CSIS logoCenter for Secure Information Systems

Securing the World's Cyber Infrastructure

Aerial View of the George Mason Fairfax Campus

CSIS Seminar

The Success of Question Answering Communities: How Diversity Influences Ad Hoc Groups

Speaker:   Emanuel Alsina
When:   Friday, March 20, 2015, 2:00pm - 3:00pm
Where:   Engineering 4201, Fairfax Campus


Question & answer communities have emerged as popular and effective repository of knowledge. The growing success of this communities depends principally on the will of the users to answer questions. In this study, we analyzed the users and the posts of 50 different active communities belonging to the Stack Exchange network. In particular, we focused on the correlation between success and diversity within these communities. A framework to evaluate different aspects of the success and diversity inside the communities is proposed. The results show how the effect of diversity on success within Q&A communities depends on the nature of the topic. This means that in general, non-technical topics, diversity in users' tenure increases the ability of the community to obtain better answers. On the other hand, in technical boards, expertise prevails over diversity, so it is more important to maintain an expert community to ensure success within these communities.

Speaker Bio

Emanuel Alsina is a PhD student in Computer Science at the International Doctorate School in Information and Communication Technologies organized by the Department of Engineering Enzo Ferrari of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia in Italy. He received the bachelor and master degrees in Management Engineering from the University of Bologna respectively in 2008 and 2011. His interests focus on complex systems in industrial environments, modeling and simulation, decision-making process, and group dynamics. Currently he is working with the Center for Complexity in Business at the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, studying the diversity and complexity in group dynamics and the impact that has on group performance. He has studied and worked on international teams in Italy, Argentina, and USA.