Thursday, July 08, 2010

Assessing the Value of Contributions in Tagging Systems

During the past two and a half months, I have been visiting the InWeb/UFMG at Belo Horizonte - MG - Brazil. Besides enjoying the great 'Cozinha Mineira', in this opportunity, we studied the problem of assessing the value of contributions in social tagging systems, and took the first steps towards a solution. The ideas will be presented in an article at the 2nd IEEE International Symposium on Social Intelligence and Networking (SIN-10) in 20-22August 2010. Next stop: to give a talk at the Laboratório de Sistemas Distribuídos (UFCG).

Abstract -- Assessing the value of individual users' contributions in peer-production systems is paramount to the design of mechanisms that support collaboration and improve users’ experience. For instance, to incentivize contributions, file-sharing systems based on the BitTorrent protocol equate value with volume of contributed content and use a prioritization mechanism to reward users who contribute more. This approach and similar techniques used in resource-sharing systems rely on the fact that the physical resources shared among users are easily quantifiable. In contrast, information-sharing systems, like social tagging systems, lack the notion of a physical resource unit (e.g., content size, bandwidth) that facilitates the task of evaluating user contributions. For this reason, the issue of estimating the value of user contributions in information sharing systems remains largely unexplored. This paper introduces this problem and takes the first steps towards a solution. More precisely, it presents a framework to design algorithms that estimate the value of user contributions in tagging systems, proposes three complementary success criteria for potential solutions, and outlines the methodological evaluation challenges.