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Contropedia, and the question of analytically separating the medium and the message

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My presentation of the Contropedia project at the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, at the occasion of the award of the Erasmus prize to the Wikipedia Community.

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Contropedia, and the question of analytically separating the medium and the message

  1. 1. Contropedia and the question of separating the medium and the message Tommaso Venturini médialab Sciences Po Paris Digital Humanities Dept. King’s College
  2. 2. Contropedia.net, who Andreas Kaltenbrunner, David Laniado, Paolo Ciuccarelli, Michele Mauri, Erik Borra, Esther Weltevrede
  3. 3. Contropedia.net, what A platform for the real-time analysis and visualization of controversies in Wikipedia. Controversy metrics are extracted from the real time activity streams generated by edits to, and discussions about individual articles and groups of related articles. An article’s revision history and its corresponding discussion page constitute two parallel streams of interactions that, taken together, fully describe the process of the collaborative creation of an article. Contropedia, builds on state of the art techniques and extends current metrics for the analysis of both edit and discussion activity.
  4. 4. EMAPS Controversy Mapping Peut-on organiser notre vie publique de façon à faciliter, grâce à des signaux simples et robustes, la détection de ceux qui, engagés dans les inévitables controverses, sont les plus capables de justifier leurs positions ou, à l’inverse, ceux qui exigent que nous nous en remettions à leur seul arbitraire. Si ces signaux existent, peut-on les multiplier, les rendre plus saillants, nous familiariser avec eux, apprendre à les entretenir ? Nous n’avons pas d’autre choix: si ces signaux s’effacent, s’atténuent ou disparaissent, il n’y aura plus de vie publique. La démocratie sera impossible. Le sens même du politique aura pour de bon disparu. Bruno Latour, 2008 introduction to W.Lippmann, The Phantom Public
  5. 5. EMAPS Controversy Mapping Can we organize our public life so to facilitate, thanks to some simple and robust signals, the detection of those that, involved in the inevitable controversies, are the most capable to justify their positions and, on the other hand, those demanding us to just accept their arbitrary judgment. If these signals exists, can we multiply them, make them more evident, familiarize ourselves to them, learn how to entertain them? We do not have other choice: is these signals fade away or disappear, there will be no public life anymore. Democracy will be impossible. The very sense of politics will have disappeared for good. Bruno Latour, 2008 introduction to W.Lippmann, The Phantom Public
  6. 6. Repurposing media Digital methods repurpose or build on top of dominant devises of the medium, and in doing so make derivative works from the results, figuratively and literally (p. 3). Follow the methods of the medium as they evolve, learn from how dominant devices treat natively digital objects, and think along with those object treatments and devices so as to recombine and build on the top of them. Strive to repurpose the methods of the medium for research that is not primarily or solely about online culture (p. 5). Rogers, R. (2013) Digital Methods
  7. 7. “[while] it is both necessary and advantageous to deploy ‘medium- specific’ devices in issue mapping… if we are to advance the purposes of issue mapping (besides those of digital platform studies), then it seems to me we must do more than ‘follow the medium’. We must push back in equal measure: we must put in place specific safeguards to ensure that our analysis reveals issue- specific and not just medium-specific” Noortje Marres "Why Map Issues? Science, Technology and Human Values Repurposing media
  8. 8. The medium is the message (or not?) The world was not sepia before the autochrome plate But public opinion did not existed before cafes and newspapers (at least according to Habermas)
  9. 9. Other interesting separations • Separating actions from objects (text / wiki-objects) • Separating actions from discourses (revisions / comments) • Separating actions from noise (substantial edits / non-substantial edits) • Separating actions from actors (reverts / edit factions) • Separating actions from context (heatmaps / timelines )
  10. 10. Separating actions from objects (text / wiki-objects)
  11. 11. Separating actions from objects (text / wiki-objects)
  12. 12. Separating actions from discourses (revisions / comments)
  13. 13. Separating actions from noise (substantial edits / non-substantial edits) (As edits are concerned) An object is the more controversial, the more it appears in sentences with substantive-disagreeing edits (but less so if the same sentences contains other objects) A substantive-disagreeing edit: • is not marked as vandalism • contains at least one deletion (and not just insertions) • is not a full section insert or delete (mostly due to sections renaming)
  14. 14. Separating actions from noise (revisions / comments) An object is the more controversial: • the larger is the number of editors counter-editing it (particularly discarding edit-war couples) • the more it is counter-edited by couple of ‘invested editors’ (who made many other edits to the objets)
  15. 15. Separating actions from actors (reverts / edit factions)
  16. 16. Separating actions from context (timelines / heatmaps)
  17. 17. Separating actions from context (timelines / heatmaps) History Flow Fernanda Viegas & Martin Wattenberg
  18. 18. Separating actions from context (heatmaps / timelines)
  19. 19. www.tommasoventurini.it Borra, E., Weltevrede, E., Ciuccarelli, P., Kaltenbrunner, A., Laniado, D., Magni, G., … Venturini, T. (2014). Contropedia - the analysis and visualization of controversies in Wikipedia articles. In OpenSym 2014 Proceedings. Borra, E., Weltevrede, E., Ciuccarelli, P., Kaltenbrunner, A., Laniado, D., Magni, G., … Venturini, T. (2015). Societal Controversies in Wikipedia Articles. In Proceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - CHI ’15 (pp. 193–196). Weltevrede, E., & Borra, E. (forthcoming). Repurposing Wikipedia as a Controversy Exploration Device.

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