Paper: pdf
Slides: pdf
Citation:
APA
Aaron Halfaker, Aniket Kittur, & John Riedl (2011). Don't Bite the Newbies: How reverts affect the quantity and quality of Wikipedia work, WikiSym ACM, New York, NY, USA, (pp. 163--172).
bibtex
@inproceedings{halfaker11jury, author = {Halfaker, Aaron and Kittur, Aniket and Riedl, John}, title = {Don't Bite the Newbies: How reverts affect the quantity and quality of {W}ikipedia work}, booktitle = {Proceedings of the 7th International Symposium on Wikis and Open Collaboration}, series = {WikiSym '11}, year = {2011}, isbn = {978-1-4503-0909-7}, location = {Mountain View, California}, pages = {163--172}, numpages = {10}, doi = {10.1145/2038558.2038585}, publisher = {ACM}, address = {New York, NY, USA} }

Don't Bite the Newbies: How reverts affect the quantity and quality of Wikipedia work

Reverts are important to maintaining the quality of Wikipedia. They fix mistakes, repair vandalism, and help enforce policy. However, reverts can also be damaging, especially to the aspiring editor whose work they destroy. In this research we analyze 400,000 Wikipedia revisions to understand the effect that reverts had on editors. We seek to understand the extent to which they demotivate users, reducing the workforce of contributors, versus the extent to which they help users improve as encyclopedia editors. Overall we find that reverts are powerfully demotivating, but that their net in- fluence is that more quality work is done in Wikipedia as a result of reverts than is lost by chasing editors away. However, we identify key conditions – most specifically new editors being reverted by much more experienced editors – under which reverts are particularly damaging. We propose that reducing the damage from reverts might be one effective path for Wikipedia to solve the newcomer retention problem.

Authors

Key Findings (tl:dr)

  1. Editors decrease their quantity of work and are more likely to leave the site after being reverted -- especially newcomers
  2. Editors will decrease the temporarily decrease the boldness their edits after being reverted.
  3. Overall, reverts appear to have a training/normalizing effect on editor work that historically results in a net increase in productivity

Summary

Coming soon... (2012-10-09)