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  1. 1. CONTROVERSY ANALYSIS WITH WIKIPEDIA Erik Borra erik@digitalmethods.net Esther Weltevrede esther@digitalmethods.net Digital Methods Initiative, University of Amsterdam With the aid of Anne Helmond, Carolin Gerlitz, Sabine Niederer, Michael Stevenson, and Richard Rogers
  2. 2. WHAT IS A CONTROVERSY? “We use [the word controversy] as a general term to describe shared uncertainty” (Macospol 2007) “Controversies are situations where actors disagree (or better, agree on their disagreement)” (Venturini 2009)
  3. 3. WHY WIKIPEDIA? Information used to be provided by authoritative sources (experts, textbooks, encyclopedia, government reports, academia); Now many different people produce information, from very different sources. Also experts differ in opinion.
  4. 4. WIKIPEDIA’S NPOV “The neutral point of view is a means of dealing with conflicting perspectives on a topic as evidenced by reliable sources” Body text
  5. 5. WHY CONTROVERSY ANALYSIS? Second degree objectivity: an objectivity that does not seek to settle a controversy by reference to the facts but rather to expose partisanship and the knowledge claims articulated in it (Macospol 2007). To gain insight in the positions taken in a controversy is a way into the bizarre and complex world of opinion in order to form our own opinion
  6. 6. HOW TO REPURPOSE WIKIPEDIA FOR CONTROVERSY ANALYSIS? Per article • look at edit history (as a process of knowledge production) • interpret ‘NPoV’ as way in to map second degree objectivity. makes disputes more intelligible and constructive What can we learn about the issue (the article), and about societal controversy, by looking at the edit history of Wikipedia?
  7. 7. CONTROVERSY INDICATORS WITHIN WIKIPEDIA • Related articles • Forkings and splits • Edit activity • Issue commitment by editors
  8. 8. HOW TO RESEARCH A CONTROVERSIAL SPACE LIKE GLOBAL WARMING? Hyperlink analysis The network of Global Warming and related articles
  9. 9. Global Warming Wikipedia Network Method_ Crawl articles related to Global Warming (indicated by bi-directional links), outputting network. Articles used for further analysis are highlighted. Digital Methods Summer ‘09 Solar_variation Analysis_ Michael Stevenson, Carolin Gerlitz, Erik Borra and Richard Rogers El_Nino Extreme_weather Map_ ReseauLu Benjamin_D._Santer Design_ Marieke van Dijk, Michael Stevenson and Richard Rogers Nature_(journal) Portable_Document_Format Carbon_dioxide Infrared Milankovitch_cycles Science_(journal) Methane_clathrate Ozone_depletion Troposphere Extinction Fossil_fuel Digital_object_identifier Global_warming_controversy NASA Lyme_disease Intergovernmental_Panel_on_Climate_Change World_Meteorological_Organization Photosynthesis El_Nino-Southern_Oscillation Climate_change Natural_gas Climate Greenhouse_gas Irrigation Body Text Radiative_forcing Global_dimming Climate_change_and_agriculture Nitrous_oxide United_Nations_Framework_Convention_on_Climate_Change Maize Wikimedia_Commons Carbon_sink Sea_level_rise Orbital_forcing Adaptation_to_global_warming Scientific_opinion_on_climate_change IPCC_Fourth_Assessment_Report PaleoclimatologyPacific_decadal_oscillation Agriculture China Methane Global_warming Politics_of_global_warming Australia Earths_atmosphere Effects_of_global_warming Climate_change_denial Earth Volcano List_of_scientists_opposing_the_mainstream_scientific_assessment_of_global_warming Brazil Ocean_acidification Attribution_of_recent_climate_change Extinction_risk_from_climate_change Biomass Economics_of_global_warming Bond_event Indonesia Europe Shutdown_of_thermohaline_circulation Biofuel Anthropogenic Global_cooling Renewable_energy Avoiding_Dangerous_Climate_Change New_Zealand Medieval_Warm_Period Greenhouse_effect Retreat_of_glaciers_since_1850 Deforestation Urban_heat_island Index_of_climate_change_articles India Mexico United_Nations_Environment_Programme Cloud_forcing Atlantic_Multidecadal_Oscillation Little_Ice_Age Satellite_temperature_measurements Carbon_tax Global_warming_potential Geologic_temperature_record Drought Indian_Ocean_Dipole Instrumental_temperature_record Oil_phase-out_in_Sweden Coal Cap_and_Share Climate_model Personal_carbon_trading Temperature_record_since_1880 National_Assessment_on_Climate_Change Template_talk:Global_warming Land_use,_land-use_change_and_forestry Global_climate_model Effects_of_global_warming_on_India South_Africa Mitigation_of_global_warming Climate_change_mitigation_scenarios Gross_domestic_product Kyoto_Protocol Temperature_record_of_the_past_1000_years Glossary_of_climate_change Aviation_and_the_environment Albedo Soft_energy_path Body text Clean_Development_Mechanism Historical_climatology Season_creep Canada Wind_powerUnited_Nations Japan Carbon_offset Efficient_energy_use Dam Glacial_lake Climate_ethics PolandRussia Carbon_credit Drought_tolerance Rainwater_tank Joint_Implementation United_Kingdom_Climate_Change_Programme Bali_roadmap G8 Individual_and_political_action_on_climate_change United_States European_Climate_Change_Programme Emissions_trading Glaciation Effects_of_global_warming_on_Australia European_Union Renewable_energy_commercialization Coal_phase_out Cosmic_ray Weather_control G8_Climate_Change_Roundtable Renewable_energy_development Peoples_Republic_of_China Energy_conservation Germany United_Kingdom Sustainable_development Italy Tokyo France Berlin Germania
  10. 10. Wikipedia networks may represent the free encyclopedia's desire to resolve controversy. There’s a separation of the popular debate surrounding the existence and causes of Global Warming from apparently factual articles.
  11. 11. Editing activity in the Global Warming network distributed over time
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  23. 23. Debates and their Displacement on Wikipedia Question: How is controversy managed on Wikipedia, and how does this e ect the encyclopedia’s composition of an issue? Edits to “Climate Change” Findings: After heavy editing and much discussion on the Climate Changeand Global Warming articles regarding scienti c consen- Edits to “Scienti c Opinion sus, active editors decided to create the article "Scienti c Opinion on Climate Change” on Global Warming." The Dorling Map shows the number of edits and editors for "Climate Change" in the three months prior to the creation of the "Scienti c Opinion" article, and the same for both articles in the following three months. One sees, in a sense, the relocation of the debate and its debaters, as well as a correspond- ing decline in activity on the article "Climate Change." Digital Methods Summer '09 Analysis_ Carolin Gerlitz and Michael Stevenson Design_ Carolin Gerlitz and Michael Stevenson Body Text Body text 24 June to 24 September 2003 24 September to 24 December 2003
  24. 24. What other indicators of controversy are there besides the fork or split?
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  26. 26. IPCC Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change • scientific intergovernmental body evaluating risk of human- induced climate change • Fourth assessment report published in 3 parts on Feb 2, April 6 and May 4, 2007
  27. 27. NEW YORK TIMES. MARCH 2, 2010
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  29. 29. FROM A CONTROVERSY ANALYSIS POV NPoV mechanisms can be repurposed as controversy indicators • network analysis for the discovery of sub-issues • forks and splits as indicators of controversy articulation • shifts of editors to related articles as an indicator of the displacement of controversies • edit activity as an indicator for the heatedness of matters of concerns • protections
  30. 30. WIP • recent edits • number of edits • article length • number of watchers • number of discussion topics • number of edits is indicative of number of editors • number of reverts • bot activity • (combinations of) templates
  31. 31. WHY IS THIS USEFUL? • How do controversies evolve, what are the matters of concern? • New mode of knowledge production (no longer truths and facts but a process). To obtain insight in the positions taken in the controversy in order to form one’s own opinion • Detection of conflicts and the development of new metrics for the evaluation of the Wikipedia system
  32. 32. QUESTIONS?