Online communities constitute rich ecosystems that enable users to exchange information, to interact with each other, to collaborate and to cultivate their social network. As such they are in the focus of many research initiatives and projects. The main focus of this e-letter is one of these projects: ROBUST. ROBUST - an acronym for 'Risk and Opportunity management of huge-scale BUSiness communiTy cooperation' - is an EU funded FP7 project and started in November 2010. The driving motivation for ROBUST is, that the information and knowledge provided in online communities as well as the social interaction between their users represent a valuable asset which needs to be protected and preserved. The project is dedicated to provide 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 specifically focusses on business communities set in the context of  companies hosting and maintaining them as here the communities reflect a concrete investment. However, many aspects of the ROBUST project generalize to other online communities as well.

In this e-letter we feature four contributions from the ROBUST project. An overview article provides the background of the project, motivates the setting and describes its approach to risk management for online communities from a high-level view point. The pro-active risk-management is detailed in the second article by Nasset et al. describing the risk detection and treatment methodology implemented in the project. One core component in the analysis of online communities is role and behaviour analysis, which is presented in more depth by Rowe et al.: Modelling and analysis of user behaviour in online communities. Finally, Karnstedt discusses scalable social analytics of large scale online communities as they in the focus of ROBUST. Overall, the articles provide a good insight and overview of the setting, methods and algorithms developed in the ROBUST project.

Furthermore, you will find a featured article on user-oriented analysis of interactions in online social networks, some featured blog articles as well as a list of CfPs from relevant events.

We are sure you'll enjoy it,
Rene Kaiser and Thomas Gottron