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Social Self Regulation in On-line Communities: The Case of Wikipedia

By Chris Goldspink

Abstract

<p>This paper documents the findings of research into the governance mechanisms within the distributed on-line community known as Wikipedia. It focuses in particular on the role of normative mechanisms in achieving social self-regulation. A brief history of the Wikipedia is provided. This concentrates on the debate about governance and also considers characteristics of the wiki technology which can be expected to influence governance processes. The empirical findings are then presented. These focus on how Wikipedians use linguistic cues to influence one another on a sample of discussion pages drawn from both controversial and featured articles. Through this analysis a tentative account is provided of the agent-level cognitive mechanisms which appear necessary to explain the apparent behavioural coordination. The findings are to be used as a foundation for the simulation of ‘normative’ behaviour. The account identifies some of the challenges that need to be addressed in such an attempt including a mismatch between the case findings and assumptions used in past attempts to simulate normative behaviour.</p

Year: 2009
OAI identifier: oai:epubs.surrey.ac.uk:1577

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