Online Community Indentity and Reputation

Earlier this week, I published the “Identity, Reputation and Ranking” research study to members of our Online Community Research Network. The study was designed to discover best practices for content rating and ranking, and to establish a baseline of current practice for supporting member identity and reputation.

I inititated the study in early November, and sent approximately 250 survey invitations to online community professionals in our network of executives and practitioners.

Over the course of the research, we 54 completed surveys. Participants (who respond on the condition the results remain anonymous) included community managers, strategists and executives from large software companies, large community destination sites, niche community sites, consulting organizations and platform providers.

We asked 21 questions that explored member identity in the community, member reputation, reputation systems, content ranking, and moderation. We also explored current attitudes about member profile portability and universal login / ID.

In particular, I thought the data we got back on member profile fields was interesting. The graph below shows profile fields broken out by % of communities that require the field, ask for the field an don’t require it, or simply don’t ask for the field.

The research results uncovered several other interesting findings, including:

• New members typically don’t fill out non-required profile fields (> 25%)
• Slightly less than 1/3 of the respondents (32%) have, or plan on making member’s profiles portable in the next 6 months;
• Slightly less than 1/3 of the respondents (32%) have, or plan on implementing a universal ID solution in the next 6 months;
• The majority of respondents have, or are developing a reputation system for their communities.

We plan on releasing the full report to the public in April of 2008. For the list of currently available research reports, please check out the Online Community Research Network home page.

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