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We view web forums as virtual living organisms feeding on user-s clicks and investigate how they grow at the expense of clickstreams. We find that the number of page views in a given time period and the number of unique visitors in the time period of the studied forums satisfy the law of the allometric growth, i.e., . We construct clickstream networks and explain the observed temporal dynamics of networks by the interactions between nodes. We describe the transportation of clickstreams using the function , in which is the total amount of clickstreams passing through node and is the amount of the clickstreams dissipated from to the environment. It turns out that , an indicator for the efficiency of network dissipation, not only negatively correlates with , but also sets the bounds for . In particular, when and when . Our findings have practical consequences. For example, can be used as a measure of the -stickiness- of forums, which quantifies the stable ability of forums to remain users -lock-in- on the forum. Meanwhile, the correlation between and provides a method to predict the long-term -stickiness- of forums from the clickstream data in a short time period. Finally, we discuss a random walk model that replicates both of the allometric growth and the dissipation function .



Author: Lingfei Wu, Jiang Zhang , Min Zhao

Source: http://plos.srce.hr/



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