Software for Participatory Randomized Trials with Wikimedia Communities, Testing Effects of Networked Gratitude and AI-Directed Hospitality In Large-Scale Cooperation
TWCF Number
Project Duration
April 1 / 2018
- July 1 / 2019
Core Funding Area
Character Virtue Development
Amount Awarded
Grant DOI*

* A Grant DOI (digital object identifier) is a unique, open, global, persistent and machine-actionable identifier for a grant.

Jorge Nathan Matias
Institution Stichting Global Voices

Wikipedia is the encyclopedia of our times, providing the information required in passing conversation, the essential knowledge to embark on a new subject in history or science, and the pieces of trivia needed to settle debates about pop culture. In many ways, however, Wikipedia is what the traditional encyclopedia never could have been: there are nearly six million English-language articles on Wikipedia, and nearly 150,000 active contributors. While the open-source nature of Wikipedia is vital in maintaining the vast and up-to-date database of knowledge, it is not without cost. The work of sustaining the valuable encyclopedic nature of Wikipedia is often in tension with defending it from vandalism.

Wikipedia is deliberately simple in form and function, permitting content to be curated based on the needs of specific projects and users. While this community-driven approach to content creation and aggregation represents a democratization of knowledge unthinkable in the era of the printed encyclopedia, it also presents a significant complication to the existence of Wikipedia. Because a wiki invites all users—not just experts or moderators—to edit and create content, it is incredibly difficult to weed out false information, poor grammar, and malicious “edit warring”. Increasingly, personal conflicts among Wikipedians threaten to undermine the platform’s knowledge-creation enterprise.

To promote a more civil Wikipedia community, this project will capitalize upon the collective power of the millions of contributors across the globe who have come together to freely share knowledge. The project team will conduct trials using the CivilServant software platform to evaluate network-based and Artificial Intelligence-driven interventions designed to expand gratitude, hospitality, and forgiveness among Wikipedians.

The project will engage four Wikipedia communities from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds. By evaluating practical initiatives from contributors and editors to facilitate appreciation, the project team will contribute to theory on the individual and social effects of giving and receiving gratitude. Aside from these benefits to the individual, these interventions may extend the communities’ ability to attract diverse knowledge and sustain volunteer participation over time.

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