Understanding the effects of topic factors and threat exposure on motivation to participate in knowledge artefacts: The case of Wikipedia

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URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10900/86579
http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:bsz:21-dspace-865792
http://dx.doi.org/10.15496/publikation-27966
Dokumentart: Dissertation
Date: 2019-03-01
Language: English
Faculty: 7 Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät
Department: Psychologie
Advisor: Kimmerle, Joachim (Prof. Dr.)
Day of Oral Examination: 2019-01-24
DDC Classifikation: 150 - Psychology
570 - Life sciences; biology
Keywords: Motivation , Wikipedia
Other Keywords:
Wikipedia participation
topic characteristics
threat
knowledge artefact
License: Publishing license including print on demand
Order a printed copy: Print-on-Demand
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Abstract:

Wikipedia’s unique feature that prompts voluntary knowledge creation makes it relevant for researchers to examine what motivates editors to contribute to the platform when there are no obvious compensations that they could receive in exchange of their efforts. Earlier studies have identified various encouraging factors of Wikipedia participation (e.g., fun, ideology, community aspect). In this dissertation, I undertook a psychology perspective and examined the issue with a focus on person-object-environment paradigm that has not been previously studied within the context of Wikipedia motivation. This paradigm explains the human behavior as a product of a person’s interest-oriented relationship with an object and with her/his environment. The aim of this dissertation was then to investigate motivation to work with Wikipedia (in terms of willingness to contribute to the articles and production of article measures) in relation to topic factors (object) and threat exposure (environment). Two laboratory and one Wikipedia textual analysis studies suggested that general (i.e., topic familiarity and controversiality) and specific characteristics (i.e., sentiment and psychological content) of a topic played significant roles in Wikipedia motivation. Specifically, working with familiar and controversial topics that had sociopolitical references increased engagement to Wikipedia articles. Results also suggested that Wikipedia community produced article measures (e.g., longer articles) related to content with both positive and negative sentiments. A closer examination on psychological content showed that affective (positive and negative emotion) and drive states (achievement, reward, power, affiliation and risk) were the best predictors of article production. With regards to threat exposure, although threat manipulations induced in the forms of mortality salience and uncertainty salience led to negative mood states, they did not result in any changes in people’s willingness to work with the articles. Overall, the findings suggest that Wikipedia motivation was significantly influenced by general familiar and controversial characteristics of the presented topic as well as positive/negative polarity and specific psychological orientations of the content. Threat-evoking environmental cues during Wikipedia use, on the other hand, did not seem to affect the motivation levels. These results support the human-oriented aspect of Wikipedia platform that is distinctively fostered by editors’ psychological, social and emotional interests.

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