University of Oulu

Lanamäki, A. & Lindman, J. Comput Supported Coop Work (2018) 27: 77.

Latent groups in online communities : a longitudinal study in Wikipedia

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Author: Lanamäki, Arto1; Lindman, Juho2
Organizations: 1Interact research unit, University of Oulu, PO Box 8000, Oulu, FI-90014, Finland
2Applied Information Technology, University of Gothenburg / Chalmers, SE- 41296 Gothenburg, Sweden
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.4 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2018
Publish Date: 2018-06-20


Research on online communities has shown that content production involves manifest groups and latent users. This paper conceptualizes a related but distinct phenomenon of latent groups. We ground this contribution in a longitudinal study on the Finnish Wikipedia (2007–2014). In the case of experts working on content within their area of expertise, individuals can constitute a group that maintains itself over time. In such a setting, it becomes viable to view the group as an acting unit instead of as individual nodes in a network. Such groups are able to sustain their activities even over periods of inactivity. Our theoretical contribution is the conceptualization of latent groups, which includes two conditions: 1) a group is capable of reforming after inactivity (i.e., dormant), and 2) a group is difficult to observe to an outsider (i.e., non-manifest).

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Series: Computer supported cooperative work (CSCW)
ISSN: 0925-9724
ISSN-E: 1573-7551
ISSN-L: 0925-9724
Volume: 27
Issue: 1
Pages: 77 - 106
DOI: 10.1007/s10606-017-9295-8
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 113 Computer and information sciences
518 Media and communications
Copyright information: © Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017. This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Comput Supported Coop Work. The final authenticated version is available online at: