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Use of wikis for political participation

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Three initiatives in Spain

Three initiatives in Spain


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  • 1. Use of wikis for political participation Three initiatives in Spain Enric Senabre Hidalgo CitiLab-Cornellà / Observatorio para la CiberSociedad [Wikimania 2008, Alexandria]
  • 2. What is political participation? To...
    • collaborate for a common constructive objective
    • practice & defend freedom of speech
    • freely meet and engage with people and causes
    • discuss in order to obtain consensus
    • engage in non-economic initiatives
    • consume with responsibility
    • watch the watchers
    • and much more...
    And to vote, from time to time
  • 3.
    • new ways/tools of interaction
    • new public spheres for discussion
    • new & easy platforms for publishing
    What is political participation? + ICT... That can lead to: identity empowerment (Castells) more critical and self-reflective culture (Benkler) networked individualism (Wellman) smart mobs (Rheingold)
  • 4. Example: pásalo! (pass it on) 13th of March 2004 in Spain Two days after terrorist bombings in Madrid train stations One day after the biggest demonstration in Spanish history (more than 11 million people on the streets) One day before the national elections Demonstrations, again, in all major cities and towns, and an unexpected change in the voting predictions In response to disinformation, but also in a very special temporal context and delicate social momentum Vast majority of people summon trough a viral SMS or/and word of mouth
  • 5. What is political participation? + ICT...
  • 6.
    • open and direct access to meaning
    • freedom to modify and improve text
    • minimal technical boundaries
    • every page deserves a discussion
    • default non-hierarchical structures
    • distributed info and knowledge
    • radical transparency
    • freedom to fork
    What is political participation? + ICT = wiki...
  • 7. Coordination: Vivienda digna Street demonstrations for a decent house
    • origins in an email chain message
    • calling for a sit-in demonstration
    • wiki of a famous blogger hosts the content
    • increased and more detailed crosspostings
    • organical growth of related issues:
      • open lists (details of cities where to demonstrate, blogs supporting the initiative, press coverage, logos, posters, slogans)
      • collaborative creation of content (manifestos, SMS messages, safety measures, legal issues)
  • 8. + imgs by vdevivienda
  • 9.
    • in less than 24 hours > nearly 20 squares in major cities listed, more than 30 blogs
    • in less than a month, one day before the sit-in > 60 major cities and towns, more than 100 blogs and around 40 news in important Spanish online newspapers covering it
    • thousands of demonstrators, defending the 47th article of Spanish Constitution (“the right to a decent housing”)
    • it has repeated 4 more times (with differences in participation and ICT activity), until the date
    Successful use of a wiki Successful impact on public opinion Successful impact on political agenda X
  • 10.
    • similar to Wikiquote, but the objective is exclusively to find and archive campaign promises
    • started when the campaign for 2007 Spanish munitipal and autonomous elections
    • more than 500 pages (although not all are for content, more than one promise per page)
    • 380 registered users (11 admins), 417,749 visits y 4,043 edits (7,79 average edits per page)
    • coverage in all major online Spanish newspapers
    Memory: Lo prometido es deuda A promise is a promise Successful use of a wiki Successful impact on public opinion Successful impact on political agenda X
  • 11.
    • origins in a netArt network
    • objective: let anyone alter the original constitutional text, even for vandalism
    • PWPwiki: anonymous users, less statistical data than MW
    • translated to four languages (Spanish, Catalan, Euskera and Galician)
    • first two months: daily changes to the more controversial issues (crown of Spain, Spanish military forces, official languages, autonomous regions)
    • progressive inactivity and finally closed due to massive spam
    Modify: Wikiconstitución Altering a common text Successful use of a wiki - Successful impact on public opinion X Successful impact on political agenda X
  • 12. A brief comparison X - - Seeded with previous content - X X Coincidence with a specific social context - X X Other type of tools needed - X X Other channels of communication X X X Unused comment pages - X - Initial instructions X X X Irrelevance of user pages (identity) X X X Absence of NPV X X X Initial main objective - X X Effect on media X X X Political relevance Wikiconstitución A promise is a promise Decent housing
  • 13. Some open questions what if...
    • no one tool (wiki) paradigm?
    • NPV/citation needed?
    • some initial users developed their pages?
    • significant vandalism happened?
    • more pages or help about editing?
    • there is a renewed interest in them?
  • 14. Thank you!
    • Enric:
    • mail: esenabre@gmail.com
    • wiki username: esenabre
    • wlog: estigmergia.net