The following abstract was submitted to the Computers in Human Behaviour journal:
Increasing participation has long been seen as a way additional to new technology of helping online communities to grow. Online community managers may well advertise their website on other service platforms, but with up 90% of the visitors to their site being non-participants, referred to as lurkers, they could do no better than improving their website to tackle lurker fears.
This paper presents the ‘participation continuum’ for understanding why some users are posters, and do participate, and why others are lurkers, and do not contribute. The paper considers lurkers as victims of the failures of those manage online communities to encourage involvement from them by combating the fears they have. The main fears of lurkers are explored and solutions for overcoming them explained.
A later version of the paper was published by IGI Global as: “The Psychology of Trolling and Lurking: The Role of Defriending and Gamification for Increasing Participation in Online Communities Using Seductive Narratives.“