[Air-l] Studying Wikipedia, studying humans?

Jeremy Hunsinger jhuns at vt.edu
Wed Feb 15 08:07:42 PST 2006

I was reading over some wikipedia policies and related things this  
morning and once again the perennial question arose... at what point  
is studying wikipedia... studying humans?  granted that wikipedia is  
much larger than the human content, with both its technical  
infrastructures and bots.  However, this wouldn't be a question for  
studying the Britannica as a 'book', though it might be a an issue in  
studying the production of the encyclopedia in situ via ethnography  
or other workplace studies methods.   So where would you mark the  
difference in wikipedia?   When are you studying an object, vs a  
human subject in wikipedia, or... is the distinction not clear enough  
to differentiate because of the interaction collapses the  
distinction?  Thoughts?

Jeremy Hunsinger
Center for Digital Discourse and Culture
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http://www.aoir.org The Association of Internet Researchers
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