Submissions/Wiki Ecology

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This is an accepted submission for Wikimania 2013.

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Submission no. 
4023
Subject no. 
C7
Title of the submission

Wiki Ecology: Understanding Wiki-Success Through Comparative Analysis

Type of submission

Presentation

Author of the submission

Aaron Shaw, Benjamin Mako Hill

Country of origin

USA

Affiliation

Northwestern University; Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and University of Washington

E-mail address

aaronshaw@northwestern.edu mako@atdot.cc


Username

w:User:Aaronshaw User:Benjamin Mako Hill


Personal homepage or blog

http://aaronshaw.org http://mako.cc

Abstract

Most wiki researrch has looked within wikis — usually within Wikipedia. This talk describes three examples of research-in-progress that compare wikis and treat the projects as the unit of analysis. First, we describe a study that asks whether wikis compete with each other for volunteer time and effort. Second, we look at wiki governance — considering whether large wikis seem to embrace more or less participatory forms of organization as they grow. Third and finally, we use a series of design changes and code breakages to look at the effect of small technical inconveniences (like needing to creating an account) on editor activity.

Detailed proposal

Most wiki research has looked within wikis — usually within Wikipedia. This talk describes three examples of research-in-progress that compare wikis and treat the projects themselves as the unit of analysis.

First, we describe a study that asks whether wikis compete with each other for volunteer time and effort and suggest that the dynamics are complicated and more symbiotic than many have suggested. In fact, the results suggest a positive feedback loop as increased contributions to one wiki on a particular topic correlate with increased contributions to comparable wikis -- even among the same editors.

Second, we look at wiki governance — considering whether large wikis seem to embrace more or less participatory forms of organization as they grow. In this case, we find that as wikis attract more contributors, the number of administrators stays nearly flat, while the proportion of editing activity becomes more concentrated and more focused on reverting contributions (even from editors with registered accounts).

Third and finally, we use a series of design changes and code breakages to look at the effect of small technical inconveniences on editor activity.

These studies represent early work using a dataset of wikis from Wikia and the Wikimedia Foundation. The work illustrates both the opportunities and challenges of using large, comparative, inter-organizational datasets from free culture communities for empirical social science.

Track

Analysis and Public Engagement

Length of presentation/talk
25 minutes

25 Minutes if possible, but longer (e.g., 45 minutes) would allow us to cover more research.

Language of presentation/talk

English

Will you attend Wikimania if your submission is not accepted?

Yes.

Slides or further information (optional)
Special requests


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