Lifting the veil

Jonathan T. Morgan, Robert M. Mason, Karine Nahon
2011 Proceedings of the 2011 iConference on - iConference '11  
Wikipedia's stated mission is to provide a free encyclopedia that people all over the world can use and contribute to. However, while Wikipedia is successful at providing access to free, high quality information to users around the globe, the degree to which Wikipedia has succeeded in facilitating contribution on a global scale is less well known. The mechanisms used to determine why and how content is included have, for the most part, taken place "off-stage" and in ways that are less visible
more » ... the casual Wikipedia user. In this study, we explore the relationship between the ideals on which Wikipedia was founded and the policies and practices of the close-knit community that has developed around the shared practice of building the encyclopedia. Through a case study of a polarized talk page debate we show that the editorial community of the English language Wikipedia has a distinct cultural character, which can be uncovered through an examination of the way community members use the social and technical mechanisms of the website and through an analysis of the rhetorical appeals made by editors engaged in heated talk page debates. Our analysis reveals an inherent tension among the values held by the majority of Wikipedians, the values articulated in Wikipedia's mission statement, and the values of the global community of readers that Wikipedia was created to serve. 2
doi:10.1145/1940761.1940763 dblp:conf/iconference/MorganMN11 fatcat:nmpzkisui5f2zeggi5zmeyotya