The effects of visualizing activity history on attitudes and behaviors in a peer production context

Abstract

In a variety of peer production settings, from Wikipedia to open source software development to crowdsourcing, individuals may encounter, edit, or review the work of unknown others. Typically this is done without much context to the person’s past behavior or performance. To understand how exposure to an unknown individual’s activity history influences attitudes and behaviors, we conducted an online experiment on Mechanical Turk varying the content, quality, and presentation of information about another Turker’s work history. Surprisingly, negative work history did not lead to negative outcomes, but in contrast, a positive work history led to positive initial impressions that persisted in the face of contrary information. This work provides insight into the impact of activity history design factors on psychological and behavioral outcomes that can be of use in other related settings.