Knowledge Sharing Co-operative Structures: The Case of WikiProjects




activity in virtual communities, collaboration in WikiProjects, sharing knowledge


The effects of cooperation that may be observed based on voluntary activities of a global institution online like Wikipedia illustrate the social potential arising from the spontaneous need for activity. The basic activity of a Wikipedia user by way of assumption comes down to the creation of verbal content. The maintenance of high quality in the contents presented through controlling their verifiability is already a multi-faceted form of cooperation. The quintessence of such cooperation is the organization of Wikipedia users around internal WikiProjects.

The research presented in the paper aimed to verify the magnitude of WikiProjects from the viewpoint of the number of users of Wikipedia, the most frequent number of participants of WikiProjects, and their compliance with the numeracy of groups and communities in the notion of Dunbar. Moreover, it was assumed that the number of WikiProjects in a given language version, while also the number of their participants is associated with the indicator of individualism-collectivism (IDV) according to Hofstede. The method applied was the analysis of entries of the activities in WikiProjects, as well as the number of their participants.

The research has shown that WikiProjects, as groups of Wikipedians working as a team, show a similarity to the layered community formation proposed by Dunbar. A positive correlation was also found between IDV and the number of WikiProjects for individual language versions. A high IDV mainly relates to countries with a high GDP per capita. In these countries, we are dealing with a developed IT infrastructure. The high level of participation in WikiProjects with a high IDV may also be motivated by the desire to build user’s position, as well as the desire to have an impact on the community as individuals. WikiProjects may fulfil the function of clubs, in which participants may try to build their autonomy in terms of activities to a certain extent, regardless of the entire system in which they operate. WikiProjects as a group of Wikipedia users working as a team indicate the similarity to the tiered creation of communities proposed by Dunbar.