Power of the few vs. Wisdom of the crowd: Wikipedia and the rise of the bourgeoisie

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Power of the few vs. Wisdom of the crowd: Wikipedia and the rise of the bourgeoisie
Authors: Aniket Kittur, Ed H. Chi, Bryan A. Pendleton, Bongwon Suh, Todd Mytkowicz [edit item]
Citation: alt.CHI  : . 2007.
Publication type: Conference paper
Peer-reviewed: Yes
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Google Scholar cites: Citations
Link(s): Paper link
Added by Wikilit team: Added on initial load
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Power of the few vs. Wisdom of the crowd: Wikipedia and the rise of the bourgeoisie is a publication by Aniket Kittur, Ed H. Chi, Bryan A. Pendleton, Bongwon Suh, Todd Mytkowicz.


[edit] Abstract

Wikipedia has been a resounding success story as a collaborative system with a low cost of online participation. However, it is an open question whether the success of Wikipedia results from a "wisdom of crowds" type of effect in which a large number of people each make a small number of edits, or whether it is driven by a core group of "elite" users who do the lion's share of the work. In this study we examined how the influence of "elite" vs. "common" users changed over time in Wikipedia. The results suggest that although Wikipedia was driven by the influence of "elite" users early on, more recently there has been a dramatic shift in workload to the "common" user. We also show the same shift in del.icio.us, a very different type of social collaborative knowledge system. We discuss how these results mirror the dynamics found in more traditional social collectives, and how they can influence the design of new collaborative knowledge systems.

[edit] Research questions

"In this study we examine the distribution of work in Wikipedia over time to answer the question of who does the work in Wikipedia. We examine “elite” vs. “common” user contributions over time, with the elite defined either by status (administrators) or by participation level (high-edit users). Two different metrics (number of edits and change in content) provide converging evidence on an answer. Finally, to see whether the results found on Wikipedia generalize, we examine del.icio.us, a very different type of collaborative knowledge system."

Research details

Topics: Social order [edit item]
Domains: Computer science, Sociology [edit item]
Theory type: Analysis [edit item]
Wikipedia coverage: Main topic [edit item]
Theories: "Undetermined" [edit item]
Research design: Statistical analysis [edit item]
Data source: Computer usage logs [edit item]
Collected data time dimension: Longitudinal [edit item]
Unit of analysis: User [edit item]
Wikipedia data extraction: Dump [edit item]
Wikipedia page type: Article [edit item]
Wikipedia language: English [edit item]

[edit] Conclusion

"In the beginning, elite users contributed the majority of the work in Wikipedia. However, beginning in 2004 there was a dramatic shift in the distribution of work to the common users, with a corresponding decline in the influence of the elite. These results did not depend on whether work was measured by edits or by actual change in content, though the content analysis showed that elite users add more words per edit than novice users (who on average remove more words than they added). The decline of elite user influence was also shown to occur in del.icio.us, a social collaborative knowledge system with a very different participation structure from Wikipedia, suggesting that it may be a common phenomenon in the evolution of online collaborative knowledge systems. The data presented in this paper suggest that user dynamics in Wiki-society merit further study and provide insights into allocating resources when building online collaborative knowledge systems."

[edit] Comments


Further notes[edit]

Facts about "Power of the few vs. Wisdom of the crowd: Wikipedia and the rise of the bourgeoisie"RDF feed
AbstractWikipedia has been a resounding success stWikipedia has been a resounding success story as a collaborative system with a low cost of online participation. However, it is an open question whether the success of Wikipedia results from a "wisdom of crowds" type of effect in which a large number of people each make a small number of edits, or whether it is driven by a core group of "elite" users who do the lion's share of the work. In this study we examined how the influence of "elite" vs. "common" users changed over time in Wikipedia. The results suggest that although Wikipedia was driven by the influence of "elite" users early on, more recently there has been a dramatic shift in workload to the "common" user. We also show the same shift in del.icio.us, a very different type of social collaborative knowledge system. We discuss how these results mirror the dynamics found in more traditional social collectives, and how they can influence the design of new collaborative knowledge systems.gn of new collaborative knowledge systems.
Added by wikilit teamAdded on initial load +
Collected data time dimensionLongitudinal +
ConclusionIn the beginning, elite users contributed In the beginning, elite users contributed the majority of the work in Wikipedia. However, beginning in 2004 there was a dramatic shift in the distribution of work to the common users, with a corresponding decline in the influence of the elite. These results did not depend on whether work was measured by edits or by actual change in content, though the content analysis showed that elite users add more words per edit than novice users (who on average remove more words than they added). The decline of elite user influence was also shown to occur in del.icio.us, a social collaborative knowledge system with a very different participation structure from Wikipedia, suggesting that it may be a common phenomenon in the evolution of online collaborative knowledge systems. The data presented in this paper suggest that user dynamics in Wiki-society merit further study and provide insights into allocating resources when building online collaborative knowledge systems.ng online collaborative knowledge systems.
Data sourceComputer usage logs +
Google scholar urlhttp://scholar.google.com/scholar?ie=UTF-8&q=%22Power%2Bof%2Bthe%2Bfew%2Bvs.%2BWisdom%2Bof%2Bthe%2Bcrowd%3A%2BWikipedia%2Band%2Bthe%2Brise%2Bof%2Bthe%2Bbourgeoisie%22 +
Has authorAniket Kittur +, Ed H. Chi +, Bryan A. Pendleton +, Bongwon Suh + and Todd Mytkowicz +
Has domainComputer science + and Sociology +
Has topicSocial order +
Peer reviewedYes +
Publication typeConference paper +
Published inAlt.CHI +
Research designStatistical analysis +
Research questionsIn this study we examine the distribution In this study we examine the distribution of work in Wikipedia over time to answer the question of who does the work in Wikipedia. We examine “elite” vs. “common” user contributions over time, with the elite defined either by status (administrators) or by participation level (high-edit users). Two different metrics (number of edits and change

in content) provide converging evidence on an answer. Finally, to see whether the results found on Wikipedia

generalize, we examine del.icio.us, a very different type of collaborative knowledge system.
nt type of collaborative knowledge system.
Revid10,908 +
TheoriesUndetermined
Theory typeAnalysis +
TitlePower of the few vs. Wisdom of the crowd: Wikipedia and the rise of the bourgeoisie
Unit of analysisUser +
Urlhttp://www.viktoria.se/altchi/index.php?action=showsubmission&id=41 +
Wikipedia coverageMain topic +
Wikipedia data extractionDump +
Wikipedia languageEnglish +
Wikipedia page typeArticle +
Year2007 +