[Air-l] wikipedia research?
jill.walker at uib.no
Sun Oct 8 03:17:54 PDT 2006
Barry Wellman asked:
> Having had several experiences with Wikipedia entries and edits
> this week,
> I am curious if anyone is doing research on:
> the social structure and reward structure of Wikipedists -- item
> editing others, administrators, etc. (I don't know the structure well
> enough to know the nomenclature).
I had a "let's edit and at least slightly improve some of these awful
wikipedia entries" phase a few weeks back, and did some reading about
the wikipedia in general as well. I haven't found "real research" but
did find some very interesting popular articles about how the
Wikipedia works. Here are a few links:
Aaron Swatz: Who Writes Wikipedia? Aaron Swartz's Raw Thought.
"Wales has repeatedly stated that 1-2% of wikipedia users have
contributed 50-75%. However analyzing articles by letter count (not
edits) shows most top contributors unregistered with under 25 edits.
Wikipedia is written by outsiders, policed by insiders."
Rough Type: Nicholas Carr's Blog: The amorality of Web 2.0
Criticism of the Wikipedia - offers articles on Bill Gates and Jane
Fonda as examples of how the "collaborative editing" can generate a
articles that are simply lists of trivia rather than coherently
flowing descriptions of a topic. Interesting.
Rough Type: Nicholas Carr's Blog: The law of the wiki
""Output quality declines as the number of contributors increases.
Making matters worse, the best contributors will tend to become more
and more alienated as they watch their work get mucked up by the
knuckleheads, and they'll eventually stop contributing"
The Atlantic Online | September 2006 | The Hive | Marshall Poe
Detailed article about the history of the Wikipedia by Marshall Poe.
"Can thousands of Wikipedians be wrong? How an attempt to build an
online encyclopedia touched off history’s biggest experiment in
Oh, and here's one of my own blog posts that starts talking about
Alan Liu's suggested student guidelines for use of the Wikipedia but
ends up pointing out some of the problems with entries that I've been
working on recently - related to some of the problems pointed out in
the articles above.
I'd love to know of more research on these issues.
Associate Professor, Dept of Humanistic Informatics, University of
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