With online communities and the spread of Internet, the term lurker designates the type of user who observes or reads but does not contribute to the discussion in a newsgroup, chat room, or other online forum, that is, the lurker does not actively participate in the online community. Lurkers can also be called browsers, or passive or read-only participants. Based on their level of activity, it is possible to divide users of online communities into posters and lurkers.

Lurking is the result of a complex set of actions, rationales, and contexts. It appears that although browsing and reading is enough for many lurkers, community interactions and the community itself may contribute to nonpublic participation. Lurking can be used as a temporary strategy to evaluate the community ...

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