Autonomía digital y tecnológica

Código e ideas para una internet distribuida

Linkoteca. Benjamin Mako Hill

We are social scientists applying a range of quantitative and qualitative methods to the study of online communities. We seek to understand both how and why some attempts at collaborative production — like Wikipedia and Linux — build large volunteer communities and high quality work products

Our research is particularly focused on how the design of communication and information technologies shape fundamental social outcomes with broad theoretical and practical implications — like an individual’s decision to join a community, contribute to a public good, or a group’s ability to make decisions democratically.

Our research is deeply interdisciplinary, most frequently consists of “big data” quantitative analyses, and lies at the intersection of communication, sociology, and human-computer interaction.

Hill points out that, “Wikipedia is the fifth most visited website in the world. Free/libre open source infrastructure serves as infrastructure that we rely on every time we visit a website. Much of what we love and value about the Internet is because of peer production. Although the term might be unfamiliar to many, peer production is the most important organizational innovation to emerge from the Internet. We should do everything we can to understand its complex dynamics and to help preserve and protect them.”

It’s easier for a successful volunteer Free Software project to get money than it is to decide how to spend it. While paying developers is easy, it can carry unintended negative consequences. This essay explores problems and benefits of paying developers in volunteer free and open source projects and surveys strategies that projects have used to successfully finance development while maintaining their volunteer nature.