Using social visualization to motivate social production

Eric Gilbert, Karrie Karahalios

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper we argue that social visualization can motivate contributors to social production projects, such as Wikipedia and open source development. As evidence, we present CodeSaw, a social visualization of open source software development that we studied with real open source communities. CodeSaw mines open source archives to visualize group dynamics that currently lie buried in textual databases. Furthermore, CodeSaw becomes an active social space itself by supporting comments directly inside the visualization. To demonstrate CodeSaw, we apply it to a popular open source project, showing how the visualization reveals group dynamics and individual roles. The paper concludes by presenting evidence that CodeSaw, and social visualization more generally, can motivate contributors to social production projects if the visualization leaves the laboratory and makes it to the community visualized.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4802372
Pages (from-to)413-421
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Transactions on Multimedia
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2009


  • Open source
  • Remote collaboration
  • Social visualization
  • Visualization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Signal Processing
  • Media Technology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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