Monday, April 25, 2011

Review of "Good Faith Collaboration -- The Culture of Wikipedia"

Current Science carries my review of Good Faith Collaboration: The Culture of Wikipedia by Joseph Reagle, Jr.

... disputes are typically aired in the ‘Talk’ pages of each article, discussion areas where views are expressed vigorously, and countered equally vigorously. Consider, for example, the article on Indian National Congress. Its Talk page throbs with dissent and debate over many contentious issues, including one about whether today’s Congress party is even the same as the one that existed before Independence! From Babri mosque to the Tata group’s car factory in Singur, West Bengal, Talk pages are full of disagreement over whether the articles conform to NPOV [Neutral Point Of View]. While they may resemble a battleground, Talk pages are surprisingly free of landmines; name-calling is rare, for example. This is because the participants are encouraged to keep their focus firmly on enhancing the quality of the articles they are working on, with the result that discussions rarely become dysfunctional. Much of this happy outcome is attributable to a second set of norms which asks Wikipedians to ‘be polite, assume good faith, avoid personal attacks, and be welcoming’.