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Harnessing the wisdom of crowds in Wikipedia: Quality through coordination

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Wikipedia's success is often attributed to the large numbers of contributors who improve the accuracy, completeness and clarity of articles while reducing bias. However, because of the coordination needed to write an article collaboratively, adding contributors is costly. We examined how the number of editors in Wikipedia and the coordination methods they use affect article quality. We distinguish between explicit coordination, in which editors plan the article through communication, and implicit coordination, in which a subset of editors structure the work by doing the majority of it. Adding more editors to an article improved article quality only when they used appropriate coordination techniques and was harmful when they did not. Implicit coordination through concentrating the work was more helpful when many editors contributed, but explicit coordination through communication was not. Both types of coordination improved quality more when an article was in a formative stage. These results demonstrate the critical importance of coordination in effectively harnessing the "wisdom of the crowd" in online production environments.
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Thesis
Hypertextual in nature, the Web in its earliest form was technically limited and not capable of using the full richness of hypertext at that time. Despite subsequent advances in Web technology, some of the older hypertextual capabilities remain unrealised and hypertext/media appears to be treated more as a technology than a medium. For a hypertext docuverse that holds changing information, such as a knowledge base, paying heed to its hypertextual structure aids the long-term health and sustainability of the knowledge it contains. Wikipedia is the world largest public hypertext knowledge base. Constantly updated by humans and bots, it is an ever-changing knowledge store. Using Wikipedia as a context, this thesis investigates whether large collaborative hypertexts show signs of their contributors using deliberate hypertextual structure or are simply connecting ‘pages’ of digital content. The research also considers collaborative hypertexts in the context of social machines with regard to sustaining organisational knowledge as hypertext content. The results reveal under-use of processes available to sustain and improve an organisation’s docuverse and a gap in organisational roles and skill-sets to apply those processes.
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... In non-profit crowdsourcing platforms, such as citizen science projects and Wikipedia, registration is optional and volunteers can engage anonymously. Unlike studies on commercial crowdsourcing, task-related studies in non-profit crowdsourcing contexts have mainly focused on task design (Sprinks et al., 2017), virtual taskrewarding (Cappa et al., 2018), task complexity and granularity (Nov et al., 2011), and task significance (Schroer & Hertel, 2009) to encourage volunteer engagement (Tinati et al., 2017), improving the quality of outcomes (Kittur & Kraut, 2008) and enriching scientific outputs (Phillips et al., 2018). Most relevant empirical studies are based on surveys, interviews, and quasi-experiments from a behavioral science perspective. ...
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