Let’s Talk About Refugees: Network Effects Drive Contributor Attention to Wikipedia Articles About Migration-Related Topics

  • Jürgen Lerner
  • Alessandro LomiEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Studies in Computational Intelligence book series (SCI, volume 813)


Contributions by voluntary users are one of the most crucial resources in the online encyclopedia Wikipedia. In this paper we propose relational event models to analyze dynamic network effects explaining the allocation of contributor attention to Wikipedia articles about migration-related topics. Among others, we test for the presence of a rich-get-richer effect in which articles edited by many users are likely to receive even more contributions in the future and uncover which users start working on less popular articles. We further analyze local clustering effects in which pairs of users tend to repeatedly collaborate on the same articles as well as interaction between contributions to encyclopedic articles and engagement in associated talk pages. We demonstrate that these network effects that regulate collaborative work in Wikipedia act over and above general popularity of the articles’ topics as revealed by the number of pageviews.


Social network analysis Relational event model Online peer-production Attention Wikipedia 



This work has been supported by Swiss National Science Foundation (FNS Project Nr. 100018_150126) and Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG Grant Nr. LE 2237/2-1).


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of KonstanzKonstanzGermany
  2. 2.University of LuganoLuganoSwitzerland

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