Knowledge sharing network in a community of illicit practice: A cybermarket subreddit case

K. Hazel Kwon, Weiwen Yu, Steve Kilar, Chun Shao, Kailey Broussard, Thomas Lutes

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

Abstract

Often neglected in the literature about communities of practice is the fact that online knowledge-sharing communities thrive among illicit collectives whose activities are stigmatized or outlawed. This paper focuses on a knowledge-sharing community of users who engage in illegal practices by examining the ways in which the community's network structure changes when a high-stakes, uncertain event-the July 2017 shutdown of the dark web market Alphabay-occurs. This study compares the discussion network structures in the subreddit r/AlphaBay during pre-shutdown days (the “routine” period) and shutdown days (the “market defect” period) and offers a content analysis of the knowledge and resources shared by users during these periods. Several differences were observed: (a) the network structure changed such that the network size grew while becoming more centralized; (b) new crisis-specific players emerged; (c) types of knowledge shared during the market defect period was qualitatively different from the routine period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 53rd Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, HICSS 2020
EditorsTung X. Bui
PublisherIEEE Computer Society
Pages2731-2740
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9780998133133
StatePublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes
Event53rd Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, HICSS 2020 - Maui, United States
Duration: Jan 7 2020Jan 10 2020

Publication series

NameProceedings of the Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences
Volume2020-January
ISSN (Print)1530-1605

Conference

Conference53rd Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, HICSS 2020
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityMaui
Period1/7/201/10/20

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)

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