Collective Intelligence and Neutral Point of View: The Case of Wikipedia

32 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2012 Last revised: 21 Aug 2014

Shane M. Greenstein

Harvard University - Technology & Operations Management Unit; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Feng Zhu

Harvard University - Harvard Business School

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: June 14, 2012

Abstract

We examine whether collective intelligence helps achieve a neutral point of view using data from a decade of Wikipedia’s articles on US politics. Our null hypothesis builds on Linus’ Law, often expressed as “Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow.” Our findings are consistent with a narrow interpretation of Linus’ Law, namely, a greater number of contributors to an article makes an article more neutral. No evidence supports a broad interpretation of Linus’ Law. Moreover, several empirical facts suggest the law does not shape many articles. The majority of articles receive little attention, and most articles change only mildly from their initial slant.

Keywords: Wikipedia, Linus' Law, Open Source, Neutral Point of View

JEL Classification: L17, L86

Suggested Citation

Greenstein, Shane M. and Zhu, Feng, Collective Intelligence and Neutral Point of View: The Case of Wikipedia (June 14, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2027237 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2027237

Shane M. Greenstein (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Technology & Operations Management Unit ( email )

Boston, MA 02163
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Feng Zhu

Harvard University - Harvard Business School ( email )

Soldiers Field Road
Morgan 431
Boston, MA 02163
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Pages/profile.aspx?facId=14938

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