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

  • Shane Greenstein
  • Feng Zhu

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.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18167.

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Date of creation: Jun 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18167
Note: IO PR
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  1. Valentino Larcinese & Riccardo Puglisi & James M. Snyder (Jr.), 2007. "Partisan bias in economic news: evidence on the agenda-setting behavior of U.S. newspapers," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 25185, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  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, 2010. "Ideological Segregation Online and Offline," NBER Working Papers 15916, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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