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Almost Wikipedia: Eight early encyclopedia projects and the mechanisms of collective action

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  1. skybrian
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    This excerpt from a dissertation discusses why Wikipedia succeeded when several similar projects failed. The author makes three propositions: To expand on P3: He rejects two alternative explanations:

    This excerpt from a dissertation discusses why Wikipedia succeeded when several similar projects failed. The author makes three propositions:

    P1: Wikipedia attracted contributors because it was built around a familiar product.
    P2: Wikipedia attracted contributors because it offered low barriers to contribution.
    P3: Wikipedia attracted contributors because it offered low attribution and low social
    ownership of content.

    To expand on P3:

    In the projects in my sample, ownership over text was often purely social. Several OCEPs whose initiators suggested that textual ownership hindered contribution allowed, from a technical perspective, for at least some direct collaboration on the text. But because they also listed authorship explicitly, a sense of social ownership over text meant this technical possibility was rarely taken advantage of.

    He rejects two alternative explanations:

    Alternative Explanation 1: Technological Superiority
    Alternative Explanation 2: Timing

    3 votes