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ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2017, 6(11), 340; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijgi6110340

Contributors’ Withdrawal from Online Collaborative Communities: The Case of OpenStreetMap

1
Department of Geography, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, NL, A1B 3X9, Canada
2
Centre de Recherche en Géomatique, Université Laval, Québec, QC, G1V 0A6, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 1 September 2017 / Revised: 20 October 2017 / Accepted: 2 November 2017 / Published: 4 November 2017
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Abstract

Online collaborative communities are now ubiquitous. Identifying the nature of the events that drive contributors to withdraw from a project is of prime importance to ensure the sustainability of those communities. Previous studies used ad hoc criteria to identify withdrawn contributors, preventing comparisons between results and introducing interpretation biases. This paper compares different methods to identify withdrawn contributors, proposing a probabilistic approach. Withdrawals from the OpenStreetMap (OSM) community are investigated using time series and survival analyses. Survival analysis revealed that participants’ withdrawal pattern compares with the life cycles studied in reliability engineering. For OSM contributors, this life cycle would translate into three phases: “evaluation,” “engagement” and “detachment.” Time series analysis, when compared with the different events that may have affected the motivation of OSM participants over time, showed that an internal conflict about a license change was related to largest bursts of withdrawals in the history of the OSM project. This paper not only illustrates a formal approach to assess withdrawals from online communities, but also sheds new light on contributors’ behavior, their life cycle, and events that may affect the length of their participation in such project. View Full-Text
Keywords: Chebyshev’s inequality; circadian cycle; time series analysis; survival analysis; life cycle; OSM history; contributors’ behavior Chebyshev’s inequality; circadian cycle; time series analysis; survival analysis; life cycle; OSM history; contributors’ behavior
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Bégin, D.; Devillers, R.; Roche, S. Contributors’ Withdrawal from Online Collaborative Communities: The Case of OpenStreetMap. ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2017, 6, 340.

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