An analysis of Wikipedia

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An analysis of Wikipedia
Authors: Mohammad M. Rahman [edit item]
Citation: JITTA : Journal of Information Technology Theory and Application 9 (3): . 2008.
Publication type: Journal article
Peer-reviewed: Yes
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Link(s): Paper link
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An analysis of Wikipedia is a publication by Mohammad M. Rahman.


[edit] Abstract

Wikipedia is defined by its founders as the "free encyclopedia that anyone can edit." This property we argue makes Wikipedia a public good and hence subject to under-provision. A puzzling feature of Wikipedia however is its enormous size at roughly seven times that of its commercial counterparts. What is driving this growth? And how can we assess the reliability of this giant encyclopedia arising solely from free-editing? We model contribution to Wikipedia and its reliability. We demonstrate that Wikipedia is indeed subject to free-riding and offer a novel explanation for the mitigation of under-provision under such circumstances. We also find that the public-good feature of Wikipedia and free-riding introduce a lower-bound in the quality of Wikipedia. This finding is consistent with a previous empirical study that established Wikipedia's surprisingly high level of quality. We identify Wikipedia as part of a general Internet phenomenon that we call the Collaborative Net and that includes features such as citizen journalism and online reviews.

[edit] Research questions

"To summarize, the main research questions we ask in this paper are as follows:

  • How can we explain the surprising empirical findings that an encyclopedia that anyone can edit is of a high quality?
  • How can we explain the surprisingly large size of Wikipedia, when it is a public good (created by people and used by people)?
  • How is the case of Wikipedia different from Open Source Software development, another information systems project that is a public good and where neither quality nor provision is compromised?"

Research details

Topics: Antecedents of quality, Size of Wikipedia, Commercial aspects [edit item]
Domains: Information systems [edit item]
Theory type: Explanation [edit item]
Wikipedia coverage: Main topic [edit item]
Theories: "For our analysis, we invoke the solution

concept of Nash (1950) equilibrium, since we model the contribution to Wikipedia as a noncooperative game. To analyze situations involving sequential moves, we also consider Stackelberg equilibria, which in concept are the natural applications of the Nash equilibrium solution to dynamic games." [edit item]

Research design: Mathematical modeling [edit item]
Data source: N/A [edit item]
Collected data time dimension: N/A [edit item]
Unit of analysis: Website [edit item]
Wikipedia data extraction: Live Wikipedia [edit item]
Wikipedia page type: N/A [edit item]
Wikipedia language: Not specified [edit item]

[edit] Conclusion

"Our main result in this paper was an explanation for the size of Wikipedia based on equilibrium contributions depending on the differences in types. Free-editing allows for a variety of expressions; expressions that reflect differences in type. In addition, using well-grounded principles from information economics, we explained why Wikipedia.s commercial counterpart could be much smaller in size.

Our results were important as we are able to establish both lower and upper bounds for the reliability of Wikipedia. Qualitatively, Wikipedia.s definition as a public good, combined with free-riding and free-editing helps to maintain the reliability of Wikipedia.

Our findings have implications for the much-debated topic of credibility in the new Collaborative Net environment. We also highlight the uniqueness of Wikipedia when compared to (other) Open Source Systems."

[edit] Comments

"Wikipedia's uniqueness as a public good, combined with free-riding and free-editing help to maintain the large size and reliability of Wikipedia when compared to other open source systems."


Further notes[edit]

Facts about "An analysis of Wikipedia"RDF feed
AbstractWikipedia is defined by its founders as thWikipedia is defined by its founders as the "free encyclopedia that anyone can edit." This property we argue makes Wikipedia a public good and hence subject to under-provision. A puzzling feature of Wikipedia however is its enormous size at roughly seven times that of its commercial counterparts. What is driving this growth? And how can we assess the reliability of this giant encyclopedia arising solely from free-editing? We model contribution to Wikipedia and its reliability. We demonstrate that Wikipedia is indeed subject to free-riding and offer a novel explanation for the mitigation of under-provision under such circumstances. We also find that the public-good feature of Wikipedia and free-riding introduce a lower-bound in the quality of Wikipedia. This finding is consistent with a previous empirical study that established Wikipedia's surprisingly high level of quality. We identify Wikipedia as part of a general Internet phenomenon that we call the Collaborative Net and that includes features such as citizen journalism and online reviews. as citizen journalism and online reviews.
Added by wikilit teamAdded on initial load +
Collected data time dimensionN/A +
CommentsWikipedia's uniqueness as a public good, combined with free-riding and free-editing help to maintain the large size and reliability of Wikipedia when compared to other open source systems.
ConclusionOur main result in this paper was an explaOur main result in this paper was an explanation for the size of Wikipedia based on equilibrium contributions depending on the differences in types. Free-editing allows for a variety of expressions; expressions that reflect differences in type. In addition, using well-grounded principles from information economics, we explained why Wikipedia.s commercial counterpart could be much smaller in size.

Our results were important as we are able to establish both lower and upper bounds for the reliability of Wikipedia. Qualitatively, Wikipedia.s definition as a public good, combined with free-riding and free-editing helps to maintain the reliability of Wikipedia.

Our findings have implications for the much-debated topic of credibility in the new Collaborative Net environment. We also highlight the uniqueness of Wikipedia when compared to (other) Open Source Systems.
n compared to (other) Open Source Systems.
Data sourceN/A +
Google scholar urlhttp://scholar.google.com/scholar?ie=UTF-8&q=%22An%2Banalysis%2Bof%2BWikipedia%22 +
Has authorMohammad M. Rahman +
Has domainInformation systems +
Has topicAntecedents of quality +, Size of Wikipedia + and Commercial aspects +
Issue3 +
Peer reviewedYes +
Publication typeJournal article +
Published inJITTA : Journal of Information Technology Theory and Application +
Research designMathematical modeling +
Research questionsTo summarize, the main research questions To summarize, the main research questions we ask in this paper are as follows:
  • How can we explain the surprising empirical findings that an encyclopedia that anyone can edit is of a high quality?
  • How can we explain the surprisingly large size of Wikipedia, when it is a public good (created by people and used by people)?
  • How is the case of Wikipedia different from Open Source Software development, another information systems project that is a public good and where neither quality nor provision is compromised?ther quality nor provision is compromised?
Revid11,158 +
TheoriesFor our analysis, we invoke the solution

cFor our analysis, we invoke the solution concept of Nash (1950) equilibrium, since we model the contribution to Wikipedia as a noncooperative game. To analyze situations involving sequential moves, we also consider Stackelberg equilibria, which in concept are the natural applications of the Nash equilibrium solution to dynamic games.ash

equilibrium solution to dynamic games.
Theory typeExplanation +
TitleAn analysis of Wikipedia
Unit of analysisWebsite +
Urlhttp://0-search.proquest.com.mercury.concordia.ca/docview/200018835/abstract/3BC45B79AF2341D4PQ/1?accountid=10246 +
Volume9 +
Wikipedia coverageMain topic +
Wikipedia data extractionLive Wikipedia +
Wikipedia languageNot specified +
Wikipedia page typeN/A +
Year2008 +