Bill Johnston poses an interesting OCTribe question — what is the monetary value to online community member participation and contribution? As we evolve metrics for member participation (watching participants rate, moderate, guide discussions, answer & Inspire, welcoming new members, etc.) it beomes natural to assign value to member contributions (As Bill suggest, “support forum posts, tutorials, reviews, feedback and ideas” etc.).
He speculates that if an organization were to make the valuations of member participation and contribution public, “it may set off a firestorm of debate about member compensation, legal boundaries around “volunteer opportunities”, and ultimately, forcing the host organization to account for true cost and true value of the activities and content created in their online community,” citing the famous AOL volunteer moderator lawsuit and the estimates of the value of structured, assigned moderating of chat rooms.
His big question: “What is the arbitrage between social and financial capital?” I don’t have an answer, but I do have a further question. Even if all of the rewards are experiential, and nothing looks like compensation, could an organized community that knows about metrics and valuation of a business do a “behavior stoppage” of desired activities as protest against a company action? Valuing behavior like work could extend the work metaphor in directions beyond the company’s valuation. “Interesting” organized group dynamics are possible too.
This is a replay to his Online Community Tribe discussion topic call… a loose association of blog posts for the 2nd and 4th Tuesday. See Bill’s blog for links to other Online Community practitioner’s thoughts on this issue.
Note: This post is part of the OC Tribe series. Each 2nd Tuesday and 4th Tuesday of the month, online community practitioners will be encouraged to explore a particular topic via blog, video blog, twitter, or whatever suites your fancy. The recap will be hosted on the site of another one of the bloggers in the loosely defined OCTribe group. This ad-hoc group (movement?) is just starting up, so please join in! #octribe