Ben Armstrong, Master’s candidate
David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science
Understanding the factors causing groups to engage in coordinating behaviour has been an active research area for decades. In this thesis, we study this problem using a novel dataset of crowd behaviour from an online experiment hosted by Reddit. This experiment allowed users to attempt to build an image alone, or to work collaboratively in the hope of building something greater. We use data provided by Reddit, in addition to crowd-sourced coordination information, in order to compare this experiment with a platform containing many similarities to our experiment: Wikipedia.
Comparison with Wikipedia shows that many behavioural trends appear to generalize across domains. We go on to construct an agent-based model of the experiment, allowing investigation into the effects of spontaneous and planned coordination. We find that while coordinated work leads to significant productivity improvements in concentrated areas there is little effect on the experiment as a whole as a result of coordination.
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