Category Archives: WikiSym 2011

Ted Ernst on Open Space

One of the traditions of WikiSym is “Open Space”. Our facilitator this year is Ted Ernst, a long-time member of the WikiSym community. Starting in 2005 as an attendee, Ted has subsequently served as an Open Space facilitator or co-facilitator in 2006, 2007, and 2008.

What does Ted do when he’s not at WikiSym? “You know how executives sometimes find that the business isn’t growing as fast as they want it to and they end up spending more and more time at work? What I do is coach executive teams on habits that both reliably grow and drastically reduce the amount of time required to manage the business.”

The following are some questions about Open Space and Ted’s answers.

Can you summarize the basic structure and philosophy of Open Space?

Open Space unleashes all the energy of a good coffee break, while providing enough structure to ensure that the right players are in each of those conversations.

What should participants expect when they arrive in Open Space?

Open Space is the self-organization we see in wiki, in real space. Expect to see a blank agenda wall to be filled up with topics convened by those present. Every topic people care about enough to convene a session on will get discussed/worked on by the others interested in that topic.

How does Open Space differ from the “birds of a feather” or “special interest group” gatherings common at other conferences?

Birds of a feather are great gatherings for these interest groups that are known in advance. Open space is best for those groups that haven’t been thought of before, or have never been convened. No one knows in advance which thoughts/topics/projects/ideas/etc. will have people excited on the day of the event, and Open Space allows us to roll with the energy we have in the moment.

How has Open Space changed in the time you’ve been facilitating?

Open Space is a minimal structure that allows self-organizing to happen and thus hasn’t changed in the time I’ve been facilitating. The growing edge for facilitators worldwide is looking for one more thing not to do. Everything that remains has withstood the test of time. Nothing significant has been added in 15-20 years.

What has surprised you most about being an Open Space facilitator?

It always works. No matter the looks on people’s faces, or how long it takes for the first session to be posted, every group I’ve ever experienced in Open Space does fill the wall with topics and great conversations happen.

What is your most striking memory from Open Space sessions?

At WikiSym 2008 in Porto, Portugal, Dan Ingalls from Sun Microsystems gave an invited talk on the Lively Kernel. Afterwards, he posted an Open Space topic to go deeper with anyone. He sat at a table one on one with a single WikiSym participant for 90 minutes. What a great opportunity for this “famous” person to spend that kind of time informally with someone truly interested (as opposed to all of the polite listening that can happen in an auditorium-type setting when that’s the only option), and what an opportunity for this one participant whose excitement was sparked by Dan’s talk!

Anything else you’d like to share?

Be prepared to be surprised!

Posters Preview

Last but not least, the posters session will feature the 15 posters listed below, along with 8 more from the doctoral consortium selectees, with authors available and excited to chat with you about their work. See the schedule for details on when and where to go.

  • Wikipedia Category Visualization Using Radial Layout. Robert P. Biuk-Aghai and Felix Hon Hou Cheang.
  • Wiki Refactoring: an Assisted Approach Based on Ballots. Oscar Diaz, Gorka Puente, and Cristóbal Arellano.
  • Visualizing Author Contribution Statistics in Wikis Using an Edit Significance Metric. Peter Kin-Fong Fong and Robert P. Biuk-Aghai.
  • The Center for Open Learning and Teaching. Pete Forsyth and Robert E. Cummings.
  • “G1: Patent nonsense”: Participation and Outcomes in Wikipedia’s Article Deletion Processes. R. Stuart Geiger and Heather Ford.
  • Wiki Architectures as Social Translucence Enablers. Stephanie Gokhman, David Mcdonald, and Mark Zachry.
  • Failures of Social Production: Evidence from Wikipedia. Andreea Gorbatai.
  • TWiki: A collaboration tool for the Large Hadron Collider. Peter Jones and Nils Hoimyr.
  • A Scourge to the Pillar of Neutrality: A WikiProject Fighting Systemic Bias. Randall Livingstone.
  • Places on the Map and in the Cloud: Representations of Locality and Geography in Wikipedia. Randall Livingstone.
  • Exploring Linguistic Points of View of Wikipedia. Paolo Massa and Federico Scrinzi.
  • Personality Traits, Feedback Mechanisms and their Impact on Motivation to Contribute to Wikis in Higher Education. Athanasios Mazarakis and Clemens Van Dinther.
  • CoSyne: a Framework for Multilingual Content Synchronization of Wikis. Christof Monz, Vivi Nastase, Matteo Negri, Angela Fahrni, Yashar Mehdad, and Michael Strube.
  • Incentivizing the ASL-STEM Forum. Kyle Rector, Richard Ladner, and Michelle Shepardson.
  • Wiki as Business Application Platform: The MES Showcase. Christoph Sauer.

Demos Preview

The demos session will feature four awesome demonstrations. See the schedule for details on when and where to go.

Wikiotics: The Interactive Language Instruction Wiki

Ian Sullivan, James R. Garrison, Matthew Curinga

While most existing wiki systems are geared toward editing text documents, we have built Wikiotics to enable the collaborative creation of interactive multimedia materials most needed in language instruction. In our demonstration, we will show several types of interactive lessons that can be created from simple multimedia elements. We will also show the lesson creation/editing interfaces and how our smart phone app can simplify the process of capturing local media and integrating that new media into existing lessons.

PukiWiki-Java Connector, a Simple API for Saving Data of Java Programs on a Wiki

Takashi Yamanoue, Kentaro Oda, Koichi Shimozono

Experimental implementation of SDK for Java Programs, PukiWiki-Java Connector, which makes an illusion that wiki pages as persistent data store, is shown. A Java program of them can be running on a wiki page and it can save its data on the page. The Java program consists of PukiWiki which is a popular wiki in Japan, the plug-in which starts up Java Applets. A Java Applet with default access privilege cannot store its data at the local host. We have constructed the API for the applets to ease data persistent at a remote host. We also combined the API and the wiki system by introducing a wiki plugin and tags for starting up Java Applets. Applet generated persistent data resides in wiki texts side by side. We have successfully ported useful programs such as a simple text editor, a simple music editor, a simple draw program and programming environments in a PukiWiki system using this connector.

Collaborative Video Editing for Wikipedia

Michael Dale

Collaborative video for Wikipedia faces several challenges from social and community adoption to technology limitations. This presentation explores how each of these problems are being addressed. The presentation focuses on building a collaborative educational video community and how the html5 technology platform has evolved to better support rich media applications such as HTML5 video editing in the browser and standardization around the royalty free WebM video format. Finally we propose a in-browser collaborative video sequencer to enable broad participation in video editing within Wikimedia projects.

Wiki4EAM – Using Hybrid Wikis for Enterprise Architecture Management

Florian Matthes, Christian Neubert

Enterprise architecture management (EAM) is a challenging task, modern enterprises have to face. This task is often addressed via heavy-weight and expensive EAM tools to collect, structure, visualize and analyze architectural information. A major problem in EAM is the mismatch between the existing unstructured information sources and the rigid information structures and collaboration mechanisms provided by today’s EAM tools.

To address this mismatch, researchers at Technische Universität München established in 2010 a community of experienced enterprise architects from 25 large German enterprises to pursue a different, wiki-based approach to EAM. The idea is to start with existing unstructured information sources captured as wiki pages (e.g., derived from Office documents) and then to incrementally and collaboratively enrich the wiki pages with attributes, types and integrity rules as needed for architecture modeling, visualization and analysis.

An off-the shelf commercial enterprise wiki (Tricia by infoAsset AG) provides the required incremental information structuring capabilities as so-called Hybrid Wikis. Customizable in-browser visualizations are provided by the System Cartography Tool developed at Technische Universität München.

Keynote Preview: Ed Chi

The closing keynote at WikiSym 2011 will be delivered by Dr. Ed Chi, a staff research scientist at Google and a well-known figure in the HCI community, with over 80 research publications.

Model-Driven Research in Social Computing

Research in Augmented Social Cognition is aimed at enhancing the ability of a group of people to remember, think, and reason. Our approach to creating this augmentation or enhancement is primarily model-driven. Our system developments are informed by models such as information scent, sensemaking, information theory, probabilistic models, and more recently, evolutionary dynamic models. These models have been used to understand a wide variety of user behaviors, from individuals interacting with social bookmark search in Delicious and to groups of people working on articles in Wikipedia. These models range in complexity from a simple set of assumptions to complex equations describing human and group behaviors.

By studying online social systems such as Google Plus, Twitter, Delicious, and Wikipedia, we further our understanding of how knowledge is constructed in a social context. In this talk, I will illustrate how a model-driven approach could help illuminate the path forward for research in social computing and community knowledge building.

We’ll be posting similar previews of the other two keynotes shortly.

Note: Dr. Chi replaces Bernardo Huberman in the closing keynote slot.

Doctoral Consortium Preview

The WikiSym 2011 Doctoral Symposium will be held as a pre-conference event on October 2nd, 2011 on the campus of Stanford University. Accepted PhD students have been invited to present their dissertation work and participate in discussions and feedback sessions with three faculty mentors:

  • Loren Terveen, University of Minnesota
  • Coye Cheshire, University of California at Berkeley
  • Robert Biuk-Aghai, University of Macau

Students will also present their work as a poster during the conference, to encourage more feedback and discussions with the WikiSym research community.

Doctoral students studying any aspect of open collaboration were invited to apply for a position in the symposium. Applications were reviewed by the panel of faculty mentors and accepted students received travel support and conference registration courtesy of the National Science Foundation.

Eight students were accepted to participate. Their names, affiliations, and research titles are as follows.

  • Daniel Araya, University of Illinois. Learning and Education in an Age of Collective Intelligence
  • Adam Fish, UCLA. Liberalism & Neoliberalism in Internet & Television Convergence
  • Helge Hemmer, University of Wuppertal. Bridging the Gap between Research Lab, Student Experiments and Business Reality
  • Mohammad Hossein Jarrahi, Syracuse University. Social Networking Technologies and Information Knowledge Sharing in Organizations
  • Brian Keegan, Northwestern University. Breaking News on Wikipedia: Dynamics, Structures, and Practices of High-Tempo Collaboration
  • Katherine Panciera, University of Minnesota. The When and Why of User Participation
  • Heather Willever-Farr, Drexel University. Who Are We? Family History Peer Production on the Web
  • Shun Ye, University of Maryland. Truck, Barter, and Exchange: An Empirical Investigation of P2P Barter Markets

WikiViz 2011 visualization contest winner

In partnership with the Wikimedia Foundation, we are pleased to announce the winners of WikiViz 2011, a visualization contest focused on exploring how Wikipedia, in concert with other open data sources, has made the world a better place. The contest solicited “the most effective, compelling, and creative data-driven visualizations of how Wikipedia impacted the world with its content, culture, and open collaboration model” (from the WMF’s announcement).

The winner is: Jen Lowe of Datatelling with “A Thousand Fibers Connect Us — Wikipedia’s Global Reach”. Click the title to explore the Jen’s visualization.

Congratulations to Jen! And thanks to our jury: Moritz Stefaner of Well Formed Data, Kim Rees of Periscopic, Andrew Vande Moere of KU Leuven and Information Aesthetics, Erick Zachte of WMF, and Gregorio Convertino of PARC.

Session Preview: Sustaining Open Collaboration

The technical session Sustaining Open Collaboration will feature three presentations. See the schedule for details on when and where to go.

Don’t Bite the Newbies: How Reverts Affect the Quantity and Quality of Wikipedia Work

Aaron Halfaker, Aniket Kittur, John Riedl

Reverts are important to maintaining the quality of Wikipedia. They fix mistakes, repair vandalism, and help enforce policy. However, reverts can also be damaging, especially to the aspiring editor whose work they destroy. In this research we analyze 400,000 Wikipedia revisions to understand the effect that reverts had on editors. We seek to understand the extent to which they demotivate users, reducing the workforce of contributors, versus the extent to which they help users improve as encyclopedia editors. Overall we find that reverts are powerfully demotivating, but that their net influence is that more quality work is done in Wikipedia as a result of reverts than is lost by chasing editors away. However, we identify key conditions – most specifically new editors being reverted by much more experienced editors – under which reverts are particularly damaging. We propose that reducing the damage from reverts might be one effective path for Wikipedia to solve the newcomer retention problem.

Mentoring in Wikipedia: A Clash of Cultures

David R. Musicant, Yuqing Ren, James A. Johnson, John Riedl

The continuous success of Wikipedia depends upon its capability to recruit and engage new editors, especially those with new knowledge and perspectives. Yet Wikipedia over the years has become a complicated bureaucracy that may be difficult for newcomers to navigate. Mentoring is a practice that has been widely used in offline organizations to help new members adjust to their roles. In this paper, we draw insights from the offline mentoring literature to analyze mentoring practices in Wikipedia and how they influence editor behaviors. Our quantitative analysis of the Adopt-a-user program shows mixed success of the program. Communication between adopters and adoptees is correlated with the amount of article editing done by adoptees shortly after adoption. Our qualitative analysis of the communication between adopters and adoptees suggests that several key functions of mentoring are missing or not fulfilled consistently. Most adopters focus on establishing their legitimacy rather than acting proactively to guide, protect, and support the long-term growth of adoptees. We conclude with recommendations of how Wikipedia mentoring programs can evolve to take advantage of offline best practices.

“How Should I Go from __ to __ Without Getting Killed?” Motivation and Benefits in Open Collaboration

Katherine Panciera, Mikhil Masli, Loren Terveen

Many people rely on open collaboration projects to run their computer (Linux), browse the web (Mozilla Firefox), and get information (Wikipedia). While these projects are successful, many such efforts suffer from lack of participation. Understanding what motivates users to participate and the benefits they perceive from their participation can help address this problem. We examined these issues through a survey of contributors and information consumers in the Cyclopath geographic wiki. We analyzed subject responses to identify a number of key motives and perceived benefits. Based on these results, we articulate several general techniques to encourage more and new forms of participation in open collaboration communities. Some of these techniques have the potential to engage information consumers more deeply and productively in the life of open collaboration communities.

Best Paper winners for WikiSym 2011

Just in time for the International Day of Being Awesome, we are pleased to announce the Best Paper awards for WikiSym 2011.

One long paper and one short paper have been selected on the basis of outstanding reviews and evaluation by our awards committee. By coincidence only, both papers address similar themes.

The Best Full Paper is:

WP:Clubhouse? An Exploration of Wikipedia’s Gender Imbalance
Shyong (Tony) K. Lam, Anuradha Uduwage, Zhenhua Dong, Shilad Sen, David R. Musicant, Loren Terveen, John Riedl

The Best Short Paper is:

Gender Differences in Wikipedia Editing
Judd Antin, Raymond Yee, Coye Cheshire and Oded Nov

Congratulations to the winners! And thanks to our selection committee members: Kevin Crowston, Andreea Gorbatai, Amy Bruckman, and Nicolas Jullien.

Session Preview: Wikis in the Workplace

The technical session Wikis in the Workplace will feature three presentations. See the schedule for details on when and where to go.

The Success of Corporate Wiki Systems: An End User Perspective

Zeeshan Ahmed Bhatti, Serge Baile, Hina Mahboob Yasin

With the ever increasing use of Web 2.0 sites on the internet, the use of Web 2.0 based tools is now employed by organizations across the globe. One of the most widely used Web 2.0 tools in organizations is wiki technology, particularly in project management. It is important for organizations to measure the success of their wiki system implementation. With the advent of new technologies in the market and their deployment by the firms, it is necessary to investigate how they can help organizations execute processes in a better way. In this paper we present a theoretical model for the measurement of corporate wikis’ success from the end-user’s perspective based on the theoretical foundation of DeLone & McLean’s IS success model. We extend the model by incorporating contextual factors with respect to wiki technology in a project management task. This study intends to help firms to understand in a better way, how they can use wikis to achieve an efficient, effective and improved end-user performance. This would also be helpful for companies engaged in wiki development business to improve their products keeping in view the perceptions of wiki end-users.

ICKEwiki: Requirements and Concepts for an Enterprise Wiki for SMEs

Stefan Voigt, Frank Fuchs-Kittowski, Detlef Hüttemann, Michael Klafft, Andreas Gohr

Extensive empirical studies of the use of Web 2.0 applications in small and medium-sized enterprises, together with requirements analyses among pilot users, served as the basis to compile requirements for a wiki knowledge and collaboration platform. This experience report discusses the requirements and their implementation in a new wiki engine (ICKEwiki). Initial field experiences with the ICKEwiki implemented among three pilot users are analyzed and potentials for the use and refinement of the platform are presented.

Wiki Scaffolding: Helping Organizations to Set Up Wikis

Oscar Díaz, Gorka Puente

Organizational wikis are framed by an existing organization. This makes these wikis be especially vigilant upon (1) facilitating the alignment of the wiki with organizational practices, (2) engaging management or (3), promoting employees’ participation. To this end, we advocate for the use of “wiki scaffoldings”. A wiki scaffolding is a wiki installation that is provided at the onset, before any contribution is made. It aims to frame wiki contribution along the concerns already known in the hosting organization in terms of glossaries, schedules, organigrams and the like. Thus, wiki contributions do not start from scratch but within a known setting. This paper introduces a language to capture wiki scaffolding in terms of FreeMind’s mind maps. These maps can later be mapped into wiki installations in MediaWiki. The paper seeks to validate the approach in a twofold manner. Firstly, by providing literature quotes that suggest the need for scaffolding. Secondly, by providing scaffolding examples for wikis reported in the literature. The findings suggest that wiki scaffolding can be useful to smoothly align wiki activity along the practices of the hosting organization from the onset.

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.