Thread Reciprocity Ratio

The thread reciprocity ratio checks if threads received any replies and thus attention. Angeletou et al. (2011) propose it as the Bi-Directional Threads Ratio, which is later picked up by Hacker et al. (2015) As it can be calculated for individuals or the entire network it is of ego-centric and global scope.

The calculation of the thread reciprocity ratio $tr$ is straightforward:

1. tr := select threads with replies / all threads

A high number of threads with replies indicates reciprocal interactions and engaging discussions (Hacker et al., 2015). However, Hacker adds that this does not apply to users who post announcements or events primarily, because such posts do not generate replies.

Instead it applies to users who generate discussions on innovative ideas or problem-solving as mentioned by Viol et al. (2016). Angeletou et al. (2011) share this view as users with a high ratio contribute positively to the network. They tend to like and support their community, but focus on their own group of people, where they achieve extraordinary reciprocity. The reciprocity and feeling of belongingness is related to the establishment of Bonding Social Capital. Strong ties and cohesive groups build norms and trust, that allows users to freely interact with each other, resulting in a high reciprocity ratio.

This type of interaction is effective for collaboration and knowledge work. However, networks with a low thread reciprocity ratio are lacking the common ground and shared understanding. This shows low Bonding Social Capital and such networks could benefit from more bi-directional interactions.