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Power of the few vs. Wisdom of the crowd: Wikipedia and the rise of the bourgeoisie
Abstract Wikipedia 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, 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 of new collaborative knowledge systems.
Added by wikilit team Added on initial load  +
Collected data time dimension Longitudinal  +
Conclusion In 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, 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 online collaborative knowledge systems.
Data source Computer usage logs  +
Google scholar url  +
Has author Aniket Kittur + , Ed H. Chi + , Bryan A. Pendleton + , Bongwon Suh + , Todd Mytkowicz +
Has domain Computer science + , Sociology +
Has topic Social order +
Peer reviewed Yes  +
Publication type Conference paper  +
Published in Alt.CHI +
Research design Statistical analysis  +
Research questions In 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, a very different type of collaborative knowledge system.nt type of collaborative knowledge system.
Revid 10,908  +
Theories Undetermined
Theory type Analysis  +
Title Power of the few vs. Wisdom of the crowd: Wikipedia and the rise of the bourgeoisie
Unit of analysis User  +
Url  +
Wikipedia coverage Main topic  +
Wikipedia data extraction Dump  +
Wikipedia language English  +
Wikipedia page type Article  +
Year 2007  +
Creation dateThis property is a special property in this wiki. 15 March 2012 20:29:58  +
Categories Social order  + , Computer science  + , Sociology  + , Publications with missing comments  + , Publications  +
Modification dateThis property is a special property in this wiki. 30 January 2014 20:30:26  +
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