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Evaluating On-line Communities

Posted by daniel on August 22, 2003 at 6:39 AM PDT

Think of the on-line groups you belong to. How do you judge the health or activity of a community before deciding to join? There are over 400 registered projects here at How might you suggest the health of a group be measured and reported?

We don't know how or if we could provide useful metrics for our projects that would help you find those that best meet your needs and interests. It's fun to look at work being done in other settings. In the Also Today section, we feature a look at Microsoft sociologist Marc Smith. Smith has been studying social cyberspaces - in particular, he's been working with Usenet groups. For an overview of Smith's work, read the CNet interview Microsoft's in-house sociologist. You can learn more about the metrics Smith is using for evaluating and representing the health of Usenet groups by downloading the Powerpoint slides from his presentation at the O'Reilly Emerging Technology conference.

In today's featured Weblogs, Chet Haase submits part two of BufferedImage as good as Butter. Haase continues his discussion of how to get better performance when working with images. N. Alex Rupp's entry is a response to a comment on his previous post.

Blogger Philip Brittan continues his Java vs .NET series with a discussion of why the "Open Standards" argument has not been an effective weapon against Microsoft. Among other reasons, Brittan writes that "Microsoft developers don't care."

For them, the standards that Microsoft sets are as legitimate as standards set by any official standards organization. It is a misrepresentation to say that Microsoft software only works with other Microsoft software. Microsoft has fostered a huge ecosystem of ISVs who conform to the standards that it sets. There is a belief in the Microsoft camp, justified or not, that software from vendors who conform to the Microsoft Standard interoperates at least as well, if not better than, software from vendors who conform to Open Standards.

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