Research questions

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Some of the questions you might ask as you search for a more narrow set of questions might include:

What social norms apply and how are they manifest and enforced? Code is law - how do architectural elements contribute to membership, relationships, interactions and content? Freedom of expression - what topics are permitted, what is removed and who decides. What is the mix of emergent social structure versus hierarchical organization? Is there an explicit mapping on online and offline activity? What role does national law play? Is there an apparent logic to the community structure? Is membership static or dynamic? How are new entrants treated? What are the explicit and implicit policies for dealing with trolls and vandals? What motivations and incentives influence contributors? How are a site's superusers specially empowered, promoted, and regulated? How would you classify the governance system of the community? (oligarchy, dictatorship, democracy, ad-hocracy) Is there evidence of user circumventing the explicit purpose of the community, in an acceptable or unacceptable manner? (Unacceptable: spam. Acceptable: anything on 4chan. Grey-area: 'Griefing' in online games, sex (sexual content on flickr and sexual services on craigslist)