SPEAR Algorithm

Michael Noll, Jul 05, 2013
Commentary by Stephen Downes

This interesting item was circulated by email to me the other day. In summary, "The SPEAR algorithm is a tool for ranking users in social networks by their expertise and influence within the community." It works by looking at precedence of discovery of popular resources - the idea is that people who discover popular resources first are more likely to have more expertise and influence in the community. Or, in more detail: "The two main elements of the SPEAR algorithm are:

  1. Mutual reinforcement of user expertise and document quality: A user’s expertise in a particular topic depends on the quality of the documents he/she has found, and the quality of documents in turn depends on the expertise of user who have found them.
  2. Discoverers vs. followers: Expert users should be discoverers – they tend to be faster than others to identify new and high quality documents. In other words, 'the early bird catches the worm'."


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