Density dependence without resource partitioning: Population ecology on change.org

Nathan TeBlunthuis, Aaron Shaw, Benjamin Mako Hill

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

E-petitioning is a prominent form of Internet-based collective action. We apply theories from organizational population ecology to investigate whether similar petitions compete for signatures. We use latent Dirichlet allocation (LDA) topic modeling to identify topical niches. Using these niches, we test two theories from population ecology on 442,109 Change.org petitions. First, we find evidence for density dependence, an inverse-U-shaped relationship between the density of a petition's niche and the number of signatures the petition obtains. This suggests e-petitioning is competitive and that e-petitions draw on overlapping resource pools. Second, although resource partitioning theory predicts that topically specialized petitions will obtain more signatures in concentrated populations, we find no evidence of this. This suggests that specialists struggle to avoid competition with generalists.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCSCW 2017 - Companion of the 2017 ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Pages323-326
Number of pages4
ISBN (Electronic)9781450346887
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 25 2017
Event2017 ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing, CSCW 2017 - Portland, United States
Duration: Feb 25 2017Mar 1 2017

Publication series

NameCSCW 2017 - Companion of the 2017 ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing

Other

Other2017 ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing, CSCW 2017
CountryUnited States
CityPortland
Period2/25/173/1/17

Keywords

  • Civic engagement
  • Competition
  • E-petitions
  • Online activism
  • Population ecology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications

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