Given Enough Eyeballs, All Crimes are Shallow – The Organizing of Citizen Collaboration to Solve an Online Detective Story

Bjorn Remneland Wikhamn, Jan Ljungberg, Bertil Rolandsson, Magnus Bergquist


This paper theorizes about the organizing of online citizen collaboration. The setting is an Internet forum where people started their own investigations about a crime of animal cruelty. The concepts of commons-based peer production and generativity are utilized to analyse the complex organizing mechanisms of voluntaristic online collaboration in practice. Three general functions are introduced – operational, managerial, and noise – which are intertwined and together make up important basis for organizing generativity.


commons-based peer production; citizen collaboration;

Full Text:



Baker, T., & Nelson, R. E. (2005). Creating Something from Nothing: Resource Construction through Entrepreneurial Bricolage. Administrative Science Quarterly, 50(3), 329-366.

Baym, N. (2010). Personal Connections in the Digital Age. Cambridge. Malden, MA: Polity Press.

Bechmann, A., & Lomborg, S. (2013). Mapping actor roles in social media: Different perspectives on value creation in theories of user participation. New Media & Society, 15(5), 765-781.

Benkler, Y. (2006). The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Benkler, Y. (2013). Peer Production and Cooperation. In J. Bauer & M. Latzer (Eds.), Handbook of the Economics of the Inernet (pp. 91-119). Cheltenham and Northampton: Edward Elgar.

Benkler, Y., & Nissenbaum, H. (2006). Commons-based Peer Production and Virtue. Journal of Political Philosophy, 14(4), 394-419.

Bennett, W.L., Segerberg, A., & Walker, S. (2014). Organization in the crowd: peer production in large-scale networked protests. Information, Communication & Society, 17(2), 232-260.

Burgess, J., & Green, J. (2013). YouTube: Online video and participatory culture. Cambridge, Malden: John Wiley & Sons.

Chesbrough, H. (2003). Open Innovation: The New Imperative for Creating and Profiting from Technology. Boston, Mass.: Harvard Business School Press.

Cogburn, D. L., & Espinoza-Vasquez, F. K. (2011). From networked nominee to networked nation: Examining the impact of Web 2.0 and social media on political participation and civic engagement in the 2008 Obama campaign. Journal of Political Marketing, 10(1-2), 189-213.

De Alfaro, L., Kulshreshtha, A., Pye, I., et al. (2011). Reputation systems for open collaboration. Communications of the ACM, 54(8), 81-87.

Goldsmith, S. (2010). The power of social innovation: How civic entrepreneurs ignite community networks for good. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Goldsmith, S. & Eggers, W. D. (2005). Governing by network: The new shape of the public sector. Washington: Brookings Institution Press.

Hertel, G., Niedner, S., & Herrmann, S. (2003). Motivation of Software Developers in Open Source Projects; An Internet-Based Survey of Contributors to the Linux Kernel. Research Policy, 32(7), 1159–1177.

Jenkins, H. (2006). Convergence culture: Where old and new media collide. New York: New York University Press.

Kozinets, R. (2010). Netnography: Doing Ethnographic Research Online. London: Sage Publications.

Kreiss, D., Finn, M., & Turner, F. (2011). The limits of peer production: Some reminders from Max Weber for the network society. New Media & Society, 13(2), 243-259.

Lea, M., O'Shea, T., Fung, P, et al. (1992). 'Flaming' in computer-mediated communication: Observations, explanations, implications. In M. Lea, (Ed.), Contexts of computer-mediated communication (pp. 89-112). London: Harvester Wheatsheaf.

Leonardi, P. M. (2011). When flexible routines meet flexible technologies: Affordance, constraint, and the imbrication of human and material agencies. MIS Quarterly, 35(1), 147-167.

Loveland, J., & Reagle, J. (2013). Wikipedia and encyclopedic production. New Media & Society, 15(8), 1294-1311.

Mercea, D. (2012). Digital prefigurative participation: The entwinement of online communication and offline participation in protest events. New Media & Society, 14(1), 153-169.

Mowery, D.C. (2009). Plus ca change: Industrial R&D in the “third industrial revolution”. Industrial and corporate change, 18(1), 1-50.

Nielsen, C.E. (2014). Coproduction or cohabitation: Are anonymous online comments on newspaper websites shaping news content? New Media & Society, 16(3), 470-487.

O’Mahony, S., & Ferraro, F. (2007). The emergence of governance in an open source community. Academy of Management Journal, 50(5), 1079-1106.

O’Mahony, S. (2003). Guarding the Commons: How Community Managed Software Projects Protect Their Work. Research Policy, 32(7), 1179-1198.

Poor, N. (2014). Computer game modders’ motivations and sense of community: A mixed-methods approach. New Media & Society, 16(8), 1249-1267.

Preece, J., Nonnecke, B., & Andrews, D. (2004). The top five reasons for lurking: improving community experiences for everyone. Computers in human behavior, 20(2), 201-223.

Schneider, A., von Krogh, G., & Jäger, P. (2013). “What’s coming next?” Epistemic curiosity and lurking behavior in online communities. Computers in human behavior, 29(1), 293-303.

Shirky, C. (2010). Cognitive surplus: Creativity and generosity in a connected age. New York: The Penguin Press.

Siggelkow, N. (2007). Persuasion with case studies. Academy of Management Journal, 50(1), 20-24.

Stake, R. (2000). Case Studies. In N. Denzin & Y. Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of Qualitative Research (pp. 435-454). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Strauss, A., & Corbin, J. M. (1990). Basics of qualitative research: Grounded theory procedures and techniques. Thousand Oaks: Sage.

Walther, J. B. (2002). Research ethics in Internet-enabled research: Human subjects issues and methodological myopia. Ethics and Information Technology, 4(3), 205-216.

Weiss, M., & Gangadharan, G.R. (2010). Modeling the mashup ecosystem: structure and growth. R&D Management, 40(1), 40-49.

West, J., & O'Mahony, S. (2008). The role of participation architecture in growing sponsored open source communities. Industry & Innovation, 15(2), 145-168.

von Hippel, E., & von Krogh, G. (2003). Open Source Software and the "Private-Collective" Innovation Model: Issues for Organizational Science. Organizational Science, 14(2), 209-223.

von Hippel, E., & von Krogh, G. (2006). Free Revealing and the Private-Collective Model for Innovation Incentives. R&D Management, 36(3), 295-306.

Wright, S. (2012). Politics as usual? Revolution, normalization and a new agenda for online deliberation. New Media & Society, 14(2), 244-261.

Yates, D., & Paquette, S. (2011). Emergency knowledge management and social media technologies: A case study of the 2010 Haitian earthquake. International Journal of Information Management, 31(1), 6-13.

Zittrain, J. (2008). The Future of the Internet And How to Stop it. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.


Copyright (c) 2019 Journal of Technology Management & Innovation

2019 © Universidad Alberto Hurtado - Facultad de Economía y Negocios. 
Erasmo Escala 1835 - Santiago, Chile.
Economic Analysis Review | Observatorio Económico | Gestión y Tendencias 

Journal Supported by