Storm Crowds: Evidence from Zooniverse on Crowd Contribution Design

56 Pages Posted: 20 Sep 2017 Last revised: 30 Nov 2019

See all articles by Sandra Barbosu

Sandra Barbosu

Alfred P. Sloan Foundation; NYU Tandon School of Engineering

Joshua S. Gans

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management; NBER

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: November 26, 2019

Abstract

The proliferation of platforms with distributed content production has led to scholarly interest in understanding why individuals contribute. Few studies have explored the impact of platforms' architectural designs on contributions. An important design component is divisibility, the extent to which contributions can be divided into separate tasks to be performed independently, and then recombined. In this paper, we theoretically explore the relationship between divisibility and contributions and test our predictions with data from the citizen science platform Zooniverse, exploiting a format change that decreased divisibility. Post-change, editors contributed fewer \emph{total} edits, and more \emph{extended} edits than predicted in the absence of a change. They also spent less time contributing post-change. Our findings are relevant for the design strategies of many citizen science projects, as well as other crowdsourcing platforms with simple, well-structured tasks.

Keywords: crowdsourcing, contribution design, contribution divisibility, zooniverse

Suggested Citation

Barbosu, Sandra and Gans, Joshua S., Storm Crowds: Evidence from Zooniverse on Crowd Contribution Design (November 26, 2019). Rotman School of Management Working Paper No. 3039037, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3039037 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3039037

Sandra Barbosu (Contact Author)

Alfred P. Sloan Foundation ( email )

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NYU Tandon School of Engineering ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://barbosu.com

Joshua S. Gans

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management ( email )

Canada

HOME PAGE: http://www.joshuagans.com

NBER ( email )

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