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  • Disclosure
    Nobody pays me to write any of the copy on my blog, and should I ever have the good fortune that they do, I will declare it. My main employment is as the owner and principal of The Future Place consultancy. The Future Place provides two key services 1) training and services to industry and academic bodies and 2) consultancy services to companies. The details of the companies I work with are a private matter, but if I blog about any company who has paid The Future Place more than expenses recently (approx. two years) I will mention that they are a client. I hold equity in Virtual Surveys and provide consulting services to them from time to time. I am paid to run courses for a number of trade bodies and over the last few years clients have included ESOMAR, AMSRS, MRS, and MRIA.

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Chris Stetson

I wonder what would be driving the apparent "general view that online groups should be smaller than offline groups." Online, there's no physical table for all to crowd around and adding more participants generally has little effect on the level of participation or the length of time it takes to examine a question (because all can type at the same, and because a trained online moderator is actually more able to spot and manage under-participants than an offline moderator). My best guess is that folks asserting that online groups should be smaller think that a small group gives the moderator the best chance of spurring the participant-to-participant interactions that online groups tend to under-deliver on. True enough, but this may be throwing the baby out with the bath water, i.e., defeating an advantage of online groups (able to handle larger numbers) in order to make them behave more like offline groups. To get online groups to match the peer-level interactions of offline groups, the online groups would have to be so small that their cost effectiveness would be imperiled.

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