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Dear Socnetters,

Perhaps the following paper will be of interest: 

The Wisdom of Polarized Crowds
As political polarization in the United States continues to rise, the
question of whether polarized individuals can fruitfully cooperate becomes
pressing. Although diversity of individual perspectives typically leads to
superior team performance on complex tasks, strong political perspectives
have been associated with conflict, misinformation and a reluctance to
engage with people and perspectives beyond one's echo chamber. It is thus
unclear whether self-selected teams of politically diverse individuals
create higher or lower quality outcomes. In this paper, we explore the
effect of team political composition on performance through analysis of
millions of edits to Wikipedia's Political, Social Issues, and Science
articles. We measure editors' political alignments by their contributions
to conservative versus liberal articles. A survey of editors validates that
those who primarily edit liberal articles identify more strongly with the
Democratic party and those who edit conservative ones with the Republican
party. Our analysis then reveals that polarized teams---those consisting of
a balanced set of politically diverse editors---create articles of higher
quality than politically homogeneous teams. The effect appears most
strongly in Wikipedia's Political articles, but is also observed in Social
Issues and even Science articles. Analysis of article "talk pages" reveals
that politically polarized teams engage in longer, more constructive,
competitive, and substantively focused but linguistically diverse debates
than political moderates. More intense use of Wikipedia policies by
politically diverse teams suggests institutional design principles to help
unleash the power of politically polarized teams.


If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask!


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Misha Teplitskiy
Postdoctoral Fellow
Innovation Science Lab
Harvard University

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