The Effect of Gamification on Knowledge Contribution in Online Q&A Communities: A Perspective of Social Comparison


Online questioning and answering (Q&A) communities have become an essential social media platform for individuals to exchange specialized knowledge and collaboratively solve problems. Various gamified design elements (such as reputation scores, badges, levels, and leaderboards, etc.) have been applied in online Q&A communities to motivate users' knowledge contribution on which the sustainability of such communities depends. Current studies generally assume that motivational sources originate directly from the gamified elements. From the perspective of social comparison theory, this research proposes that the motivational affordances motivating knowledge contribution in online communities can be activated from the comparison of virtual rewards offered by gamified design features. Thus, the effect of gamified elements on a user's behavior is determined, at least partially, by the social influence of how other users in the community are rewarded by the gamification mechanism. This research contributes to theory by providing a new perspective for understanding the effect of gamification on knowledge contribution in online Q&A communities. It also provides important practical implications for the design and management of sustainable online communities.

Meeting Name

International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, HCII 2021 (2021: Jul. 24-29, Virtual)


Business and Information Technology

Keywords and Phrases

Gamification; Knowledge contribution; Online Q&A communities; Social comparison

International Standard Book Number (ISBN)


International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

1611-3349; 0302-9743

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


File Type





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Publication Date

29 Jul 2021