Personal Communication Networks and their Positive Effects on Online Collaboration and Outcome Quality on Wikipedia

Tsikerdekis, M. (2016).
Personal Communication Networks and their Positive Effects on Online Collaboration and Outcome Quality on Wikipedia
Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology. (67)4, 812-823. DOI: 10.1002/asi.23429
Impact Factor: 2.230

Abstract
Online collaborative projects have been utilized in a variety of ways over the past decade, such as bringing people together to build open source software or developing the world's largest free encyclopedia. Personal communication networks as a feature do not exist in all collaborative projects. It is currently unclear if a designer's decision to include a personal communication network in a collaborative project's structure affects outcome quality. In this study, I investigated Wikipedia's personal communication network and analyzed which Wikipedia editors are utilizing it and how they are connected to outcome quality. Evidence suggests that people who utilize these networks are more experienced in editing high quality articles and are more integrated in the community. Additionally, these individuals utilize the personal communication network for coordinating and perhaps mentoring editors who edit lower quality articles. The value of these networks is demonstrated by the characteristics of the users who use them. These findings indicate that designers of online collaborative projects can help improve the quality of outcomes in these projects by deciding to implement a personal communication network in their communities.

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