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On a practical note it is often hard/unknowable to determine how many
people get a specific group directed email

- some lists allow people to stay members but not get emails (Yahoo!
Groups and other web based groups for example)

- many other lists allow for digesting of emails - which would, I'd
guess, complicated considerably the analysis of the digest - some people
got the individual emails, many others the digest, the contents of which
are "from" multiple parties, to multiple parties

- group memberships change over time. Simple example is as people are
hired/fired/transferred within an organization, however memberships can
and do change for many other reasons, shifting interests for example.
Yet in most cases studying accurately the group membership may be
unknowable (i.e. not logged anywhere/logs deleted)

- in many cases there is a human actor (or more complicated multiple
human actors) who "moderate" the list, i.e. approve/disapprove/edit
emails prior to their delivery to the group. In these cases I would
imagine that if knowable it would be useful to track that moderation -
however moderation is quite often anonymous

- some lists transform/edit/modify the messages (sometimes in complex
ways). Simplest example is the transformation of text to HTML and the
insertion of advertising messages done by groups such as Yahoo! Groups.
However many other lists change the behavior of messages with
attachments (dropped by digests in most cases). While these
transformations are frequently ignored by the human receivers (when was
the last time the ad from a Yahoo! Group message registered) from a
technical analysis standpoint these transformations matter.

In part these transformations and modifications also suggest that while
tricky it would be valuable to map how messages received are retained
(and whether or not they are read) within a group. i.e. if everyone
within an organization's email and email archives were available for
study, you could look at who read and who did not read messages sent to
a group. You could also look at who chose what form to get the messages
and what they then did with them (i.e. the person who gets each message
as an individual note and who then frequently does something with those
messages (forwards them, replies to the group, replies to the author,
etc) clearly has a different interaction with that group (or at least
some subset of it) than the person who upon getting messages has the
automatically filed into a group, where they sit for months unread and
unopened.

As part of that analysis it might also be possible to look for
correlations of blocks of text across messages. This would match sent
mail with the received-from-group mail group members received (note in
many cases the author of a message sent to a group may not, themselves,
receive a copy of that message). This matching of blocks would also
capture in some meaningful manner the many cases where some content was
repackaged, as a quote for example, within an outbound communication
from one of the readers of a given site.

Shannon

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-----Original Message-----
From: Social Networks Discussion Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On
Behalf Of David Gibson
Sent: Tuesday, May 24, 2005 12:02 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Question about "Group"

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Isaac,

If you're aiming to do a conventional analysis of the resulting network,
you
have to decide whether to treat a group-directed remark as entailing
simultaneous communications from ego to each alter, or one communication
from
ego to a fictitious group actor (another column in the matrix -- though
perhaps
not one from which communications can issue), or a communication to no
one at
all. My preference has been to treat group-directed remarks and
ambiguously-directed remarks identically, mainly because they can be
difficult
to distinguish in practice. Daniel McFarland, in contrast, prefers to
think of
a group-directed remark in terms of simultaneously activated dyadic
channels.
His solution is more compatible with conventional network measures and
visualization.

If you're just aggregating through time, you might divide by the number
of
people to whom an utterance was simultaneously directed, so that a
direct
remark from me to you would add 1 to the i,j cell, while a remark from
me to a
group of ten people (excluding myself) would add .1 to each i,j cell. Of
course, interpretation will be tricky, for instance of centrality if you
don't
buy the implicit phenomenology behind that weighting. Another option
would be
to analyze the network of directed remarks and tendencies toward
group-directed
remarks separately.

Whichever approach you take, be warned that if you're aggregating
through time
in order to generate one summary matrix of who spoke to whom, you're at
risk of
eliding sequential dependencies, such as the fact that it's hard to
address
someone who didn't recently speak. In my view, time-collapsed
who-to-whom
matrices are partially artifacts of those kinds of sequential effects.

Some references:

Gibson, David R. 2005. "Taking Turns and Talking Ties: Network Structure
and
Conversational Sequences." American Journal of Sociology (forthcoming
May
issue, I hope).

Moody, James, Daniel McFarland, and Skye Bender-deMoll. 2005. "Dynamic
Network
Visualization." American Journal of Sociology 110:1206-41.

David Gibson

--
David Gibson
Assistant Professor
Department of Sociology
Harvard University
564 William James Hall
33 Kirkland Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

Voice: (617) 495-3825
Fax: (617) 496-5794

http://www.wjh.harvard.edu/soc/faculty/gibson/



Quoting "Van Patten, Isaac T" <[log in to unmask]>:

> *****  To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org  *****
>
> In analyzing the communications matrix of a group meeting (who
addresses
> whom) is it legitimate to include "Group" as a recipient of
> communications addressed to the group as whole in a directional
network?
>
>

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