Interesting article. Don't think I've ever read anything on the subject before.
I can't judge the results too harshly. Research is one thing, but without 'exhaustive' research (like living in the forums for years); its easy to miss certain subtleties of forum culture.
Ever been to a forum that gets spammed? They are part of the community, albeit only for a short time for most of them. While, for the most part, members are spared the unpleasantries of their posting efforts, moderators know these unwelcome 'guests' all too well.
I think the 'discussion' versus 'answer' groups is a bit oversimplified. I can think of many people, myself included that would really fit into both groups. The study, I think would have been more thorough by discussing quality of posts. Bill, by a large margin, is the biggest bubble. I forget the numbers, but a while back I think he had more than ten percent of the posts here. He's one of the rare exceptions where there is both quality and quantity. There are others with large numbers, but if you post "me too" a hundred times a day, I would necessarily put them in same category as Bill. Ron has been around for a long time, but comparative to Bill, doesn't have nearly as much posts. You can be sure, however, that when it he posts something, its always of high quality and well thought out.
Another group, noticeably omitted, was the group of moderators that manage the forums. These are the people who decide forum policy, set the tone, keep the peace, police spam, welcome new members and have other forum administrative functions. I'd consider this group part of the "glue," as the author likes to refer to it. Again, as with any community, quality varies from the superb to the not-so-superb. I just joined one unrelated forum. Haven't seen a moderator yet.
Anyway, I better stop here before this post becomes longer than the article we're talking about (as you can see, I'm in the 'big' bubble
Edited by Respree, 05 October 2007 - 04:45 PM.