Talk, CHI 2017, Denver, Colorado
Abstract: Why do people start new online communities? Previous research has studied what helps communities to grow and what motivates contributors, but the reasons that people create new communities in the first place remain unclear. We present the results of a survey of over 300 founders of new communities on the online wiki hosting site Wikia.com. We analyze the motivations and goals of wiki creators, finding that founders have diverse reasons for starting wikis and diverse ways of defining their success. Many founders see their communities as occupying narrow topics, and neither seek nor expect a large group of contributors. We also find that founders with differing goals approach community building differently. We argue that community platform designers can create interfaces that support the diverse goals of founders more effectively.