From town-halls to wikis: exploring Wikipedia's implications for deliberative democracy
|From town-halls to wikis: exploring Wikipedia's implications for deliberative democracy|
|Authors:||Nathaniel J. Klemp, Andrew T. Forcehimes|
|Citation:||Journal of Public Deliberation 6 (2): . 2010 June.|
|Publication type:||Journal article|
|Google Scholar cites:||Citations|
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|Other scholarly wikis:||AcaWiki Brede Wiki WikiPapers|
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This essay examines the implications Wikipedia holds for theories of deliberative democracy. It argues that while similar in some respects, the mode of interaction within Wikipedia represents a distinctive form of “collaborative editing” that departs from many of the qualities traditionally associated with face-to-face deliberation. This online mode of interaction overcomes many of the problems that distort face-to-face deliberations. By mitigating problems that arise in deliberative practice, such as “group polarization” and “hidden profiles,” the wiki model often realizes the epistemic and procedural aspirations of deliberative democracy. These virtues of the Wikipedia model should not, however, lead to the simple conclusion that it ought to replace traditional face-to-face deliberation. Instead, this essay argues that the collaborative editing process found within Wikipedia ought to be viewed as a promising supplement to traditional deliberation. These two modes of communication ought to be viewed in Madisonian terms – as distinctive forms of interaction that check and balance the vices of one another. When combined, the wiki model promotes the virtues of inclusion and accuracy at large scales, while the face-to-face model excels in conditions of localism and promotes the virtues of solidarity and social capital.
"In this essay, we examine the implications Wikipedia holds for deliberative democracy. We argue that the mode of interaction within Wikipedia overcomes many of the problems that distort face-to-face deliberations and, at least partially, realizes the epistemic and procedural aspirations of deliberative democracy. This does not, however, mean that the Wikipedia model ought to be viewed as a replacement for traditional faceto- face deliberation. Instead, we argue that the mode of interaction within Wikipedia may supplement face-to-face deliberation. When combined, these two forms of interaction check one another: the Wikipedia model promotes inclusion and accuracy when used at a large scale, while the face-to-face model promotes solidarity and social capital and excels in conditions of localism."
|Topics:||Antecedents of quality, Deliberative collaboration, Other participation outcomes|
|Wikipedia coverage:||Main topic|
|Theories:||"This essay examines the implications Wikipedia holds for theories of deliberative democracy.
It argues that while similar in some respects, the mode of interaction within Wikipedia represents a distinctive form of “collaborative editing” that departs from many of the qualities traditionally associated with face-to-face deliberation. The forth section juxtaposes the collaborative editing process of Wikipedia against the actual practice, as opposed to the theoretical ideal, of deliberation. We argue that in turning from theory to practice two primary problems with deliberation emerge: the problems of group polarization and hidden profiles. As Mansbridge puts it, “The face-to-face interaction of friends helps to create and to maintain their common interests…They come to respect and to know one another by piecing together, over time, informal cues derived from their intimate contact” (Mansbridge 1983, 10). While Mansbridge is explicit in her emphasis on face-to-face relations, most other deliberative theories rest on an implicit presumption of face-to-face contact. Public political forums, informal conversations, and town hall meetings – all of these traditional deliberative settings enable citizens to face one another when exchanging reasons and information.
The previous section sought to outline the structural differences between the Wikipedia model and ideal forms of face-to-face deliberation. While important, this essay seeks to extend this comparison beyond the realm of ideal theory to the actual practice of collaborative editing and deliberation."
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|Wikipedia data extraction:||N/A|
|Wikipedia page type:||N/A|
|Wikipedia language:||Not specified|
"Ideally, such potential applications of the Wikipedia model would enhance existing forms of face-to-face deliberation. The information gathered through such political wikis would help to inform citizens and better equip them to enter into deliberations over political decisions. Likewise, the face-to-face deliberations of citizens would help cultivate social capital, tolerance, and enable citizens to go beyond simply amassing information – to also explore the normative side of political questions and potentially even revise their existing preferences. So if the Wikipedia model ends up impacting the practice of politics, it ought to be viewed as an informational resource capable of enhancing, but not replacing, democratic deliberation."
"the mode of interaction within Wikipedia may supplement face-to-face deliberation; the Wikipedia model promotes inclusion and accuracy when used at a large scale, while the face-to-face model promotes solidarity and social capital."