What is it about?

Online communities have boundaries. Content is in the group (or its not). People are in the group (or they are not). The challenge is to manage the tension between boundary strength and permeability. By balancing these conflicting aspect of boundaries, successful online communities allow visibility into the community and maintain community distinctiveness -- even in contexts where individual participant can choose on their own to breach the boundary through cross-posting.

Featured Image

Why is it important?

While much is said about online communities being boundary-less, the reality is that functional boundaries are a critical part of online community functioning. Successful online communities effectively manage the seemingly contradictory aspects of boundaries to support both a distinctive identity and a strong flow of new participants.


Most work on online communities focuses on individual participants or single communities. Understanding the systems of communities that make up the online ecosystem is a critical next step -- and clearly understanding the boundaries that distinguish one community from another (and when those boundaries are breached) is an important part of understanding systems of communities.

Brian S Butler
University of Maryland at College Park

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: The Cross-Purposes of Cross-Posting: Boundary Reshaping Behavior in Online Discussion Communities, Information Systems Research, September 2012, INFORMS, DOI: 10.1287/isre.1110.0378.
You can read the full text:



The following have contributed to this page