skip to main content

Title: Bursty Coordination in Online Communities
The collective intelligence of online communities often depends on implicit forms of coordination, given the fluidity of membership and the lack of traditional hierarchies and associated incentive structures. This coordination drives knowledge production. Studying temporal dynamics may help elucidate how coordination happens. Specifically, the rate of interaction with an artifact such as a Wikipedia page can function as a signal that affects future interactions. Many activities can be characterized as bursty, meaning activity is not evenly spread or random, but is instead concentrated. This study analyzes 3,260 Wikipedia articles and shows that the coordination pattern in the Wikipedia community is mostly bursty. More importantly, the extent of burstiness affects article quality. This work highlights the important role temporal dynamics can play in the coordination process in online communities, and how it can affect the quality of knowledge production.
 ; ; ;
Award ID(s):
1717473 1909803
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
ICIS 2019 Proceedings
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Crowd-based open innovation communities have received increasing attention, based on the premise that leveraging the power and diversity of the crowd can lead to innovative outcomes. However, we still know little about how work is coordinated over time in this context, especially as the innovation process moves from idea generation to elaboration. Based on literature and theories of coordination and collaboration in traditional creative contexts and on emergent evidence from research on crowd work, we develop hypotheses about the unique interaction patterns that characterize co-creation and how these patterns impact, over time, submission quality. To test our hypotheses, we conducted a study of a crowd-based open innovation platform. We found that, in general, the diversity of contributors increased over time, but for high quality submissions, the number of contributors decreased and a small group of involved people became more dominant in providing feedback. Further, we observe that the creators of more successful submissions, while not dominating the discussion, were particularly engaged in the discussions in later stages. Our work contributes to understanding the temporal dynamics in open innovation communities by providing evidence that successful interaction patterns vary depending on the phase of the project.
  2. Online communities, like Wikipedia, produce valuable public information goods. Whereas some of these communities require would-be contributors to create accounts, many do not. Does this requirement catalyze cooperation or inhibit participation? Prior research provides divergent predictions but little causal evidence. We conduct an empirical test using longitudinal data from 136 natural experiments where would-be contributors to wikis were suddenly required to log in to contribute. Requiring accounts leads to a small increase in account creation, but reduces both high- and low-quality contributions from registered and unregistered participants. Although the change deters a large portion of low-quality participation, the vast majority of deterred contributions are of higher quality. We conclude that requiring accounts introduces an undertheorized tradeoff for public goods production in interactive communication systems.
  3. We present a corpus that encompasses the complete history of conversations between contributors to Wikipedia, one of the largest online collaborative communities. By recording the intermediate states of conversations—including not only comments and replies, but also their modifications, deletions and restorations—this data offers an unprecedented view of online conversation. This level of detail supports new research questions pertaining to the process (and challenges) of large-scale online collaboration. We illustrate the corpus’ potential with two case studies that highlight new perspectives on earlier work. First, we explore how a person’s conversational behavior depends on how they relate to the discussion’s venue. Second, we show that community moderation of toxic behavior happens at a higher rate than previously estimated. Finally the reconstruction framework is designed to be language agnostic, and we show that it can extract high quality conversational data in both Chinese and English.
  4. null (Ed.)
    Globally important carbon (C) stores in boreal peatlands are vulnerable to altered hydrology through changes in precipitation and runoff patterns, groundwater inputs, and a changing cryosphere. These changes can affect the extent of boreal wetlands and their ability to sequester and transform C and other nutrients. Variation in precipitation patterns has also been increasing, with greater occurrences of both flooding and drought periods. Recent work has pointed to the increasing role of algal production in regulating C cycling during flooded periods in fen peatlands, but exactly how this affects the C sink-strength of these ecosystems is poorly understood. We evaluated temporal trends in algal biomass, ecosystem C uptake and respiration (using static and floating chamber techniques), and spectroscopic indicators of DOM quality (absorbance and fluorescence) in a boreal rich-fen peatland in which water table position had been experimentally manipulated for 13 years. Superimposed on the water table treatments were natural variations in hydrology, including periods of flooding, which allowed us to examine the legacy effects of flooding on C cycling dynamics. We had a particular focus on understanding the role of algae in regulating C cycling, as the relative contribution of algal production was observed to significantly increase with flooding.more »Ecosystem measures of gross primary production (GPP) increased with algal biomass, with higher algal biomass and GPP measured in the lowered water table treatment two years after persistent flooding. Prior to flooding the lowered treatment was the weakest C sink (as CO 2 ), but this treatment became the strongest sink after flooding. The lower degree of humification (lower humification index, HIX) and yet lower bioavailability (higher spectral slope ratio, Sr) of DOM observed in the raised treatment prior to flooding persisted after two years of flooding. An index of free or bound proteins (tyrosine index, TI) increased with algal biomass across all plots during flooding, and was lowest in the raised treatment. As such, antecedent drainage conditions determined the sink-strength of this rich fen—which was also reflected in DOM characteristics. These findings indicate that monitoring flooding history and its effects on algal production could become important to estimates of C balance in northern wetlands.« less
  5. Soil organic matter (SOM) stocks, decom- position and persistence are largely the product of controls that act locally. Yet the controls are shaped and interact at multiple spatiotemporal scales, from which macrosystem patterns in SOM emerge. Theory on SOM turnover recognizes the resulting spatial and temporal conditionality in the effect sizes of controls that play out across macrosystems, and couples them through evolutionary and community assembly pro- cesses. For example, climate history shapes plant functional traits, which in turn interact with contem- porary climate to influence SOM dynamics. Selection and assembly also shape the functional traits of soil decomposer communities, but it is less clear how in turn these traits influence temporal macrosystem patterns in SOM turnover. Here, we review evidence that establishes the expectation that selection and assembly should generate decomposer communities across macrosystems that have distinct functional effects on SOM dynamics. Representation of this knowledge in soil biogeochemical models affects the magnitude and direction of projected SOM responses under global change. Yet there is high uncertainty and low confidence in these projections. To address these issues, we make the case that a coordinated set of empirical practices are required which necessitate (1) greater use of statistical approaches inmore »biogeochem- istry that are suited to causative inference; (2) long- term, macrosystem-scale, observational and experi- mental networks to reveal conditionality in effect sizes, and embedded correlation, in controls on SOM turnover; and (3) use of multiple measurement grains to capture local- and macroscale variation in controls and outcomes, to avoid obscuring causative understanding through data aggregation. When employed together, along with process-based models to synthesize knowledge and guide further empirical work, we believe these practices will rapidly advance understanding of microbial controls on SOM and improve carbon cycle projections that guide policies on climate adaptation and mitigation.« less