NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Collective Intelligence and Neutral Point of View: The Case of Wikipedia

Shane Greenstein, Feng Zhu

NBER Working Paper No. 18167
Issued in June 2012
NBER Program(s):IO, PR

We examine whether collective intelligence helps achieve a neutral point of view using data from a decade of Wikipedia's articles on US politics. Our null hypothesis builds on Linus' Law, often expressed as "Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow." Our findings are consistent with a narrow interpretation of Linus' Law, namely, a greater number of contributors to an article makes an article more neutral. No evidence supports a broad interpretation of Linus' Law. Moreover, several empirical facts suggest the law does not shape many articles. The majority of articles receive little attention, and most articles change only mildly from their initial slant.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w18167

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