Avoiding tragedy in the wiki-commons

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Publication (help)
Avoiding tragedy in the wiki-commons
Authors: Andrew George [edit item]
Citation: Virginia Journal of Law and Technology 12 (8): 1-42. 2007.
Publication type: Journal article
Peer-reviewed: Yes
Database(s):
DOI: Define doi.
Google Scholar cites: Citations
Link(s): Paper link
Added by Wikilit team: Yes
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Avoiding tragedy in the wiki-commons is a publication by Andrew George.


[edit] Abstract

Thousands of volunteers contribute to Wikipedia, with no expectation of remuneration or direct credit and with the constant risk of their work being altered As a voluntary public good it seems that Wikipedia ought to face a problem of noncontribution Yet Wikipedia overcomes this problem, like much of the open- source movement, by locking in a core group of dedicated volunteers who are motivated by a desire to join and gain status within the Wikipedia community. Still, undesirable contribution is just as significant a risk to Wikipedia as noncontribution Bad informational inputs, including vandalism and anti-intellectualism, put the project at risk because Wikipedia requires a degree of credibility to maintain its lock-in effect. At the same time, Wikipedia is so dependent on the work of its core community that governance strategies to exclude these bad inputs must be delicately undertaken. This article argues that to maximize useful participation, Wikipedia must carefully combat harmful inputs while preserving the zeal of its core community, as failure to do either may result in tragedy.

[edit] Research questions

"This article argues that to maximize useful participation, Wikipedia must carefully combat harmful inputs while preserving the zeal of its core community, as failure to do either may result in tragedy."

Research details

Topics: Contributor motivation, Social order, Vandalism [edit item]
Domains: Information systems [edit item]
Theory type: Analysis, Explanation [edit item]
Wikipedia coverage: Main topic [edit item]
Theories: "In theory, articles with a

darker color would be more reliable due to the increased editing they have received. This idea directly addresses the known phenomenon that Wikipedia pages that are more frequently trafficked are also more likely to be accurate.148" [edit item]

Research design: Case study [edit item]
Data source: N/A [edit item]
Collected data time dimension: N/A [edit item]
Unit of analysis: Website [edit item]
Wikipedia data extraction: N/A [edit item]
Wikipedia page type: N/A [edit item]
Wikipedia language: Not specified [edit item]

[edit] Conclusion

"Wikipedians contribute to Wikipedia for many reasons. They enjoy the challenges involved in creating new articles and spotting errors in others; they enjoy the fact that their work has altruistic value; they rebel against a proprietary “enemy”; and they build their own knowledge of the world. But, most important, they gain status in a community. When a person writes or edits a first article, that person enters into a common identity shared by every other Wikipedian. Wikipedians can further immerse themselves within their community by becoming increasingly respected for performing good work. Wikipedia is essentially a social club, with status to be gained and lost. ¶ 62 This motivation informs the question of how Wikipedia should optimally be governed. Even with Wikipedia’s goal of moving from quantity to quality, it is critical that the site maintain its dedicated volunteer base. Problems arise with Wikipedia’s current framework of unrestricted editing because it allows for non–truth-seeking inputs. Vandals decrease Wikipedia’s publicly perceived reliability, hurting volunteerism. Bona fide experts are not given due respect by Wikipedian amateurs and are driven away along with their useful knowledge. Ultimately, Wikipedia’s model is only as good as its inputs. ¶ 63 Improvements should therefore be directed toward improving the quality of these inputs without hurting volunteerism. Feedback mechanisms, directed at either editors or articles, fail to solve this problem, although a unique-page-views meter might be a helpful addition to better indicate how many eyeballs have glanced at an article’s bugs. Eliminating anonymity, as the Citizendium will do, also seems a wise choice; identification, even under a nickname, seems a minor burden for writers who have the energy to edit an article. More important, the challenge of incorporating experts without alienating the Wikipedia community will be directly tested in the Citizendium. Experts and accuracy matter greatly, but Wikipedia or the Citizendium will ultimately fall short of their maximum potential unless they continue to foster that underlying community of “crazy people” who are willing to devote their time and energy in the hopes of finding enjoyment, love, and a place to show off."

[edit] Comments

"Wikipedians have different motivations for participation including the challenges in creating articles, becoming respected by the community for perfoming good work which is critical that the site maintain its dedicated volunteer base. Since Wikipedia is as good as its inputs improvements should therefore be directed toward improving the quality of these inputs without hurting volunteerism by eliminating anonymity, as the Citizendium will do or by identification, even under a nickname, seems a minor burden for writers who have the energy to edit an article."


Further notes[edit]

Facts about "Avoiding tragedy in the wiki-commons"RDF feed
AbstractThousands of volunteers contribute to WikiThousands of volunteers contribute to Wikipedia, with no expectation of remuneration or direct credit and with the constant risk of their work being altered As a voluntary public good it seems that Wikipedia ought to face a problem of noncontribution Yet Wikipedia overcomes this problem, like much of the open- source movement, by locking in a core group of dedicated volunteers who are motivated by a desire to join and gain status within the Wikipedia community. Still, undesirable contribution is just as significant a risk to Wikipedia as noncontribution Bad informational inputs, including vandalism and anti-intellectualism, put the project at risk because Wikipedia requires a degree of credibility to maintain its lock-in effect. At the same time, Wikipedia is so dependent on the work of its core community that governance strategies to exclude these bad inputs must be delicately undertaken. This article argues that to maximize useful participation, Wikipedia must carefully combat harmful inputs while preserving the zeal of its core community, as failure to do either may result in tragedy.ailure to do either may result in tragedy.
Added by wikilit teamYes +
Collected data time dimensionN/A +
CommentsWikipedians have different motivations forWikipedians have different motivations for participation including the challenges in creating articles, becoming respected by the community for perfoming good work which is critical that the site maintain its dedicated volunteer base. Since Wikipedia is as good as its inputs improvements should therefore be directed toward improving the quality of these inputs without hurting volunteerism by eliminating anonymity, as the Citizendium will do or by identification, even under a nickname, seems a minor burden for writers who have the energy to edit an article.rs who have the energy to edit an article.
ConclusionWikipedians contribute to Wikipedia for maWikipedians contribute to Wikipedia for many

reasons. They enjoy the challenges involved in creating new articles and spotting errors in others; they enjoy the fact that their work has altruistic value; they rebel against a proprietary “enemy”; and they build their own knowledge of the world. But, most important, they gain status in a community. When a person writes or edits a first article, that person enters into a common identity shared by every other Wikipedian. Wikipedians can further immerse themselves within their community by becoming increasingly respected for performing good work. Wikipedia is essentially a social club, with status to be gained and lost. ¶ 62 This motivation informs the question of how Wikipedia should optimally be governed. Even with Wikipedia’s goal of moving from quantity to quality, it is critical that the site maintain its dedicated volunteer base. Problems arise with Wikipedia’s current framework of unrestricted editing because it allows for non–truth-seeking inputs. Vandals decrease Wikipedia’s publicly perceived reliability, hurting volunteerism. Bona fide experts are not given due respect by Wikipedian amateurs and are driven away along with their useful knowledge. Ultimately, Wikipedia’s model is only as good as its inputs. ¶ 63 Improvements should therefore be directed toward improving the quality of these inputs without hurting volunteerism. Feedback mechanisms, directed at either editors or articles, fail to solve this problem, although a unique-page-views meter might be a helpful addition to better indicate how many eyeballs have glanced at an article’s bugs. Eliminating anonymity, as the Citizendium will do, also seems a wise choice; identification, even under a nickname, seems a minor burden for writers who have the energy to edit an article. More important, the challenge of incorporating experts without alienating the Wikipedia community will be directly tested in the Citizendium. Experts and accuracy matter greatly, but Wikipedia or the Citizendium will ultimately fall short of their maximum potential unless they continue to foster that underlying community of “crazy people” who are willing to devote their time and energy in the

hopes of finding enjoyment, love, and a place to show off.
enjoyment, love, and a place to show off.
Data sourceN/A +
Google scholar urlhttp://scholar.google.com/scholar?ie=UTF-8&q=%22Avoiding%2Btragedy%2Bin%2Bthe%2Bwiki-commons%22 +
Has authorAndrew George +
Has domainInformation systems +
Has topicContributor motivation +, Social order + and Vandalism +
Issue8 +
Pages1-42 +
Peer reviewedYes +
Publication typeJournal article +
Published inVirginia Journal of Law and Technology +
Research designCase study +
Research questionsThis article argues that to maximize useful

participation, Wikipedia must carefully combat harmful inputs while preserving the zeal of its core community, as failure to do

either may result in tragedy.
Revid10,678 +
TheoriesIn theory, articles with a

darker color woIn theory, articles with a darker color would be more reliable due to the increased editing they have received. This idea directly addresses the known phenomenon that Wikipedia pages that are more

frequently trafficked are also more likely to be accurate.148ed are also more likely to be accurate.148
Theory typeAnalysis + and Explanation +
TitleAvoiding tragedy in the wiki-commons
Unit of analysisWebsite +
Urlhttp://www.vjolt.net/vol12/issue4/v12i4_a2-George.pdf +
Volume12 +
Wikipedia coverageMain topic +
Wikipedia data extractionN/A +
Wikipedia languageNot specified +
Wikipedia page typeN/A +
Year2007 +