The Internet, Policy & Politics Conferences

Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford

Fuster Morell: Mapping online creation communities: Models of infrastructure governance of collective action and its effects on participation size and complexity of collaboration achieved

Paper presenter: 
Fuster Morell, M., European University Institute

Previous literature on democratic quality of political actors website and on the governance of online communities did not take attention to the role of infrastructure for collective action online. This paper presents an empirical analysis (based on 50 cases of online creation communities) on
how infrastructure governance shape the community generated. First, the paper presents a mapping of online creation communities according to their infrastructure governance. The main axes of order in the infrastructure governance are open versus closes to community involvement in the provision organizing. Then, the other significant axes is knowledge policy which in term of infrastructure governance influences the level of freedom and autonomy of the collective action in regards to the infrastructure. According to these two axes five models of infrastructure governance resulted: corporate service, university network, representative foundations, mission oriented enterprises, and assamblearian selfprovision.

Second, the research provides an empirical explanation of the governance models which are most likely to succeed in creating largesize collective action in terms of the dimensions of participation and complexity of collaboration. Infrastructure governance based on closeness to community involvement in the platform provision and for profit strategies generates bigger communities. Instead, open to community involvement and nonprofit generates smaller communities, even smaller if they are informal. Conditions which favor community freedom and autonomy generate smaller communities also, but interestingly, they resulted to be the conditions that increase collaboration among the participants.

Mayo Fuster Morell