Online communities' viability and success are dependent on current members' active participation and content contribution, as well as on the sustainable community registration of new members. Based on the member-life cycle perspective, this study attempted to discover mechanisms that might be employed to increase new members' community participation. This study focused on user-generated content (UGC) sharing. The results of this study suggest that UGC quality gaps that exist between current and new members are important factors that might affect new members' socialization. In addition, the results demonstrated that feedback provided by members can affect new members' participation when UGC quality gaps exist. The results revealed that new members preferred an equivalent UGC community to either a superior or inferior community when they were unable to derive benefits from those communities. However, an investigation of the types of feedback provided revealed that new members expressed preferences for superior UGC communities to obtain learning opportunities and expressed preferences for inferior UGC communities to develop social relationships. This study can help researchers better understand how UGC communities' elements can affect new members' behaviors. In addition, the results can help community managers devise differentiated approaches. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.