A game theoretic analysis of collaboration in Wikipedia

S. Anand, Ofer Arazy, Narayan B. Mandayam, Oded Nov

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Peer production projects such as Wikipedia or open-source software development allow volunteers to collectively create knowledge-based products. The inclusive nature of such projects poses difficult challenges for ensuring trustworthiness and combating vandalism. Prior studies in the area deal with descriptive aspects of peer production, failing to capture the idea that while contributors collaborate, they also compete for status in the community and for imposing their views on the product. In this paper, we investigate collaborative authoring in Wikipedia, where contributors append and overwrite previous contributions to a page. We assume that a contributor's goal is to maximize ownership of content sections, such that content owned (i.e. originated) by her survived the most recent revision of the page.We model contributors' interactions to increase their content ownership as a non-cooperative game, where a player's utility is associated with content owned and cost is a function of effort expended. Our results capture several real-life aspects of contributors interactions within peer-production projects. Namely, we show that at the Nash equilibrium there is an inverse relationship between the effort required to make a contribution and the survival of a contributor's content. In other words, majority of the content that survives is necessarily contributed by experts who expend relatively less effort than non-experts. An empirical analysis of Wikipedia articles provides support for our model's predictions. Implications for research and practice are discussed in the context of trustworthy collaboration as well as vandalism.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDecision and Game Theory for Security - 4th International Conference, GameSec 2013, Proceedings
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9783319027852
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes
Event4th International Conference on Decision and Game Theory for Security, GameSec 2013 - Fort Worth, TX, United States
Duration: 11 Nov 201312 Nov 2013

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume8252 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference4th International Conference on Decision and Game Theory for Security, GameSec 2013
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityFort Worth, TX


  • Collaboration
  • Non-cooperative game
  • Peer production
  • Trustworthy collaboration
  • Vandalism
  • Wikipedia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • General Computer Science


Dive into the research topics of 'A game theoretic analysis of collaboration in Wikipedia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this