Participation Inequality in Wikis: A Temporal Analysis Using WikiChron

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“It is in collectivities that we find reservoirs of hope and optimism.”

― Angela Y. Davis

Participation Inequality in Wikis: A Temporal Analysis Using WikiChron

It is widely accepted that peer production communities show a high level of inequality in the level of participation. Typically, we can observe a power law in the distribution of contributions. However, we argue that participation inequality, and specifically its evolution over time, has been understudied. Previous research has concentrated on large successful projects (e.g. Wikipedia), leaving a gap regarding small or mid-size communities. The wiki ecosystem is highly diverse, and so it may be the participation distribution in the communities and its evolution. The aim of this work is twofold: (1) To show a novel webtool, WikiChron, for the analysis of wiki evolution, with a focus on inequality metrics; (2) To provide relevant cases of comparative analysis that show the diversity of the wiki ecosystem, with examples that are counter-intuitive or contradict existing literature, while reflecting the limits of single-metric studies. We aim to open lines of wiki research which require the use of multiple metrics to study participation inequality.

WikiChron networks is open source and is publicly available. We hope that it will stimulate research on the evolution of collaboration and communication in wiki communities. WikiChron networks is an extension of the WikiChron tool to visualize the evolution of wikis

This publication has an associated software, which you can find here.