Let’s be honest. We are not always so honest in declaring our friendship, trust and assorted opinions of one another online. I may not want to hurt your feelings, or I may think that it’s best to not write anything at all if I can’t say anything nice. Or I may be fearful that if I write something less-than-nice about you, you’ll write something less-than-nice about me. In a paper that will be presented at the Workshop on Online Social Networks, Edwin Teng, Debra Lauterbach and I examine rating behavior in different scenarios: when people rate other people, and when people rate products. When they do so privately, and when they do so publicly, and if publicly, then whether anonymously or not. We find all sorts of intriguing stuff, on data ranging in origin from Amazon to Epinions to CouchSurfing.com. Public, identified ratings tend to be more positive than ones that are anonymous or private, if there is potential for reciprocity. When A rates B publicly, this tends to be more correlated with how B rates A, than when the ratings are private. We find not only that the potential for reciprocity matters, but that ratings may even vary by age, gender, and country.

Read all about it here.

Gender, friendship and trust on CouchSurfing.com

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