Thank you so much for your thoughts and comment, Han-Teng! I hope this means that you'll be participating next year :)

On Nov 24, 2012, at 3:57 PM, Han-Teng Liao wrote:

As a researcher I really like the first three items.

I am not sure about the third one. Is it designed to connect this
track with the Wikipedia Track, and/or in relation to other tracks?

This one? "What are the methodological challenges to studying Wikipedia? How are researchers engaging with innovative methodologies to solve some of these problems? How are other researchers using traditional or well-established methods to study Wikipedia?"

This *is* the Wikipedia Track :) So not sure what you mean when you say 'connect this track with the Wikipedia Track' (it is confusing, I know!) 

Mark and I thought it would be really useful to have people write and talk about their methods when studying Wikipedia - especially since it is such an interdisciplinary field. 

The fifth item seems a bit general.

Yes, I think Mark can pitch in here but we thought that it would be good to link Wikipedia research back to social theory because that is sometimes lacking in the research. But perhaps we should tighten it up a bit?

It might be helpful to have a look
at what the Wikimania is doing:

Yes, thank you! Interesting that they have an 'academic track' this year...

I would guess that since Wikipedia projects are increasingly organized
and expanded, various cultural and educational activities have been
happening (or about to happen) in a more organized way by various
actors, such as local chapters, partners of Cultural and Education
Outreach programs and GLAM – galleries, libraries, archives and
museums – institutions. It might be a good idea to frame this sort of
civic- or digital- literacy efforts, under/over a loftier UN-like
Human Development agenda (and more interestingly I believe, data!)

Sounds interesting but not sure I understand the suggestion? If you're suggesting we frame another research area/question around how institutions are interacting with Wikipedia, then I think that's a great idea!

Finally, just a gap I sense is worth covering. I see there are efforts
to use Wikipedia simply as big data for research in different domains,
treating it as big language corpus, sentiment databases, business
intelligence, visualization, etc. Sometimes such discipline-specific
research does not overlap much and/or does not show up in wikisym or
wikimania. Still, because of the fact they all approach Wikipedia for
data, it may be a good idea to grow a platform where researchers can
share various ways and experiences dealing with the big data

Yes, good idea! I'm thinking that we should fit this into the methods area....

I personally believe that a research ecology around the
Wikipedia the big data may be emerging, if the relevant data, tools
and crafts begin to grow around Wikipedia. I agree with Heather that
we may have too much big data analysis on the English version of
Wikipedia (wink wink), but it may be relevant to use this opportunity
to document, or even conduct ethnography work on various human efforts
trying to use various tools of "big data" to (mis-)read/use/exploit
Wikipedia differently.

I totally agree (as you might have guessed ;) 


han-teng liao

On Sat, Nov 24, 2012 at 3:34 AM, Heather Ford <> wrote:
Mark Graham and I are co-chairs of the Wikipedia Track at next year's WikiSym conference (now with added OpenSym!) and we're preparing the call for papers to go out Friday week. There has been such great discussion on this list in the past about what is currently missing from Wikipedia research that I thought I'd send our draft to you in case there are items that you think we might add? Our current suggestions below:

       • What do particular articles or groups or articles tell us about the norms, governance and architecture of Wikipedia and its impact on media, politics and the social sphere? How is information on Wikipedia being shaped by the materiality of Wikipedia infrastructure?

       • What is the impact of all/some of Wikipedia’s 211 language editions having on achieving the project’s goal to represent the “sum of all human knowledge”? Do smaller language editions follow the same development path as larger language editions? Can different representations in different languages tell us anything about cultural, national or regional differences?

       • What are the methodological challenges to studying Wikipedia? How are researchers engaging with innovative methodologies to solve some of these problems? How are other researchers using traditional or well-established methods to study Wikipedia?

       • How are wiki projects other than Wikipedia evolving? What are the benefits to studying other wiki projects and can comparisons and generalisations be made from our observations of these systems?

       • How does information contained in Wikipedia shape our understanding of broader social, economic, and political practices and processes? What theoretical frameworks in social, economic, legal and other relevant theoretical traditions can be applied to enrich the academic discourse on Wikipedia?

Also really looking forward to some great papers next year. We think that it's a really good thing that Wikipedia research has a separate track next year and we're hoping that it's going to really strengthen the quality of research. Looking forward to any suggestions you might have.


Heather Ford
Oxford Internet Institute Doctoral Programme
@hfordsa on Twitter

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Heather Ford 
Oxford Internet Institute Doctoral Programme 
@hfordsa on Twitter