Anonymous Participation and Collaboration Efficiency in Online Communities




Anonymity is one of the key factors that influence communication and the work behaviours of people. It is even more evident in an online community where the role of anonymity can be akin to a double-edged sword: it can increase participation while at the same time having detrimental effects due to irresponsible and disruptive behaviour. Most studies on anonymous participation in groups or communities have reported this ambivalent view of anonymity: positive or negative. Furthermore, the effects of anonymous participation may be different in a dynamic sense because the task characteristics of participation can vary across time. In this study, we hypothesise that the effects of anonymity in online collaboration differ across the stages of collaboration. We analysed 2,978 featured articles on the English-language Wikipedia website and investigated the contributions of anonymous participants. While the contributions of anonymous participants were negative to collaboration efficiency as a whole, the negative effect of anonymous participants was stronger in the earlier stage than the later stage of collaboration. These findings indicate that the effect of anonymity has two sides in terms of collaboration efficiency in the same collaborative environment.


Ⅰ. Introduction
Ⅱ. Two Views of Anonymity in Online Collaboration
Ⅲ. Multiple Stages of Collaboration
Ⅳ. Research Method and Data
4.1. Data
4.2. Variables
Ⅴ. Analysis Results
Ⅵ. Discussion and Conclusions
6.1. Theoretical Implications
6.2. Managerial Implications
Ⅶ. Conclusions


  • Hong Joo Lee Professor, Department of Business Administration, Catholic University of Korea, Bucheon, Korea
  • Jong Woo Kim Professor, School of Business, Hanyang University, Seoul, Korea
  • Hyun Jung Park Research Professor, Management Research Center, Ewha Womans University, Seoul, Korea
  • Sung Joo Park Professor, Information Systems, KAIST Graduate School of Management, Seoul, Korea


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