Early onset of structural inequality in the formation of collaborative knowledge, Wikipedia

19 Oct 2016  ·  Jinhyuk Yun, Sang Hoon Lee, Hawoong Jeong ·

We perform an in-depth analysis on the inequality in 863 Wikimedia projects. We take the complete editing history of 267,304,095 Wikimedia items until 2016, which not only covers every language edition of Wikipedia, but also embraces the complete versions of Wiktionary, Wikisource, Wikivoyage, etc. Our findings of common growth pattern described by the interrelations between four characteristic growth yardsticks suggest a universal law of communal data formation. In this encyclopaedic data set, we observe the interplay between the number of edits and the degree of inequality. In particular, the rapid increase in the Gini coefficient suggests that this entrenched inequality stems from the nature of such open-editing communal data sets, namely the abiogenesis of the supereditors' oligopoly. We show that these supereditor groups were created at the early stages of these open-editing media and are still active. Furthermore, our model considers both short-term and long-term memories to successfully elucidate the underlying mechanism of the establishment of oligarchy in Wikipedia. Our results anticipate a noticeable prospect of such communal databases in the future: the disparity will not be resolved spontaneously.

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Physics and Society Social and Information Networks