Power imbalance and rating systems

Bogdan State, Bruno Abrahao, Karen S. Cook

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

    Abstract

    Ratings are critical to the function and success of services in the emerging sharing economy. They are a means through which users develop trust in one another and in the services themselves. Ratings are designed to give users a proxy for the expected quality and risk of potential online transactions. We expect online ratings to reflect an objective measure of quality, but such evaluations in fact may be systematically distorted by many, complex social-psychological processes. Decoupling these subjective factors from rating systems to correct for biases and to provide neutral assessments of risk and quality has proved extremely challenging. We focus on one of the most prevalent factors in virtually every form of social exchange. Differences in resource ownership affect the balance of power in interpersonal interactions, likely impacting online ratings. We demonstrate how power imbalance affects mutual ratings using a massive dataset from CouchSurng.org, an international online hospitality exchange network. Our methodology employs a deductive approach to knowledge discovery. Through a series of observational experiments, we find support for a sociological theory dating back to the 1960s, Power-Dependence Theory (PD), as a possible explanation. PD predicts that power-imbalanced relationships induce user behavior that attempts to balance power. We find support for status-giving as a likely mechanism driving the asymmetry of ratings between power-unequal users. Our findings underscore the need for ratings systems to account for the tendency of mutual ratings between users that hold differential resources to be asymmetrical, especially under conditions of resource scarcity.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the 10th International Conference on Web and Social Media, ICWSM 2016
    PublisherAAAI press
    Pages368-377
    Number of pages10
    ISBN (Electronic)9781577357582
    StatePublished - Jan 1 2016
    Event10th International Conference on Web and Social Media, ICWSM 2016 - Cologne, Germany
    Duration: May 17 2016May 20 2016

    Publication series

    NameProceedings of the 10th International Conference on Web and Social Media, ICWSM 2016

    Other

    Other10th International Conference on Web and Social Media, ICWSM 2016
    CountryGermany
    CityCologne
    Period5/17/165/20/16

    Fingerprint

    Data mining
    Experiments

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Computer Networks and Communications

    Cite this

    State, B., Abrahao, B., & Cook, K. S. (2016). Power imbalance and rating systems. In Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Web and Social Media, ICWSM 2016 (pp. 368-377). (Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Web and Social Media, ICWSM 2016). AAAI press.

    Power imbalance and rating systems. / State, Bogdan; Abrahao, Bruno; Cook, Karen S.

    Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Web and Social Media, ICWSM 2016. AAAI press, 2016. p. 368-377 (Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Web and Social Media, ICWSM 2016).

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

    State, B, Abrahao, B & Cook, KS 2016, Power imbalance and rating systems. in Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Web and Social Media, ICWSM 2016. Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Web and Social Media, ICWSM 2016, AAAI press, pp. 368-377, 10th International Conference on Web and Social Media, ICWSM 2016, Cologne, Germany, 5/17/16.
    State B, Abrahao B, Cook KS. Power imbalance and rating systems. In Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Web and Social Media, ICWSM 2016. AAAI press. 2016. p. 368-377. (Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Web and Social Media, ICWSM 2016).
    State, Bogdan ; Abrahao, Bruno ; Cook, Karen S. / Power imbalance and rating systems. Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Web and Social Media, ICWSM 2016. AAAI press, 2016. pp. 368-377 (Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Web and Social Media, ICWSM 2016).
    @inproceedings{5a7f37d25f794ca6b81ac1232be27dfd,
    title = "Power imbalance and rating systems",
    abstract = "Ratings are critical to the function and success of services in the emerging sharing economy. They are a means through which users develop trust in one another and in the services themselves. Ratings are designed to give users a proxy for the expected quality and risk of potential online transactions. We expect online ratings to reflect an objective measure of quality, but such evaluations in fact may be systematically distorted by many, complex social-psychological processes. Decoupling these subjective factors from rating systems to correct for biases and to provide neutral assessments of risk and quality has proved extremely challenging. We focus on one of the most prevalent factors in virtually every form of social exchange. Differences in resource ownership affect the balance of power in interpersonal interactions, likely impacting online ratings. We demonstrate how power imbalance affects mutual ratings using a massive dataset from CouchSurng.org, an international online hospitality exchange network. Our methodology employs a deductive approach to knowledge discovery. Through a series of observational experiments, we find support for a sociological theory dating back to the 1960s, Power-Dependence Theory (PD), as a possible explanation. PD predicts that power-imbalanced relationships induce user behavior that attempts to balance power. We find support for status-giving as a likely mechanism driving the asymmetry of ratings between power-unequal users. Our findings underscore the need for ratings systems to account for the tendency of mutual ratings between users that hold differential resources to be asymmetrical, especially under conditions of resource scarcity.",
    author = "Bogdan State and Bruno Abrahao and Cook, {Karen S.}",
    year = "2016",
    month = "1",
    day = "1",
    language = "English (US)",
    series = "Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Web and Social Media, ICWSM 2016",
    publisher = "AAAI press",
    pages = "368--377",
    booktitle = "Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Web and Social Media, ICWSM 2016",

    }

    TY - GEN

    T1 - Power imbalance and rating systems

    AU - State, Bogdan

    AU - Abrahao, Bruno

    AU - Cook, Karen S.

    PY - 2016/1/1

    Y1 - 2016/1/1

    N2 - Ratings are critical to the function and success of services in the emerging sharing economy. They are a means through which users develop trust in one another and in the services themselves. Ratings are designed to give users a proxy for the expected quality and risk of potential online transactions. We expect online ratings to reflect an objective measure of quality, but such evaluations in fact may be systematically distorted by many, complex social-psychological processes. Decoupling these subjective factors from rating systems to correct for biases and to provide neutral assessments of risk and quality has proved extremely challenging. We focus on one of the most prevalent factors in virtually every form of social exchange. Differences in resource ownership affect the balance of power in interpersonal interactions, likely impacting online ratings. We demonstrate how power imbalance affects mutual ratings using a massive dataset from CouchSurng.org, an international online hospitality exchange network. Our methodology employs a deductive approach to knowledge discovery. Through a series of observational experiments, we find support for a sociological theory dating back to the 1960s, Power-Dependence Theory (PD), as a possible explanation. PD predicts that power-imbalanced relationships induce user behavior that attempts to balance power. We find support for status-giving as a likely mechanism driving the asymmetry of ratings between power-unequal users. Our findings underscore the need for ratings systems to account for the tendency of mutual ratings between users that hold differential resources to be asymmetrical, especially under conditions of resource scarcity.

    AB - Ratings are critical to the function and success of services in the emerging sharing economy. They are a means through which users develop trust in one another and in the services themselves. Ratings are designed to give users a proxy for the expected quality and risk of potential online transactions. We expect online ratings to reflect an objective measure of quality, but such evaluations in fact may be systematically distorted by many, complex social-psychological processes. Decoupling these subjective factors from rating systems to correct for biases and to provide neutral assessments of risk and quality has proved extremely challenging. We focus on one of the most prevalent factors in virtually every form of social exchange. Differences in resource ownership affect the balance of power in interpersonal interactions, likely impacting online ratings. We demonstrate how power imbalance affects mutual ratings using a massive dataset from CouchSurng.org, an international online hospitality exchange network. Our methodology employs a deductive approach to knowledge discovery. Through a series of observational experiments, we find support for a sociological theory dating back to the 1960s, Power-Dependence Theory (PD), as a possible explanation. PD predicts that power-imbalanced relationships induce user behavior that attempts to balance power. We find support for status-giving as a likely mechanism driving the asymmetry of ratings between power-unequal users. Our findings underscore the need for ratings systems to account for the tendency of mutual ratings between users that hold differential resources to be asymmetrical, especially under conditions of resource scarcity.

    UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84979530383&partnerID=8YFLogxK

    UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84979530383&partnerID=8YFLogxK

    M3 - Conference contribution

    AN - SCOPUS:84979530383

    T3 - Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Web and Social Media, ICWSM 2016

    SP - 368

    EP - 377

    BT - Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Web and Social Media, ICWSM 2016

    PB - AAAI press

    ER -