The MSc student Stav Yanovsky from Ben Gurion University, who is sponsored by the WeNet project, was awarded the best student paper prize at ACM User Modeling 2019 conference.
Stav’s thesis focuses on the study of badge design as incentive mechanisms in large scale collaborative systems. Badges are endemic to online interaction sites, from Question and Answer (Q\&A) websites to ride sharing, as systems for rewarding participants for their contributions. Stav studied how badge design affects people’s contributions and behavior over time. Past work has shown that badges “steer” people’s behavior toward substantially increasing the amount of contributions before obtaining the badge, and immediately decreasing their contributions thereafter, returning to their baseline contribution levels.
In contrast, Stav found that the steering effect depends on the type of user, as modeled by the rate and intensity of the user’s contributions. Stav’s thesis used these measures to distinguish between different groups of user activity, including users who are not affected by the badge system despite being significant contributors to the site. Stav provided a predictive model of how users change their activity group over the course of their lifetime in the system. She demonstrated this approach empirically in three different Q\&A sites on Stack Exchange with hundreds of thousands of users.