The behavior and network position of peer production founders (Foote and Contractor)


Abstract: Online peer production projects, such as Wikipedia and open-source software, have become important producers of cultural and technological goods. While much research has been done on the way that large existing projects work, little is known about how projects get started or who starts them. Nor is it clear how much influence founders have on the future trajectory of a community. We measure the behavior and social networks of 60,959 users on over a two month period. We compare the activity, local network positions, and global network positions of future founders and non-founders. We then explore the relationship between these measures and the relative growth of a founder’s wikis. We suggest hypotheses for future research based on this exploratory analysis.