Social capital is important as both a mechanism for governing online communities and a product of the interaction in those communities. How networks of relationships in online communities are structured has important implications for how social capital may be generated. We examine a popular website, Slashdot, that uses a system by which users can declare relationships with other users, and also has an embedded reputation system, which they call user Karma. The role between user reputation levels and social network structures may indicate the types of social capital that can form. Using the concept of structural holes, we find that Slashdot users develop broad networks at lower levels of participation, and deep networks at higher levels of reputation.
Ganley, Dale and Lampe, Cliff, "How Deep Runs the Karma? Structural Holes and Social Capital in an Online Community" (2006). MWAIS 2006 Proceedings. 25.