Competing to Share Expertise: the Taskcn Knowledge Sharing Community

Jiang Yang, Lada A. Adamic, Mark S. Ackerman

"Witkeys" are websites in China that form a rapidly growing web-based knowledge market. A user who posts a task also offers a small fee, and many other users submit their answers to compete. The Witkey sites fall in-between aspects of the now-defunct Google Answers (vetted experts answer questions for a fee) and Yahoo Answers (anyone can answer or ask a question). As such, these sites promise new possibilities for knowledge-sharing online communities, perhaps fostering the freelance marketplace of the future. In this paper, we investigate one of the biggest Witkey websites in China, In particular, we apply social network prestige measures to a novel construction of user and task networks based on competitive outcomes to discover the underlying properties of both users and tasks. Our results demonstrate the power of this approach: Our analysis allows us to infer relative expertise of the users and provides an understanding of the participation structure in Taskcn. The results suggest challenges and opportunities for this kind of knowledge sharing medium.

Subjects: 6. Computer-Human Interaction; 6.3 User Interfaces

Submitted: Feb 15, 2008

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