Collaborative Structures in WikiProjects. Wikipedia Users' Activity Case Study




Dunbar's number, collaboration in WikiProjects, cultural dimensions, knowledge management, virtual communities


The research presented in the article concerns the development of organizational and cooperation structures from interpersonal interactions in virtual communities sharing knowledge. It is assumed that the activity of communities functioning on the Internet reflects the organization of human communities in the offline space. The main aim of the research was to characterize the structures of cooperation groups that are formed around WikiProjects. The research question was: what is the structure of activity of Wikipedians in WikiProjects in chosen language versions of Wikipedia? The method used in the research is the content analysis method. The author calculated data thanks to the Wikipedia xTools. The numbers of participants involved in WikiProjects were analysed by referring to the Dunbar number concept and the cultural determinants of cooperation, thus referring to the masculinity index (MAS) according to Hofstede. Research has shown that WikiProject members show similarities to the layered community formation proposed by Dunbar. The sizes of groups of active editors are closer to these values. As the WikiProjects group grows, the ratio of declared participants to active participants decreases. The production of value in virtual communities, the ability to work together as a team in physical isolation, is becoming increasingly important. The results of the research may be significant to the knowledge management specialists and virtual communities practitioners.