Excited to share this new blog post on my research:

The pool of active contributors to Wikipedia started declining in 2007. Researchers blamed a calcifying bureaucracy and hostility to newcomers. Are these problems in other wiki communities too? Could there be a deeper reason why these dynamics emerge?

I replicated Halfaker et al 2013's analysis of 'The rise and decline.' The dynamics observed in Wikipedia appear to reoccur again and again in many wiki communities.

@groceryheist seems to be a characteristic of most if not all organisational forms, judging from my limited and subjective experiences...


Yes. No one is surprised when authority exists in a top-down organization. But when this first started happening on Wikipedia people acted surprised that radical openness, consensus, and cooperation could give rise to and co-exist with powerful enacted social structures.

However, the fact that these structures arise is a problem and a mystery when we think about commonsbased and cooperative production.

I have an ideological dog in the fight, but to ask anyway; how much of this is about communities not existing in structural isolation? When the people and tools ultimately have to exist in a hierarchical system of organization in the wider world, is the repeat of hierarchical structures just the path-of-least-resistance response to external pressure of any kind? It isn't particularly testable, but it is important to talk about when asking why the pattern is generalized.

@Ashrand Oh yes! I certainly think it is plausible that institutional isomorphism plays a role like that you describe. It is difficult to test or demonstrate. A clever way of testing or demonstrating it could be super interesting.

@groceryheist Every organisational form will start to exhibit hierarchies, even if they are originally based on equality. That's just how human nature works - some individuals want to control things and usually succeed in making others accept 'their lead'. That's just a fact of life.

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