Title: Before the Sense of ‘We’: Identity Work as a Bridge from Mass Collaboration to Group Emergence
Authors: Arto Lanamaki:Interact Research Unit, University of Oulu; Juho Lindman:University of Gothenburg / Chalmers
Abstract: Individuals engaged in mass collaboration in Wikipedia may join to work recurrently with the same partners. It may well be that a significant portion of Wikipedia content is produced this way. Therefore, it is important to study how such groups emerge. In this paper, we argue how such recurrence may involve identity work that creates a sense of ‘we-ness.’ We provide a case from Wikipedia, focusing on how individual Wikipedians came together to work on a collaborative Feature Article task. Furthermore, the same people came together in other content collaborations, and they identified themselves as a group. The findings suggest that identity work can bridge mass collaborations to the emergence of smaller-scale sustained groups. Our theoretical contribution brings together research streams on mass collaboration, group dynamics, and identity. This offers interesting pathways for further research.