BITlab: Behavior Information Technology

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Bootstrapping Wikis: Developing Critical Mass in an Fledgling Community by Seeding Content

by: Jacob Solomon and Rick Wash

Abstract

Online communities depend on content contributed by their members. However, new communities have not yet achieved critical mass and are vulnerable to inadequate contribution. To encourage contribution, many fledgling communities seed the site with data from 3rd parties. We study the effectiveness of such seeding by looking at how people react to different types of seeded content. We found that people make larger contributions when there is no seeded content. But when there is seeded content, users learn from that content and contribute similar types of content. Therefore, if websites prefer specific types of contributions, seeding that type of contribution can be a valuable way to elicit appropriate contributions.

Reference

Jacob Solomon and Rick Wash. “Bootstrapping Wikis: Developing Critical Mass in an Fledgling Community by Seeding ContentProceedings of the ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW). Seattle, WA. February 2012.

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