Social Dilemma in Knowledge Communication via Shared Databases

  • Ulrike Cress
  • Beatriz Barquero
  • Jürgen Buder
  • Friedrich W. Hesse
Part of the Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning Series book series (CULS, volume 5)


Knowledge exchange via shared databases creates a social dilemma where people try to benefit from others’ contributions without having any costs. A person’s tendency to withhold information can be interpreted as a kind of free riding. An experimental setting is presented where the dilemma can be quantified. A study with 166 subjects shows that three types of providers exist: pragmatists (47 % of the subjects) contribute almost all important but rarely unimportant information, cooperators (19 %) contribute almost all information regardless of its importance and defectors (34 %) rarely contribute any information. In all groups the contribution rates decline from trial to trial and within each trial. An extensive literature review based on research on social dilemmas presents possible individual and structural dilemma solutions. Their effectiveness for the communication dilemma is discussed.


Public Good Contribution Rate Knowledge Exchange Social Dilemma External Representation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ulrike Cress
  • Beatriz Barquero
  • Jürgen Buder
  • Friedrich W. Hesse

There are no affiliations available

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