The Effects of Diversity on Productivity, Member Withdrawal, and Decision Quality in a Social Production Community
Speaker: John Riedl, University of Minnesota
Date: Friday, April 8 2011
Time: 1:00PM to 2:00PM
Location: Patil/Kiva Seminar Room, 32-G449
Host: Rob Miller, MIT CSAIL
Contact: Juho Kim, email@example.comRelevant URL:
The "wisdom of crowds" argument emphasizes the importance of diversity
in online collaborations, such as open source projects and Wikipedia.
However, decades of research on diversity in offline work groups have
painted an inconclusive picture. On the one hand, the broader range of
insights from a diverse group can lead to improved outcomes. On the
other hand, individual differences can lead to conflict and diminished
performance. We examine the effects of group diversity on the amount
of work accomplished and on member withdrawal behaviors in the context
of WikiProjects. We find that increased diversity in experience with
Wikipedia increases group productivity and decreases member withdrawal
-- up to a point.
We also look at the effectiveness of these groups at making collective
decisions in the presence of disagreement. We examined over 100,000
decisions made by small working groups in Wikipedia, and analyzed how
decision quality in these online groups is influenced by four group
composition factors: the size of the group, how members were invited
to the group, the prior experience of group members, and apparent bias
shown by the group administrator. Our findings lead us to
recommendations for designers of social production communities.
John Riedl has been a Professor in the Computer Science and
Engineering Department at the University of Minnesota since 1990.
Professor Riedl's research is in intelligent user interfaces for the
social web. His GroupLens research group seeks to develop tools that
make our collaborations on the social web even more pleasant and
fruitful. GroupLens has a strong tradition of developing recommender
systems that help people find the information, products, and other
relationships they seek. In 2009 Professor Riedl was elected Fellow
of the ACM, and won Best Paper awards at the IUI and WikiSym
Conferences. In 2008 he was named an ACM Distinguished Scientist. In
2006, he was named a Senior Member of the IEEE and won a Best Paper
Award at the Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW)
Conference. Riedl has also received the MIT Sloan School Award for
Innovation in E-Commerce, and the George Taylor Award for Exceptional
Contributions to Teaching.
** The HCI Seminar is open to the public.
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