Wikipedians’ “encyclopedic identity” dominates even in Kosovo debates; analysis of “In the news” discussions; user hierarchy mapped
- 1 Cross-language study of conflict on Wikipedia
- 2 The social construction of knowledge on English Wikipedia
- 3 User hierarchy map: Building Wikipedia’s Org Chart
- 4 Briefly
- 4.1 Extracting machine-readable data from Wiktionary
- 4.2 Wikipedia as a source of proper names in various languages
- 4.3 “Wikipedia and Machine Translation: killing two birds with one stone”
- 4.4 “Knowledge Construction in Wikipedia: A Systemic-Constructivist Analysis”
- 4.5 Younger librarians more supportive of Wikipedia
- 4.6 “Preparing and publishing Wikipedia articles are a good tool to train project management, teamwork and peer reviewed publishing processes in life sciences”
- 4.7 “Networked Grounded Theory” analysis of views on the use of Wikipedia in education
- 4.8 “Risk factors and control of hospital acquired infections: a comparison between Wikipedia and scientific literature”
- 4.9 How a country’s broadband connectivity and Wikipedia coverage are related
- 5 References
Cross-language study of conflict on Wikipedia
Have you wondered about differences in the articles on Crimea in the Russian, Ukrainian, and English versions of Wikipedia? A newly published article entitled “Lost in Translation: Contexts, Computing, Disputing on Wikipedia” doesn’t address Crimea, but nonetheless offers insight into the editing of contentious articles in multiple language editions through a heavy qualitative examination of Wikipedia articles about Kosovo in the Serbian, Croatian, and English editions.
The authors, Pasko Bilic and Luka Bulian from the University of Zagreb, found the main drivers of conflict and consensus were different group identities in relation to the topic (Kosovo) and to Wikipedia in general. Happily, the authors found the dominant identity among users in all three editions was the “encyclopedic identity,” which closely mirrored the rules and policies of Wikipedia (e.g., NPOV) even if the users didn’t cite such policies explicitly. (This echoes the result of a similar study regarding political identities of US editors, see previous coverage: “Being Wikipedian is more important than the political affiliation“.) Other identities were based largely on language and territorial identity. These identities, however, did not sort cleanly into the different language editions: “language and territory [did] not produce coherent and homogeneous wiki communities in any of the language editions.”
The English Wikipedia was seen by many users as providing greater visibility and thus “seem[ed] to offer a forum for both Pro-Serbian and Pro-Albanian viewpoints making it difficult to negotiate a middle path between all of the existing identities and viewpoints.” The Arbitration Committee, present in the English edition but not in the Serbian or Croatian editions, may have helped prevent even greater conflict. Enforcement of its decisions seemed generally to lead to greater caution in the edition process.
In line with previous work showing some users move between language editions, the authors found a significant amount of coordination work between the language editions. One central focus centered around whether other editions would follow the English edition in breaking the article into two separate articles (Republic of Kosovo and Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija).
review by Kim Osman
Another paper by Bilic, published in New Media & Society looks at the logic behind networked societies and the myth perpetuated by media institutions that there is a center of the social world (as opposed to distributed nodes). The paper goes on to investigate the social processes that contribute to the creation of “mediated centers”, by analyzing the talk pages of English Wikipedia’s In The News (ITN) section.
Undertaking an ethnographic content analysis of ITN talk pages from 2004–2012, Bilic found three issues that were disputed among Wikipedians in their efforts to construct a necessarily temporal section of the encyclopedia. First, that editors differentiate between mass media and Wikipedia as a digital encyclopedia, however what constitutes the border between the two is often contested. Second, there was debate between inclusionists and deletionists regarding the criteria for stories making the ITN section. Third, conflict and discussion occurred regarding English Wikipedia’s relevance to a global audience.
The paper provides a good insight into how editors construct the ITN section and how it is positioned on the “thin line between mass media agenda and digital encyclopedia.” It would be interesting to see further research on the tensions between the Wikipedia policies mentioned in the paper (e.g. WP:NOTNEWS, NPOV) and mainstream media trends in light of other studies about Wikipedia’s approach to breaking news coverage.