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Understanding collaboration in Wikipedia
Abstract Wikipedia stands as an undeniable success Wikipedia stands as an undeniable success in online participation and collaboration. However, previous attempts at studying collaboration within Wikipedia have focused on simple metrics like rigor (i.e., the number of revisions in an article’s revision history) and diversity (i.e., the number of authors that have contributed to a given article) or have made generalizations about collaboration within Wikipedia based upon the content validity of a few select articles. By looking more closely at metrics associated with each extant Wikipedia article (N=3,427,236) along with all revisions (N=225,226,370), this study attempts to understand what collaboration within Wikipedia actually looks like under the surface. Findings suggest that typical Wikipedia articles are not rigorous, in a collaborative sense, and do not reflect much diversity in the construction of content and macro–structural writing, leading to the conclusion that most articles in Wikipedia are not reflective of the collaborative efforts of the community but, rather, represent the work of relatively few contributors.t the work of relatively few contributors.
Added by wikilit team Yes  +
Collected data time dimension Longitudinal  +
Conclusion This study raises some important questionsThis study raises some important questions about what collaboration may actually look like in Wikipedia and may cast doubt on idealized notions of open, community–generated knowledge. Rather than reflecting the contributions and expertise of a large group of people, the typical article in Wikipedia reflects the efforts of a relatively small group of users (median of 12) making a relatively small number of edits (median of 21). Further, the nature of revisions made and user contribution histories suggest that the majority of revisions made by users are micro–structural, stylistic, or typographical and, therefore, may have little impact on the validity of article content. Beyond the questions that these findings raise for collaboration within Wikipedia itself, those interested in similarly open, community–developed projects, including organizations that seek to use wiki–type technologies for documentation purposes and educational endeavors that seek to use wiki–type technologies to support collaborative writing and project development, should consider how accurately the final products (e.g., articles) of a wiki truly reflect the quality and depth of collaboration taking place within them. And, it seems prudent that any attempts at understanding underlying collaborative efforts taking place with the aid of participatory technologies, like a wiki, in the future should account for such factors as collaborative rigor and the nature of individual contributions for the resulting findings to have robust explanatory power.findings to have robust explanatory power.
Data source Wikipedia pages  +
Dates 5 +
Google scholar url  +
Has author Royce Kimmons +
Has domain Computer science +
Has topic Other collaboration topics + , Participation trends +
Issue 12  +
Month December  +
Peer reviewed Yes  +
Publication type Journal article  +
Published in First Monday +
Research design Econometrics and time series  +
Research questions "The purpose of this study is ... to understand what rigor and diversity actually look like in article development generally."
Revid 11,010  +
Theories N/A
Theory type Analysis  +
Title Understanding collaboration in Wikipedia
Unit of analysis Article  + , Edit  +
Url  +
Volume 16  +
Wikipedia coverage Main topic  +
Wikipedia data extraction Dump  +
Wikipedia language English  +
Wikipedia page type Article  +
Year 2011  +
Creation dateThis property is a special property in this wiki. 17 October 2012 15:46:20  +
Categories Other collaboration topics  + , Participation trends  + , Computer science  + , Publications with missing comments  + , Publications  +
Modification dateThis property is a special property in this wiki. 30 January 2014 20:32:01  +
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