Let's Bail! The evolution of individual-group affiliation in an online gaming community

Jingyi Sun, Dmitri Williams, Yiqi Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Compared to interpersonal social interaction in online communities, the dynamics between individuals and groups has received much less attention. This study seeks to address this gap by examining how ecological factors drive the dissolution of individual-group ties. Guided by the ecology theory, the logic of “jack of all trades”, which argues diversification lowers success, can be applied to understand how individuals access group resources and how group boundaries are collectively constructed. Moreover, interpersonal networks, including within-group and cross-group ties, also affect individual-group interaction. Within the research context of an online gaming community, this study examines the relational dynamics of 8631 persistently active players and their affiliated 2292 groups over thirty-two months. The results show that ecological factors including individual niche width, group category contrast, interpersonal networks, tie age and group age affect the individual-group tie decay hazard.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106818
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
StatePublished - Aug 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Ecology
  • Individual-group interaction
  • Massively multiplayer online game (MMOG)
  • Social network
  • Tie decay

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • General Psychology


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