Visualising Wikipedia Controversies: a look inside Contropedia
Visualising Wikipedia Controversies:
a look inside Contropedia
Erik Borra, Esther Weltevrede, Andreas Kaltenbrunner,
Michele Mauri, David Laniado, Richard Rogers,
Paolo Ciuccarelli, Giovanni Magni, Tommaso Venturini
TANT-Lab, Aalborg University, Copenhagen - June 3, 2015
● largest repository of human
● anyone may edit it
● conditions and reflects
Wikipedia’s most visible side
● article on global warming (image)
Contropedia aims to:
● make this huge volume of information easily
● unveil negotiations behind encyclopaedic
● allow users to follow the development of
Contropedia layer view
<2MB image of Global Warming overlay
● which are the most disputed concepts?
● where are controversies located in the article?
● wiki links as focal points
○ the hotter the color, the more controversial
the element (wiki link)
● count edits to sentences including a wiki link
● only consider substantive disagreeing edits:
○ substantive -> no vandalism or anti-vandalism
○ disagreeing -> delete some content
● language agnostic approach
○ based only on user activity
● ranking of the most controversial elements within
● timeline shows when each element was most
● elements that are not present (as wiki links) in the
current version of the article are struckthrough
● all the edits involving a specific element
○ edits in chronological order
○ content added and deleted in each edit
● also related comments from the talk page
Comparison of different periods
● which are the most controversial elements in
○ dashboard view for specific time windows
● after 2012:
○ conflict has cooled down
○ disputes focus mostly on different issues
● what is most controversial?
○ count disagreeing, substantive, edits to a wiki link
○ visualize with layer view and dashboard
● when is it most controversial?
○ controversy timeline
● what is the controversy about?
○ edit history around a specific wiki link
● increase transparency in Wikipedia
● lower barriers to participation
● foster critical digital literacy
Users and Uses
● Social researchers
● Teachers and students
● what (and when) is controversial about a
topic in different language versions?
● preliminary example for homosexuality
○ Catholic church appears only in Italy among the
most controversial elements
○ USSR and USA are controversial in the Russian
Work in progress
● integrating talk pages
● beyond wiki links: templates, references, images
● edit networks, editor camps
● cross-language visualizations
● networks of articles and external references
● E. Borra, E. Weltevrede, P. Ciuccarelli, A. Kaltenbrunner, D. Laniado, G.
Magni, M. Mauri, R. Rogers, and T. Venturini. Societal Controversies in
Wikipedia Articles, CHI ’15 - Proceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM
Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 2015.
● E. Borra, D. Laniado, E. Weltevrede, M. Mauri, G. Magni, T. Venturini, P.
Ciuccarelli, R. Rogers, and A. Kaltenbrunner. A Platform for Visually
Exploring the Development of Wikipedia Articles, ICWSM '15 -
Proceedings of the 9th International AAAI Conference on Web and Social
● and more material at: http://contropedia.net/
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