Session Preview: Wikipedia as a Global Phenomenon

The technical session Wikipedia as a Global Phenomenon will feature three presentations. See the schedule for details on when and where to go.

Hot off the Wiki: Dynamics, Practices, and Structures in Wikipedia’s Coverage of the Tōhoku Catastrophes

Brian Keegan, Darren Gergle, Noshir Contractor

Wikipedia editors are uniquely motivated to collaborate around current and breaking news events. However, the speed, urgency, and intensity with which these collaborations unfold also impose a substantial burden on editors’ abilities to effectively coordinate tasks and process information. We analyze the patterns of activity on Wikipedia following the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami to understand the dynamics of editor attention and participation, novel practices employed to collaborate on these articles, and the resulting coauthorship structures which emerge between editors and articles. Our findings have implications for supporting future coverage of breaking news articles, theorizing about motivations to participate in online community, and illuminating Wikipedia’s potential role in storing cultural memories of catastrophe.

Collective Memory Building in Wikipedia: The Case of North African Uprisings

Michela Ferron, Paolo Massa

Since December 2010, a series of protests and uprisings have shocked North African countries such as Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Yemen and more. In this paper, focusing mainly on the Egyptian revolution, we provide evidence of the intense edit activity occurred during these uprisings on the related Wikipedia pages. Thousands of people provided their contribution on the content pages and discussed improvements and disagreements on the associated talk pages as the traumatic events unfolded. We propose to interpret this phenomenon as a process of collective memory building and argue how on Wikipedia this can be studied empirically and quantitatively in real time. We explore and suggest possible directions for future research on collective memory formation and controversial events in Wikipedia.

Wikipedia World Map: Method and Application of Map-like Wiki Visualization

Cheong-Iao Pang, Robert P. Biuk-Aghai

Wiki are popular platforms for collaborative editing. In volunteer-driven wikis such as Wikipedia, which attracts millions of authors editing articles on a diverse range of topics, contributors’ editing activity results in certain semantic coverage of topic areas. Obtaining an understanding of a given wiki’s semantic coverage is not easy. To solve this problem, we have devised a method for visualizing a wiki in a way similar to a geographic map. We have applied our method to Wikipedia, and generated visualizations for several Wikipedia language editions. This paper presents our wiki visualization method and its application.

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