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EC Project 257859

European Union

Co-funded by the 
European Union

The "Fish Tank" Visualisation of Online Communities

Polecat has been working on completing the visualisation of a fish tank that serves as a metaphor for the reputation of a company in on-line communities.

The visualisation represents a number of metrics: the overall reputation of the company is shown by the colour of the water in the tank, where clear blue is "healthy", and darker and silt ridden water represents a poor reputation. The bubbles in the tank show the activity of the conversation around the company. This metric is relative, so a high number of bubbles indicates that communities are discussing an entity more than would normally be expected.  The main influencers in the conversation are shown by their sentiment, and this sentiment is represented by different types of fish. People talking negatively about a company are shown as sharks; those talking positively are shown as "nemo" fish. To afford some nuance, those talking negatively and positively with less extremity are shown as barracudas and angel fish respectively. To display the health of the conversation around specific topics, coral plants are used - these topics are pre-selected for the customer in question. Each plant also has negative and positive influencers specific to that topic, represented as either black or white fish swimming close to the plant.

Creating the service has relied on a number of algorithms developed within the project. Topic sentiment is calculated through a weighted adaptation of the BM25 algorithm, where the top topic words are treated as a query. The topic words themselves are extracted automatically from a bespoke wikipedia lookup service that relies upon techniques borrowed from work into explicit semantic analysis. Identification of influencers has built upon work on centrality algorithms and the use of k-cores to identify clusters of well connected users.

The next stage is to get the visualisation in front of a range of customers for user evaluation. This has two primary aims: to validate that the various metaphorical elements of the visualisation are clearly understood by the user, and to ensure that users are able to gather necessary information from the visualisation. But above all of that, given the plans that this application will be displayed publicly in companies, it is hoped that users find this beautiful and engaging!    

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