Collaboration in context: comparing article evolution among subject disciplines in Wikipedia

19 Nov 2008

This exploratory study examines the relationships between article and Talk page contributions and their effect on article quality in Wikipedia. The sample consisted of three articles each from the hard sciences, soft sciences, and humanities, whose talk page and article edit histories were observed over a five?month period and coded for contribution types. Richness and neutrality criteria were then used to assess article quality and results were compared within and among subject disciplines. This study reveals variability in article quality across subject disciplines and a relationship between Talk page discussion and article editing activity. Overall, results indicate the initial article creator?s critical role in providing a framework for future editing as well as a remarkable stability in article content over time.

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