8 March 2010 | ASC authors archive (Ed Chi)
Last week, we hosted a visit from the Wikimedia Foundation on issues relating to our work on community analytics, and what it tells us about Wikipedia's problems and possible solutions. Naoko Komura (pictured at right) of the Wikimedia Usabi...
7 August 2009 | ASC authors archive (Ed Chi)
In the last week, we have received interesting press coverage in New Scientist (as well as Fast Company, Business Insider, and syndicated elsewhere), on the work done in our team on Wikipedia growth rate, and how it has plateaued, changing from an exp...
22 July 2009 | ASC authors archive (Ed Chi)
In September of 2008, we blogged about a curious change in Wikipedia that we didn't know how to explain that we had known for a while, and the ASC group has been looking into understanding this change in the last 6-9 months or so. The change that we w...
29 June 2009 | ASC authors archive (Ed Chi)
Yesterday, NYTimes finally broke the silence on the kidnapping of David S. Rohde by the Taliban. Turns out, Rohde had escaped, and that the news media finally reported the kidnapping since the publicity on the case would no longer be a bargaining chip...
14 April 2009 | ASC authors archive (Ed Chi)
First Study: CSCW2008 (Best Note Award!) At CSCW2008 conference about 4 months ago, we published a user study conducted using Amazon's Mechanical Turk showing how dashboards affects user's perception of trustworthiness in Wikipedia articles.In that ...
13 February 2009 | ASC authors archive (Ed Chi)
Our work on WikiDashboard was slashdotted last weekend. It caused our server to fail and crash repeatedly, and we tried our best to keep it running. We received thousands of hits, and got many comments. Interestingly, this occurred because of an MIT...
26 January 2009 | ASC authors archive (Ed Chi)
Elsewhere, we have spoke about the complex and interesting governing and authorship model in Wikipedia. How counter-intuitive is it that a model like "anyone can edit anything they want" could produce a useful information resource?! We have conducted...
16 October 2008 | ASC authors archive (Ed Chi)
The ASC group (and Bongwon Suh in particular) is pleased to announce a new version of WikiDashboard for Wikipedia. In this new version, we have:
* Live Information!
WikiDashboard now uses the live feed of English Wikipedia powered by MediaWiki Toolserver. The dashboard will show any changes made on each page almost instantly. Note that the earlier version has been showing information as of April 2008. For example, you can see who's been active in pages such as: Sarah Palin's page or the US President Election page.
Notice in particular how Sarah Palin's edits really only picked up in the last 6-8 weeks, but User Ferrylodge had edited her page around July 1, before the Aug. 29th nomination.
Unfortunately, because the Toolserver is not very reliable on our queries, we are not always able to serve up live edit data in our dashboard. If you don't get a live dashboard, you can either get at the data from April 2008 that is on our own private database server, or you can wait a while and try again.
* Browse Through Time
Now, you can click on the bars in the dashboard. Clicking on an bar will bring you to the wiki historical context when the edits were made. For Article Dashboard, the system will show all the edits made on the page around the time point you choose. For User Dashboard, WikiDashboard will provide a list of edits that the user made around the time you clicked.
Please let us know if you find any problem or have any feedback. Thanks!
11 September 2008 | ASC authors archive (Ed Chi)
Until recently I had assumed that the growth of content on Wikipedia was exponential. It certainly looked that way over its early history, and other kinds of "knowledge publication" like scientific journals (or the Web) have shown consistent exponential growth. But it looks like there was a peak-drop-flattening that started around Spring 2007. I wrote short report on my blog, with some pointers to others who have also seen this "anomaly", but I haven't seen a satisfactory explanation for why this has happened. I'm interested in hearing from anyone who might have a bit of insight about what may have precipitated this change in the dynamics of Wikipedia content production.
14 August 2008 | ASC authors archive (Ed Chi)
In the last few months, a somewhat sticky issue around the use of pseudonym occurred on this blog. A writer for a newspaper called SF Weekly, was being attacked online for writing an article about editor wars, in which she focused on an Wikipedian named "Griot". We blogged about this article, and a bunch of both anonymous comments as well as pseudo-anonymous comments ensued. I was hesitating about stepping in to censor the comments, since our research very much believed in "social transparency". This means presenting all of the information for everyone to see, and letting the social process sort out the truth.
Yesterday, the Electronic Frontier Foundation helped Wikipedia win an important lawsuit, which "found that federal law immunizes the Wikimedia Foundation from liability for statements made by its users." An interesting question is whether this includes _all_ statements, or just some of it. What if someone pretends to be someone else (which happened in the comments section of our blog post)? If I obtained a handle (pseudonym) of BillGates or BarackObama, and pretended to be him, can I really say anything I want? What about libel, slander, and defamation?
How far does anonymity gets us in eliciting all of the material that needs to be said? And how damaging is it to have it as part of Wikipedia? What about the use of pseudonyms? These are interesting research questions. Giant experiments like Citizendium are trying to answer some of these questions. What about different degrees of pseudonym like non-disposable pseudonym vs. disposable pseudonym, or pseudonyms that resolve to a real person and a real name under court order? (Disposable pseudonyms are handles that you can throw away easily and simply obtain a new one; blogger.com here has this option in the commenting feature, for example.)
In the spirit of "social transparency", I believe that disposable pseudonym can be quite destructive to an online community. When accountability is not maintained, quality of the material is suspect. "Social transparency" means an increase in accountability. It's a form of a reputation system. Some researchers are suggesting that online accountable pseudonyms is the way to deal with these identity problems. SezWho, Disqus are examples of how to deal with these reputation and identity problems in the blog comment space. I think it is inevitable that we will need better reputation and identity systems on the web.
As linked above, a good discussion about pseudonyms can be found in:
An Offline Foundation for Online Accountable Pseudonyms. by Bryan Ford and Jacob Strauss. In the Proceedings of the First International Workshop on Social Network Systems (SocialNets 2008), Glasgow, Scotland, April 2008.
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