User Culture, User-System Relation and Trust – The Case of Finnish Wikipedia

User Culture, User-System Relation and Trust – The Case of Finnish Wikipedia

Juhana Kokkonen (University of Art and Design, Finland)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-246-6.ch015
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In this chapter the open-source based collaboration model of Finnish Wikipedia is examined from the perspective of user culture, which is the fundamental basis of Wikipedia’s project management. The concept of user culture in a mediated collaboration project is introduced and the user culture of Finnish Wikipedia is analyzed in terms of this concept. Also the concept of user-system-relation is presented and the relation between users and the socio-technical system of Wikipedia is examined. This analysis considers the crucial factors in the process of building a trusting relation between the user and the Wikipedia system. From the perspective of user-system-relation, the relationship of trust between the user and the system is much more important than the trust relations between individual users. This article explains the role of user culture and user culture design in a collaborative Web community and considers the nature of a trusting user-system-relation. Examination of one functional example of open information management gives understanding of management tools for open peer-collaboration in general.
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User-System-Relation and Trust in the Social Media

In a collaboration-oriented Web community, users do not necessarily know the other participants. There can be thousands of members in such a community, so a new user may not recognize any individuals at the beginning. For example, in Wikipedia the outcome of collaboration is often displayed anonymously (or at least the user’s individual share is not emphasized), so the process of becoming acquainted with other users takes time. It is obvious that there are also social bonds and interpersonal relations within the Wikipedia community, but the relation between the user and the whole socio-technical system is more crucial.a I call this relation the User-System-Relation (USR). In mediated voluntary-based collaboration the user’s trust in the fairness and functionality of the socio-technical system is the precondition for a successful co-project. Various things affect the USR. I will explicate these factors in the case of Finnish Wikipedia and draw wider conclusions about the relationship of trust in mediated collaboration communities. If the user sees benefits in participating and does not question the expressed goals of a socio-technical system, her motivation, commitment and initiative become deeper. In this way he or she can consider becoming intensely committed to the project.

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