The pipeline of online participation Inequalities: The case of Wikipedia editing

Aaron Shaw*, Eszter Hargittai

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Digital inequalities undermine the democratizing potential of the Internet. While many people engage in public discourse through participatory media, knowledge gaps limit engagement in the networked public sphere. Participatory web platforms have unique potential to facilitate a more equitable production of knowledge. This paper conceptualizes a pipeline of online participation and models the awareness and behaviors necessary to become a contributor to the networked public sphere. We test the theory with the case of Wikipedia editing, relying on survey data from a diverse, national sample of U.S. adults. Our findings underscore the multidimensionality of digital inequalities and suggest new pathways toward closing knowledge gaps by highlighting the importance of education and Internet skills for online stratification processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-168
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Communication
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018


  • Digital Inequality
  • Internet Skills
  • Knowledge Gap
  • Online Participation
  • Survey Research
  • Wikipedia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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