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Voluntary engagement in an open web-based encyclopedia: Wikipedians and why they do it

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Publication (help)
Voluntary engagement in an open web-based encyclopedia: wikipedians and why they do it
Authors: J. Schroer, G. Hertel [edit item]
Citation: Media Psychology 12 (1): 96-120. 2009.
Publication type: Journal article
Peer-reviewed: yes
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Google Scholar cites: Not available
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Voluntary engagement in an open web-based encyclopedia: wikipedians and why they do it is a publication by J. Schroer, G. Hertel.


[edit] Abstract

The online encyclopedia Wikipedia is a highly successful “open content� project, written and maintained completely by volunteers. Little is known, however, about the motivation of these volunteers. Results from an online survey among 106 contributors to the German Wikipedia project are presented. Both motives derived from social sciences (perceived benefits, identification with Wikipedia, etc.) as well as perceived task characteristics (autonomy, skill variety, etc.) were assessed as potential predictors of contributors' satisfaction and self-reported engagement. Satisfaction ratings were particularly determined by perceived benefits, identification with the Wikipedia community, and task characteristics. Engagement was particularly determined by high tolerance for opportunity costs and by task characteristics, the latter effect being partially mediated by intrinsic motivation. Relevant task characteristics for contributors' engagement and satisfaction were perceived autonomy, task significance, skill variety, and feedback. Models from social sciences and work psychology complemented each other by suggesting that favorable task experiences might counter perceived opportunity costs in Wikipedia contributors. Moreover, additional data reported by Wikipedia authors indicate the importance of generativity motives.

[edit] Research questions

"The online encyclopedia Wikipedia is a highly successful “open content” project, written and maintained completely by volunteers. Little is known, however, about the motivation of these volunteers."

Research details

Topics: Contributor motivation, Societal antecedents of participation, Contributor engagement [edit item]
Domains: Information systems; Psychology; Sociology [edit item]
Theory type: Explanation [edit item]
Wikipedia coverage: Main topic [edit item]
Theories: "we argue that theories of social movement participation may also explain the motivation of contributors to Wikipedia. A similar case has been made for the explanation of F/OSS projects (Hertel et al., 2003).

H1: A positive net value of individual benefits is positively associated with the extent of contributors' engagement for Wikipedia. H2: A positive net value of individual benefits is positively associated with contributors' satisfaction with their engagement for Wikipedia. H3: Identification with the Wikipedia community is positively associated with the extent of contributors' engagement. H4: Identification with the Wikipedia community is positively associated with contributors' satisfaction with their engagement." [edit item]

Research design: Statistical analysis [edit item]
Data source: [edit item]
Collected data time dimension: Cross-sectional [edit item]
Unit of analysis: User [edit item]
Wikipedia data extraction: N/A [edit item]
Wikipedia page type: N/A [edit item]
Wikipedia language: N/A [edit item]

[edit] Conclusion

"Satisfaction ratings were particularly determined by perceived benefits, identification with the Wikipedia community, and task characteristics. Engagement was particularly determined by high tolerance for opportunity costs and by task characteristics, the latter effect being partially mediated by intrinsic motivation. Relevant task characteristics for contributors' engagement and satisfaction were perceived autonomy, task significance, skill variety, and feedback. Models from social sciences and work psychology complemented each other by suggesting that favorable task experiences might counter perceived opportunity costs in Wikipedia contributors. Moreover, additional data reported by Wikipedia authors indicate the importance of generativity motives."

[edit] Comments

"In Schroer & Hertel's *** 2009 *** study of Wikipedians' motivations, "motives derived from social sciences (perceived benefits, identification with Wikipedia, etc.) as well as perceived task characteristics (autonomy, skill variety, etc.) were assessed as potential predictors of contributors' satisfaction and self-reported engagement." (p. 96)"


Further notes[edit]