What motivates volunteers to contribute to projects? Scholars often answer that question by looking at the personal rewards volunteers gain: building relationships, learning new skills, earning prestige. But if you ask volunteers themselves – like editors who build Wikipedia’s pages – they will tell you they contribute for the intrinsic value of sharing knowledge.
CAT Lab worked with three Wikipedias – Bangla, German & Slovak – to test that theory and, in doing so, help Wikipedians discover new ways to encourage editors to continue building their Wikipedias. By sending new editors messages informing them of how many readers had viewed the pages they edited (their “impact”), we hoped to see if they would be motivated to continue having an impact. The study was launched in December, 2020 but placed on hold in February, 2021, with hopes of resuming at a future time.