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STCSN E-Letter Vol.1 No.2

Managing Business Communities - Taking a Closer Look at the ROBUST Project

Welcome to the STCSN E-Letter Vol.1 No.2! After STCSN published its first E-Letter earlier this year, we proudly announce its second edition, which contains fresh results from the ROBUST project on managing business communities. We are sure you will enjoy this edition, since it contains a lot of interesting thoughts and results from this European research project. As always, feel free to get in touch with us if you want to contribute to future E-Letter editions, or STCSN in general!

  • Managing Business Communities - the ROBUST project
    (by Thomas Gottron)
    Abstract: Online business communities constitute rich ecosystems that enable an amorphous group of employees, customers or company partners to disseminate, exchange and curate content items, information and valuable knowledge. While the platform technologies for online business communities have been around for several decades, there still is a lack of metrics and tools for the analysis and management of the assets provided by these communities. The ROBUST project is dedicated to fill this gap. It provides methods and tools to analyse and monitor online communities for arising risks which might threaten the health or well being of a community as well as for opportunities which bear the potential to enrich the value or the effectiveness of the community. ROBUST is embedded in three real world use cases, addressing different types and needs of online business communities: (a) an internal collaboration platform for employees, (b) a setting where a company interacts with customers and business partners to provide support for their products and (c) a public domain setting of the general public discussing about companies on the Social Web. This article motivates the need for managing online communities and gives an overview of the setting of the ROBUST project. It explains how risks are monitored, detected and treated in the risk management framework developed for ROBUST and, thereby, gives a synopsis of the methods implemented to support community managers.
  • Next Generation Community Management: A Proactive Risk-based Approach
    (by Bassem Nasser, Vegard Engen and Paul Walland)
    Abstract: Effective management of online communities is a significant challenge as they can exceed millions of users producing hundreds of millions of discussion threads that link together billions of posts. Current management solutions are based on basic statistical tools that aggregate data for the community owner/moderator to interpret themselves and take appropriate actions. This paper presents a proactive and extensible risk-based management framework supporting advanced analytical services for managing online communities. This allows community owners to focus on their community objectives and proactively manage favourable/unfavourable events at the user and community level.
  • Modelling and analysis of user behaviour in online communities
    (by Mattew Rowe, Miriam Fernandez and Harith Alani)
    Abstract: Online communities generate major economic value and currently form pivotal parts of corporate expertise management, marketing and product support. Exploiting the full value of these communities, as well as maintaining their growth, popularity and adoption requires the creation of analysis methods that can help community owners and managers to monitor and understand the dynamics of their communities. Of particular importance is understanding the behaviour that users exhibit in online communities, since changes in these behaviours could affect the utility of the community. In this document we summarise the work produced within the ROBUST project to represent the behaviour of a community of users using numeric features and to discover the types of behaviour, or roles, that users assume within online communities. We explain the process of extracting behavioural features, the combined approach of clustering and role label derivation through which we identify roles that are present within a given online community platform (as an example using IBM Connections), and the rule-based methodology that we have implemented to infer the roles that users assume over time.
  • Scalable Social Analytics for Online Communities
    (by Marcel Karnstedt)
    With the constantly growing ecosphere of online communities, their managers, operators and members can hugely benefit from a rich set of tools to successfully understand, control, exploit and utilise them. This requires to extract reusable, interpretable analytics in real time from the streams of dynamically, socially produced data. In this article, we summarise our efforts in the context of the ROBUST project on producing a suite of novel, highly scalable methods and tools to enable this, aligned along four non-disjoint dimensions: structural analysis, behavioural analysis, content/social-semantic analysis and cross-community analysis.

How to cite this E-Letter edition?
Rene Kaiser, Thomas Gotton (ed.), "Managing Business Communities - Taking a Closer Look at the ROBUST Project", IEEE Computer Society Special Technical Community on Social Networking E-Letter, vol. 1, no. 2, May 2013.