Curating the Commons: The Effects of Platform Gatekeeping on Unpaid Complementors

Xiaodie Pu, Tanguy Tresor Sindihebura, Shiying Zheng, Chee Wee Tan

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingConference article published in proceeding or bookAcademic researchpeer-review


Gatekeeping is a pivotal governance mechanism employed by digital platforms to regulate complementors’ access to platform resources and preserve the quality of their contributions. But in so doing, gatekeeping simultaneously constrains the quantity of complementors, which could be detrimental for the sustained growth of digital platforms. Despite growing scholarly attention, the effects of gatekeeping on non-monetized platforms which relies primarily on complementors’ voluntary contributions, remains underexplored. Unlike paid complementors, unpaid complementors are motivated by factors beyond monetary gains and may react differently to gatekeeping measures. Analyzing a temporary lapse of gatekeeping activities caused by moderators strike on Stack Overflow, we elucidate how gatekeeping affects the behavior of unpaid complementors. Employing quasi difference-in-difference (DID), we reveal that previously inactive complementors increased their contributions while previously active complementors were demotivated after the lapse of gatekeeping. Our findings enrich extant literature on platform governance by illuminating the impact of gatekeeping on unpaid complementors.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 28th Pacific Asia Conference on Information Systems (PACIS 2024)
Place of PublicationHo Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2024


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