Early response to false claims in Wikipedia

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Early response to false claims in Wikipedia
Authors: P.D. Magnus [edit item]
Citation: First Monday 13 (9): 4. 2008 September.
Publication type: Journal article
Peer-reviewed: Yes
DOI: Define doi.
Google Scholar cites: Citations
Link(s): Paper link
Added by Wikilit team: Yes
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Format: BibTeX
Early response to false claims in Wikipedia is a publication by P.D. Magnus.

[edit] Abstract

A number of studies have assessed the reliability of entries in Wikipedia at specific times. One important difference between Wikipedia and traditional media, however, is the dynamic nature of its entries. An entry assessed today might be substantially extended or reworked tomorrow. This study paper assesses the frequency with which small, inaccurate changes are quickly corrected.

[edit] Research questions

"Note that the study is not an aimed to show that Wikipedia is vulnerable to malicious tampering. Deliberate tampering could easily have employed more effective methods: usernames, fabricated citations, and others best left to the reader’s imagination. The aim, rather, is to see how effective Wikipedia users are at responding quickly to false claims added to otherwise adequate entries. The insertion of false claims is inevitable even without vandalism, because some Wikipedia users have false beliefs. They will, in good faith, transcribe these falisities into Wikipedia. This study gets at response to such falsities by Wikipedia users."

Research details

Topics: Reliability, Vandalism [edit item]
Domains: Information systems [edit item]
Theory type: Analysis [edit item]
Wikipedia coverage: Main topic [edit item]
Theories: "Undetermined" [edit item]
Research design: Experiment [edit item]
Data source: Experiment responses, Wikipedia pages [edit item]
Collected data time dimension: Longitudinal [edit item]
Unit of analysis: Article [edit item]
Wikipedia data extraction: Live Wikipedia [edit item]
Wikipedia page type: Article [edit item]
Wikipedia language: English [edit item]

[edit] Conclusion

"In short: About one third to one half of the fibs were corrected within 48 hours. One fifth to one quarter of the fib groups experienced association effects [3].

There would be little point in trying to refine these results with a larger sample. If the effort became large enough to draw attention from Wikipedia users, then the sample as a whole might suffer from association effects. Moreover, different topics and areas of Wikipedia are maintained by different portions of the user community. And the very same entries will be maintained by different partially overlapping communities over time. An effort expanded to many more entries would inevitably test the diligence of different subcommunities who would not form a homogenous reference class.

Nevertheless, these results provide something more than anecdotes and can serve as a compliment to assessments of Wikipedia entries at–a–time (such as Giles, 2005 and Chesney, 2006) and indirect measures of reliability (such as Nielson, 2007)."

[edit] Comments

Further notes[edit]

Regarding "Collected data time dimension": "Each fib was monitored for 48 hours to see whether it was corrected by a Wikipedia user", which may be regarded as "longitudinal" data collection.

"Wikipedia language" is English, although not stated explicitly.