Category Archives: WikiSym 2010

WikiSym 2010 Proceedings Available

As you may know, at the same time WikiSym 2010 was taking place in the beautiful city of Gdańsk (Poland), last July, the WikiSym 2010 Proceedings were made available in the ACM Digital Library.

We want to encourage open access to research information, so like in prior years we have uploaded all papers and submissions presented at WikiSym 2010 to the WikiSym 2010 wiki. They are accessible on the Proceedings page, as a ZIP file with the whole collection. Alternatively, you can find and download any individual submission from the list.

We hope this effort will help to disseminate the valuable research contributions presented at WikiSym. At the same time,  we aim to leverage global awareness about the need to support the widespread circulation of research works and findings in Computer Science.

Five Years of Open Space at WikiSym

WikiSym, as you may know, is about collaboration — open collaboration, in which people come together on equal footing (egalitarian), where they are valued for their contributions (meritocratic) and where they come not only to listen but to contribute and help form the conference (self-organizing). A wiki specifically is a technology that enables such collaboration, but of course there are other technologies like micro-blogging, traditional blogs, and forums. WikiSym is home to the research and practice of all of these technologies, their applications, and social implications.

One such “technology” is open space, a meeting facilitation technique. It is officially called open space technology to distinguish it from open space preserves, which are about wildland. Open space helps people like event organizers and participants to run an egalitarian, meritocratic, and self-organizing process. Participants are pulled into creating the event, bringing their problems and their expertise to the table. Open space itself then is about the techniques that help participants form a joint agenda, negotiate and allocate time-slots, and then meet and discuss their issues until it is time to move on to the next topic and/or group.

At WikiSym, we have been using open space since 2006, after we had first learned about it (and its wiki-ness) in 2005 (the first WikiSym). Open Space is strong at WikiSym and with WikiSym 2010 we just passed the 5-year anniversary of open space at WikiSym. The symposium organizers, in the run-up to the event, create the traditional program of invited talks and peer-reviewed research and practice talks, as well as a host of other events. They are placed on to the agenda (schedule) and distributed evenly. When WikiSym starts, however, after Open Space’s opening circle participants enhance and extend the agenda with their own topics. Academics may view Open Space as a well-organized form of BoF (birds-of-a-feather) sessions, but it is much more than that.

The beauty of Open Space is that it gives everyone a voice and the appropriate time and space to have it heard in a conversation. It is supported by well-defined best practices that have been developed in Open Space’s more than 25 years of history. Below, you can find some visual impressions from open space at WikiSym.

Panel at WikiSym 2005 with Ward Cunningham (creator of wikis), Jimmy (co-founder of Wikipedia), Ross Mayfield (co-founder of Socialtext), Sunir Shah, and more — no open space yet! (photo courtesy of Raymond King, taken from Flickr)

The Cybernetic Roadmap at WikiSym 2005 — participants struggeling to create open space where we hadn’t yet planned for it (photo courtesy of Raymond King, taken from Flickr)

Open Space Panorama at WikiSym 2006
(photo courtesy of Peter Thoeny)

Open Space at WikiSym 2006
(photo courtesy of Peter Thoeny)

Open Space session at WikiSym 2010
(photo courtesy of Eugene E. Kim, taken from Flickr)

The three Open Space facilitators who have worked with us in the past are Gerard Muller, Ted Ernst, and Karolina Iwa. We have been very happy with them and the only reason why we are switching facilitators is to accommodate schedules and locations as WikiSym is moving around the world.

Invited Speakers: WikiSym 2010

As you might expect, content for WikiSym 2010 is maintained on our wiki, please check it for an overview of the program, for updates and to participate in planning and suggestions for open space.

In the meantime, in case you haven’t read it already, here’s our Invited+speakers

Cliff Lampe

“The Machine in the Ghost: a Socio-Technical Systems Approach to User-Generated Content Research”


Both practice and research in user-generated content has entered a period of rapid growth. Fields like Computer Science, Information Science, Communication, Sociology, Psychology and Business have all been addressing the big questions of this type of distributed collaboration, often working in their disciplines unaware of the work done in others. The social scientists tend to look at participation in these sites from the perspective of traditional social theories, and underplay the importance of technical features by dismissing it as “technological determinism”. Engineers and computer scientists tend to build new systems and explain current ones without the benefits of theories that create a persistent epistemology across studies or systems. I’ll argue for a new approach to understanding these systems, combining the strengths of social and technical approaches to create a new epistemology of socio-technical systems.


Cliff Lampe is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Telecommunication, Information Studies and Media at Michigan State University. He received his PhD in 2006 from the University of Michigan’s School of Information.

Cliff Lampe
Cliff Lampe

Cliff’s research involves the intersection of social and technical systems. This has included studies of moderation and new user socialization in Slashdot, user lifecycles in, and the role of motivation in increasing user participation in other sites. Additionally, he has studied how Facebook can increase the generation
of social capital in college aged populations, and the role of social network sites in organizational contexts. Cliff’s work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, USDA, Great Lakes Protection Fund, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, State of Michigan and Kellogg Foundation. He is the recipient of the 2010 MSU Teacher-Scholar Award.

Cliff’s homepage is:

Andrew Lih

“What Hath Wikipedia Wrought?”


Following on his book “The Wikipedia Revolution: How a bunch of nobodies created the world’s greatest encyclopedia,” Andrew Lih describes how Wikipedia’s success in creating peer-produced knowledge has influenced the news industry and models of contemporary journalism.

With today’s networked news audience involved with distributed data gathering, records processing, and field reporting via mobile devices, Lih provides a model for understanding the new collaborative ecosystem that has developed around information creation and curation.

Wikipedia has inspired many other projects from geographical mapping (Openstreetmaps) to fictional narratives (Lostpedia), while some of its most valuable community practices go relatively unnoticed. Its editing community, steeped in a culture of enforcing accurate citations and reliable sources, provides a model for real-time fact checking of news stories, a task too often neglected by mainstream media outlets. We examine how a Wikifactcheck project might further this idea.

Finally, we take an honest look at the challenges for Wikipedia’s future. Recent statistics show declining participation in editing and slower article production across the major Wikipedia language editions. With so little experience in studying socio-technical systems in creating persistent content, what major questions should researchers be asking? What are the “grand challenges” facing the project and possible scenarios for the future?


Andrew Lih is a new media researcher, consultant and technology author. He is an associate professor of journalism and director of new media at the University of Southern California Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism. He is also the author of The Wikipedia Revolution, a book that examines the early history of Wikipedia’s development. Lih is a long-time Wikipedia participant and commentator, and was one of the first academics to incorporate Wikipedia editing into the classroom.

Andrew Lih
Andrew Lih

From 1995 to 2000, Lih created the new media program at the Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism where he served as adjunct professor and director of technology for their Center for New Media. Lih has written about internet development in China, new media and journalism, and collaborative technologies for publications including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and CNN International.

Andrew’s website is

Photo by Joi Ito, CC-By

WikiSym Program Announced

We announced the WikiSym program, please check it out!

WikiSym 2010: Where great minds collide!

Now in its sixth year, WikiSym, the International Symposium on Wikis and Open Collaboration, reliably draws together many of the diverse crowds that comprise the Wiki ecosystem. Its location alternates between North America and Europe; this year’s WikiSym is in the Polish city of Gdańsk, situated on the southern edge of the Baltic Sea.

WikiSym is the only international conference that focuses exclusively on wikis and open collaboration. WikiSym’s core audience has always been academics, but the Symposium’s reach extends to all groups using and interested in wikis, including consulting firms, corporate managers responsible for deployments, and not-for-profits. Presentations at WikiSym include research into community dynamics of wikis and online collaborative projects, demos  of wiki technologies, in-depth workshops, and discussions about the future of wikis. WikiSym is very inclusive and vendor-neutral, and has become an fertile venue for insight and opportunity:

  • Academics share their research and prototypes;
  • Different wiki platforms openly share customer issues, plans, techniques and technologies;
  • Plugin developers share with academics their experiences of taking an idea to market;
  • Practitioners explain real-life challenges of getting adoption in their organizations;
  • Consultants help managers responsible for deployments learn how to seed adoption and frame requests for assistance;
  • Students finishing up their PhDs learn from consultants how to provide consulting services;
  • Friendships, business relationships and alliances form across the ecosystem.

For me, the hallmarks of a good conference are the insights I take away, great networking contacts, and knowing relevant next steps on which I can take immediate action. In WikiSym’s Open Space sessions, participants are systematically encouraged to reflect on and distill their conference hallway conversations, this brings partial ideas to fruition.

The WikiSym community is a major draw in itself. We are a friendly, intelligent crowd who often only sees each other at the annual WikiSyms, even though some of us continuously collaborate online on specific projects. Many open-source projects use WikiSym as a natural venue to bring together their teams.

WikiSym is an ACM-sponsored conference and has frequently co-located with OOPSLA (the Object Oriented Computing Science Research conference). This year, however, we partner with Wikimania, the International Conference of the Wikimedia Foundation, which attracts Wikimedia and Wikipedia contributors and leaders from around the world. So, if you’ve ever thought about going to either conference, here’s your chance to go to both!

WikiSym runs July 7-9, and Wikimania is July 9-11th. Visit for more information.

Save the Date: WikiSym 2010

I am pleased to announce that WikiSym 2010: The International Symposium on Wikis and Open Collaboration will be held July 7, 8 and 9, 2010 in Gdańsk, Poland. The conference will be co-located with Wikimania 2010, the sixth annual Wikimedia Foundation conference, which will be held on July 9, 10, and 11 in Gdańsk.

Important dates:

  • March 7 — deadline for research paper submissions
  • March 21 — deadline for demonstration, poster, panel and workshop submissions
  • July 7,8,9 — WikiSym

WikiSym welcomes papers about any aspect of wikis, and we are also interested in research that investigates open collaboration projects and software. Now in its sixth year, WikiSym aims to continue presenting high-quality research into wiki software and processes, while also widening its scope to include research into how open collaboration works. WikiSym also provides a unique venue for wiki practitioners to meet and network along with wiki researchers. And this year, WikiSym will be just before Wikimania, which is a community conference for contributors and community members of the Wikimedia projects (including Wikipedia). Wikimania provides an intensive, international venue for discussing the hands-on aspects of how the world’s largest wikis work, and is hosted this year by members of the Polish Wikimedia community.

The symposium chair for WikiSym 2010 is Phoebe Ayers (UC Davis); the Program Chair is Felipe Ortega (Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Spain).

Our formal Call for Papers and more information about the venue, registration etc. will be released soon. Stay tuned!