Improving Wiki Article Quality Through Crowd Coordination: A Resource Allocation Approach

Improving Wiki Article Quality Through Crowd Coordination: A Resource Allocation Approach

Ioanna Lykourentzou (Public Research Centre Henri Tudor, Luxembourg City, Luxembourg), Dimitrios J. Vergados (Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway) and Yannick Naudet (Public Research Centre Henri Tudor, Luxembourg City, Luxembourg)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 21
DOI: 10.4018/ijswis.2013070106


In this paper the authors propose a crowd coordination mechanism to increase the quality of articles produced in wiki systems. Wikis constitute promising social digital ecosystems for collaborative knowledge creation on the Web. However, as a result of the purely self-coordinated manner that they function, they cannot ensure the quality of the produced articles - an issue that affects their reliability and acceptance. The authors show that wiki article quality optimization can be formulated as a resource allocation problem. Contributors are selected from the wiki community crowd according to their skills, and matched to the articles they can improve the most. A model of the English Wikipedia is given, parameterized and validated from recent field studies results. Experimental results were obtained with simulation systems implementing this model and on a series of scenarios, which include an analysis of the impact of using semantic relations between wiki domains. The obtained results indicate that the proposed mechanism can lead to the production of wiki articles of higher quality, compared to the respective results achieved by the fully self-coordinated wiki.
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Wikis are among the most popular technologies for collaborative knowledge production. In brief, a wiki is a collaborative content creation system, where users contribute knowledge content in the form of articles, while they can also edit and even delete the contributions of others (Louridas, 2006). Wikis have received significant interest in the past few years and they are increasingly being used to support knowledge development in many domains, such as education, research and scientific collaboration, activities of the public sector and in corporate environments. Last, one of the most popular wikis, Wikipedia, is an ever-growing source of information and a large social digital ecosystem with millions active users and articles.

The rapid expansion and success of wikis is based on the open form of user collaboration that they are based on. That is, wiki users are free to edit any article they wish, with almost no restrictions on their access and edit rights. This open collaboration enables the massive production of wiki articles, which cover a broad spectrum of topics and expertise backgrounds. However, this same self-coordination poses significant limitations, in terms of content quality and timeliness. Take as an example Wikipedia: although a number of qualitative articles with many user contributions may be found, the majority of articles are still of low quality with only a few contributions (Lam & Riedl, 2009). This inability to guarantee quality lowers the reliability of wikis and hinders their adoption (Liu & Ram, 2011).

Recent research suggests that a solution to the above quality problem is to reinforce the self-coordination pattern of wikis with more formal algorithm-based coordination schemas that will guide the wiki crowd, systematize contributions and help them utilize their knowledge competencies more efficiently (Kittur, Lee, & Kraut, 2009; O'Mahony & Ferraro, 2007). Despite the above, research efforts towards this direction are still very few.

We argue that such a coordination schema can be viewed as a resource allocation problem. The wiki is seen as a system, with resources (i.e. users and their expertise) and tasks (i.e. the wiki articles that need quality improvement). Subsequently, in this paper, we investigate the coordination of the wiki crowd by a resource allocation algorithm seeking to maximize the average quality of articles inside the wiki. The proposed approach relies on a centralized mechanism that allocates wiki contributors to articles that need quality enhancement, taking into account their expertise and availability.

Crowd coordination through resource allocation is a new approach to enhance quality of articles in wikis, where the self-coordinated crowd behavior is not enough. The contributions of this work are the following:

  • Highlight the need for system-level coordination to improve the performance of current mass crowd participation systems, such as wikis.

  • Formulate the problem wiki crowd coordination as a resource allocation problem.

  • Propose and examine an allocation algorithm tailored to the above problem.

The rest of this paper is organized as follows: the next section presents the related literature and positions this work in respect to relevant research efforts. The following section presents the proposed wiki coordination mechanism and formulates the resource allocation problem. The next section presents the evaluation process for the proposed mechanism. The section after that presents analyzes the obtained experimental results, including a scenario that takes into account the semantic aspect of wikis. Follow that, a section discusses the open issues and perspectives. Finally, the last section presents future research directions and concludes the paper.

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