Title: University students in the educational field and Wikipedia vandalism retention
Authors: Angel Obregon Sierra, Wikimedia Spain, and Jorge Oceja, University of Cantabria
Abstract: Wikipedia is an online, open and free encyclopaedia edited collaboratively. Today it is the fifth most visited website and the most used online encyclopaedia. Volunteer editors from around the world can edit its content, allowing users to intentionally provide incorrect information. This research aims to find the extent to which a particular group of university students vandalize Wikipedia, while also exploring their perceptions of vandalism. Data is obtained from a questionnaire sent to university students in educational psychology, early and primary childhood education, and related master’s programs, as well as a focus group involving a sample of these students and interviews with editors in charge of maintaining Wikipedia. Results show that only a small percentage of students do in fact vandalize. In line with the implicit theories approach, it seems that students and editors have some preconceived ideas (boredom, amusement, or ideological motivations) about what pushes individuals to vandalize.