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  • dynamics-of-wikipedia-1196670708664566-3

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