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Collective Intelligence and Neutral Point of View: The Case of Wikipedia

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  • Shane Greenstein
  • Feng Zhu

Abstract

We examine whether collective intelligence helps achieve a neutral point of view using data from a decade of Wikipedia's articles on US politics. Our null hypothesis builds on Linus' Law, often expressed as "Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow." Our findings are consistent with a narrow interpretation of Linus' Law, namely, a greater number of contributors to an article makes an article more neutral. No evidence supports a broad interpretation of Linus' Law. Moreover, several empirical facts suggest the law does not shape many articles. The majority of articles receive little attention, and most articles change only mildly from their initial slant.

Suggested Citation

  • Shane Greenstein & Feng Zhu, 2012. "Collective Intelligence and Neutral Point of View: The Case of Wikipedia," NBER Working Papers 18167, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18167
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Larcinese, Valentino & Puglisi, Riccardo & Snyder Jr., James M., 2011. "Partisan bias in economic news: Evidence on the agenda-setting behavior of U.S. newspapers," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(9-10), pages 1178-1189, October.
    2. Sendhil Mullainathan & Andrei Shleifer, 2005. "The Market for News," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1031-1053, September.
    3. Matthew Gentzkow & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2011. "Ideological Segregation Online and Offline," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(4), pages 1799-1839.
    4. repec:hrv:faseco:33078973 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Julia Cage & Nicolas Hervé & Marie-Luce Viaud, 2017. "The Production of Information in an Online World: Is Copy Right?," Sciences Po publications DP12066, Sciences Po.
    2. Yann Algan & Yochai Benkler & Mayo Fuster Morell & Jerome Hergueux, 2013. "Cooperation in Peer-Production Economy: Experimental Evidence from Wikipedia," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/5ulf84sluc9, Sciences Po.
    3. Victor M. Bennett & Robert Seamans & Feng Zhu, 2015. "Cannibalization and option value effects of secondary markets: Evidence from the US concert industry," Strategic Management Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(11), pages 1599-1614, November.
    4. Kummer, Michael E. & Saam, Marianne & Halatchliyski, Iassen & Giorgidze, George, 2016. "Centrality and content creation in networks - The case of economic topics on German wikipedia," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 36-52.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • L17 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Open Source Products and Markets
    • L3 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise
    • L86 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Information and Internet Services; Computer Software

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