July 1, 2005
What’s So Special About Wikipedia?
Ma, Cathy. “What’s So Special About Wikipedia?” Computers and Writing Online 2005. June 5, 2005. http://kairosnews.org/node/4325. 1 July 2005.
Ma very briefly covers many aspects that separate wikis in general (and Wikipedia specifically) from static-page based communities such as Slashdot and Sourceforge. Primarily, Wikipedia allows any user to contribute, while the other sites impose an editorial filtering process. She suggests that Wikipedia encourages sociality and ‘social introspection’ by giving opportunities for mutual scrutiny and mutual aid. The distributed nature of authority, deliberative democracy, and meritocracy are all briefly touched, as is the role of anonymity in contributions. Ma points to the economic implications of the blurred delination between producer and consumer in wiki environments, and Benkler’s previous work on Commons-Based Peer Production. Finally, she lists several ‘threats’ facing Wikipedia: credibility, vandalism, and accessing restricted regimes (such as the recent incident of Wikipedia being banned in China).