Excited to share this new blog post on my research: https://blog.communitydata.cc/revisiting-the-rise-and-decline/
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.
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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