Last modified on January 30, 2014, at 20:23

Don't look now, but we've created a bureaucracy: the nature and roles of policies and rules in Wikipedia

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Don't look now, but we've created a bureaucracy: the nature and roles of policies and rules in Wikipedia
Authors: Brian Butler, Elisabeth Joyce, Jacqueline Pike [edit item]
Citation: Proceeding of the twenty-sixth annual SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems  : 1101-1110. 2008 April 5-10. Florence, Italy. Association for Computing Machinery.
Publication type: Conference paper
Peer-reviewed: Yes
Database(s):
DOI: 10.1145/1357054.1357227.
Google Scholar cites: Citations
Link(s): Paper link
Added by Wikilit team: Added on initial load
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Don't look now, but we've created a bureaucracy: the nature and roles of policies and rules in Wikipedia is a publication by Brian Butler, Elisabeth Joyce, Jacqueline Pike.


[edit] Abstract

Wikis are sites that support the development of emergent, collective infrastructures that are highly flexible and open, suggesting that the systems that use them will be egalitarian, free, and unstructured. Yet it is apparent that the flexible infrastructure of wikis allows the development and deployment of a wide range of structures. However, we find that the policies in Wikipedia and the systems and mechanisms that operate around them are multi-faceted. In this descriptive study, we draw on prior work on rules and policies in organizations to propose and apply a conceptual framework for understanding the natures and roles of policies in wikis. We conclude that wikis are capable of supporting a broader range of structures and activities than other collaborative platforms. Wikis allow for and, in fact, facilitate the creation of policies that serve a wide variety of functions.

[edit] Research questions

"The purpose of this study is to propose a conceptual framework for understanding the nature and role of policies and rules within wikis. Drawing from prior studies of rules and policies in a variety of contexts, including teams, traditional organizations, and legal systems [29], different images of rules and policies are considered. In each case, examples and evidence are drawn from Wikipedia to illustrate that view of rules and policies. Following this we discuss the implications of the framework for understanding both the potential and likely outcomes of wiki efforts and design implications of the different perspectives for both wiki implementation and development of infrastructures for supporting wiki-like initiatives."

Research details

Topics: Policies and governance [edit item]
Domains: Information systems [edit item]
Theory type: Analysis [edit item]
Wikipedia coverage: Main topic [edit item]
Theories: "Undetermined" [edit item]
Research design: Conceptual [edit item]
Data source: Wikipedia pages [edit item]
Collected data time dimension: Cross-sectional [edit item]
Unit of analysis: Article [edit item]
Wikipedia data extraction: Dump [edit item]
Wikipedia page type: Policy, Discussion and Q&A [edit item]
Wikipedia language: Not specified [edit item]

[edit] Conclusion

"While it may be the case that wikis do in fact provide a basis for this type of work arrangement, the study reported here suggests that the true power of wikis lies in the fact that they are a platform that provides affordances which allow for a wide variety of rich, multifaceted organizational structures. Rather than assuming that rules, policies, and guidelines are operating in only one fashion, wikis allow for, and in fact facilitate, the creation of policies and procedures that serve a wide variety of functions – and as a result they are capable of truly supporting a much broader range of structures and activities than many of the other more structured, collaborative platforms. This suggests that not only are wikis a platform that has greater potential in organizational and public use, but also that, from a design perspective, they provide a valuable opportunity for using the “sidewalk design strategy” of providing a field of grass and watching where and how the users walk, or so-called desire paths. This study provides a basis for describing these paths. Future studies in particular applications would do well to ask how these issues are addressed, capabilities are used, and how the activities and mechanisms that come into play can be helpfully reinforced or supported through the interface and infrastructure."

[edit] Comments

""Rather than assuming that rules, policies, and guidelines are operating in only one fashion, wikis allow for, and in fact facilitate, the creation of policies and procedures that serve a wide variety of functions – and as a result they are capable of truly supporting a much broader range of structures and activities than many of the other more structured, collaborative platforms." p.1108"


Further notes[edit]