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Ideological Segregation among Online Collaborators: Evidence from Wikipedians

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  • Shane Greenstein
  • Yuan Gu
  • Feng Zhu

Abstract

Do online communities segregate into separate conversations about “contestable knowledge”? We analyze the contributors of biased and slanted content in Wikipedia articles about U.S. politics, and focus on two research questions: (1) Do contributors display tendencies to contribute to topics with similar or opposing bias and slant? (2) Do contributors learn from experience with extreme or neutral content, and does that experience change the slant and bias of their contributions over time? Despite heterogeneity in contributors and their contributions, we find an overall trend towards less segregated conversations. Contributors tend to edit articles with slants that are the opposite of their own views, and the slant from experienced contributors becomes less extreme over time. The experienced contributors with the most extreme biases decline the most. We also find some significant differences between Republicans and Democrats.

Suggested Citation

  • Shane Greenstein & Yuan Gu & Feng Zhu, 2016. "Ideological Segregation among Online Collaborators: Evidence from Wikipedians," NBER Working Papers 22744, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:22744
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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. Marit Hinnosaar & Toomas Hinnosaar & Michael Kummer & Olga Slivko, 2017. "Wikipedia Matters," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 508, Collegio Carlo Alberto.

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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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