Investigating the motivational paths of peer production newcomers

Martina Balestra, Coye Cheshire, Ofer Arazy, Oded Nov

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


Maintaining participation beyond the initial period of engagement is critical for peer production systems. Theory suggests that an increase in motivation is expected with contributors' movement from the community periphery to the core. Less is known, however, about how specific motivations change over time. We fill this gap by focusing on individual motivational paths in the formative periods of engagement, exploring which motivations change and how. We collected data on various instrumental and noninstrumental motivations at two points in study participants' Wikipedia career: when they started editing and again after six months. We found that non-instrumental motivations (including collective and intrinsic motives) decreased significantly over time, in contrast with socially-driven motivations such as norm-oriented motivates which did not change and social motives which increased marginally. The findings offer new insights into newcomers' evolving motivations, with implications for designing and managing peer-production systems.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCHI 2017 - Proceedings of the 2017 ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Subtitle of host publicationExplore, Innovate, Inspire
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9781450346559
StatePublished - 2 May 2017
Event2017 ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2017 - Denver, United States
Duration: 6 May 201711 May 2017

Publication series

NameConference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings


Conference2017 ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2017
Country/TerritoryUnited States

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was partially supported by NSF grant ACI-1322218.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 ACM.


  • Motivation
  • Newcomers
  • Peer production
  • Wikipedia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design

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