Understanding collaboration in Wikipedia

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Understanding collaboration in Wikipedia
Authors: Royce Kimmons [edit item]
Citation: First Monday 16 (12): . 2011 December 5.
Publication type: Journal article
Peer-reviewed: Yes
Database(s):
DOI: Define doi.
Google Scholar cites: Citations
Link(s): Paper link
Added by Wikilit team: Yes
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Understanding collaboration in Wikipedia is a publication by Royce Kimmons.


[edit] Abstract

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.

[edit] Research questions

""The purpose of this study is ... to understand what rigor and diversity actually look like in article development generally.""

Research details

Topics: Other collaboration topics, Participation trends [edit item]
Domains: Computer science [edit item]
Theory type: Analysis [edit item]
Wikipedia coverage: Main topic [edit item]
Theories: "N/A" [edit item]
Research design: Econometrics and time series [edit item]
Data source: Wikipedia pages [edit item]
Collected data time dimension: Longitudinal [edit item]
Unit of analysis: Article, Edit [edit item]
Wikipedia data extraction: Dump [edit item]
Wikipedia page type: Article [edit item]
Wikipedia language: English [edit item]

[edit] Conclusion

"This 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."

[edit] Comments


Further notes[edit]

Facts about "Understanding collaboration in Wikipedia"RDF feed
AbstractWikipedia 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 teamYes +
Collected data time dimensionLongitudinal +
ConclusionThis 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 sourceWikipedia pages +
Dates5 +
Google scholar urlhttp://scholar.google.com/scholar?ie=UTF-8&q=%22Understanding%2Bcollaboration%2Bin%2BWikipedia%22 +
Has authorRoyce Kimmons +
Has domainComputer science +
Has topicOther collaboration topics + and Participation trends +
Issue12 +
MonthDecember +
Peer reviewedYes +
Publication typeJournal article +
Published inFirst Monday +
Research designEconometrics and time series +
Research questions"The purpose of this study is ... to understand what rigor and diversity actually look like in article development generally."
Revid11,010 +
TheoriesN/A
Theory typeAnalysis +
TitleUnderstanding collaboration in Wikipedia
Unit of analysisArticle + and Edit +
Urlhttp://firstmonday.org/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/3613/3117 +
Volume16 +
Wikipedia coverageMain topic +
Wikipedia data extractionDump +
Wikipedia languageEnglish +
Wikipedia page typeArticle +
Year2011 +