- Jan 2019
In the context of disaster, social media and other ICTare enablingthe manifestation of a “knowledge commons” , a shared information space for victims, onlookers, and the convergent digital volunt
Cites Elinor Ostrom's work on collective action and commons
Evokes Benkler et al's work on peer production and commons.
- Dec 2018
The norms for using a CSCW system are often actively negotiatedamong users.
Community norms are well-discussed in the crowdsourcing and peer production literature.
See: Benkler, Mako and Kittur, Kraut, et al
- Aug 2018
A related series of studies have sought to unpack the dynamics of collabo-ration and to understand which features of peer productions support the cre-ation of higher quality content. This topic has been studied especially closelyin the case of Wikipedia, where particular organizational attributes, routines,norms, and technical features impact the quality of individual contributionsas well as the final, collaborative product.
Benkler provides examples of studies that examined quality of content as a function of community norms, participant motives, and newbie abuse by experienced editors.
Has Wikipedia learned anything from these studies? Have they adopted any recommended strategies for improvement? What are the design implications for addressing these issues.
More here from INFO 5501 reading responses:
A more fruitfulapproach considers variation in peer production success to understand whenand where it works better and worse.
Benkler's examples of quality studies of large peer groups seems focused on community evaluation of the output rather than what constitutes a high-performing community (process) or a quality values (norms).
Note: He cover process and norms several paragraphs later.
Just as peer produced goods vary in their nature and form, there is alsoenormous variation between and within projects in terms of the dimensionsalong which quality might be evaluated. In the case of Wikipedia, scholarshave assessed the encyclopedia in terms of factual accuracy, scope of coverage,political bias, expert evaluation, and peer evaluation – often drawing differentconclusions about the quality of Wikipedia or particular articles.
The quality of Wikipedia articles can vary considerably. Studies point to uneven socioeconomic/cultural/gender/language representation with the ranks of editors.
The consensus view is that Wikipedia topics are driven by editor interests which results in variations in coverage.
Although this hasconstituted an inconvenient fact in peer production practice, it also reflects animportant opportunity for future research. By focusing only on the projectsthat successfully mobilize contributors, researchers interested inwhenpeerproduction occurs or the reasonswhyit succeeds at producing high qualityoutputs have systematically selected on their dependent variables. An impor-tant direction for peer production research will be to study these failures.
Failed peer production projects offer potentially interesting insights and should be studied.
Infollowing these three paths, scholars have begun to consider variation withinpeer production projects to understand when and why peer production leadsto different kinds of high quality outputs
Recent quality studies have explored projects that: • have not attracted sufficiently large communities to wash out bias/inaccuracies, • large communities that have not functioned to create quality information, • different measures/definitions of quality
Both for-profit andnon-profit organizations that have incorporated peer production models havethrived in the networked environment, often overcoming competition frommore traditional, market- and firm-based models.
But is this a matter of quality or satisficing a need with a free, easily accessible public platform?
Recent work hasbegun to probe more deeply into different dimensions along which qualitycan be conceptualized and measured. This new scholarship has given rise toa more nuanced understanding of the different mechanisms through whichhigh quality resources arise, and founder, in peer production.
Benkler notes that output "quality" was the focus of early research and has evolved to exploring how it is "conceptualized and measured." Defining and understanding information quality is also connected to my crowdsourcing work.
However, I'm curious if quality studies also look at the process, in addition to the output.
Peer production successfully elicits contributions from diverse individu-als with diverse motivations – a quality that continues to distinguish it fromsimilar forms of collective intelligence
Benkler makes a really bold statement here about how peer production differs from collective intelligence. Not sure I buy this argument.
Brabner on crowdsourcing:
Resolving the tensions between different motivations and incentives presentsa design challenge for peer production systems and other collective intelli-gence platforms. The complex interdependence of motivations, incentive sys-tems, and the social behaviors that distinct system designs elicit has led Krautand Resnick (2012) to call for evidence-based social design and Benkler (2009,2011) for cooperative human system design.
Benkler cites research where incentives clash re: "material and prosocial rewards". Also, motivations can be temporally-based which demands flexibility in the incentive system as participants' reasons to contribute change and habits/practices/norms become entrenched.
Evidence from this newer body of research shows that motivations are di-versewithincontributors and that different contributors have different mixesof motivations.
Because motives are diverse and often entangled between intrinsic and extrinsic motives, as well as within/between different groups of participants, designing incentive systems is tricky. Recent research has found that impacts/effects of one type of incentive can't be separated from impacts/effects on other motivational drivers.
The most important insight provided by some of this newer workis that contributors act for different reasons, and that theories based on a sin-gle uniform motivational model are likely to mischaracterize the motivationaldynamics.
Field and lab experiments have found that motives are not uniform, are complex, vary due to contextual factors, involve social signaling, and have some temporal qualities.
In particular, these neweraccounts have focused on social status, peer effects, prosocial altruism, groupidentification, and related social psychological dimensions of group behavior
Again, tracking with organizational studies, intrinsic and extrinsic social psychological characteristics have been the focus of more recent work exploring motivations.
hat said, a growing number of stud-ies also suggest that these motives interact with each other in unpredictableways and, as a result, are vulnerable to “crowding out” when the introduc-tion of extrinsic incentives undermines intrinsic motivation
As in the organizational studies of peer production, motivation studies have been conducted increasingly through ethnographic observational and field studies.
Benkler notes that the varied rationales and patterns for participating in peer production are not singular, and "interact with each other in unpredictable ways."
Intrinsic motivations (internal rewards) tend to give way to extrinsic motivations (external rewards or consequence avoidance)
Other foundational research on motivation in peer production by Lernerand Schankerman (2010) and others has explored why organizations, firmsand governments, rather than individual users, choose to participate in opensource software.
More recent motivational studies have focused on organizations' motives for engaging in FLOSS projects as a means to innovate, build knowledge/learning capacity, diversify sources and collaborate.
Despite their differences in emphasis,scope, and genre, all of these surveys support the claim that motivations inpeer production are diverse and heterogeneous.
Survey studies are widely used in peer production research.
Observational/ethnographic have also been used to study participants. Results also reflected that motives were varied but also seem to indicate that participants self-selected their projects, collaborators, and specific production roles.
Frequently cited motivations in foundational work by theseauthors, von Hippel and von Krogh (2003), von Krogh (2003), and others in-cluded: the use value of the software to the contributing developer; the hedo-nic pleasure of building software; the increased human capital, reputation,or employment prospects; and social status within a community of peers.Other early accounts analyzing examples of peer production beyond FLOSSsuggested additional motivations. For example, Kollock (1999) emphasizedreciprocity, reputation, a sense of efficacy, and collective identity as salientsocial psychological drivers of contribution to online communities and fo-rums.
Per Benkler, social psychology constructs (individual behavior, feelings, and thoughts within a social context) offer better descriptions for understanding peer production motivations than economic theory.
Cited studies in this passage are from:
CSCW (Beenen, HICSS (Forte and Bruckman), ACM (Nov) GROUP (Panciera) Psychology (Rafarli and Ariel) Social Psychology (Cheshire) CMC (Cheshire and Antin) Law (Benkler) Open Source (Coleman and Hill) MIS (von Krogh et al)
A second quality of peer production that challenged conventional economictheories of motivation and cooperation was the absence of clear extrinsic in-centives like monetary rewards. Traditional economic explanations of behav-ior rely on the assumption of a fundamentally self-interested actor mobilizedthrough financial or other incentives. In seeking to explain how peer produc-tion projects attract highly skilled contributors without money, much of theliterature on peer production has focused on questions of participant moti-vation.
Peer production contrasts with other forms of labor in its varied non-monetary/economic incentives. Early research on participant motives was grounded in longstanding economic theory/frameworks about self-interested actors.
The economic approach makes sense, however. Without prior work in peer production, attempting to apply/extend other labor frameworks would be an appropriate evaluation technique.
A newer wave of work has stepped back from this approachand sought to explain how multiple motivational “vectors” figure in the cre-ation of common pool resources online – an approach that underscores a coreadvantage of peer production in its capacity to enable action without requir-ing translation into a system of formalized, extrinsic, carrots and sticks.
Recent studies of motivation to participate in peer production consider a broader range of decentralized incentives.
Future workcan also begin to address questions of whether, how, and why peer produc-tion systems have transformed some existing organizational fields more pro-foundly than others. An empirically-informed understanding of when andwhere organizational practices drawn from peer production provide efficientand equitable means to produce, disseminate, and access information can pro-vide social impact beyond the insights available through the study of any in-dividual community
Future directions, suggested by Benkler.
By structuring design changes as exper-iments, these studies make credible causal claims about the relationship oforganizational structure and project outcomes that previous work struggledto establish. By intervening in real communities, these efforts achieve a levelof external validity that lab-based experiments cannot
The paper suggests that field experiments and intervention studies could offer new insights.
Similar cross-organization studies in other areas of peer production, orstudies comparing across differenttypesof peer production, have remainedchallenging and rare. One difficulty with comparative work across organiza-tions, in general, is designing research capable of supporting inference intothe causes of organizational success and failure
Benkler also points to a lack of "publicly-available large-scale comparative datasets for types of peer production projects outside of FLOSS" for a reason few comparative studies have been attempted.
Although some of the earliest theories of the organization of peer pro-duction celebrated the phenomena as non-hierarchical, more recent work hasquestioned both the putative lack of hierarchy and its purported benefits (e.g.,Kreiss et al., 2011).
Later foundational work focused on hierarchies within the various community structures — in contrast to the early perception that peer production was non-hierarchical/anarchistic.
Benkler suggests that peer production uses a different form of governance and a lighter-weight hierarchical structure than other types of organizations -- not that these groups are anti-hierarchical.
Cites Keegan's work on gate-keeping in peer production.
More recent work on organizational aspects of peer production has begunto question the “stylized facts” that prevailed in earlier research.
The second wave of peer production research includes exploration of community attributes and the work they produce, comparative analysis, and theoretical articulations.
This research built on earlier work showing that contrib-utors to bulletin boards, newsgroups, forums, and related systems adopteddurable “social roles” through their patterns of contribution (e.g., Fisher et al.,2006) – an approach that was subsequently applied to Wikipedia by Welseret al. (2011) and McDonald et al. (2011)
Curious why Benkler didn't cite Q&As and group blogs as peer production cases, e.g., Metafilter, DailyKos, etc., which operate quite differently than the examples listed here.
A large body of descriptive work has also sought to characterize organi-zational dimensions of Wikipedia and the practices of its contributors.
The cited Wikipedia literature intersect a number of focus areas including qualitative studies od participation, production process, governance, onboarding and socializing activities, leadership and quantitative/inductive studies of the organization.
Again, is the number and depth of citations here simply a result of Benkler's interest/knowledge area? Or is there something fundamentally different between FLOSS and Wikipedia?
Much of the earliest empirical research inductively sought to describe thestructure and organization of FLOSS communities
The FLOSS literature that Benkler cites seems to be much more focused on organizational structures than the Wikipedia study examples in the next paragraph.
I'm curious why that is the case? Is there a wider body of related work than Benkler is citing? Maybe the FLOSS production process is less accessible than Wikipedia which is entirely online and embedded in its site. Is this a convenience issue more so than a diverse interest issue?
Other foundational accounts, like Moglen (1999) and Weber (2004),attended to the emergence of informal hierarchies and governance arrange-ments within communities.
Other early work focused on organizational attributes, like how information goods were produced with flat/informal hierarchies, community values/norms, and governance structures.
Peer productioncould, Benkler argued, outperform traditional organizational forms underconditions of widespread access to networked communications technologies,a multitude of motivations driving contributions, and non-rival informationcapable of being broken down into granular, modular, and easy-to-integrate
Benkler's early work studied "the role of non-exclusive property regimes and more permeable organizational boundaries" for knowledge products.
Initial scholarship on the organization of peer production emphasized the-oretical distinctions between peer production, bureaucracy, and transactioncost explanations of firms and markets.
Description of early research
Indeed, peer production com-munities perform all of the “classical” organizational functions like coordina-tion, division of labor, recruitment, training, norm creation and enforcement,conflict resolution, and boundary maintenance – but do so in the absence ofmany of the institutions associated with more traditional organizations.
List of typical activities enacted in peer production communities. Early research sought to identify these activities and the unique nature of peer production work. Later studies examined the effectiveness of peer production and how the activities as communities mature.
Benkler notes later in the same passage:
"However, as peer production communities have aged, some have acquired increasingly formal organizational attributes, including bureaucratic rules and routines for interaction and control."
Although peer production is central to social scientific and legal researchon collective intelligence, not all examples of collective intelligence created inonline systems are peer production. First, (1) collective intelligence can in-volve centralized control over goal-setting and execution of tasks.
Not all collective intelligence is peer production.
Peer production must adhere to values: de-centralized control, broad range of motives/incentives and FLOSS/creative commons rights.
Peer production is the most significant organizational in-novation that has emerged from Internet-mediated social practice, among themost visible and important examples of collective intelligence, and a centraltheoretical frame used by social scientists and legal scholars of collective intel-ligence.
Benkler ranks peer production's place in the social science literature on collective intelligence.
Following Benkler (2013), we define peer produc-tion as a form of open creation and sharing performed by groups online that:set and execute goals in a decentralized manner; harness a diverse range ofparticipant motivations, particularly non-monetary motivations; and sepa-rate governance and management relations from exclusive forms of propertyand relational contracts (i.e., projects are governed as open commons or com-mon property regimes and organizational governance utilizes combinationsof participatory, meritocratic and charismatic, rather than proprietary or con-
Peer production definition per Benkler.
- social coordination
- peer production
- design implications
- collective intelligence
- knowledge work
- Jul 2015
Grimmelmann, James. "The Virtues of Moderation." April 1, 2015. SSRN http://ssrn.com/abstract=2588493 keywords: moderation, online communities, semicommons, peer production, Wikipedia, MetaFilter, Reddit 17 Yale J.L. & Tech. 42 (2015) U of Maryland Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2015-8
- Feb 2014
- Jan 2014
This suggests that peer production will thrive where projects have three characteristi cs
If thriving is a metric (is it measurable? too subjective?) of success then the 3 characteristics it must have are:
- modularity: divisible into components
- granularity: fine-grained modularity
- integrability: low-cost integration of contributions
I don't dispute that these characteristics are needed, but they are too general to be helpful, so I propose that we look at these three characteristics through the lens of the type of contributor we are seeking to motivate.
How do these characteristics inform what we should focus on to remove barriers to collaboration for each of these contributor-types?
Below I've made up a rough list of lenses. Maybe you have links or references that have already made these classifications better than I have... if so, share them!
Roughly here are the classifications of the types of relationships to open source projects that I commonly see:
core developers: either hired by a company, foundation, or some entity to work on the project. These people care most about integrability.
ecosystem contributors: someone either self-motivated or who receives a reward via some mechanism outside the institution that funds the core developers (e.g. reputation, portfolio for future job prospects, tools and platforms that support a consulting business, etc). These people care most about modularity.
feature-driven contributors: The project is useful out-of-the-box for these people and rather than build their own tool from scratch they see that it is possible for the tool to work they way they want by merely contributing code or at least a feature-request based on their idea. These people care most about granularity.
The above lenses fit the characteristics outlined in the article, but below are other contributor-types that don't directly care about these characteristics.
the funder: a company, foundation, crowd, or some other funding body that directly funds the core developers to work on the project for hire.
consumer contributors: This class of people might not even be aware that they are contributors, but simply using the project returns direct benefits through logs and other instrumented uses of the tool to generate data that can be used to improve the project.
knowledge-driven contributors: These contributors are most likely closest to the ecosystem contributors, maybe even a sub-species of those, that contribute to documentation and learning the system; they may be less-skilled at coding, but still serve a valuable part of the community even if they are not committing to the core code base.
failure-driven contributors: A primary source of bug reports and may also be any one of the other lenses.
What other lenses might be useful to look through? What characteristics are we missing? How can we reduce barriers to contribution for each of these contributor types?
I feel that there are plenty of motivations... but what barriers exist and what motivations are sufficient for enough people to be willing to surmount those barriers? I think it may be easier to focus on the barriers to make contributing less painful for the already-convinced, than to think about the motivators for those needing to be convinced-- I think the consumer contributors are some of the very best suited to convince the unconvinced; our job should be to remove the barriers for people at each stage of community we are trying to build.
the proposition that diverse motivations animate human beings, and, more importantly, that there exist ranges of human experience in which the presence of monetary rewards is inversely related to the presence of other, social-psychological rewards.
The first analytic move.
common appropriation regimes do not give a complete answer to the sustainability of motivation and organization for the truly open, large-scale nonproprietary peer production projects we see on the Internet.
Towards the end of our last conversation the text following "common appropriation" seemed an interesting place to dive into further for our future discussions.
I have tagged this annotation with "meta" because it is a comment about our discussion and where to continue it rather than an annotation focused on the content itself.
In the future I would be interested in exploring the idea of "annotation types" that can be selectively turned on and off, but for now will handle that with ad hoc tags like "meta".
understanding that when a project of any size is broken up into little pieces, each of which can be performed by an individual in a short amount of time, the motivation to get any given individual to contribute need only be very small.
The second analytic move.