Author: Yung, Hing Wah
Title: Asynchronous collaborative writing: a study of the revision history of English wikipedia articles
Advisors: Cheng, Winnie (ENGL)
Degree: DALS
Year: 2020
Subject: Wikipedia
Knowledge management
User-generated content
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Faculty of Humanities
Pages: xi, 294 pages : color illustrations
Language: English
Abstract: Commercial organisations are looking for an inexpensive knowledge repository solution to support their knowledge management system, and many technology evangelists use Wikipedia, a community-built online encyclopaedia, as a reference of a wiki-powered and inexpensive online knowledge repository solution. A wiki is a software which allows its users to collaboratively author and share content over the computer network. Wikipedia has an extensive collection of free encyclopaedia articles that was contributed by anonymous globally registered and unregistered contributors and software robots collectively. Its contributor groups are different from the collaborators in a private institution where contributors' identities and expertise can be verified. Contributions that are not related to the content of Wikipedia articles, such as posting system messages and vandalism protection, are not related to a private collaborative environment, and as such data treatment is needed to extract useful information that is relevant to a private institution. Previous research had developed taxonomies to categorise different edit features recorded in the revision history of English Wikipedia, but their research did not focus on the collaborative content development process, imprecise categorisation nor separate the contributions made by the three contributor groups. This study aims to address these limitations and provide useful details for a private institution to understand the collaborative knowledge creation process of English Wikipedia. The study aims to explore the effectiveness of Wikipedia as a collaborative platform and provide insights into the collaborative content authoring process in building knowledge repositories. 2,477 revisions of sixty randomly selected English Wikipedia articles were collected that were created from June 2003 to July 2016 with a sample cut-off date of 31 August 2016. A refined taxonomy of seventeen edit features in three edit feature groups was used to annotate the corpus of English Wikipedia pages' revision history to fill in the research gaps by identifying all the edit features in each revision; and the characteristics of different edit features made by the three contributor groups; as well as the diachronic content development process of these Wikipedia articles. The findings indicate that the three contributor groups focused on different types of edits. The researcher has identified two clusters of edit features that are likely to appear together in a revision and found evidence of a content development maturity period in the studied articles. Moreover, this study argues that the fortuitous authorship process of Wikipedia is not a collaboration because unregistered contributors may not have the intention to collaborate with others. Lastly, the review of ten collaboration theories and perspectives; and the logically deduced conclusion based on statistical findings of this study suggest that altruism is the motivator of unregistered contributors and intrinsic rewards gained from the intergroup social interaction and the increase of self-esteem motive registered contributors of Wikipedia. In conclusion, this study finds the Wikipedia collaboration process inefficient due to the size of the enormous workforce. Registered contributors participated in all levels of the administrative and content development process; unregistered contributors participated in the content development process; and software robots worked on the integrity issues of the encyclopaedic structure. This study provides insights into the collaborative content authoring process in building a knowledge repository by contributing a refined taxonomy of the edit features of Wikipedia's revision history to increase the understanding of online knowledge repositories for future research on related topics.
Rights: All rights reserved
Access: restricted access

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