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Big From the Beginning. Assessing Online Contributors' Behavior by Their First Contribution.

49 Pages Posted: 10 Jan 2012 Last revised: 27 Apr 2015

Sylvain Dejean

CEREGE, University of La Rochelle; Centre de Recherche en Économie et Management (CREM)

Nicolas Jullien

Telecom Bretagne, iSchool; M@rsouin (Môle Amoricain de Recherche sur la Société de l'information et les Usages d'Internet)

Date Written: April 27, 2015

Abstract

This paper aims at investigating the process of involvement in open online communities producing knowledge, via the link between the first contribution and the level of contribution reached. While most studies look at the career of contribution after the first contribution, we focus on what happened before and during the first contribution. We challenge the fact that becoming a core member starts with peripheral contributive activities and results from a continuous learning process, as explained by the theory of community of practice. On the contrary, and coherent with epistemic community theory, our results, based on 13,000 answers to a survey on the use and contributions to Wikipédia, show that the future level of users' involvement depends on the time between the discovery of Wikipedia and the first contribution (negatively), and of the effort made in the first contribution (positively). Implications for management are also discussed.

Keywords: voluntary participation, Wikipedia, survey, econometric studies, Probit, Heckman

JEL Classification: L17, L86, H41

Suggested Citation

Dejean, Sylvain and Jullien, Nicolas, Big From the Beginning. Assessing Online Contributors' Behavior by Their First Contribution. (April 27, 2015). Research Policy, Volume 44, Issue 6, July 2015, Pages 1226–1239. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1980806 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1980806

Sylvain Dejean

CEREGE, University of La Rochelle ( email )

La Rochelle, F-17042
France

Centre de Recherche en Économie et Management (CREM) ( email )

7 place Hoche
Rennes, Bretagne 35065
France

Nicolas Jullien (Contact Author)

Telecom Bretagne, iSchool ( email )

Technopole Brest Iroise
Brest, 29238
France

M@rsouin (Môle Amoricain de Recherche sur la Société de l'information et les Usages d'Internet) ( email )

France

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