In the game industry, we have the Bartle taxonomy of player types which is a way to classify users into four main categories: Achievers, Explorers, Socialisers, and Killers. I was researching if there is something similar on websites like Stack Exchange or in a more broader version of knowledge exchange platforms.

I can imagine some such as those that like to only answer or comment questions who like to explore and find interesting stuff while others only care to ask questions without giving any feedback. However, what I am looking for is something more "official" with research backing it up.

Are there any (research-based) classifications of user types for sites like Stack Exchange?

(Trying to use Google, I ended up on questions in Stack Exchange about how to create a persona.)

  • 5
    meta.stackoverflow.com/a/252077/458741. Mysticial's answer was described by Jeff Atwood as "this may be the best answer ever posted on MSO". Nov 18, 2021 at 10:31
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    @ben I'm afraid it's not relevant these days; We're in different times now. Nov 18, 2021 at 10:34
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    Well 1 and 2 from that list are still present @shadow. But group 3 is officially retired, as a name, but these sort of people still exist, those that try to answer as first, and care less about the actual correctness of their answer. But there are also subject matter experts. People that are dedicated to providing quality answers.
    – Luuklag
    Nov 18, 2021 at 10:37
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    Anyway to answer the question here: no, there's no such thing for Stack Exchange, mainly because it focus on content, rather than people. One can try making groups, like first comment links to, but it's not official. Nov 18, 2021 at 10:51
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    When I mentioned "official" I didn't meant backed up by Stack Exchange. But more like a research in a public paper just like the Bartle taxonomy. I used the Stack Exchange as an example but it could be in any Knowledge exchange platform
    – Tasos
    Nov 18, 2021 at 10:59
  • Perhaps look at my user name? Nov 18, 2021 at 14:34
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    @P.Mort.-forgotClayShirky_q All right, I’ll bite: who’s Clay Shirky, why did you forget about him, and what is all that supposed to mean? It always bewilders me. Nov 18, 2021 at 14:45

1 Answer 1


Using Google Scholar a few references for the Bartle taxonomy that reference Stack Exchange come up:

  1. S. M. Rudan and S. Rudan, "Democracy framework politics & leadership in online communities," 2014 First International Conference on eDemocracy & eGovernment (ICEDEG), 2014, pp. 67-72, doi: 10.1109/ICEDEG.2014.6819951.

  2. Veroy, Astrid Joanna A, Influence of Gamification on Collaboration and Self-Organization in a Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning Environment. Tufts University. Dissertation 2016.

  3. Fabiana Bigao Silva, Implicações da gamificação no projeto de plataforma de educação on-line: um estudo de caso. PhD thesis, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, 2018.

  4. Garza, Mario Manuel Martinez, Coevolution of Theory and Data Analytics of Digital Game-based Learning, PhD thesis, 2016.

This one seems to be the closest to what you want because it explicitly establishes the relations you are asking for with Stack Exchange's UX:

  1. Ebrisa Savina Mastrodicasa, Ludus Opus Proficit , A Gamification Framework for Software Engineering. MSc thesis, 2014.

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