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
Date Written: March 18, 2021
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
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