Imagining the Wikipedia community: What do Wikipedia authors mean when they write about their "community"?

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Citation: Christian Pentzold (2010) Imagining the Wikipedia community: What do Wikipedia authors mean when they write about their "community"?. New Media & Society (RSS)

doi: 10.1177/1461444810378364

Download: http://nms.sagepub.com/content/early/2010/11/11/1461444810378364.abstract

Tagged: Sociology (RSS) Wikipedia (RSS), content analysis (RSS), community (RSS), grounded theory (RSS), peer production (RSS)


Summary:

The articles provides an extraordinarily clear and detailed account using grounded theory procedures for coding and analysis to study how participants on the wikipedia-l mailing list understand and discuss community from the beginning of the list and the Wikipedia project in January 22, 2001 through December 31 2007. The authors conclude that Wikipedia is an ethos-action community where membership and boundaries as defined by adherence to a set of standards on the project's purpose, norms, values, and valid actions,

The author argues that:

  • Wikipedia can be understood as an ethos-action community where membership and boundaries as defined by adherence to a set of standards on the project's purpose, norms, values, and valid actions.
  • Wikipedia editors alluded to general "ideas of openness, fairness, objectivity, community consensus" and also existing NPOV guidelines.
  • Orthopraxy is the basis for deciding upon the status of Wikipedia community members, their interactions might be understood as benevolent or malicious engagement, hence every action is a monitored performance. Thus, although everybody is welcome to contribute, trust-as-experience only gradually builds up and is at the heart of Wikipedia's nested hierarchies.
  • Higher authority within the Wikipedia community is contingent on scrutinized privileges, and violations of standards (malicious engagement) is registered and may be punished. The development of these standards, and punishment is a result of functional consensus.
  • Different language editions of Wikipedia operate as separate collectives that differ in their uniformity and autonomy regarding the larger ethos (e.g., local versus global rules).

Although the paper uses grounded theory, it uses no quotes and presents almost no ethnographic data in the paper.