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Catalyst: Triggering Collective Action with Thresholds

8480b47e733a040fba07c32da414b0e0?s=47 Justin Cheng
February 19, 2014

Catalyst: Triggering Collective Action with Thresholds

Presented at CSCW 2014.

Activation thresholds generalize the crowdfunding concept of calling in donations when a collective monetary goal is reached into. With activation thresholds, commitments that are conditioned on others’ participation, and supporters only need to show up for an event if enough other people commit as well. Catalyst is a platform that introduces activation thresholds for on-demand events.

8480b47e733a040fba07c32da414b0e0?s=128

Justin Cheng

February 19, 2014
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Transcript

  1. Catalyst introduces activation thresholds to trigger collective action. Justin Cheng

    / Michael Bernstein / Stanford HCI Group
  2. Collective action needs critical mass to succeed. By providing indicators

    of when this happens, Catalyst helps groups take action.
  3. Success on the web is dependent on bringing enough people

    around your goal. Grudin, J. (1994). Groupware and social dynamics: eight challenges for developers.
  4. Things don’t succeed all the time. Hill, B.M. Almost Wikipedia:

    Eight Early Encyclopedia Projects and the Mechanisms of Collective Action.
  5. Committing to a cause is risky, as it may never

    reach critical mass.
  6. Will my effort be wasted? Am I going to be

    the only one participating? Organizer Participant
  7. Will my effort be wasted? Am I going to be

    the only one participating? Organizer Participant
  8. Is this cause going to achieve critical mass? Everyone

  9. What if commitments were conditioned on other people participating?

  10. An activation threshold is a minimum participation level that triggers

    action.
  11. A beach cleanup will take place only if at least

    10 people volunteer. A painting of the 12 Days of Christmas will be drawn only if we get an artist for each of 12 days. A bake sale will happen only if at least 2 people bake goods and 2 people sell them.
  12. A human chess game gets hosted if there are enough

    people to play the chess pieces.
  13. A human chess game gets hosted if there are enough

    people to play the chess pieces.
  14. “Some threshold of participation…is crossed before a social movement explodes

    into being” Oliver, Marwell & Teixeira (1985)
  15. # of People Participating Granovetter, M. (1978). Threshold models of

    collective behavior. ; Oliver, P., Marwell, G., & Teixeira, R. (1985). A theory of the critical mass. ; Olson, M. (2009). The logic of collective action: public goods and the theory of groups. Time
  16. Activation thresholds are explicit instantiations of threshold points. Granovetter, M.

    (1978). Threshold models of collective behavior. Oliver, P., Marwell, G., & Teixeira, R. (1985). A theory of the critical mass. Olson, M. (2009). The logic of collective action: public goods and the theory of groups.
  17. # of People Participating Granovetter, M. (1978). Threshold models of

    collective behavior. ; Oliver, P., Marwell, G., & Teixeira, R. (1985). A theory of the critical mass. ; Olson, M. (2009). The logic of collective action: public goods and the theory of groups. Time Risky to join (May not succeed) Crosses the threshold (On the road to success) Saturation (Success)
  18. If the activation threshold is reached, collective action occurs. Granovetter,

    M. (1978). Threshold models of collective behavior. Oliver, P., Marwell, G., & Teixeira, R. (1985). A theory of the critical mass. Olson, M. (2009). The logic of collective action: public goods and the theory of groups.
  19. This project gets funded only if enough people donate money.

    Activation Threshold Gerber, E. M., Hui, J. S., & Kuo, P. Y. (2012). Crowdfunding: why people are motivated to post and fund projects on crowdfunding platforms. Kuppuswamy, V., & Bayus, B. L. (2013). Crowdfunding creative ideas: the dynamics of projects backers in Kickstarter.
  20. This project gets funded only if enough people donate money.

    Activation Threshold
  21. This project gets funded only if enough people donate money.

    Activation Threshold
  22. This project gets funded only if enough people donate money.

    Activation Threshold
  23. The deal is on only if enough people purchase it.

    Activation Threshold
  24. The funding drive succeeds only if enough people give us

    money.
  25. The group takes action only if enough people are committed.

  26. Activation thresholds lower the risk of participating.

  27. Let’s have lunch after this talk. http://bit.ly/catalyst-cscw Demo

  28. http://bit.ly/catalyst-cscw

  29. Lunch is on only if at least 6 people participate.

    Demo http://bit.ly/catalyst-cscw
  30. Lunch is on only if we have a good mix

    of junior and senior folks. Demo http://bit.ly/catalyst-cscw
  31. Lunch can happen as much (or as little) as people

    want. Demo http://bit.ly/catalyst-cscw
  32. To observe naturalistic usage of Catalyst, we released it into

    the wild. Method
  33. Over 4 months, Catalyst saw 2300 visitors and received 15

    000 page views. 24 events were organized with 368 participating, and 11 events succeeding. That’s a 46% success rate. Results
  34. ! ! ! Massive online course discussion sessions Peer study

    groups On-demand labs Class section signups Spring Break volunteering Teatime meetup Reading group Finals study session Freeze mob Document translation Human chess game Food bank volunteering On-demand office hours ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
  35. Fun, mass participation: human chess game 16+ chess pieces

  36. Volunteer efforts: food bank volunteering 4+ people across different shifts

  37. Credit: Stanford EdTech Self-improvement: on-demand tutoring 1 peer leader, 3

    learners, multiple time slots
  38. Activation thresholds support coordination. You could see who else [was]

    going. Cialdini, R. B. (2009). Influence. Banerjee, A. V. (1992). A simple model of herd behavior.
  39. Activation thresholds support deferred commitment. I could make the event

    page without committing to it happening…I was unsure if enough people would be interested.
  40. Committed supporters followed through (90%) on their commitments.

  41. The production curves are empirically similar. Proportion of Participants Time

  42. Many attempts on Catalyst failed. Ultimately, motivation drives participation.

  43. Catalyst supports event prototyping. (It’s okay if things fail.)

  44. What could systems for collective action do better?

  45. Better followthrough mechanisms (e.g. monetary pledges, reputation systems) Huang, A.,

    Wang, H., & Yuan, C. (2014). De-Virtualizing Social Events: Understanding the Gap between Online and Offline Participation for Event Invitations.
  46. Better support for long-term commitment

  47. Enable complex action

  48. So, what about lunch? http://bit.ly/catalyst-cscw

  49. Activation thresholds… Reduce participation risk by deferring commitment Encourage participation

    through coordination Minimize wasted effort Encourage experimentation/prototyping
  50. Catalyst (http://catalyst.stanford.edu) introduces activation thresholds to trigger collective action. Justin

    Cheng / Michael Bernstein / Stanford HCI Group