Category "Community Rules"

Category "Conference Proceedings"

Category "Peer Production"

Category "Wikipedia"

July 7, 2005

Wikipedia as a learning community: content, conflict, and the ‘common good’

Lawler, Cormac. “Wikipedia as a learning community: content, conflict, and the ‘common good.’” Proceedings of Wikimania 2005. 4-8 Aug. 2005. http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Wikimania05/Paper-CL1#Conclusions. 8 July 2005.

Lawler examines Wikipedia’s potential as a learning community, arguing that the project’s “organization, structure, and modus operandi [are] a learning process.” Theory concerning learning communities and communities of practice provides the framework.

Wikipedia fits the criteria set forth in previous studies of learning communities:

Such communities negotiate production through conflict, which the author views as the main potential for learning because it necessitates perspective-taking. During the process of conflict negotiation, contributors are forced to consider each other’s cultural backgrounds and attendant viewpoints, as the included case study demonstrates. (French, American, and Canadian contributors engage in conflict over perceived bias in the study.) Finally, involvement in Wikipedia demands the development and/or exercise of critical thinking abilities.

Posted by kenne329 at 4:02 PM | Community Rules | Conference Proceedings | Peer Production | Wikipedia

Category "Community Rules"

Category "Journal Articles"

Category "Peer Production"

June 28, 2005

Towards Emancipatory Use of a Medium: The Wiki

Ebersbach, Anja, and Markus Glaser. “Towards Emancipatory Use of a Medium: The Wiki.”. International Journal of Information Ethics. Vol. 2 (Nov. 2004). container.zkm.de/ijie/ijie/ no002/ijie_002_09_ebersbach.pdf. 28 June 2005.

The authors argue that wikis fulfill the original egalitarian intent of the Web as conceived by Berners-Lee. As such, they constitute an emancipatory medium. They base their study on the seven criteria for emanicipatory media set forth in Enzensberger’s 1970 essay “Constituents of a theory of the media”:

  1. decentralized program
  2. each receiver a potential transmitter
  3. mobilization of the masses
  4. collective production
  5. interaction of those involved, feedback
  6. social control by self-organization
  7. a political learning process
Wikis do seem to fulfill each of these criteria. Several subsections are particularly useful. In the section entitled “Collective Production,” the authors point to useful analyses of the collaborative process demonstrated in general wikis, which differ from the Wikipedia process (discussion leading to production and vice versa). “Social Control by Self-Organization” briefly considers relevant IP issues, and the final section, “Political Learning Process” points to the process of perspective-taking that is discussed in more depth in the Reagle essay.

Posted by kenne329 at 11:12 AM | Community Rules | Journal Articles | Peer Production

Category "Authority"

Category "Community Rules"

Category "Journal Articles"

Category "Peer Production"

Category "Wikipedia"

June 24, 2005

Phantom Authority, self-selective recruitment and retention of members in virtual communities: The case of Wikipedia

Ciffolilli, Andrea. “Phantom authority, self-selective recruitment, and retention of members in virtual communities: The case of Wikipedia.” First Monday. 8.12 (Dec. 2003). http://firstmonday.org/issues/issue8_12/ciffolilli/. 24 June 2005.

This article explores team and club theory within the context of production-based communities such as Wikipedia. Krishnamurthy’s idea that large, or “crowded,” communities are a poor fit for production is initially noted. However, the author argues that heterogeneous crowding is a positive feature in such communities, since it allows for variety of talents and skills that will move production forward. The evidence demonstrated in Wikipedia’s successful production rate runs counter to existing club theories concerning crowding. Wikipedia is also remarkable for the self-selection of its participants. Therefore, club theory (which places value on exclusivity) may not be applicable to wiki-like environments.

Ciffolilli also suggests that part of Wikipedia’s success is due to lowering transaction costs for editing and changing information to the point that they are nearly cancelled. These reduced costs allow for full exploitation of community strengths and provide an incentive for participation. Because fixes are so simple, there is more incentive for “creative construction” than “creative destruction” (5). Authority within the community is gained through accumulated reputations, and motivation for participation may also be tied to reputation. A host of other motivations are also posited (6).

Posted by kenne329 at 2:02 PM | Authority | Community Rules | Journal Articles | Peer Production | Wikipedia

Category "Anarchism"

Category "Community Rules"

Category "Conference Proceedings"

Category "Peer Production"

Category "Wikipedia"

June 23, 2005

A Case of Mutual Aid: Wikipedia, Politeness, and Perspective Taking

Reagle, Joseph. “A Case of Mutual Aid: Wikipedia, Politeness, and Perspective Taking.” Proceedings of Wikimania 05. http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Wikimania05/Paper-JR1. 5 July 2005.

Reagle explores facets of mutual aid and interdependent decision making within the context of Wikipedia. (His discussion of mutual aid includes several brief, useful references to Kropotkin and anarchism.) He also focuses on participation as a cooperative endeavor and interdependent decision making.

The author disputes the widely held conception of Wikipedia as a contentious community, noting that Requests for Arbitration (52 archived, 0 active) and Requests for Mediation (74 archived, 8 active) were strikingly low in view of the fact that 13,200 active users and 135,763 registered users were listed at that time. Vandalism is also statistically uncommon. Dispute resolutions are generally civil and follow politeness and negotiation norms. The intersubjectivity and interdependence built into the system often account for this; wikipedia etiquette demands “perspective-taking,” (consideration of an opponent’s perspective) and dialogue.


(Link post from Many 2 Many.)

Posted by kenne329 at 11:26 AM | Anarchism | Community Rules | Conference Proceedings | Peer Production | Wikipedia

Category "Authority"

Category "Conference Proceedings"

Category "Peer Production"

Category "Trust"

June 21, 2005

Authority Models for Collaborative Authoring

Krowne, Aaron, and Anil Bazaz. “Authority Models for Collaborative Authoring.” HICSS 2004 Proceedings. Jan. 2004. http://br.endernet.org/~akrowne/my_papers/authority_models/authority_models.pdf. 20 June 2005.

Krowne and Bazaz conducted an empirical study to research which authority model works best in a Commons-Based Peer Production (CBPP) environment. The CBPP in question was PlanetMath, which is powered by the wiki-like Noosphere interface. They recruited 25 mathematics students and asked them to contribute to the project over a period of six days. Noosphere typically operates with a hybrid authority model that is a combination of the two models researched, and so it was easily altered to offer only one model to users during each three-day section of the study. The two authority models in question are defined as follows:

The exit survey indicated that while “the free-form model is the most productive, the owner-centric model is preferred by users. However, a significant fraction of users depart from a preference for the owner-centric model (about a third), indicating that there is probably a place for supporting the free-form model as well” (IV). The authors suggest that if production (economic reality) is paramount over users feelings, then the free-form model is appropriate for a project (as demonstrated by corporate wikis). In environments where users are not obligated to contribute and thus their feelings are more important, the owner-centric model may be an appropriate default.

They also noted that “swift trust” did not develop over the course of the project. Their hypothesis had supposed it would as participants noted the quality of each others work, but instead production dropped from 30 instances in the first half of the study to 4 in the second half. They posit that since the theory of swift trust was not developed for a commons-based setting, perhaps it does not apply to it.

Posted by kenne329 at 3:02 PM | Authority | Conference Proceedings | Peer Production | Trust

Category "Authority"

Category "Peer Production"

Category "Webzines"

Category "Wikipedia"

June 18, 2005

The FUD-based Encyclopedia

Krowne, Aaron. “The FUD-based Encyclopedia.” Free Software Magazine. March 2005. http://www.freesoftwaremagazine.com/free_issues/issue_02/fud_based_encyclopedia/. 16 June 2005.

Krowne responds rather vehemently to McHenry’s “The Faith-Based Encyclopedia,” calling the piece “contradictory, incoherent ... selective, dishonest, and misleading” (1). He also considers Wikipedia within the context of Commons-Based Peer Production.

FUD stands for ‘Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt,’ and Krowne claims that these terms describe oppositional rhetoric directed at open-source and open-access communities. McHenry’s piece is, then, propaganda in this war (1). As a librarian, Krowne endorses Wikipedia and finds it to be a good, solid source (2). He attacks McHenry’s notions about the unreliability of Wikipedia entries, most particularly through the size of McHenry’s sample set: 1 entry out of (at that time) 1 million (3). He also points to McHenry’s complaints about lower-order concerns (spelling, grammar, text flow), which ignore the sheer breadth of Wikipedia’s coverage. Finally, he sweeps aside McHenry’s use of the public restroom metaphor, pointing out that Wikipedia’s revision history is transparent and readily available — quite the opposite of Britannica.

More importantly, Krowne situates Wikipedia within theories of Commons-Based Peer Production (CBPP). Working from Benkler’s “Coase’s Penguin,” he proposes the “first two laws of CBPP”:

  1. When positive contributions exceed negative contributions by a sufficient factor in a CBPP project, the project will be successful (5).
  2. Cohesion quality is the quality of the presentation of the concepts in a collaborative component (such as an encyclopedia entry). Assuming the success criterion of Law 1 is met, cohesion quality of a component will overall rise. However, it may temporarily decline. The declines are by small amounts and the rises are by large amounts (5-6).
He also adds a companion corollary:
  1. Laws 1 and 2 explain why cohesion quality of the entire collection (or project) increases over time: the uncoordinated temporary declines in cohesion quality cancel out with small rises in other components, and the less frequent jumps in cohesion quality accumulate to nudge the bulk average upwards. This is without even taking into account coverage quality, which counts any conceptual addition as positive, regardless of the elegance of its integration (6).

Krowne also explores multiple styles of CBPP. The first distinction is based on the idea of an authority model. “The authority model of a CBPP system governs who has permissions to access and modify which artifacts, when, and in what workflow sequence” (7). He outlines two distinct authority models:

Posted by kenne329 at 11:04 AM | Authority | Peer Production | Webzines | Wikipedia