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Revisiting ‘The Rise and Decline’ in a Population of Peer Production Projects

Fri, May 25, 12:30 to 13:45, Hilton Prague, LL, Congress Hall II - Exhibit Hall/Posters

Abstract

Do patterns of growth and stabilization found in large peer production systems like Wikipedia occur in other communities? This study assesses the generalizability of Halfaker et al.’s influential 2013 paper on “The Rise and Decline of an Open Collaboration System.” We closely replicat e its tests of several theories related to newcomer retention and norm calcification using a dataset of hundreds of active peer production wikis from Wikia. We reproduce the subset of the findings from Halfaker and colleagues that we are able to test, and compare both the estimated signs and magnitudes of our models. Our 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.

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