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Network Centrality and Contributions to Online Public Good--The Case of Chinese Wikipedia

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2 Author(s)

Internet technology enables virtual collaboration and plays an important role in knowledge production. However, collaborative technology will not function without conducive underlying social mechanisms. Previous research mostly investigates individual-level motivations of editors, with only a few exceptions examining the collaboration relationships. In this paper, we take a structural perspective and investigate the impact of positions (centralities) of editors in the collaboration networks on their efforts and effort allocations. To achieve this, we empirically reconstruct the dynamic collaboration network of Chinese Wikipedia for the period between 2002 and 2007. Based on a dynamic view of the network, we compose a panel data set that covers both the contribution behavior and network position characteristics of Wikipedia editors. We strengthen our causal interpretation by leveraging the exogenous block that prevented Wikipedia editors in Mainland China from accessing the website. We find distinctive effort allocation patterns that strongly correlate with network centrality measures. This confirms theoretical predictions derived in recent developments in network economics and social network theories. This research enhances our understanding about how collaboration network structure shapes individuals' behavior in online collaboration platforms.

Published in:

System Science (HICSS), 2012 45th Hawaii International Conference on

Date of Conference:

4-7 Jan. 2012

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