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Don't look now, but we've created a bureaucracy: the nature and roles of policies and rules in Wikipedia
Abstract Wikis are sites that support the developmeWikis 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.es that serve a wide variety of functions.
Added by wikilit team Added on initial load  +
Collected data time dimension Cross-sectional  +
Comments "Rather than assuming that rules, policies"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.1108ructured, collaborative platforms." p.1108
Conclusion While it may be the case that wikis do in 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. through the interface and infrastructure.
Conference location Florence, Italy +
Data source Wikipedia pages  +
Dates 5-10 +
Doi 10.1145/1357054.1357227 +
Google scholar url http://scholar.google.com/scholar?ie=UTF-8&q=%22Don%27t%2Blook%2Bnow%2C%2Bbut%2Bwe%27ve%2Bcreated%2Ba%2Bbureaucracy%3A%2Bthe%2Bnature%2Band%2Broles%2Bof%2Bpolicies%2Band%2Brules%2Bin%2BWikipedia%22  +
Has author Brian Butler + , Elisabeth Joyce + , Jacqueline Pike +
Has domain Information systems +
Has topic Policies and governance +
Month April  +
Pages 1101-1110  +
Peer reviewed Yes  +
Publication type Conference paper  +
Published in Proceeding of the twenty-sixth annual SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems +
Publisher Association for Computing Machinery +
Research design Conceptual  +
Research questions The purpose of this study is to propose a 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.ures for supporting wiki-like initiatives.
Revid 10,737  +
Theories Undetermined
Theory type Analysis  +
Title Don't look now, but we've created a bureaucracy: the nature and roles of policies and rules in Wikipedia
Unit of analysis Article  +
Url http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1357227  +
Wikipedia coverage Main topic  +
Wikipedia data extraction Dump  +
Wikipedia language Not specified  +
Wikipedia page type Policy  + , Discussion and Q&A  +
Year 2008  +
Creation dateThis property is a special property in this wiki. 15 March 2012 20:25:42  +
Categories Policies and governance  + , Information systems  + , Publications  +
Modification dateThis property is a special property in this wiki. 30 January 2014 20:23:18  +
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