Office: CMU 227
Benjamin Mako Hill, Acting Assistant Professor, studies collective action in online communities and seeks to understand why some attempts at collaborative production — like Wikipedia and Linux — build large volunteer communities while the vast majority never attract even a second contributor. He is particularly interested in how the design of communication and information technologies shape fundamental social outcomes with broad theoretical and practical implications — like the decision to join a community or contribute to a public good. His research is deeply interdisciplinary, consists primarily of “big data” quantitative analyses, and lies at the intersection of communication, human-computer interaction, and sociology.
He has also been a leader, developer, and contributor to the free and open source software community for more than a decade as part of the Debian and Ubuntu projects. He is the author of several best-selling technical books, a member of the Free Software Foundation board of directors, and an advisor to the Wikimedia Foundation. He has a BA (2003) from Hampshire College, an SM (2007) from the Media Arts and Sciences program at the MIT Media Lab, and a PhD (2013) from MIT in an interdepartmental program between the Sloan School of Management and the Media Lab. He is a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society and an affiliate at the Institute for Quantitative Social Science — both at Harvard University.