Forms of Adaptation of Newcomers in Wikipedia as Online Sharing Knowledge Project
Keywords:adaptation, knowledge sharing, newcomers, organization, Wikipedia
Abstract: Wikipedia is one of the largest virtual communities of practice aimed at building and sharing knowledge online. Its ambitious goals require the cooperation of millions of users around the world. The development of the project has slowed down over the last few years, hence the acquisition and retention of new users is becoming more and more challenging. Consequently, properly organized adaptation, and encouragement of newcomers to become a part of the community emerges as a crucial issue for the existence of Wikipedia.
This paper presents the results of the quantitative research carried out with the use of the content analysis method on the different language versions of Wikipedia. The issues investigated included the following aspects: the level of advancement of the newcomers’ adaptation process, the use of various adaptation tools, forms of welcoming and enhancing newcomers to learn and edit the Wikipedia content, while also their potential effect on the productivity and engagement of users.
The results of the research indicate great diversity among the tools used, depending on the language version of the project. Not all the statements directed to the newcomers are encouraging and friendly, as some cultures create more restrictive and punitive content than the others. The latter leaves the newcomer with the responsibility for the process of learning the rules of behaviour of the Wikipedia community. The more advanced the adaptation process is, the more active and productive users are. The conclusions of the research may be of use to different virtual communities of practice and organizations which face the problem of adapting newcomers in the online activity connected with knowledge sharing.
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