If you read a web site and don't comment on it, some will mark that as "lurking". Mostly that's a wrong perspective. A lot of people are less comfortable with typing things into the net than they are talking about them, and since web log traffic tools have no way to measure all of the spoken word and face to face discussion that's going on, you have no real way to pigeonhole an infrequent contributor as "lurker" or "active offline participant" without knowing more.
Ross Mayfield recycles the powerlaw curve to illustrate where the lurkers are, and completely omits any hint that people might actually talk to each other and see each other offline.
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