Exploring Digital Cultures W12: The Wikipedia Debate


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Week 12 Wikipedia-centric presentation on:
-Clay Shirky's Personal Motivation Meets Collaborative Production
-Andrew Keen's Cult of the Amateur

This presentation walks through Shirky's points, explaining how Wikipedia is held as the ideal model of collaborative production in today's Web 2.0 world. However, it also goes beyond the readings in introducing the WikiScanner and all it has uncovered. This implies that the real issue may not be what Keen calls the "endless digital forest of mediocrity", but the fact that "Wikipedia entries are being used as a medium for corporate propaganda".

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Exploring Digital Cultures W12: The Wikipedia Debate

  1. 1. VS Shirky Keen
  2. 2. We can’t rely on just one source of information . We don’t know who wrote it. Contributors may have agendas, and significant editing authority. Errors can go uncorrected for months.
  3. 3. Robbie Williams eats domestic pets in pubs for money. David Beckham was a Chinese goalkeeper in the 18th century. Sergey Brin (of Google fame) is sexy, dating Jimmy Wales (Wikipedia founder), and dead. Tony Blair worships Hitler. The Duchess of Cornwall's Christian name is Cow-miller. The University of Cincinnati's former president is a whore. A yacht killed British TV presenter Vernon Kay. Conan O'Brien assaults sea turtles while canoeing. British TV gardener Alan Titchmarsh published a new version of the Kama Sutra. Sienna Miller has modelled nude.
  4. 4. <ul><li>John Seigenthaler: Assassin?! </li></ul><ul><li>“ essjay”: Doctor or Dropout? </li></ul><ul><li>McDonald’s VS Fast Food Nation </li></ul><ul><li>Wal-Mart = cheap. </li></ul>Behind this mild-mannered facade lies a criminal mastermind.
  5. 5. Wikipedia’s self-correction process (Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales calls it “self-healing”) is very robust. There is considerable value created by the public review process that is continually going on in Wikipedia – value that is easy to underestimate, for those who have not experienced it adequately.
  6. 6. <ul><li>Wiki is Hawaiian for quick . </li></ul><ul><li>It allows flexibility of role. </li></ul><ul><li>Every page is the sum total of accumulated changes, complete with historical documentation. </li></ul><ul><li>Desire for collaboration leads to trust . </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>COMMUNITY </li></ul><ul><li>Shared awareness of needs </li></ul><ul><li>Collectively seen as an OPEN Encyclopaedia </li></ul><ul><li>Because enough people saw it as a coordinating resource, it became one, and because it became one, more people saw it as a coordinating resource. </li></ul><ul><li>That can’t work! = Ain’t no such animal! </li></ul><ul><li>Spontaneous, unmanaged division of labour </li></ul><ul><li>SOFTWARE </li></ul><ul><li>Page locking </li></ul><ul><li>Historical documentation allows easy reversion </li></ul><ul><li>Restrictions for unregistered users to create articles from scratch </li></ul><ul><li>Allows the community to do as much they can, then add technical fixes when that isn’t enough </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>Aggregation of tiny contributions from different contributors </li></ul><ul><li>Inadequacy = Motivation </li></ul><ul><li>Expertise NOT needed </li></ul><ul><ul><li>JIT knowledge </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provisional edits </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Good outweighs bad = better quality over time </li></ul><ul><li>Flexibility of role; Variability of effort </li></ul>
  9. 10. <ul><li>Concern for inequality would make spontaneous division of labour impossible </li></ul><ul><li>Wikipedia leverages, rather than limits, imbalance </li></ul><ul><li>There is NO average user </li></ul><ul><li>Focus should be on the collective, not the individual </li></ul>
  10. 11. <ul><li>Like in tagging, the generation of an adequate tagcloud is not dependent on any one individual, but on the community </li></ul><ul><li>The minority of vandals can’t ruin the work of a collaborative community </li></ul>
  11. 12. <ul><li>Safe from the Tragedy of the Commons : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>All edits can be reverted easily </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Each article is a Process, not a Product </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Even a handful of people who care make it harder to hurt Wiki than heal it </li></ul></ul>
  12. 13. <ul><li>http://www.metacafe.com/watch/1109401/vandalism_and_wikipedia/ </li></ul><ul><li>The real issue may not be what Keen calls the “endless digital forest of mediocrity”, but the fact that “Wikipedia entries are being used as a medium for corporate propaganda.” </li></ul>
  13. 14. <ul><li>Extracts all anonymous edits from publicly available Wikipedia database </li></ul><ul><li>Connects IP addresses to organization names </li></ul><ul><li>Exposes organizations that edit Wikipedia with an agenda in mind </li></ul>Creator Virgil Griffith released the scanner in 2007
  14. 15. <ul><li>Microsoft </li></ul><ul><li>Apple </li></ul><ul><li>NRA </li></ul><ul><li>FBI </li></ul><ul><li>MySpace </li></ul><ul><li>Fox News </li></ul><ul><li>UN </li></ul><ul><li>Governments </li></ul><ul><li>Reuters </li></ul><ul><li>Coca-cola </li></ul><ul><li>Boeing </li></ul><ul><li>MSN </li></ul><ul><li>The Guardian </li></ul><ul><li>...and more! </li></ul>
  15. 16. <ul><li>Microsoft tried to cover up the XBOX 360 failure rate </li></ul><ul><li>Apple edited Microsoft entries, adding negative comments about its rival </li></ul><ul><li>The NRA claimed that “Iraq was involved in 9/11” </li></ul><ul><li>FBI edited Guantanamo Bay, removing numerous pictures </li></ul><ul><li>Fox News removed all controversial topics against the network </li></ul><ul><li>UN address calls journalist Oriana Fallaci a racist ‘prostitute’ </li></ul><ul><li>Someone at Reuters calls Bush “a mass murderer” </li></ul>
  16. 17. <ul><li>How do Shirky’s points about Wikipedia apply to other forms of social media? What are the barriers to them gaining the passable “credibility” that Wikipedia holds, despite its imperfections? </li></ul><ul><li>Wikipedia is a process, not a product. But if its articles get better, on average, over time, will it eventually evolve from a “large enough body of good enough work” to an authoritative resource? </li></ul><ul><li>What does the growing familiarity of large organizations with Web 2.0 mean for Wikipedia and for social media? Is their ability to leverage these channels more of a threat or boon to Web 2.0? </li></ul><ul><li>Vandals are easily demoralized by Wikipedia’s system. But how can Wikipedia deter corporations whose persistence at online reputation management can be rewarded? </li></ul>
  17. 18. <ul><li>Amayreh, K. (2009). ' CAMERA distorts the picture', DesertPeace [online]. Available: http://desertpeace.wordpress.com/2009/11/21/camera-distorts-the-picture/ [Accessed 19 October, 2010] </li></ul><ul><li>Brisbane Grammar School Library (2010). '10 Reasons Not to Use Wikipedia for Assignments', The Pulse [online]. Available: http://www.brisbanegrammar.com/blogs/library/?p=290 [Accessed 19 October, 2010] </li></ul><ul><li>Griffith, V. (n.d.). 'WikiScanner FAQ', How Stuff Works [online]. Available: http://www.howstuffworks.com/framed.htm?parent=wikipedia-scanner.htm&url=http://virgil.gr/31.html [Accessed 19 October, 2010] </li></ul><ul><li>Jenkins, H. (2006). Fans, bloggers, and gamers: exploring participatory culture. New York: New York University Press. Chapter 6: Interactive Audiences? The Collective Intelligence of Media Fans, pp. 134-151. </li></ul>
  18. 19. <ul><li>Keen, A. (2007). The Cult of the Amateur. New York: Doubleday, pp. 1-9. </li></ul><ul><li>Raphael, J. (2009). 'The 15 Biggest Wikipedia Blunders', PC World [online]. Available: http://www.pcworld.com/article/170874/the_15_biggest_wikipedia_blunders.html [Accessed 19 October, 2010] </li></ul><ul><li>Schiltz, M., Truyen, F., & Coppens, H. (2007). 'Cutting the trees of knowledge: social software, information architecture & their epistemic consequences'. Thesis Eleven , pp. 94-114. </li></ul><ul><li>Shirky, C. (2008). Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations. London: Penguin Press. Chapter 5: Personal Motivation Meets Collaborative Production, pp. 109-142. </li></ul>
  19. 20. <ul><li>Silverman, J. (n.d.). 'How the Wikipedia Scanner Works', How Stuff Works [online]. Available: http://computer.howstuffworks.com/internet/basics/wikipedia-scanner.htm/printable [Accessed 19 October, 2010] </li></ul><ul><li>SmallBusinessNewz (2008). 'Vandalism & Wikipedia', Metacafe [online]. Available: http://www.metacafe.com/watch/1109401/vandalism_and_wikipedia/ [Accessed 19 October, 2010] </li></ul><ul><li>TheAngryIndian (2007). 'Student program PR chaos Wiki scandal', Now Public: Crowd Powered Media [online]. Available: http://www.nowpublic.com/politics/maltastar-com-student-s-program-sends-pr-chaos-wiki-scandal-0 [Accessed 19 October, 2010] </li></ul>
  20. 21. <ul><li>SLIDE 1: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>http://shehabhamad.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/herecomeseverybody.jpg </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>http://andrewkeen.typepad.com/the_great_seduction/images/cult_of_the_amateur1_1.jpg </li></ul></ul><ul><li>SLIDE 2: http://frontpagemag.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/wikipedia-2.jpg </li></ul><ul><li>SLIDE 3: http://images.pcworld.com/news/graphics/170874-wikipedia-editing-policy_original.jpg </li></ul><ul><li>SLIDE 4: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/4/49/Young_seigenthaler.jpg/220px-Young_seigenthaler.jpg </li></ul><ul><li>SLIDE 5: http://www.wired.com/images/article/magazine/geekipedia/encyclopedia_smack.jpg </li></ul><ul><li>SLIDE 6: http://www.eyeofhawaii.com/Pidgin/CartoonHula.GIF </li></ul><ul><li>SLIDE 8: http://www.lsl.com.au/images/images-ref/wikipedia-missing-manual.jpg </li></ul><ul><li>SLIDE 9: http://sites.google.com/a/preoccupations.org/4th-form-ict/TmpImageUpload/2007-05-02-wiki-editing-long-tail-cropped%2050.png </li></ul><ul><li>SLIDE 10: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/b/b6/Wikipedia_Cumulative_Edit_Frequency.png/365px-Wikipedia_Cumulative_Edit_Frequency.png </li></ul><ul><li>SLIDE 11: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/a/a5/TagCloudCloud.png/800px-TagCloudCloud.png </li></ul><ul><li>SLIDE 12: http://houstonist.com/attachments/houston_alex/comedy%20&%20tragedy.jpg </li></ul><ul><li>SLIDE 14: http://laughingsquid.com/wp-content/uploads/virgil-griffith.jpg </li></ul><ul><li>SLIDE 15: http://www.nowpublic.com/politics/maltastar-com-student-s-program-sends-pr-chaos-wiki-scandal-0 </li></ul>