Hello, everyone, 

The next Research Showcase, Understanding participation in Wikipedia, will be live-streamed next Wednesday, January 16, at 11:30 AM PST/19:30 UTC. This presentation is about new editors. 

YouTube stream: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fc51jE_KNTc

As usual, you can join the conversation on IRC at #wikimedia-research. You can also watch our past research showcases here: https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Research/Showcase

This month's presentation:

Understanding participation in Wikipedia: Studies on the relationship between new editors’ motivations and activity

By Martina Balestra, New York University 

Peer production communities like Wikipedia often struggle to retain contributors beyond their initial engagement. Theory suggests this may be related to their levels of motivation, though prior studies either center on contributors’ activity or use cross-sectional survey methods, and overlook accompanied changes in motivation. In this talk, I will present a series of studies aimed at filling this gap. We begin by looking at how Wikipedia editors’ early motivations influence the activities that they come to engage in, and how these motivations change over the first three months of participation in Wikipedia. We then look at the relationship between editing activity and intrinsic motivation specifically over time. We find that new editors’ early motivations are predictive of their future activity, but that these motivations tend to change with time. Moreover, newcomers’ intrinsic motivation is reinforced by the amount of activity they engage in over time: editors who had a high level of intrinsic motivation entered a virtuous cycle where the more they edited the more motivated they became, whereas those who initially had low intrinsic motivation entered a vicious cycle. Our findings shed new light on the importance of early experiences and reveal that the relationship between motivation and activity is more complex than previously understood.

Janna Layton
Administrative Assistant - Audiences & Technology 
Wikimedia Foundation