Title: Self-organised virtual communities: bridging the gap between web-based communities and P2P systems

Authors: Panayotis Antoniadis, Benedicte Le Grand

Addresses: UPMC Univ Paris 06, Universite Pierre et Marie Curie – Paris 6, 104, av. du Pdt Kennedy 75016 Paris, France. ' UPMC Univ Paris 06, Universite Pierre et Marie Curie – Paris 6, 104, av. du Pdt Kennedy 75016 Paris, France

Abstract: In this paper, we argue for the benefits of enabling the self-organisation of virtual online communities, which today are mainly formed and operated by centrally managed web servers. However, self-organisation requires community members themselves to contribute different types of resources (e.g., bandwidth, storage, etc.), as in the case of Peer-to-Peer (P2P) systems. Unfortunately, this cooperation cannot be taken for granted. To address this obstacle, we introduce the notion of a cross-layer incentive mechanism. The main idea is to encourage the contribution of low-level resources using social incentives generated at a higher (social) layer. We believe that this type of incentive mechanism will play a central role toward the realisation of self-organised virtual communities and enable users to take advantage of the attractiveness and value of web-based communities, on the one hand, and the externalities and flexibility of P2P networks, on the other hand. We make a first step toward this direction: a) we categorise the different types of social incentives applicable in this context and b) we provide insights for the design of the appropriate social software required to map the behaviour of the participants at the resource-sharing layer with suitable rewards at the social layer.

Keywords: virtual communities; self-organisation; social incentives; peer-to-peer systems; P2P; web based communities; online communities; cross-layer incentive; resource sharing.

DOI: 10.1504/IJWBC.2009.023964

International Journal of Web Based Communities, 2009 Vol.5 No.2, pp.179 - 194

Published online: 22 Mar 2009 *

Full-text access for editors Full-text access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article