Beyond vandalism: Wikipedia trolls

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Beyond vandalism: Wikipedia trolls
Authors: Pnina Shachaf, Noriko Hara [edit item]
Citation: Journal of Information Science 36 (3): 357-370. 2010.
Publication type: Journal article
Peer-reviewed: Yes
Database(s):
DOI: 10.1177/0165551510365390.
Google Scholar cites: Citations
Link(s): Paper link
Added by Wikilit team: Added on initial load
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Beyond vandalism: Wikipedia trolls is a publication by Pnina Shachaf, Noriko Hara.


[edit] Abstract

Research on trolls is scarce, but their activities challenge online communities; one of the main challenges of the Wikipedia community is to fight against vandalism and trolls. This study identifies Wikipedia trolls behaviours and motivations, and compares and contrasts hackers with trolls; it extends our knowledge about this type of vandalism and concludes that Wikipedia trolls are one type of hacker. This study reports that boredom, attention seeking, and revenge motivate trolls; they regard Wikipedia as an entertainment venue, and find pleasure from causing damage to the community and other people. Findings also suggest that trolls behaviours are characterized as repetitive, intentional, and harmful actions that are undertaken in isolation and under hidden virtual identities, involving violations of Wikipedia policies, and consisting of destructive participation in the community.

[edit] Research questions

"This study identifies Wikipedia trolls’ behaviours and motivations, and compares and contrasts hackers with trolls; it extends our knowledge about this type of vandalism and concludes that Wikipedia trolls are one type of hacker. Specifically the study addresses the following three research questions: 1. What are the behaviours of Wikipedia trolls? 2. What are the trolls’ ideologies and motivations?1 3. How do trolls differ from hackers? (Q3a – Do Wikipedia trolls represent one (distinct) type of hacker?; and Q3b – Are there any trolls with ideologies (hacktivists)?)"

Research details

Topics: Contributor motivation, Vandalism [edit item]
Domains: Information systems [edit item]
Theory type: Analysis [edit item]
Wikipedia coverage: Main topic [edit item]
Theories: "There is a reference to one theory in the literature:

Prior research about hackers’ motivations used, for example, the Flow Theory, which explicates intrinsic motivations with clear goals and adequate levels of challenge, to elucidate hackers’ motivations [e.g. 22–25]. Rennie and Shore [23] contended that Flow Theory could explain the transformation of a lower level hacking activity to a higher level, while empirical data in Voiskounsky and Smyslova’s [25] study shows that Flow Theory does not apply to mediocre hackers." [edit item]

Research design: Case study [edit item]
Data source: Interview responses, Wikipedia pages [edit item]
Collected data time dimension: Cross-sectional [edit item]
Unit of analysis: User [edit item]
Wikipedia data extraction: Live Wikipedia [edit item]
Wikipedia page type: Article:talk, User, History, Policy, Other [edit item]
Wikipedia language: Hebrew [edit item]

[edit] Conclusion

"Despite the fact that Wikipedia sysops perceive major differences between hackers and trolls, partially because trolls do not appear to act on any ideologies, our study concludes that Wikipedia trolls are one type of hacker and that their behaviours and motivations resemble those of hackers. This paper extends and supports prior research on the behaviours of internet trolls [5] and rough users [26], and argues that Wikipedia trolls’ motivations resemble those of online hackers [22, 24, 30]. The first step for security policy formulation and implementation for an online and a virtual environment is to understand motivations and behaviours of various types of vandals, hackers and trolls. Future research on Wikipedia may focus attention on the trolls’ perspective, rather than the point of view of the sysops. Research into the activities of trolls on Wikipedias in other languages or various wiki-projects may elucidate the interactions between Wikipedians and trolls in different communities and examine how different settings may affect trolls’ behaviours."

[edit] Comments

"Wikipedia trolls are one type of hacker and that their behaviours and motivations resemble those of hackers. Future research on Wikipedia may focus attention on the trolls’ perspective, rather than the point of view of the sysops. Research into the activities of trolls on Wikipedias in other languages or various wiki-projects may elucidate the interactions between Wikipedians and trolls in different communities and examine how different settings may affect trolls’ behaviours.


Interviews and Wikipedia articles Data collection involved: 1) email interviews with eight sysops; 2) online ethnographic observation of Wikipedians and trolls on various Wikipedia pages (talk pages of articles, users pages and the other community’s talk pages); and 3) interpretive content analysis of Wikipedia pages (user pages of trolls and sysops; Wikipedia policy pages about trolls and vandals; and community discussion pages about trolls and vandals) and their respective talk pages, archives and history pages."


Further notes[edit]

Facts about "Beyond vandalism: Wikipedia trolls"RDF feed
AbstractResearch on trolls is scarce, but their acResearch on trolls is scarce, but their activities challenge online communities; one of the main challenges of the Wikipedia community is to fight against vandalism and trolls. This study identifies Wikipedia trolls behaviours and motivations, and compares and contrasts hackers with trolls; it extends our knowledge about this type of vandalism and concludes that Wikipedia trolls are one type of hacker. This study reports that boredom, attention seeking, and revenge motivate trolls; they regard Wikipedia as an entertainment venue, and find pleasure from causing damage to the community and other people. Findings also suggest that trolls behaviours are characterized as repetitive, intentional, and harmful actions that are undertaken in isolation and under hidden virtual identities, involving violations of Wikipedia policies, and consisting of destructive participation in the community.estructive participation in the community.
Added by wikilit teamAdded on initial load +
Collected data time dimensionCross-sectional +
CommentsWikipedia trolls are one type of hacker anWikipedia trolls are one type of hacker and that their behaviours and motivations resemble those of hackers. Future research on Wikipedia may focus attention on the trolls’ perspective, rather than the point of view of the sysops. Research into the activities of trolls on Wikipedias in other languages or various wiki-projects may elucidate the interactions between Wikipedians and trolls in different communities and examine how different settings may affect trolls’ behaviours.


Interviews and Wikipedia articles

Data collection involved: 1) email interviews with eight sysops; 2) online ethnographic observation of Wikipedians and trolls on various Wikipedia pages (talk pages of articles, users pages and the other community’s talk pages); and 3) interpretive content analysis of Wikipedia pages (user pages of trolls and sysops; Wikipedia policy pages about trolls and vandals; and community discussion pages about trolls and vandals) and their respective talk pages, archives and history pages.
ve talk pages, archives and history pages.
ConclusionDespite the fact that Wikipedia sysops perDespite the fact that Wikipedia sysops perceive major differences between hackers and trolls, partially because trolls do not appear to act on any ideologies,

our study concludes that Wikipedia trolls are one type of hacker and that their behaviours and motivations resemble those of hackers. This paper extends and supports prior research on the behaviours of internet trolls [5] and rough users [26], and argues that Wikipedia trolls’ motivations resemble those of online hackers [22, 24, 30]. The first step for security policy formulation and implementation for an online and a virtual environment is to understand motivations and behaviours of various types of vandals, hackers and trolls. Future research on Wikipedia may focus attention on the trolls’ perspective,

rather than the point of view of the sysops. Research into the activities of trolls on Wikipedias in other languages or various wiki-projects may elucidate the interactions between Wikipedians and trolls in different communities and examine how different settings may affect trolls’ behaviours.
nt settings may affect trolls’ behaviours.
Data sourceInterview responses + and Wikipedia pages +
Doi10.1177/0165551510365390 +
Google scholar urlhttp://scholar.google.com/scholar?ie=UTF-8&q=%22Beyond%2Bvandalism%3A%2BWikipedia%2Btrolls%22 +
Has authorPnina Shachaf + and Noriko Hara +
Has domainInformation systems +
Has topicContributor motivation + and Vandalism +
Issue3 +
Pages357-370 +
Peer reviewedYes +
Publication typeJournal article +
Published inJournal of Information Science +
Research designCase study +
Research questionsThis study identifies Wikipedia trolls’ beThis study identifies Wikipedia trolls’ behaviours and motivations, and compares and contrasts hackers with trolls; it extends our knowledge about this type of vandalism and concludes that Wikipedia trolls are one type of hacker.

Specifically the study addresses the following three research questions: 1. What are the behaviours of Wikipedia trolls? 2. What are the trolls’ ideologies and motivations?1

3. How do trolls differ from hackers? (Q3a – Do Wikipedia trolls represent one (distinct) type of hacker?; and Q3b – Are there any trolls with ideologies (hacktivists)?)
any trolls with ideologies (hacktivists)?)
Revid10,684 +
TheoriesThere is a reference to one theory in the There is a reference to one theory in the literature:

Prior research about hackers’ motivations used, for example, the Flow Theory, which explicates intrinsic motivations with clear goals and adequate levels of challenge, to elucidate hackers’ motivations [e.g. 22–25]. Rennie and Shore [23] contended that Flow Theory could explain the transformation

of a lower level hacking activity to a higher level, while empirical data in Voiskounsky and Smyslova’s [25] study shows that Flow Theory does not apply to mediocre hackers.
Theory does not apply to mediocre hackers.
Theory typeAnalysis +
TitleBeyond vandalism: Wikipedia trolls
Unit of analysisUser +
Urlhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0165551510365390 +
Volume36 +
Wikipedia coverageMain topic +
Wikipedia data extractionLive Wikipedia +
Wikipedia languageHebrew +
Wikipedia page typeArticle:talk +, User +, History +, Policy + and Other +
Year2010 +