Talk Is Silver, Code Is Gold? Beyond Traditional Notions of Contribution in Peer Production: The Case of Drupal

Rozas, D., Gilbert, N., Hodkinson, P., and Hassan, S. (2021). Talk is silver, code is gold? Beyond traditional notions of contribution in peer production: the case of Drupal. Front. Hum. Dyn. 3:618207. doi: 10.3389/fhumd.2021.618207

16 Pages Posted: 7 Nov 2018 Last revised: 24 Mar 2021

See all articles by David Rozas

David Rozas

Universidad Complutense de Madrid

Nigel Gilbert

University of Surrey - Department of Sociology

Paul Hodkinson

University of Surrey - Department of Sociology

Samer Hassan

Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM); Harvard University - Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society

Date Written: March 18, 2021

Abstract

Peer production communities are based on the collaboration of communities of people, mediated by the Internet, typically to create digital commons, as in Wikipedia or free software. The contribution activities around the creation of such commons (e.g., source code, articles, or documentation) have been widely explored. However, other types of contribution whose focus is directed toward the community have remained significantly less visible (e.g., the organization of events or mentoring). This work challenges the notion of contribution in peer production through an in-depth qualitative study of a prominent “code-centric” example: the case of the free software project Drupal. Involving the collaboration of more than a million participants, the Drupal project supports nearly 2% of websites worldwide. This research (1) offers empirical evidence of the perception of “community-oriented” activities as contributions, and (2) analyzes their lack of visibility in the digital platforms of collaboration. Therefore, through the exploration of a complex and “code-centric” case, this study aims to broaden our understanding of the notion of contribution in peer production communities, incorporating new kinds of contributions customarily left invisible.

Keywords: value, self-organization, contribution, commons-based peer production, Free/Libre Open Source Software, social production, Drupal, digital commons

Suggested Citation

Rozas, David and Gilbert, Nigel and Hodkinson, Paul and Hassan, Samer, Talk Is Silver, Code Is Gold? Beyond Traditional Notions of Contribution in Peer Production: The Case of Drupal (March 18, 2021). Rozas, D., Gilbert, N., Hodkinson, P., and Hassan, S. (2021). Talk is silver, code is gold? Beyond traditional notions of contribution in peer production: the case of Drupal. Front. Hum. Dyn. 3:618207. doi: 10.3389/fhumd.2021.618207, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3272342 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3272342

David Rozas (Contact Author)

Universidad Complutense de Madrid ( email )

Faculty of Computer Science
C/ Profesor José García Santesmases 9
Madrid, Madrid 28040
Spain

Nigel Gilbert

University of Surrey - Department of Sociology ( email )

United States

Paul Hodkinson

University of Surrey - Department of Sociology ( email )

United States

Samer Hassan

Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM) ( email )

Facultad de Informática UCM
c/Profesor José García Santesmases, 9
Madrid, Madrid 28040
Spain

HOME PAGE: http://samer.hassan.name

Harvard University - Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society ( email )

Berkman Klein Center at Harvard University
23 Everett, 2nd Floor
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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