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Gatekeeping/Information Control is exercised frequently and daily in virtual communities. Gatekeeping exists in four different levels: Regulators, service providers, communities managers and members of communities. The article analyzes the sensitive balance of relationships among these stakeholders. Additionally, it examines how information control is being exercised in forums and more specifically constructs explanatory models which explain different reasons for deleting messages in forums. The empirical examination combined qualitative and quantitative methods, integrating content analysis along aside data mining, over data of three years on 715 virtual communities. The results suggest behavior patterns of users in virtual communities that can be identified and addressed. Three levels that impact gatekeeping nature are analyzed — the gatekeepers, the community and the gated while addressing: first, the duality of gatekeepers as protectors or manipulators; second, the politics of power of marginalized groups in cyberspace and finally, the meaning of anonymity to information control through looking at history of users activities and gender.
System Sciences, 2006. HICSS '06. Proceedings of the 39th Annual Hawaii International Conference on (Volume:6 )
Date of Conference: 04-07 Jan. 2006