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Who Contributes to Wikipedia? The Role of Internet Skills in Online Participation Inequalities

Mon, May 29, 8:00 to 9:15, Hilton San Diego Bayfront, Floor: 2, Indigo Ballroom A


Digital inequality and participation gaps pose a challenge to the democratizing potential of the Internet. Given its broad reach, Wikipedia has received particular attention concerning its contributors with findings suggesting persistent gender and skills gaps. Our paper extends prior work by investigating the role of Internet skills in Wikipedia editing on a national sample. We use a unique survey dataset collected representing a diverse sample of 1,512 U.S. adults to assess how demographic and socioeconomic factors as well as Internet experience and skills explain who edits Wikipedia. Confirming prior work, we find participation gaps in Wikipedia editing by gender and Internet skills. In contrast to prior work, we also find evidence that lower age, higher education, and more frequent Internet use help explain contribution to Wikipedia. We conclude that these findings underscore the multidimensionality of digital inequalities and encourage future research to build on these observations.