Wikipedians have slammed a report that found them to be egocentric introverts, socially awkward, and closed to new ideas. Israeli psychology researchers had observed that "the pro-social behaviour apparent in Wikipedia is primarily connected to egocentric motives ... which are not associated with high levels of agreeableness."
Lead researcher Yair Amichai-Hamburger, of the Sammy Ofer School of Communication, told New Scientist magazine that Wikipedia users were "compensating", and that contributing to the site was "their way to have a voice in this world".
Their study, published in the journal CyberPsychology and Behaviour, found that users of the free web-based multilingual encyclopedia website were introverted and disagreeable and at odds with the idea that the project was created around community and knowledge sharing, reports The Age.
Australian Wikipedia administrator Andrew partially confirmed the findings, saying that the site's policies resulted in "intractably opposed contributors, many with vested interests, slugging it out to the death."
But Daniel Bryant, one of the most senior Wikipedia administrators in Australia, pointed out that the study only examined Israeli users, and that the culture of the Australian Wikipedia community stood out from other national groups.
He said: "I may be biased in this assessment, but I'd go as far as to say that we are likely in the top echelon of countries for Wikipedians who have what could be described as a 'normal' social standing and a 'normal' real life. I don't think [the study] accurately reflects Australian Wikipedians nearly as well as it does the Wikipedia community's general population."