The Motivations in Peer Production

In open source and peer production, the motivation is significant to achieve the win-win for both the products and contributors. And I choose to figure out the motivations in peer production in this week, and I will discuss the required readings, one related articles and two examples.

The first article is an interview with MySQL chief Marten Mickos sharing the typical culture and motivations in the community. And I will figure out how it works in peer production based on two-factor theory of motivations.

The second article is a experiment of social effects of group size with mathematical analysis based on the blocks of Wikipedia in Chinese mainland. When group size increases, the motivation of a single person to contribute become stronger. It seems to conflict with the social loafing in organizational behavior, but the premises are actually different. And I list out some of the differences.

The third article brought out a model of innovation in open source called the “Private-Collective” model. The authors analysis the initial two models and the new one with concrete explanation and practical examples. When comes to illustrate the “Private-Collective” model, they only outline that the model eliminates the negative effects of the initial two. However, working in open source could also weaken the advantages of the two models.

One article I found related to the subject is a survey from Wikipedia editors. And the results revealed an eight-factor structure of motivation. From the results, no significant difference was observed between individual and social motivations to contribute to Wikipedia. And most contributors on Wikipedia have strong desire of social needs and interaction and enjoy participating in a group, as people are generally social animals.

In terms of examples, I would like to compare two main online cyclopedias in China: Baidu Baike and Chinese Wikipedia. Baidu Baike adopts a scheme of point redemption to reward contributors, which is not on Wikipedia. Baike tends to use more extrinsic motive to encourage users to participate while Wikipedia attracts more contributors out of endogenous motive. Baike Users tend to pursuit the approval from the authorities, who are generally superior and more professional. As for Wikipedia, the relationship between the contributors are more like colleagues working together and coorperating. Baike performs better in explaining civilian and popular items, but also have more concerns with plagiarism. Wikipedia performs better in professional articles but less ordinary netizens take part in.

In conclusion, there are different motivations for people applied to various backgrounds and goals. When we want to motive others in peer production, make sure the steps you take are suitable for the specific contribution group.


Turner, P.(2007). Motivation Behind the Peer Production Phenomenon. Online.

Wikipedia.(2014). Wikipedia:Administrators. Online, last modified on Oct 5 2014.

Baidu Baike.(2014). Baidu Baike help center. Online.

Rosenblum, J.(2012). Advantages And Disadvantages Of Open Source. Online.

Suzuki, Y.(2011). Individual and Social Motivations to Contribute to Commons-Based Peer Production. Online.


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