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What drives people to contribute online?

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  1. Introduction.
  2. Theoretical framework.
    1. Definition of knowledge sharing online communities.
    2. Motivation of contributors.
    3. Conclusion.
  3. First research hypothesis.
  4. Research design project.
    1. Finding and posting the survey.
    2. The survey design and respondents.
  5. Research results.
    1. The personal profile of the average contributor.
    2. The internet profile of the average contributor.
    3. Average contributors' motivations.
  6. Limits of the survey.
  7. Conclusion.
  8. References.
  9. Annexures.

The question of ?why do people contribute online? is a particularly relevant topic in this new era of internet, called ?web 2.0?. First of all, this phenomenon in interesting per se insofar as such a will to give, and to work without asking any compensation is somehow amazing. A lot is to be said of this new kind of utopia in which people share goods, knowledge and free time with people they won't ever meet. It is a fascinating social process of which many aspects are still left unstudied. But online contribution also enables the development of new businesses which are aiming at making profit out of the organization of this new possibility. A lot of new websites, also called wikis, are based on this community work, in order to provide net users the information they are looking for. Therefore the understanding of this free contribution is not only interesting in the field of psychology but also for many firms. Many companies are trying to discover how to develop this trend, and increase the number of contributors, as well as the participation of the existing contributors.

[...] This observation reinforces the previous conclusion: what drives Wikipedians to post articles and to be active members in the community is first of all the sense of altruism and collectivity. We can add that this is apparently a specific characteristic of knowledge-sharing communities. Limits of the survey By carrying out this research project we have realized that some aspects of our research should have been improved. Some of them have already been mentioned but we will try here to list these limits. [...]


[...] DRIVES: We really mean to study what individual psychological processes drive people to contribute online, as opposed to what could ATTRACT them to participate online (as for instance a good web design, advertisements, incentives, offers which belong to the field of marketing). The people we are interested in are those who felt the need, one day, because of specific psychological factors, to connect and contribute to an online community. To put it briefly, we will study the internal processes, and not the external ones. [...]


[...] The more people are old in the community, the more desires will they have to contribute: novices only want to meet some people, regulars also want to be creative and elders like to organize the network. However, the model goes beyond that and explain inactions of lurkers who free-ride and get knowledge without participating. According to the author, some actors do not contribute even if they a desire to do so because they are blocked by some beliefs (like being unessential to the site ) or past experiences (last time I messed up This theory shows that motivations can be different between contributors in Wikipedia. [...]

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