Derek Hansen

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I am a Ph.D. student at the University of Michigan's School of Information. As part of my dissertation work, I am studying online technical support communities such as this one, as well as online medical support communities. In particular, my work explores technologies and social practices that help communities to create lasting knowledge repositories. I have been very impressed with this community's novel use of an email list and wiki and believe that other online support communities can learn from this one.

My research entails reading through prior messages, calculating statistics on participation and changes in the wiki over time, as well as performing interviews. I anticipate presenting results at an academic conference and publishing an article in an academic journal as a result. I have fairly strict ethical guidelines that I follow to make sure that the community and any individuals that I speak with are not harmed in any way (e.g., protection of privacy). These are outlined in detail here if you are interested.

If you have any questions or comments related to this work please email me at shakmatt at umich dot edu

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