for the history of Boards.ie as our interest lies more in how the founders and users of Boards interpret reality rather than in an objective reality based on quantitative data sets. It was decided therefore to construct an historiographical narrative based on how the individuals concerned interpreted the history. This qualitative approach, it was felt, would provide more interesting results than a purely quantitative, positivist framework would allow.
  • CHANGE PICTURE
  • LACK OF LIT ABOUT HISTORY OF INTERNET IN 90’S IN IRELAND MEANT GAP IN OUR LIT REVIEW40-50 FIRST USERS OF BOARDS WERE CONTACTED – THEY ARE STILL MEMBERS TODAY. EARLY USERS WHO ARE NO LONGER MEMBERS MAY HAVE GIVEN US AN ALTERNATE PERSPECTIVE. 15 USERS SO FAR HAVE AGREED TO BE INTERVIEWED – THS REPRESENTS A VERY SMALL SAMPLE. A LARGER SAMPLE WOULD PROVIDE MORE CONCLUSIVE DATA.
  • IN CONCLUSION (FLICK)
  • AT START, BOARDS WAS A HOBBY SITE MEANT TO BE AN EXPANSION OF QUAKE. FOUNDER 1 HAD AN IDEAL THAT IT WOULD BECOME A PLATFORM FOR PUBLIC DEBATE (FLICK)
  • HOWEVER, THE OTHER FOUNDERS JUST HOPED IT WOULD PAY FOR ITSELF. THEY STILL FEEL THAT SENSE OF COMMUNITY EXISTS AMONG USERS, ESPECIALLY AFTER HANDING MODERATORSHIP. IN CONTRAST, SOME FIRST USERS SAY THEY BARELY FELT MOVE FROM QUAKE TO BOARDS, BUT AS BOARDS GREW, THEY BEGAN TO FEEL DISENGAGED FROM THE SITE. SOME FEEL MODERATORSHIP WAS A TOKEN GESTURE THAN ANYTHING.
  • Transcript

    • 1. An Evolution
    • 2. The Study…
      The Research Team
      Paula MacSweeney
      Eva Ryan
      Karen Skelly
      Kelly Tiernan
      Laura Cahill
      Ceire Murphy
      Amye Quigley
      Roisin Tangney
      2
    • 3. How has Boards.ie evolved from its original inception?
      How has this affected its original user base?
      3
      3
    • 4. An overview…
    • 5. Over 100,000 visitors per day
      Over 700 forums
      382,212 registered users
      Currently ranked 14thwebsite in Ireland
      5
    • 6. Current Competitors…
      Askaboutmoney.com
      6
    • 7. New Accounts by Year
      7
    • 8. Literature Review
      Relevant literature
    • 9. Previous Research
      History of discussion forums
      Virtual communities
      User motivation for posting
      The internet in Ireland
      9
    • 10. History of Discussion Forums
      Factors contributing to success:
      Meeting the needs of distinct communities
      (Notess, G. R. 2009)
      Emergence from subcultures
      (Rheingold, H. 1994; Turner, F. 2005)
      10
    • 11. Boards and the history of discussion forums
      Our Interest:
      Did the founders and original users consider themselves a subculture?
      If so…
      How it organised itself?
      How it regulated itself?
      11
    • 12. Virtual Communities

      A virtual social space where people come together to get and give information...”
      (Preece, J. 2001)
      12
    • 13. Virtual Communities

      Like markets and hierarchies, communities are an important source of knowledge. OCs are open collectives of dispersed individuals with members who are not necessarily known or identifiable and who share common interests, and these communities attend to both their individual and their collective welfare.”
      (Faraj, S., et al, 2011)
      13
    • 14. Boards.ie and Virtual Communities
      Studies focus on general workings of online communities
      Our Study:
      Boards.ie focus
      What role does community play?
      Do community norms exist?
      14
    • 15. User motivation for posting
      Information exchange
      (Faraj, S., Jarvenpaa, S. L., & Majchrzak, A. 2011)
      On-going dialogue and discussions
      (McLure-Wasko, M., & Faraj, S. 2000)
      15
    • 16. User motivation for posting
      Voicing an opinion
      (Lee, et al. 2006)
      Enjoyment of helping others
      (McLure-Wasko, M., & Faraj, S. 2000)
      16
    • 17. Internet in Ireland
      1998 still poor technological climate
      Major increasein internet access between 1996 – 2000 (35%)
      (OECD, 2002; Information Society Ireland 1996; 2000)
      17
    • 18. Gap in the research?
      No research within an Irish context
      Evolution from small subject-specific to very large general forum
      18
    • 19. Grounded Theory

      A reaction against the extreme positivism that had permeated most social research”
      (Suddaby, R. 2006)
      Constructing meaning out of the inter-subjective experience of users
      Narrative based on interpretation of history
      19
    • 20. Methodology
      Project Approach
    • 21. DeconstructivistApproach to History
      21
      (Munslow, 2006)
    • 22. 22
    • 23. Data
      Interviews with founders
      Interviews with First Users
      Quake Archives
      23
    • 24. Founder Interviews
      4 Boards.ie Founders
      Semi-structured interviews
      Approx. 90 minutes in length
      24
    • 25. First User Interviews
      50 first users contacted
      9 semi-structured interviews
      6 interviews to be conducted in the forthcoming weeks
      25
    • 26. Coding
      26
    • 27. First Postings on Quake.ie WWWBoard
      Archives from February 1998 to July 1998
      7290 archived postings analysed and coded
      27
    • 28. Content Analysis Coding Results
      28
    • 29. Findings
      Results
    • 30. The Original Vision
      Founders
      First Users
      Community
      Expansion of a Hobby-site
      Opportunities
      for Public debate
      Updated version of Quake boards
      Current Reality
      Information Sharing Resource without Community
      30
    • 31. The Quake connection
    • 32. Quake Forum
      32
    • 33. Quake Players
      IT Backgrounds
      “A lot of people who played Quake were IT professionals” (F2)
      Gamers
      “They just wanted to play Quake. Quake players are pretty hardcore and pretty determined” (F1)
      33
    • 34. Quake Players
      Low internet connectivity
      “It was dreadful. I mean, I couldn’t play when it rained.” (F4)
      Geographical constraints
      “The responses that you get from the server is lagged by about 0.2 of a second which makes a huge, huge difference.” (F1)
      34
    • 35. Quake Community
      “…as consequence if you were a Quake player and you could play, you were part of this group and… everybody else were norms...” (F1)
      35
    • 36. Quake Beers Offline
      “We used to meet in Messer Maguire’s pub in the basement, or a section of the basement where just a bunch of Quake players came together.”
      (F4)
      36
    • 37. The move
      From Quake.ie…
    • 38.
      To Boards.ie
    • 39. Boards.ie Founder 1 Vision
      A place to talk in Ireland
      A platform to discuss issues
      39
    • 40. Boards.ie Founder 2 Vision

      I probably wouldn’t have imagined that it would spread to non-tech types.” (F2)
      40
    • 41. Success
      “We have 400 sign ups a day or something crazy ... yeah we often say we don’t want more people. People are our problem...”[F1]
      41
    • 42. First User Perspectives
    • 43. Quake Community
      Past
      Present
      Small
      Common bond
      Sub-culture
      Large
      Many topics
      General public
      43
    • 44. From Quake to Boards
      “It didn’t really register --- I don’t think it was a massive jump in terms of change.” (GK)
      “I’ve vague memories of being surprised. So just a bit of a surprise but not a huge one.” (MO)
      “It didn’t really affect me at all.” (YM)
      44
    • 45. Early Boards Days
      “Initially when the site was quite small I probably would have glanced at most of the forums. Now it’s become such a large entity that people probably stick to a handful of forums.” (RF)
      45
    • 46. Boards Growth & Community Decline
      Growth in population

      I don’t think that it’s the same sort of community where people would have been probably a lot closer when boards started off ... it was a smaller site and it was very much tailored around those people doing the same sort of activity.” (RF)
       
      46
    • 47. Boards Growth & Community Decline
      Decline in community feeling
      “But the old Quake scene slowly declined.” (NS)
      47
    • 48. Boards Growth & Community Decline
      Change in user lives and interests
      “I’m not a huge participant anymore. I suppose maybe it’s reflective of the fact that I’ve gotten older.” (GK)
      48
    • 49. Boards.ie as a corporate entity?
      “One of the problems Boards has now is that its perceived rightly or wrongly to be a corporate entity...” (RF)
      49
    • 50. How do the First Users perceive Boards.ie today?
      “Irish Human Google”
      Knowledge sharing
      Information seeking
      Local information
      50
    • 51. Boards as an information source
      “It’s really matured in the last whatever ten years. It provides I think a really useful service. A place where people can exchange information.” (GK)
      “If I’m looking for information anything Irish really and you refine your search to Ireland --- there will be a topic with Boards.ie.” (YM)
      51
    • 52. Community in Boards.ie now?
      Sub-communities within Forums
      “I think there are definitely communities there because you do have them within the forums...” (RF)
      52
    • 53. Limitations
    • 54. Limitations
      Lack of literature about Irish internet history
      Interviewing only a small cross section
      54
    • 55. Future Work
      Conduct further interviews with First Users
      Complete coding and analysis of archive data and interviews
      55
    • 56. Conclusion
    • 57. How has Boards.ie evolved from its original inception?
      How has this affected its original user base?
      57
    • 58. The Original Vision
      Founders
      First Users
      Community
      Expansion of a Hobby-site
      Opportunities
      for Public debate
      Updated version of Quake boards
      Current Reality
      Information Sharing Resource without Community
      58
    • 59. Acknowledgements
      We would like to thank Boards.ie for their co-operation & providing us with information.
      In particular we would like to thank the founders of boards.ie and the early users who agreed to be interviewed for this project.
      Finally we would like to thank our supervisor Dr. Norman Su.
      59
    • 60. Questions?
    • 61. References
      Brown, T. (1987). Ireland: A social and cultural history; 1922-1985. London: Fontana Press.
      Faraj, S., Jarvenpaa, S. L., & Majchrzak, A. (2011). Knowledge collaboration in online communities . Organization Science.
      Ferriter, D. (2004). The transformation of Ireland. London: Profile.
      Lee, M., Cheung, C. K., Lim, K. H., & Choon Ling, S. (2006). Understanding customer knowledge sharing in web-based discussion boards: An exploratory study. Internet Research , 16 (3), 289-303.
      McLure-Wasko, M., & Faraj, S. (2000). "It is what one does": Why people participate and help others in electronic communities of practice. The Journal of Strategic Information Systems, 9 (2-3), 155-173.  
      61
    • 62. Notess, G. R. (2009). Forget not the forums. Online, 33 (2), 41-43.
       
      Preece, J. (2001). Sociability and usability in online communities: determining and measuring success. Behaviour & Information Technology, 20 (5), 347-56.
       
      Rheingold, H. (1994). The Virtual Community: Finding Connection in a Computerized World. London: Martin Secker & Warburg Ltd.
       
      Strauss, A., & Corbin, J. (1998). Basics of Qualitative Research: Techniques and Procedures for Developing Grounded Theory (2nd ed.). London: Sage Publications.
      Suddaby, R. (2006). From the Editors: What Grounded Theory is Not. Academy of Management Journal, 49(4), 633-642.
      Turner, F. (2005). Where counterculture met the new economy: The WELL and the origins of virtual community. Technology and Culture, 46 (3), 485-512.
      62

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