Exploring reward mechanisms on social question and answer Websites: Quantifying the interdependences among user activities

Juan Chen, Yong Liu, Hongxiu Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Introduction. Previous studies suggest that the users of social question and answer Websites contribute their knowledge to a community in exchange for intrinsic rewards from other members, such as reciprocity and reputation. Thus, rewarding knowledge contributors is of great importance for maintaining the users of such Websites. However, there is a lack of knowledge on the reward mechanisms used by the sites. In addition, while previous studies have highlighted the importance of reciprocity in motivating knowledge sharing, little is known about how reciprocity takes place in a knowledge community, hence, this study addresses that research gap. Method. This study seeks to explore reward mechanisms and quantify the conversion ratio based on studying the profiles of 33,974 observations from a Chinese social question and answer Website. Analysis. The structural equation modelling technique was adopted to estimate the research model via the partial least squares approach. Results. The results show that users who have more followers and publish more questions and articles, tend to answer more questions on social question and answer Websites. The interaction effect between the users’ question-asking activities and the appreciation they receive has a significant influence on user popularity. Conclusions. Writing articles and providing answers generate appreciation from other community members. In addition, users are likely to follow individual users who not only asked interesting questions but who also provided high-quality answers, implying a like-minded effect.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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