Universität Zürich

IKMZ - Department of Communication and Media Research

Media Change & Innovation Division

Andreasstrasse 15
CH-8050 Zurich
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Too Many Cooks Don't Spoil the Broth


Braendle, Andreas

Paper presented at Wikimania 2005. In Proceedings of Wikimania 2005. The First International Wikimedia Conference

Supporters of wiki systems generally assume that a high number of authors and their collaborative work cause good Wikipedia articles. This study tests this hypothesis using methods of empirical research. It observes wiki systems from the perspective of media and communication studies and deploys theories of quality in journalism and the attention economy. A sample of 450 articles from the German Wikipedia has been researched with a content analysis. The study introduces the topic-attention-quality model. General findings of the study are that a wiki system only works if its content is of relevance for a critical mass of users and if it gets enough attention from its contributors. Topic category, vandalism and anonymous edits have a low influence on the quality. Furthermore, the study proposes a way of measuring quality in Wikipedia based on the theories of media and communication studies.