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Credibility

An application can also be helped a lot by it having credibility. Credibility can come from a project being affiliated with, or subsidised by a reputable institution, as well as from personal recommendations by so called stars (highly respected persons in the relevant community). Credibility is important for trust: the trust that ones contribution will be in good hands with the community.

In addition to trust, credibility is also valuable for generating a shared expectation that an application will be taken up by many people. Critical mass is perceived by potential users in the form of an expectation of how many users an application is likely to have in the near future. If the user thinks that his contribution will generate a return on investment (be noticed, commented on, etc.) he will likely contribute. Critical mass thus often is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Ways to make an application seem more credible are various, but in general making it look old and traditional, or making it mimic the thing it tries to improve upon, can be a good idea. The French Minitel (fore-runner of the internet) for example, looked like a traditional telephone. But on the other hand an application should also not seem too pretentious. According to Andrew Dalby one reason why Wikipedia attracted many authors was that it started out as an informal drafting-platform for the more daunting Nupedia project (which had traditional editors, etc.).

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avatar by: Anonymous ...

This article achiveed exactly what I wanted it to achieve.

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