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MARKING TERRITORY:
Exerting Control over the Shape of Scientif c
                                          i
Knowledge in ...
Motivation
Language-based analysis of conf ict, authority and interpersonal alignment
                              l

Sci...
What are WikiProjects?
A WikiProject is a group of editors that want to work together as a team to
improve Wikipedia. Thes...
How prevalent are WikiProjects?
3.7 mil Wikipedia articles, 93% claimed by at least 1 WikiProject

35,000 Total Currently ...
New Science Production & Communication
Paradigms
  "The journal RNA Biology, in collaboration with Rfam, has pioneered a n...
Conf ict/Coordination on Wikipedia &
   l
Genrif cation
     i
Bender & Morgan:
 • Authority and Alignment in Wikipedia Di...
Methods
Analysis of WikiProjects to demonstrate a variety of coordination and organization
practices in the collaborative ...
Themes:
Not really "exerting control" at all!

 • The pattern that emerged was not so much that Wikiprojects were
   invol...
Themes: Cultural Embeddedness
Clash of inner and external Wikipedia policies and norms for the presentation of science
• H...
Themes: Cultural Embeddedness
Attempt to focus on presenting knowledge in an informative, encyclopedic
manner


"If the ar...
Themes: Cultural Embeddedness
Focus on making the presentation of scientif c information conform to local
                ...
Themes: Cultural Embeddedness
Focus on presenting the current scientif c consensus, often involving signif cant literature...
Themes: Public Knowledge
Vaccine Controversy: presentation of pseudo-scientif c concept of "vaccine
                      ...
Wikiprojects' role
Wikiproject guidelines used as mechanisms to increase the quality and
standardize the presentation of s...
Wikiprojects' role
Wikiprojects as mechanisms for mediating disputes of scientif c content,
                              ...
Discussion
•Preliminary - Discovery of dimensions of interaction of groups in scientif c online spaces:
                  ...
Conclusion
Bridging themes between all of these articles together, we hope to
provide a robust view of the ecology of scie...
Acknowledgements
Shawn Walker,
PhD Candidate, UW iSchool for contributing to this data.

The Wikimedia Foundation

Univers...
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Marking territory: Exerting Control over the Shape of Scientific  Knowledge in Wikipedia Slide 1 Marking territory: Exerting Control over the Shape of Scientific  Knowledge in Wikipedia Slide 2 Marking territory: Exerting Control over the Shape of Scientific  Knowledge in Wikipedia Slide 3 Marking territory: Exerting Control over the Shape of Scientific  Knowledge in Wikipedia Slide 4 Marking territory: Exerting Control over the Shape of Scientific  Knowledge in Wikipedia Slide 5 Marking territory: Exerting Control over the Shape of Scientific  Knowledge in Wikipedia Slide 6 Marking territory: Exerting Control over the Shape of Scientific  Knowledge in Wikipedia Slide 7 Marking territory: Exerting Control over the Shape of Scientific  Knowledge in Wikipedia Slide 8 Marking territory: Exerting Control over the Shape of Scientific  Knowledge in Wikipedia Slide 9 Marking territory: Exerting Control over the Shape of Scientific  Knowledge in Wikipedia Slide 10 Marking territory: Exerting Control over the Shape of Scientific  Knowledge in Wikipedia Slide 11 Marking territory: Exerting Control over the Shape of Scientific  Knowledge in Wikipedia Slide 12 Marking territory: Exerting Control over the Shape of Scientific  Knowledge in Wikipedia Slide 13 Marking territory: Exerting Control over the Shape of Scientific  Knowledge in Wikipedia Slide 14 Marking territory: Exerting Control over the Shape of Scientific  Knowledge in Wikipedia Slide 15 Marking territory: Exerting Control over the Shape of Scientific  Knowledge in Wikipedia Slide 16 Marking territory: Exerting Control over the Shape of Scientific  Knowledge in Wikipedia Slide 17 Marking territory: Exerting Control over the Shape of Scientific  Knowledge in Wikipedia Slide 18
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Presentation at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Social Studies of Science (4S) in Cleveland, OH. November 2, 2011 during the Panel on Using Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).

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Marking territory: Exerting Control over the Shape of Scientific Knowledge in Wikipedia

  1. 1. MARKING TERRITORY: Exerting Control over the Shape of Scientif c i Knowledge in Wikipedia Stephanie Gokhman1 [sbg94@cornell.edu] Jonathan T. Morgan2 [jmo25@uw.edu] Mark Zachry2 [zachry@uw.edu] Behzod Sirjani2 [behzod@uw.edu] 1. Cornell University, Department of Communication 2. University of Washington, Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering
  2. 2. Motivation Language-based analysis of conf ict, authority and interpersonal alignment l Scientif c knowledge-sharing, commons in science and public perceptions of i science What is the balance between the conversation about science communication (the work that is of value to f t into the encyclopedia) and i engagement? How do agenda-driven groups (WikiProjects) interact with each other and with outsiders, and how does this interaction shape public scientif c i knowledge on Wikipedia?
  3. 3. What are WikiProjects? A WikiProject is a group of editors that want to work together as a team to improve Wikipedia. These groups often focus on a specif c topic area (for i example, women's history) or a specif c kind of task (for example, checking i newly created pages). Examples of WikiProjects in science Molecular & Cellular Biology Physics Geology Volcanoes Chemistry Chemistry templates Elements Human Genetic History Time History of Science
  4. 4. How prevalent are WikiProjects? 3.7 mil Wikipedia articles, 93% claimed by at least 1 WikiProject 35,000 Total Currently Active Editors (5+ edits/month) 49,000 members associate with at least 1 Wikiproject 1,800 Wikiprojects Total WikiProjects * As of 11/1/11, Wikimedia Foundation
  5. 5. New Science Production & Communication Paradigms "The journal RNA Biology, in collaboration with Rfam, has pioneered a new model of scientif c publication where scientists are required to write a Wikipedia i article to go alongside their manuscript paper describing new families of non- coding RNAs. At the same time, the Wikipedia article will also be under a full peer review process." (Ning) "Type any scientif c term into any search engine and it is likely that a Wikipedia i article will be the f rst hit. Ten years ago, it would have been inconceivable that a i free collaborative website, written and maintained by volunteers, would dominate the global provision of knowledge. But Wikipedia is now the f rst port of call for i people seeking information on subjects that include scientif c topics. Like it or not, i other scientists and the public are using it to get an overview of your specialist area.” (Bateman & Logan)
  6. 6. Conf ict/Coordination on Wikipedia & l Genrif cation i Bender & Morgan: • Authority and Alignment in Wikipedia Discussions (AAWD) • sociolinguistics • social acts • user types
  7. 7. Methods Analysis of WikiProjects to demonstrate a variety of coordination and organization practices in the collaborative creation process. Our research exposes relationships of editors to both other editors and articles in order to better def ne these underlying social i processes in scientif c knowledge creation. i Intersection of two or more scientif c WikiProjects by analyzing interactions among i WikiProject participants on pages claimed by multiple WikiProjects Coded all scientif c articles marked as "controversial" or needing "Request for Comment" i or "Request for Mediation" in the last 12 months Qualitative coding of authority claims and alignment moves: negotiation credentials conf ict l experiential relationship-building forum (policy) coordination external (citation) social expectations
  8. 8. Themes: Not really "exerting control" at all! • The pattern that emerged was not so much that Wikiprojects were involved in territorial disputes with one another, but that the projects and their members guided and guarded scientif c content from i outsiders and agenda-driven individuals • Previous research (Morgan et al. 2010) has shown similar patterns of dispute between veteran Wikipedians and peripheral participants on non-scientif c articles: e.g. Jyllands-Posten Muhammad Cartoon i Controversy • Structure of conversation: delineated lists of grievances and negotiated conclusions vs. unstructured work So... When does the WikiProject come into discussion?
  9. 9. Themes: Cultural Embeddedness Clash of inner and external Wikipedia policies and norms for the presentation of science • Hierarchies within and external to Wikipedia and power dynamics: less about WikiProject more about personal expertise Wikipedians (especially Wikiproject participants): • attempt to focus on presenting knowledge in an informative, encyclopedic manner • focus on presenting the current scientif c consensus, often involving signif cant literature i i review • focus on making the presentation of scientif c information conform to local policies (e.g. i reliable sources, neutral point of view) Agenda-driven users (some Wikiproject participants, many peripheral participants) • may attempt to strategically misrepresent the scientif c consensus, or present a lack of i consensus • insist on a balanced (as opposed to neutral, in the encylopedic sense) presentation of scientif c content, that includes equal weight given to different sides of the issue i
  10. 10. Themes: Cultural Embeddedness Attempt to focus on presenting knowledge in an informative, encyclopedic manner "If the article is to be a legitimate encyclopedic entry on a medical topic, then the view purported ought to be a credible (expert) one, meaning articles like this one are fated to look one sided because the expert community is as near a concensus as a scientif c community can reasonably be expected to be." (from i "Vaccine Controversy") "It would be dishonest and non-neutral to pretend that there are two equally valid "sides" with competing facts. You know, "some people say the Earth is round(ish), while others counter that it is f at" doesn't exactly have that l encyclopedic ring to it" ~ MastCell (Wikiproject Medicine). From "Vaccine Controversy"
  11. 11. Themes: Cultural Embeddedness Focus on making the presentation of scientif c information conform to local i policies (e.g. reliable sources, neutral point of view) "...un-controversial facts should be stated as such. Adding un-needed qualifying phrases is not only poor prose, but can lead the reader to make un-warranted conclusions (such as the fact is controversial when it is not)." ~ Yobol "...I don't think that is the case here, viz. "Studies have shown that the assumption is fundamentally f awed", in fact, both supports and reinforces the general l consensus without sounding biased. Contrast with "The idea has several f aws", l which frankly comes off as "The idea is f at out false". That, in my opinion, is a classic l example of both poor prose *and* bad taste." ~ Sebastian Garth "The current statement is neutral. There is no controversy in the medical community about this, and you have yet to present any evidence that there is. Continuing to insist on a wording that artif cially qualif es a straight-forward i i statement that is supported by the WP:RS is a violation of NPOV." ~ Yobol
  12. 12. Themes: Cultural Embeddedness Focus on presenting the current scientif c consensus, often involving signif cant literature review i i "Do you have any references that describe the two theories with equal weight or that [Multi- Regionalist Hypothesis of Human Evolution] has surpassed Out of Africa? I have seen a few papers (DNA) suggesting that f ndings may indicate this - however have not seen an overall shift in i views to this affect as the f ndings seem to be inconclusive. i Human evolution: an illustrated introduction 2005 "the out of Africa is still the most strongly • favored, with little or no suppor for the MRE" Headhood, elements, specif cation and contrastivity: phonological papers.. 2008 -The currently i • dominant view of evolution assumes that modern humans evolved in Africa appox 200,000- 100,000. A new history of anthropology 2009 - "The multiregional model has also been discredited...." • Asian Paleoanthropology: From Africa to China and Beyond...2010 - "Although the "Out of Africa • I" model is widely accepted ....." Out of Chaos: Evolution from the Big Bang to Human Intellect 2011 - The more likely and • generally accepted out of Africa model indicates modern human ...] ~ Moxy (from "Human Evolution")
  13. 13. Themes: Public Knowledge Vaccine Controversy: presentation of pseudo-scientif c concept of "vaccine i overload" o RFC believe this idea is f awed/biased l o wikipedia's rules of neutral point of view, reliable voices, scientif c validity, i credibility w/ explicit mentions of wikiproject guidelines o dispute over wording:  "The idea of vaccine overload is f awed for several reasons...." (f nal l i wording)  Other proposed wordings  "The idea has several f aws." l  "Evidence has shown that this assumption is fundamentally f awed." l  "No scientif c evidence supports the idea, and it is f awed for several i l reasons."  "The suggestion has caused many parents to delay or avoid immunizing their children. Yet no scientif c evidence supports this i claim, and several f aws in the idea have been exposed." l o "Not what wikipedia should be talking about, what the world IS talking about"
  14. 14. Wikiprojects' role Wikiproject guidelines used as mechanisms to increase the quality and standardize the presentation of scientif c content i "Good citations would be welcome. Please see Wikipedia:WikiProject Medicine/Reliable sources for advice about what sort of sources to use, and Wikipedia:Manual of Style (medicine-related articles) #Citing medical sources for more advice about good citations. Brief y, the best sources are l systematic reviews in reputable medical journals, and widely recognized standard textbooks written by experts in a f eld. The source you relied on heavily, namely i Halvorsen's new book (ISBN 9781903933923) doesn't qualify as one of these high- quality sources." ~ Eubulides (from "Vaccine controversy")
  15. 15. Wikiprojects' role Wikiprojects as mechanisms for mediating disputes of scientif c content, i possible sources of expertise "The result of f ling an RfC in a situation [where] the problem is the use of primary i sources or some mistrust in their reliability... is that the problem escalates into a larger-scale f ght with clearly def ned sides. ...If you had, say, spent f fteen minutes i i i with google to f nd the sources you wanted... or... alerted members of a related i wikiproject, the results would have been more productive." ~ siafu (from "Nasa Astrobiology Institute")
  16. 16. Discussion •Preliminary - Discovery of dimensions of interaction of groups in scientif c online spaces: i chose controversial spaces so we could f nd higher stakes examples of group i maintenance and negotiation •Comparison of authority scheme: Are there differences in the way that political controversial articles play out versus scientif c controversy? Are they expressing authority i in different ways? •Generalizable patterns of interaction in open scientif c spaces and how these i interactions shape the face of public scientif c knowledge on Wikipedia i •Models of developing messages for public understanding of science in open encyclopedic work: What does the scientif c community view as valuable to the general i public and how are these messages articulated? Who are the publics for which content is directed toward? •Power dynamics: members of Wikiproject versus members of a greater scientif c i community: is there a king of the mountain? •(Not priority) Behavior of interactions are opposing to stereotypes of dominant scientif c i interaction: humor/sarcasm
  17. 17. Conclusion Bridging themes between all of these articles together, we hope to provide a robust view of the ecology of scientific Wikiprojects and how they impact the presentation of all science on Wikipedia. This research offers new insight into the shifting paradigm of scientific knowledge creation through agenda-driven communities in open spaces and provides better understanding of the social features that are integral to public engagement and understanding in science.
  18. 18. Acknowledgements Shawn Walker, PhD Candidate, UW iSchool for contributing to this data. The Wikimedia Foundation University of Washington

Presentation at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Social Studies of Science (4S) in Cleveland, OH. November 2, 2011 during the Panel on Using Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).

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