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August 11, 2004


Joe Cothrel

Hi Carla -

Appreciate your thoughtful comments about our report. A couple of responses/thoughts prompted by your post:

- The survey questions are in the wiki, which is open to anybody (as noted on the page where you downloaded the report - http://www.sageway.com/ocib.html). We've set it up on an opt-in basis -- send us an email and we send you an invite. It probably should be completely open, but, to be embarrassingly candid, it wasn't obvious how to do that given the way the wiki Socialtext made available to us was configured. However, I'll accept the assignment of looking at that again, now that we've gotten the report issued.

- I think I can explain your issues with the "agree/disagree" questions: We used a five-point Likert scale rather than the four-point scale you assume. Depending on the quality of your printer, you should be able to see the charts are five segments vs. four; I can now see it would have been helpful if we had spelled that out in the text too. In all cases I highlight the end of the scale that's largest -- agree or disagree -- and ignore the "neither agree nor disagree." Of course, that's just the highlighting. The charts themselves depict how responses were distributed across all segments.

- We too were surprised by some of the things we didn't see on the influencer list. However, it does comport with my experience that people working with virtual groups often don't know about some of the people or examples that you think they should know about. As we mention in the report, that's the one area in which we hope to continue collecting data through the end of the year. For example, I'd love to hear your three answers to our "influencer" question (i.e., who do you look to as inspiring examples or good sources of advice)!

Like you, I have plenty of things I would have loved to explore in more detail. Some compromises resulted from our decision to look at business communities broadly -- that is, to include groups both internal and external to a business -- and composing questions that made sense in those two very different worlds that nevertheless have much in common. (Ultimately they are coming together, but that's a topic for another day, or perhaps another generation!) At any rate, I'd be delighted if all of our readers were like you: attentive and engaged enough to disagree, and willing to carry on the conversation.



Thanks Joe for your additions! I would really like to further discuss the results and questions it raises, and try to help find answers - a researcher's challenge.

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