Friday, December 02, 2005

Vandals, Administrators, and Sockpuppets, Oh My! An Ethnographic Study of Wikipedia’s Handling of Problem Behavior

Vandals, Administrators, and Sockpuppets, Oh My! An Ethnographic Study of Wikipedia’s Handling of Problem Behavior. This is a link to the my newest online article. This one deals with problem behavior at Wikipedia and what the Wikipedians do about it. The article is still a draft so please send me comments if you any suggestions. I know it still needs help but I thought it would still be of interest to some. I hope to eventually publish this.

And this is probably timely anyway. Take a look what can happen when the system breaks down and false information gets into a biography at A false Wikipedia 'biography' from USA Today.

From the site:

Wikipedia is a 21st Century phenomena which is forcing many to reconsider what is and what is not valid and authoritative online. Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia that any one can edit. This creates many opportunities to expand knowledge but it also opens the project up to vandalism and abuse. Many writers have commented on this and determined that Wikipedia has a good defense against problematic behavior even if these same writers are unsure of the legitimacy of Wikipedia as a whole. Other writers have noted the need for identified authors for legitimacy to be attainable. This ethnographic study looks at a public system that Wikipedia uses to identify and correct problem behaviors from contributors. It concludes that Wikipedia does have a good system in place that can protect the integrity of articles in many instances. However, this study was limited in scope and was unable to determine if the system in place for abuse reporting is truly able to vouch for the status of Wikipedia as an authoritative resource.

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