Developed by Wikitalia, Edgesense is a Drupal module that adds social network analytics to Drupal forum and community sites. By augmenting online conversations with network analytics, we hope to be able to foster collective intelligence processes. The vision behind all this is to contribute to building a format for participatory democracy that works at the global scale.
Representing relationships in online conversations
Edgesense represents the online conversation as a network of comments. Useri is connected to user j if i has commented a piece of content (including comments themselves in threaded forums) authored by j. Such a network is directed – i can comment j‘s content without j in her turn commenting i – and admits loops – i can comment her own content.
Use-Cases for Edgesense
- Case 1. Community manager/moderator
Every conversation has a structure. Community managers can check who is talking to whom, which users are central vs peripheral in the conversation, who are the gateways etcetera. This is useful for curating the debate from a relational point of view: it also helps determine which users carry more authoritativeness (eigenvector centrality or Pagerank type measures).
- Case 2. Advanced user
Individual users might use Edgesense to find herself in the graph and get an idea of her position in the conversation. Is she central or peripheral? Which subcommunity is she a part of? Is there a dense network of relationships somewhere else, that she is not participating in? A competitive user might even try to implement strategies to increase her centrality!
In both cases, a nice plus of Edgesense is that it lets its users learn about conversation networks in a natural, intuitive way (intuitive because the learning happens in the context of the online community that the user is a part in and knows well).
Edgesense Concept movie