Cooperation and quality in Wikipedia
The rise of the Internet has enabled collaboration and cooperation on anunprecedentedly large scale. The online encyclopedia Wikipedia, which presently comprises 7.2 million articles created by 7.04 million distinct editors, provides a consummate example. We examined all 50 million edits made tothe 1.5 million English-language Wikipedia articles and found that the high-quality articles are distinguished by a marked increase in number of edits, number of editors, and intensity of cooperative behavior, as compared to other articles of similar visibility and age. This is significant because in other domains, fruitful cooperation has proven to be difficult to sustain as the size of the collaboration increases. Furthermore, in spite of the vagaries of human behavior, we show that Wikipedia articles accrete edits according to a simple stochastic mechanism in which edits beget edits. Topics of high interest or relevance are thus naturally brought to the forefront of quality.