Submissions/“This is my voice”: the motivations of highly active Wikipedians
This is an accepted submission for Wikimania 2012.
- Submission no. 93
- Title of the submission
- “This is my voice”: the motivations of highly active Wikipedians
- Type of submission (workshop, tutorial, panel, presentation)
- Author of the submission
- Maryana Pinchuk, Steven Walling
- E-mail address
- mpinchukwikimedia.org, swallingwikimedia.org
- Maryana (WMF), Steven (WMF)
- Country of origin
- Affiliation, if any (organization, company etc.)
- Wikimedia Foundation
From personal fulfilment to altruistic sacrifice for the sake of the mission, people have a wide range of motivations for participating in Wikimedia projects. However, few studies have been done to determine what these motivations are, or how they differ (or relate) to motivations for participating in other online spaces.
Using interviews with some of the most active editors of Wikipedia, we analyzed dozens of individual narratives about editing Wikipedia and qualitatively coded them, grouping, graphing, and comparing the different reasons why people edit.
While not a scientific or all-encompassing study, this exercise was nonetheless revealing. What we found, surprisingly, is that whether they were hitting the edit button for the first or ten thousandth time, many editors shared the same underlying reasons for beginning to contribute and for continuing to edit years later. The motivations that appeared the most frequently, however, were somewhat unexpected. While some mapped neatly onto the core values of the Wikimedia movement, such as the belief in sharing and free knowledge, many others did not.
Even among top content contributors with hundreds of thousands of edits to their names, personal fulfilment and enjoyment, not altruism, were the primary motivations for starting and continuing to edit. Despite the commonly voiced Wikipedian sentiment that Wikipedia is not a game or a social network, many recurring motivations revealed a strong desire to have fun, make friends, and be recognized and rewarded -- desires that were satisfied by participating in Wikipedia.
This talk will share our findings on the most common – and surprising – editor motivations, and encourage discussion of different approaches to this kind of study. We will ask whether these motivations differ for less highly active editors, and whether they are true for editors of different Wikipedias and sister projects. Finally, we would like to solicit further ideas about how best to use editor motivation in strategic and product planning at the community and Foundation levels.
Note: after this talk, we will be making a special piece of conference swag available to any interested Wikipedians which will let them show off their own motivation for editing.
- WikiCulture and Community; Research, Analysis, and Education
- Length of presentation/talk
- 25 Minutes
- Will you attend Wikimania if your submission is not accepted?
- Slides or further information (optional)
- Special request as to time of presentations
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- Yutsi (talk) 23:45, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
- Amir E. Aharoni (talk)
- Jeremyb (talk) 00:15, 18 March 2012 (UTC)
- --Poupou l'quourouce (talk) 19:53, 18 March 2012 (UTC)
- —Tom Morris (talk) 23:07, 18 March 2012 (UTC)
- Léna (talk) 23:55, 18 March 2012 (UTC)
- Pemba (talk) 02:40, 19 March 2012 (UTC)
- --Kgladstone (WMF) (talk) 18:48, 21 March 2012 (UTC)
- CT Cooper · talk 20:22, 22 March 2012 (UTC)
- Nice study! People are people, and they like to be thanked, recognized and rewarded. That's why we run several elaborate user ratings, monthly offline awards and even contests with valuable prizes in Ukrainian Wikipedia. And these practices seem to motivate contributing and benefit the community. --Amakuha (talk) 13:35, 24 March 2012 (UTC)
- Psychology (talk) 17:02, 27 March 2012 (UTC)
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