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Wikipedia and rewards for knowledge sharing

Posted to Gurteen Knowledge-Log by David Gurteen on 11 February 2006



Wikipedia and rewards for knowledge sharing
WeblogGurteen Knowledge Log
Posted DateSaturday 11 February 2006 09:38 GMT
Posted ByDavid Gurteen
CategoriesMeasures, Targets and Rewards

At a recent Knowledge Cafe in London, on the table I was at, we got to discuss why people shared their knowledge in organizations and what the role of recognition and rewards were.

Someone made the point - it may have been me - that people are happy to contribute to Wikipedia when there are no rewards whatsoever - not even any recognition! They do it for the love of doing it - contributing to a mission - to a worthy cause. They see the value in it.

And then it hit me - I had often wondered why Wikipedia did not recognize the contributors to an entry in some way such as providing a meta data page that listed all the contributors by order of contribution. I now had the answer - if they did - people would contribute to Wikipedia for the wrong reasons - for the "reward" of "recognition" and they would "game" the system for that reward. By providing no recognition and no rewards - only the people who were passionate enough about the topic in hand take the time to contribute.

For a long time - I have been against rewards for knowledge sharing but have reluctantly agreed that recognition was a good thing. I am now less and less sure. Recognition is just another form of reward that can be gamed. The only recognition that true knowledge workers need is the self-recognition that they are doing a good job and working on soemthing they believe in!

If you are interested in Knowledge Management, the Knowledge Café or the role of conversation in organizational life then you my be interested in this online book I am writing on Conversational Leadership
David Gurteen

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