[OSM-talk] Scientific paper on "Information Seeding"

Frederik Ramm frederik at remote.org
Mon Oct 9 21:10:13 UTC 2017


today I was pointed to a recent, open-access scientific paper called
"Information Seeding and Knowledge Production in Online Communities:
Evidence from OpenStreetMap". This open-access paper is available here


In the context of armchair mapping, but especially of data imports (and
recently, machine-generated OSM data) there's always been the discussion
between those who say "careful, too much importing will hurt the growth
of a local community", and others who say "this import is going to
kick-start a local community, let's do it!"

Until now this has been a rather un-proven matter of belief, and the
general mood is usually in favour of a quick build-up of data (through
remote mapping, importing, or machine learning) instead of a
take-it-slow approach that would wait for a community to form and take
matters into their own hands.

The paper quoted above uses OSM as a research object and finds that in
certain ways imports in OSM have indeed harmed community growth. The
paper attempts to provide insights helpful for all kinds of
user-generated knowledge projects (not necessarily OSM), and
draws the following conclusion:

"While information seeding could be useful to encourage the production
of distant forms of follow-on knowledge, it might demotivate and
under-provide more mundane and incremental follow-on information.
Accordingly, if managers are interested in leveraging pre-existing
information to spur the development of online communities, they might be
better served by withholding some pre-existing information and provide
community members with some space to create knowledge from scratch—even
if such knowledge already exists in an external source. This policy allows
community members to become invested in the community and develop
ownership over the knowledge."


Frederik Ramm  ##  eMail frederik at remote.org  ##  N49°00'09" E008°23'33"

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