Online collaborative projects have been utilized in a variety of ways over the past decade, such as bringing people together to build open source software or developing the world's largest free encyclopedia. Personal communication networks as a feature do not exist in all collaborative projects. It is currently unclear if a designer's decision to include a personal communication network in a collaborative project's structure affects outcome quality. In this study, I investigated Wikipedia's personal communication network and analyzed which Wikipedia editors are utilizing it and how they are connected to outcome quality. Evidence suggests that people who utilize these networks are more experienced in editing high quality articles and are more integrated in the community. Additionally, these individuals utilize the personal communication network for coordinating and perhaps mentoring editors who edit lower quality articles. The value of these networks is demonstrated by the characteristics of the users who use them. These findings indicate that designers of online collaborative projects can help improve the quality of outcomes in these projects by deciding to implement a personal communication network in their communities.

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Published in Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, v. 67, issue 4, p. 812-823.

© 2015 ASIS&T

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Tsikerdekis, M. (2016), Personal communication networks and their positive effects on online collaboration and outcome quality on Wikipedia. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 67: 812–823. doi: 10.1002/asi.23429, which has been published in final form at http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/asi.23429. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.

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