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  • 1. Su-Laine Yeo Vancouver User Experience Group November, 2007 Dynamics of Wikipedia This presentation is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/
  • 2. Overview
    • How does it all work?
      • Who writes for Wikipedia, and why?
      • How does the site keep vandalism and spam away?
      • What happens when contributors disagree?
      • How does the site keep articles consistent and organized?
  • 3. Agenda
    • What is Wikipedia?
    • Contributing: Part I
    • Vandalism and spam
    • Conflict and culture
    • Contributing: Part II
    • Please ask questions along the way!
  • 4. What is Wikipedia?
  • 5. Vision
    • A free, neutral encyclopedia that anyone can edit
    “ Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge. That's what we're doing.” – Wikipedia founder Jimbo Wales
  • 6. The global project
    • 253 languages
    • 2 million+ articles in English
    • 5 million articles in languages other than English, accounting for half of all traffic
    • Freely -licensed image, video, and sound files on Wikimedia Commons are used across languages
    http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/List_of_Wikipedias_by_language_family
  • 7. Size of the English Wikipedia http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Size_of_English_Wikipedia_in_August_2007.svg
  • 8.  
  • 9. Who’s who
    • MediaWiki software
    • Wikimedia Foundation
    • Jimmy (Jimbo) Wales, founder, leader, and benevolent dictator
    • 5.8 million registered accounts for volunteer contributors
    • Lots of edits by unregistered users
  • 10. Wikimedia Foundation
    • Runs the servers; hardware costs are 60% of its budget
    • No ads or paid subscribers
    • Annual revenues $1.5 million (June 2006)
    • Fewer than 10 full-time employees
    • Sister projects to Wikipedia: Wiktionary, Wikispecies, Wikiversity, Wikinews…
  • 11. Wikipedia statistics
    • Among top 10 most visited websites
    • 70% of traffic is from search engines
    • Cited in over 100 U.S. court rulings
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/29/technology/29wikipedia.html?ex=1327726800&en=92bbe5fe41874778&ei=5090
  • 12. Key policies
    • Wikipedia is an encyclopedia; its goals go no further
    • Free content
    • Neutral point of view
    • Attribution to reliable sources
  • 13. Most viewed articles Source: http://tools.wikimedia.de/~leon/stats/wikicharts for Sept 07
  • 14. Most viewed articles (cont’d)
  • 15. Most viewed articles (cont’d)
  • 16. Unusual articles
    • Exploding whale
    • Heavy metal umlaut
    • Cosmic latte
    • Anti-Barney humor
    • Five-second rule
    • Passenger train toilets
    • Society for the Prevention of Calling Sleeping Car Porters “George”
    • 0.999...
  • 17. Contributing: Part I
    • “ So fix it.”
    • - A Wikipedia saying
  • 18. Contributing: Overview
    • Editing a sentence
    • Wikitext
      • Headings
      • Links
      • Bulleted lists
      • Templates
      • Signatures
    • Accounts and privacy
  • 19. Get an account
    • Editing with an account is MORE private than editing without one
    • Don’t use your real name
      • You can change your username later
      • You can identify yourself in less permanent ways
  • 20. User pages
  • 21. Wikiscanner http://wikiscanner.virgil.gr/
  • 22. Vandals and spammers
  • 23. Addressing vandalism
    • Automated vandalism reversion (bots)
    • Recent Changes patrol
    • Watchlists
    • Semi-protect heavily-vandalised pages
    • Completely protect high-visibility pages
    • Warn vandals
    • Block repeat offenders
  • 24. Recent Changes patrol
  • 25. Reverting
  • 26. User contribution history
  • 27. Vandalism warnings http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk:208.67.142.93
  • 28. Blocks
  • 29. Administrators
    • ~1400 administrators in English
    • Block and unblock users
    • Semi-protect pages (lock pages from being edited by unregistered and new users)
    • Protect pages (lock pages from being edited)
    • Edit protected pages
    • Delete and undelete page histories
  • 30. Addressing spam
    • “ No-follow” on external links
    • Spam blacklist
    • As with vandalism: revert, warn user, block persistent offenders
  • 31.  
  • 32. Other obviously-bad edits
    • Blatant advertising
    • Copyright violation
    • Libel
    • Hoax
    • Complete bullocks
  • 33. Conflict and Culture
    • “ When someone just writes 'f**k, f**k, f**k', we just fix it, laugh and move on. But the difficult social issues are the borderline cases — people who do some good work, but who are also a pain in the neck.”
    • – Jimbo Wales
  • 34. Conflict
    • When contributors disagree in good faith, there are procedures for working through disputes.
    • The Wikipedia community has final say on most things
    • … The community is: people who have a history of good contributions and who show up for the debate
  • 35. What not to do
  • 36. Dispute resolution
    • After being bold:
    • Discuss on the article Talk page and/or the other person’s Talk page
    • Third Opinion
    • Mediation
    • Request for Comment
    • Arbitration
    • Intervention by Jimbo
  • 37. Content policies and guidelines
    • What are reliable sources?
    • What is an acceptable External Link?
    • Is company XYZ notable enough for an article?
    • Should the article title be “Giraffe” or “Giraffes”?
    • Is it “program” or “programme”?
  • 38.  
  • 39.  
  • 40.  
  • 41. Conduct policies and guidelines
    • Be civil
    • Assume good faith
    • Don’t edit war
    • Write for the enemy
    • Ignore all rules
    • Don’t use Wikipedia for self-promotion
  • 42. Corporate advocacy and self-promotion
    • Includes adding excessive links to your own company’s website
    • If in doubt about possible conflict of interest, suggest changes on the article’s Talk page or on one of the noticeboards
  • 43. Talk pages
  • 44.  
  • 45. Dispute resolution principles
    • Focus on how to improve the articles
    • Widen the conflict; ask for third-party viewpoints
    • Don’t wikilawyer
    • Discuss rather than vote
  • 46.  
  • 47. See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Deleted_articles_with_freaky_titles http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Pooky_the_Teddy_Bear
  • 48.  
  • 49.  
  • 50. Controversy is often good
    • Motivates people to improve articles
    • Raises awareness of the need for quality sourcing
    • Leads to inclusion of multiple viewpoints and nuances in articles
    • Builds community
  • 51. Problem behaviour
    • Point-of-view pushing; political and nationalist block voting
    • Edit warring
    • Persistent corporate advocacy
    • Fraudulent use of multiple accounts (sockpuppetry)
  • 52. Problem behaviour (cont’d)
    • Problem users can be banned from a topic or from all of Wikipedia
    • Bans are difficult to enforce
    • Short supply of neutral people who are patient enough to deal with problematic behaviour
    “ The takeaway message I'm getting here is ‘only an admin with a hole in his head willingly gets involved in Israel-Palestine articles.’ ” - a Wikipedia administrator
  • 53. Controversial Issues
    • Wikipedia’s list of controversial issues
    • Articles involving “biographies of living persons”
      • Children in the news
      • Victims of crime
      • People notable for having medical conditions
      • Overwhelmingly negative biographies
  • 54. Biographies of Living Persons rules
    • Consider privacy
    • Negative material has more rigorous inclusion requirements
    • Immediately remove unsourced or poorly sourced negative or controversial material
    • Avoid discussion
  • 55. IA for two million articles
    • Few information types : encyclopedia articles, lists, disambiguation pages
      • No essays or how-to articles
      • No point-of-view forking of articles
    • Extensive guidelines on:
      • naming conventions
      • refactoring long articles, merging similar articles
      • use of categories
  • 56. IA for two million articles (cont’d)
    • Relatively simple markup
    • Extensive use of templates
    • Constant refactoring
  • 57. Templates
  • 58. Categories
    • There are guidelines for creating categories
    • Be bold in creating categories
    • Categories are subject to refactoring
  • 59. Adding and using categories
  • 60. Summary: Conflict and culture
    • Policies and guidelines
    • Culture is oriented towards trust, discussion, and generating consensus
    • Conflict can build community and often leads to better articles
    • Most articles are not controversial. Usually, good-faith edits stick
    • Decentralized management of information architecture
  • 61. Contributing: Part II
    • “ I have found working with a bunch of like minded folks on an article or wikiproject when it kicks into top gear one of the most inspiring things, the rapid-fire editing of an article gunning toward FA status as writer's blocks are sequentially blasted out of the way is just amazing to witness via the diffs/hists.”
    • – Wikipedia editor “Casliber”
  • 62. Contribute by…
    • Writing about what you’re interested in
    • Improving the writing of others
    • Citing sources
    • Categorizing and organizing articles
    • Translating articles
    • Contributing photographs and artwork
    • Reviewing and commenting on articles
    • Maintenance: removing vandalism, spam, and trivia
    • Helping to resolve disputes
  • 63. "We can no longer feel satisfied and happy when we see these (article) numbers going up.... We should continue to turn our attention away from growth and towards quality.“ - Jimbo Wales
  • 64.  
  • 65.  
  • 66. Why contribute?
    • Improve your skills in:
    • Writing
    • Editing
    • Having your work edited
    • Conflict resolution and group dynamics
    • Understanding copyright
    • Wiki technology
  • 67. Summary
    • Free encyclopedia written by volunteers
    • Be bold
    • Get an account with a fake name; don’t promote commercial interests
    • Revert, warn, and block vandals and spammers
    • Policies, guidelines, and dispute resolution systems exist for controversial issues
    • Distributed decision-making scales well for information architecture
  • 68. The radical project
    • Almost no co-ordination of effort
    • 2% of users (1400 people) make 73.4% of edits
    • 0.7% of users (524 people) make 50% of edits
    • But… people who make very, very few edits write most of Wikipedia’s content
    • … Your earliest edits will probably be your most valuable ones
    http://www.aaronsw.com/weblog/whowriteswikipedia
  • 69. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d4/Be_bold.pnghttp://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d4/Be_bold.png