I attended ASA’s professional conference in Denver where I was on a very thought-provoking panel about Group Procceses.

Organizer was Stephen Benard at Indiana University. Discussant was Robb Willer at UC Berkley. All of the papers had to do with social status in one way or another. I appreciate Stephen’s efforts at finding papers that contribute research on the same topic. Also, Robb’s comments and questions at the end of the session were spot-on and really challenged my thinking, so I am grateful to him for that as well.

My paper with Arnout van de Rijt, entitled “Experimental Study of Informal Rewards in Peer Production,” was based on our PLoS ONE article.

Interestingly, another team of researchers had a paper on the identical subject, which made for a nice discussion where we tried to resolve the different (but complementary) findings. That one was “Social Signaling and Collective Action:  A Field Study of Awards on Wikipedia.” The authors were Benjamin Mako Hill at MIT, Aaron Shaw at UC Berkeley, and Yochai Benkler at Harvard.

The room was quite full, and it was a great opportunity to speak to a number of interested scholars about my research. Afterwards, I spoke to Mako a bit more about our papers and I think our work points in the same direction. Overall, a nice experience.

What a nice way to start the day! Walk into the office and I see not one but two new issues of journals in my mailbox containing my recently published articles!

Links to abstract and full-text on my research page.

Seems that Stony Brook University’s press relations office is interested in the PLoS ONE article Arnout and I wrote. Had my picture taken and everything!

SBU Study Finds Informal Awards Contribute to Higher Wikipedia Participation

Researchers find that small tokens of appreciation stimulate and sustain Wikipedia’s vast online encyclopedia

STONY BROOK, NY, March 29, 2012 – When Stony Brook University Sociology Professor Arnout van de Rijt and graduate student Michael Restivo decided to find out what makes Wikipedia work, they knew they faced quite a challenge. After all, neither monetary compensation nor formal work relations explain the success of this all-volunteer online encyclopedia. The team reasoned that expressions of appreciation by other Wikipedia contributors, including awards, helped to fuel what they called a “spirit of generosity.”

The team was surprised by the extent to which those rewards sustain the ongoing Internet phenomenon that is Wikipedia. Their paper, Experimental Study of Informal Rewards in Peer Production, has been published in the March 29, 2012 edition of PLoS ONE, an international, peer-reviewed, open-access, online publication.