The effect of emotional cues from the NFL on Wikipedia contributions

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Exploiting evidence that sporting results affect fans' mood, we analyze whether National Football League game outcomes can affect the contributions of Wikipedia editors who identify as fans of a specific team. We find that the day after a team loses, their fans decrease their contributions towards football-related pages (relative to after a win). Relative decreases are bigger if losses are unexpected, or if losing margins are big. In contrast, unexpected wins do not cause more contributions relative to wins that were not unexpected. Neither do big wins result in more contributions relative to small wins. Additionally, contributions to non-football-related pages are not affected by NFL game results. Our findings add to the literatures on (i) the determinants of individual contributions to peer production communities, (ii) how community dynamics affect user contributions, (iii) the importance of emotions, (iv) the effect of offline events on online behavior, and (v) the applicability of behavioral economics concepts to the HCI literature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number66
JournalProceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction
Issue numberCSCW
StatePublished - Nov 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Association for Computing Machinery.


  • Emotions
  • Peer production communities
  • Wikipedia


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