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Submissions/Digital Labor and Wikipedia

This is an accepted submission for Wikimania 2015.

Submission no.
Title of the submission
Digital Labor and Wikipedia
Type of submission (discussion, hot seat, panel, presentation, tutorial, workshop)
Author of the submission
Dorothy Howard, User:Vaughn88
E-mail address
Country of origin
Affiliation, if any (organisation, company etc.)
Wikipedian-in-Residence, Metropolitan New York Library Council, Wikimedia New York City.
Personal homepage or blog
Abstract (at least 300 words to describe your proposal)

This presentation is meant to serve as an overview of the conversations and literature on the topic of digital labor and how it has been applied to open source communities, and how it might also be applied to the Wikipedia community in an intersectionalist approach.

These conversations will touch on: the history of volunteer ethics are applied to the open source community, how the gendered and racial aspects of leisure inequality afford some people more time to be volunteers; what is "information activism" and is Wikipedia an "activist project", what standard guarantees are available to online volunteers? The presentation will also explore some various strategies of thinking about Wikipedia's peer-production economy as a space of value-creation, and asking the question of whether the work of Wikipedians should be conceived of as labor, and what implications such thinking might have.

A review of research on economic theories of how motivation changes when payment is introduced into knowledge production communities and how the introduction of money changes behavior and contribution patterns will be presented. As will the theories of scholars; Tziana Terranova, Trebor Scholz, Jaron Lanier, Yochai Benkler, Lawrence Lessig, Jonathan Zittrain, Cory Doctorow and others will be discussed, as well as both familiar and far fetched ideas about digital labor on the web as a growing economic reality, and proposed possible solutions to address the pitfalls that the information economy creates.


  • Legal & Free Culture
Length of session (if other than 30 minutes, specify how long)
30 minutes
Will you attend Wikimania if your submission is not accepted?
Slides or further information (optional)

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