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Introduction

  • Sorin Adam Matei
  • Brian C. Britt
Chapter
Part of the Lecture Notes in Social Networks book series (LNSN)

Abstract

If Wikipedia was a country and words its income, the wildly uneven distribution of wealth among its contributor-citizens would be unheard of. The wealth distribution of the USA, for instance, which some see as quite unfair, pales by comparison, as the top 1% of American earners account for “only” 15% of the national income compared to the 77% of content “owned” by the top 1% of Wikipedians (see Fig. 1.1). Our book explains why and how this uneven distribution matters. We believe that, far from being an abnormality, this inequality is a sign that Wikipedia has developed organically and naturally. The imbalance, in fact, shows that the site is structurally differentiated and that functional leaders have emerged, both processes that are essential for a healthy, functioning project. In this respect, the proverbial top 1% of contributors have a positive effect, as they anchor and serve as a contributing elite group with an important role in shaping the project.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sorin Adam Matei
    • 1
  • Brian C. Britt
    • 2
  1. 1.Purdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA
  2. 2.South Dakota State UniversityBrookingsUSA

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