Exploring user behavior and needs in Q & A communities

Choudhury, Smitashree and Alani, Harith (2014). Exploring user behavior and needs in Q & A communities. In: Proceedings of the European Conference on Social Media: ECSM 2014, Academic Conferences and Publishing International Limited, pp. 80–89.


One of the difficult challenges of any knowledge centric online community is to sustain the momentum of knowledge sharing and knowledge creation effort by its members through various means. This requires a clearer understanding of user needs that drive community members to contribute, engage and stay loyal to the community. In this paper, we explore the applicability of Abraham Maslow’s theory (1943) to understand user behavior and their latent needs using Exploratory Factor analysis. Results show that users are largely driven by four main needs: social interaction, altruism cognitive need and reputation. Our results further indicate that users with high reputations are more likely to stay longer in the community than others, and that socially motivated users are responsible for increased content creation.

Viewing alternatives

Download history

Item Actions