Making sense of the German Wikipedia community


  • Rikke Frank Jørgensen Danish Institute for Human Rights



Wikipedia, community, self-regulation, collaboration, internet


This article presents the findings from a qualitative study of the German Wikipedia community, focusing on how people engaged with Wikipedia make sense of norms, collaborative practices and means of regulation within the community. The study highlights the strong focus on the quality of the end-product (the encyclopedia) in the German community, stressing that article quality is seen as more important than the wiki-process as such. As the community has grown, an increasing number of rules and mechanisms have been deployed to resolve various issues and conflicts, however the interviewees do not perceive Wikipedia as being bureaucratic, but rather describe it as a “rule-governed anarchy”. The findings suggest that people contribute for a variety of reasons, yet point to reactions from and interactions with fellow Wikipedians as one of the strongest motivational drivers for participation.

Author Biography

Rikke Frank Jørgensen, Danish Institute for Human Rights

Researcher, Senior Adviser
Danish Institute for Human Rights, Denmark




How to Cite

Jørgensen, R. F. (2012). Making sense of the German Wikipedia community. MedieKultur: Journal of Media and Communication Research, 28(53), 17 p.