Critical issues presentations/What's your motivation?

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Submission no. 102
Title of the submission

What's your motivation?

Author of the submission
  • Oscar F. Gómez
Country of origin




  • motivation
  • rewards
  • behaviour

Motivation is a tricky thing. We are always trying not only to motivate ourselves to do certain things we consider important, but also to motivate others to participate in some of these activities. As active Wikimedians, we are motivated to be part of the Wikimedia movement for some reason. Not only that; we are also trying hard to get other people involved. Be through contests (in-wiki and out-wiki), a friendly meeting, or an academic asignment, we continually look for ways to get others into the Wikimedia movement.

Researchers have developed several theories around motivation. One of them defines two kinds of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic. The former involves doing certain activity just because you want to; you feel rewarded somehow by doing it, and the reward comes from within yourself. This is the case of a child drawing because he likes doing it. The latter involves doing an activity because there is an external reward; some kind of prize that you can win or a punishment you can avoid. Is the case of the child drawing to win an ice cream or a good grade in school.

Sadly, some researchers say that extrinsic motivation can destroy intrinsic motivation in the long term. An external prize can kill the love for doing something just because we want to, so, for example, a child who likes drawing may stop doing it without the possibility of winning something in return, and giving prizes in a photographic contest may actually remove from people the desire to share their photos without asking for an external reward.

This talk aims to present the described problem and to spark further discussion about it and, hopefully, how to avoid it. Wikimania is an ideal space to address the issue, as assistants have possibly faced it either by themselves (e.g. after being rewarded for the first time, they feel that they now want rewards for being Wikimedians or for making certain activities) or in activities they do in their communities (after giving prizes for the first time, people stopped participating in activities that don't have a prize).


Not accepted