The Rise and Decline of an Open Collaboration System

  title={The Rise and Decline of an Open Collaboration System},
  author={Aaron Halfaker and R. Stuart Geiger and Jonathan T. Morgan and John Riedl},
  journal={American Behavioral Scientist},
  pages={664 - 688}
Open collaboration systems, such as Wikipedia, need to maintain a pool of volunteer contributors to remain relevant. Wikipedia was created through a tremendous number of contributions by millions of contributors. However, recent research has shown that the number of active contributors in Wikipedia has been declining steadily for years and suggests that a sharp decline in the retention of newcomers is the cause. This article presents data that show how several changes the Wikipedia community… 

Figures and Tables from this paper

Coordinating the commons: diversity & dynamics in open collaborations
The success of Wikipedia demonstrates that open collaboration can be an effective model for organizing geographically-distributed volunteers to perform complex, sustained work at a massive scale.
Revisiting "The Rise and Decline" in a Population of Peer Production Projects
The results support the external validity of Halfaker et al.'s claims that quality control systems may limit the growth of peer production communities by deterring new contributors and that norms tend to become entrenched over time.
Editing beyond articles: diversity & dynamics of teamwork in open collaborations
It is suggested that WikiProject participation reflects community concerns and shifts in the community's conception of valued work over the past six years, and implications for other open collaborations that need flexible, adaptable coordination mechanisms to support a range of content creation, curation and community maintenance tasks.
The Virtuous Circle of Wikipedia: Recursive Measures of Collaboration Structures
This bi-partite network random walker metric reveals the specific structure of cooperation and how the quality of articles is achieved through coordination, and shows that while the wisdom of crowds is well pulled in some categories, more editors per article can also create disvalue.
When expertise gone missing: Uncovering the loss of prolific contributors in Wikipedia
This is the first work which proposes a scalable prediction pipeline, towards detecting the prolific Wikipedians, who might be at a risk of retiring from the platform and, thereby, can potentially enable moderators to launch appropriate incentive mechanisms to retain such ‘would-be missing’ valued Wikipedian.
Wikipedia and Wikis
A number of tensions emerging from a wiki-based peer production model are highlighted, between amateurs and experts, human editors and bots, lay knowledge and academic knowledge and the shaping of trust through external actors.
There and Here: Patterns of Content Transclusion in Wikipedia
It is shown that Wikipedia makes limited, inconsistent of use of transclusion (as at February 2016), and in considering issues of longitudinal support of web collaborative hypertexts, finds little indication of deliberate structural maintenance of the hypertext.
Evaluating the impact of the Wikipedia Teahouse on newcomer socialization and retention
In a controlled experiment, it is found that new editors invited to the Wikipedia Teahouse are retained at a higher rate than editors who do not receive an invite, and for both short- and long-term survival.
Beyond notification: Filling gaps in peer production projects
This project demonstrated the principles of negotiation required for engaging with new editor groups in the long-term project of filling Wikipedia’s gaps through the process of trust-building and the development of negotiated boundary objects.
Making peripheral participation legitimate: reader engagement experiments in wikipedia
A set of field experiments using the Article Feedback Tool, a system designed to elicit lightweight contributions from Wikipedia's readers, show both qualitatively and quantitatively that peripheral contributors add value to an open collaboration community as long as the cost of identifying low quality contributions remains low.


The work of sustaining order in wikipedia: the banning of a vandal
This paper analyzes "vandal fighting" as an epistemic process of distributed cognition, highlighting the role of non-human actors in enabling a decentralized activity of collective intelligence in Wikipedia.
Defense Mechanism or Socialization Tactic? Improving Wikipedia's Notifications to Rejected Contributors
Unlike traditional firms, open collaborative systems rely on volunteers to operate, and many communities struggle to maintain enough contributors to ensure the quality and quantity of content.
Don't look now, but we've created a bureaucracy: the nature and roles of policies and rules in wikipedia
This descriptive study draws on prior work on rules and policies in organizations to propose and apply a conceptual framework for understanding the natures and roles of policies in Wikipedia and concludes that wikis are capable of supporting a broader range of structures and activities than other collaborative platforms.
Mentoring in Wikipedia: a clash of cultures
The continuous success of Wikipedia depends upon its capability to recruit and engage new editors, especially those with new knowledge and perspectives. Yet Wikipedia over the years has become a
The singularity is not near: slowing growth of Wikipedia
It is shown that recent editing activity suggests that Wikipedia growth has slowed, and perhaps plateaued, indicating that it may have come against its limits to growth.
Information quality work organization in wikipedia
This article analyzes the organization of IQ assurance work in a large-scale, open, collaborative encyclopedia—Wikipedia and believes that the study of those evolving debates and processes and of the IQ assurance model as a whole has useful implications for the improvement of quality in other more conventional databases.
Socialization in an Open Source Software Community: A Socio-Technical Analysis
This report reports on analyses of socialization in a particular OSS community and documents the relationships OSS newcomers develop over time with both the social and material aspects of a project, as well as discussing how these results could inform the design of software to support socialized in OSS projects.
The Hidden Order of Wikipedia
This case study is the Featured Article (FA) process, one of the best established procedures on Wikipedia, and it is demonstrated how this process blends elements of traditional workflow with peer production.
Becoming Wikipedian: transformation of participation in a collaborative online encyclopedia
This descriptive study uses two perspectives on social activity to understand the experiences of individuals who became active collaborators in Wikipedia, a prolific, cooperatively-authored online encyclopedia and suggests a new paradigm for collaborative systems.
A jury of your peers: quality, experience and ownership in Wikipedia
The role that the quality of the contributions, the experience of the contributors and the ownership of the content play in the decisions over which contributions become part of Wikipedia and which ones are rejected by the community is examined.