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Research:Motivation to Contribute to Wikipedia, a Collective Work

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This page documents a completed research project.

Visit online survey if you are willing to participate

Key Personnel[edit]

Project Summary[edit]

(Be scheduled to be updated)

Our project focuses on understanding why users contribute to Wikipedia. Prior research about motivation to Wikipedia addressed social rewards such as reputation, reciprocity and intrinsic enjoyment -- such as helping other. However, Wikipedia is a collective work. Thus collective benefit factors also have to be included in the motivation model for explaining why Wikipedia user contribute. We expect that including collective factors will provide a better framework of understanding why Wikipedia users contribute to Wikipedia.

  1. Recruit those who have interest in this survey.
  2. Collect survey responses from interested participants at two points: First, respondents are asked to rate their perception on diverse motivation factors such as collective benefits, private benefits and costs. In addition, they also will be asked to express their attitude toward their Wikipedia contributions and other relevant factors. Second, this study requires each user's past contribution (i.e., the number of edits including deleted edits since registered to Wikipedia, the first edit date, and the number of unique articles) and the forthcoming edit history over the course of the two weeks. To collect these user data, we give respondents information on the URL of X!'s Edit Counter and ask them to report their past contribution by themselves.

Recruitment Details[edit]

(Be scheduled to be updated)

In order to recruit participants for our study, we must contact Wikipedians. We are committed to doing so in a responsible and unobtrusive matter. Our recruitment practices will adhere to the following rules:

  • We draw our sample from the population I addressed as follows:
  • First, We will contact all users, only excluding IP contributors and blocked users. We will post the invitation message on their user talk page. We will post only one message notifying potential participants of our study and how to participate. If a user chooses not to respond we will not contact him/her again. (We are already done)
  • We will contact again only those who took part in the two pilot surveys and made positive response to the invitation message in order to complete the main survey.
  • We Will provide the benefits. All respondents for the main study will receive an entry in a lottery for a $50 donation prize to the Wikimedia Foundation or a $50 Amazon.com gift card for participating in the study. The odds of winning are approximately 1/50. The lottery winner will be drawn using a random number generator at the end of data collection. We will donate $50 for each lottery winner in his/her user name after notifying he/she is a winner of the lottery or send him/her a $50 Amazon.com gift card via your email address.

Benefits for Wikipedia[edit]

In addition to advancing our knowledge about Wikipedia and online participation in general, our study could have several direct benefits for the Wikipedia community:

  1. Better understand the contribution of Wikipedians who motivated by collective benefits and/or selective benefits.
  2. Improve how to motivate non-contributors, newbies, and lower users to power users
  3. Highlight the diversity and range of activity that Wikipedians do that might otherwise go unnoticed.

Sharing our Findings[edit]

We are interested in sharing our findings with the Wikipedia community. We are currently planning to:

  • Publish/share our findings in Journals such as MIS Quarterly, Information Systems Research, Management Science, and etc.
  • Create an easy to read executive summary of our findings, link it to our project page and share it via mailing lists with those who want to get the report.

Wikipedia Policies, Ethics, and Human Subjects Protection[edit]

This research is for Choi's PhD thesis. Our research is also managed by the advisory committee at KAIST. The advisory committee review ensures that our research protocol and methods will conform to strict standards of informed consent and openness of data collection methods.

Time Line[edit]

'(Be scheduled to post 3rd Pilot Survey)

  • Developing Model and Measures( ~ 13 April)
  • 1st Pilot Test for 1st Group (one measure model, 14 April ~ 18 April): online survey form(completed) and results
  • Modifying Model and Expanding Measures (multiple measure model, 19 April ~ 22 April)
  • 2nd Pilot Survey for 1st Group(23 April ~ 25 April): online survey form(completed) and results
  • Modifying Model and Reducing Measures
  • 3rd Pilot Survey (1 May ~ 15 July): Online Survey gathered data from about 54 Wikipedia users
  • Modifying Data Collecting Method (enhancing protecting respondent privacy)
  • Main Survey (1 August ~ 15 August)

Contact Us[edit]

We welcome your feedback. Please contribute to our Discussion page or feel free to contact us directly via email at cooldenny@business.kaist.ac.kr.