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No praise without effort: Experimental evidence on how rewards affect Wikipedia's contributor community
Abstract The successful provision of public goods tThe successful provision of public goods through mass volunteering over the Internet poses a puzzle to classic social science theories of human cooperation. A solution suggested by recent studies proposes that informal rewards (e.g. a thumbs-up, a badge, an editing award, etc.) can motivate participants by raising their status in the community, which acts as a select incentive to continue contributing. Indeed, a recent study of Wikipedia found that receiving a reward had a large positive effect on the subsequent contribution levels of highly-active contributors. While these findings are suggestive, they only pertained to already highly-active contributors. Can informal rewards also serve as a mechanism to increase participation among less-active contributors by initiating a virtuous cycle of work and reward? We conduct a field experiment on the online encyclopedia Wikipedia in which we bestowed rewards to randomly selected editors of varying productivity levels. Analysis of post-treatment activity shows that despite greater room for less-active contributors to increase their productive efforts, rewards yielded increases in work only among already highly-productive editors. On the other hand, rewards were associated with lower retention of less-active contributors. These findings suggest that the incentive structure in peer production is broadly meritocratic, as highly-active contributors accumulate the most rewards. However, this may also contribute to the divide between the stable core of highly-prodigious producers and a peripheral population of less-active contributors with shorter volunteer tenures.ntributors with shorter volunteer tenures.
Abstractsub The successful provision of public goods tThe successful provision of public goods through mass volunteering over the Internet poses a puzzle to classic social science theories of human cooperation. A solution suggested by recent studies proposes that informal rewards (e.g. a thumbs-up, a badge, an editing award, etc.) can motivate participants by raising their status in the community, which acts as a select incentive to continue contributing. Indeed, a recent study of Wikipedia found that receiving a reward had a large positive effect on the subsequent contribution levels of highly-active contributors. While these findings are suggestive, they only pertained to already highly-active contributors. Can informal rewards also serve as a mechanism to increase participation among less-active contributors by initiating a virtuous cycle of work and reward? We conduct a field experiment on the online encyclopedia Wikipedia in which we bestowed rewards to randomly selected editors of varying productivity levels. Analysis of post-treatment activity shows that despite greater room for less-active contributors to increase their productive efforts, rewards yielded increases in work only among already highly-productive editors. On the other hand, rewards were associated with lower retention of less-active contributors. These findings suggest that the incentive structure in peer production is broadly meritocratic, as highly-active contributors accumulate the most rewards. However, this may also contribute to the divide between the stable core of highly-prodigious producers and a peripheral population of less-active contributors with shorter volunteer tenures.ntributors with shorter volunteer tenures.
Bibtextype article  +
Doi 10.1080/1369118X.2014.888459  +
Has author Restivo M. + , Van de Rijt A. +
Has keyword Collective action + , Peer production + , Reputation + , Status + , Volunteer + , Wikipedia +
Issn 1369118X  +
Issue 4  +
Language English +
Number of citations by publication 0  +
Number of references by publication 0  +
Pages 451–462  +
Published in Information Communication and Society +
Title No praise without effort: Experimental evidence on how rewards affect Wikipedia's contributor community +
Type journal article  +
Volume 17  +
Year 2014 +
Creation dateThis property is a special property in this wiki. 6 November 2014 18:02:00  +
Categories Publications without license parameter  + , Publications without remote mirror parameter  + , Publications without archive mirror parameter  + , Publications without paywall mirror parameter  + , Journal articles  + , Publications without references parameter  + , Publications  +
Modification dateThis property is a special property in this wiki. 6 November 2014 18:02:00  +
DateThis property is a special property in this wiki. 2014  +
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