Global perspective on Wikipedia research



This panel will provide a global perspective on Wikipedia research. The literature on Wikipedia is mostly anecdotal, and most of the research has focused attention primarily on the English Wikipedia examining the accuracy of entries compared to established online encyclopedias (Emigh & Herring, 2005; Giles, 2005; Rosenzweig, 2006) and analyzing the evolution of articles over time (Viégas, Wattenberg, & Dave, 2004; Viégas, Wattenberg, Kriss, & van Ham, 2007). Others have examined the quality of contribution (Stvilia et al., 2005). However, only a few studies have conducted comparative analyses across languages or analyzed Wikipedia in languages other than English (e.g., Pfeil, Zaphiris, & Ang, 2006). There is a need for international, cross-cultural understanding of Wikipedia. In an effort to address this gap, this panel will present a range of international and cross-cultural research of Wikipedia.

The presenters will contribute different perspectives of Wikipedia as an international sociocultural institution and will describe similarities and differences across various national/language versions of Wikipedia. Shachaf and Hara will present variation of norms and behaviors on talk pages in various languages of Wikipedia. Herring and Callahan will share results from a cross-language comparison of biographical entries that exhibit variations in content of entries in the English and Polish versions of Wikipedia and will explain how they are influenced by the culture and history of the US and Poland. Stvilia will discuss some of the commonalities and variability of quality models used by different Wikipedias, and the problems of cross-language quality measurement aggregation and reasoning. Matei will describe the social structuration and distribution of roles and efforts in wiki teaching environments. Solomon's comments, as a discussant, will focus on how these comparative insights provide evidence of the ways in which an evolving institution, such as Wikipedia, may be a force for supporting cultural identity (or not).