Download this Paper Open PDF in Browser

Ideological Segregation Among Online Collaborators: Evidence from Wikipedians

49 Pages Posted: 14 Oct 2016 Last revised: 17 Mar 2017

Shane M. Greenstein

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

Yuan Gu

Harvard Business School

Feng Zhu

Harvard University - Harvard Business School

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: March 14, 2017

Abstract

Do online communities segregate into separate conversations about “contestable knowledge”? We analyze the contributors of biased and slanted content in Wikipedia articles about U.S. politics, and focus on two research questions: (1) Do contributors display tendencies to contribute to topics with similar or opposing bias and slant? (2) Do contributors learn from experience with extreme or neutral content, and does that experience change the slant and bias of their contributions over time? Despite heterogeneity in contributors and their contributions, we find an overall trend towards less segregated conversations. Contributors tend to edit articles with slants that are the opposite of their own views, and the slant from experienced contributors becomes less extreme over time. The experienced contributors with the most extreme biases decline the most. We also find some significant differences between Republicans and Democrats.

Suggested Citation

Greenstein, Shane M. and Gu, Yuan and Zhu, Feng, Ideological Segregation Among Online Collaborators: Evidence from Wikipedians (March 14, 2017). Harvard Business School Technology & Operations Mgt. Unit Working Paper No. 17-028. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2851934 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2851934

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

Yuan Gu

Harvard Business School ( email )

Soldiers Field Road
Morgan 270C
Boston, MA 02163
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

Paper statistics

Downloads
162
Rank
153,018
Abstract Views
1,053