I am thrilled to announce our speaker lineup for this month’s research showcase.  

Jeff Nickerson (Stevens Institute of Technology) will talk about remix and reuse in collaborative communities; Heather Ford (Oxford Internet Institute) will present an overview of the oral citations debate in the English Wikipedia.

The showcase will be recorded and publicly streamed at 11.30 PT on Thursday, April 30 (livestream link will follow). We’ll hold a discussion and take questions from remote attendees via the Wikimedia Research IRC channel (#wikimedia-research on freenode) as usual.

Looking forward to seeing you there.


Creating, remixing, and planning in open online communities
Jeff Nickerson
Paradoxically, users in remixing communities don’t remix very much. But an analysis of one remix community, Thingiverse, shows that those who actively remix end up producing work that is in turn more likely to remixed. What does this suggest about Wikipedia editing? Wikipedia allows more types of contribution, because creating and editing pages are done in a planning context: plans are discussed on particular loci, including project talk pages. Plans on project talk pages lead to both creation and editing; some editors specialize in making article changes and others, who tend to have more experience, focus on planning rather than acting. Contributions can happen at the level of the article and also at a series of meta levels. Some patterns of behavior – with respect to creating versus editing and acting versus planning – are likely to lead to more sustained engagement and to higher quality work. Experiments are proposed to test these conjectures.
Authority, power and culture on Wikipedia: The oral citations debate
Heather Ford
In 2011, Wikimedia Foundation Advisory Board member, Achal Prabhala was funded by the WMF to run a project called 'People are knowledge' or the Oral citations project. The goal of the project was to respond to the dearth of published material about topics of relevance to communities in the developing world and, although the majority of articles in languages other than English remain intact, the English editions of these articles have had their oral citations removed. I ask why this happened, what the policy implications are for oral citations generally, and what steps can be taken in the future to respond to the problem that this project (and more recent versions of it) set out to solve. This talk comes out of an ethnographic project in which I have interviewed some of the actors involved in the original oral citations project, including the majority of editors of the surr article that I trace in a chapter of my PhD[1].