Understanding how policymaking and knowledge is produced on Wikipedia is a fascinating topic, which I had the privilege of studying over the past several years in collaboration with Caius Dobrescu and with some of my graduate students. In a series of papers, presented at several conferences or published on this site, we proposed that one of the most important Wikipedia policies, the “neutral point of view “ (NPOV), is appropriated and interpreted in a subjective way by the participants in the Wikipedia project. By analyzing a set of constitutive documents for the Wikipedian universe, including discussion about NPOV (talk pages), we concluded that ambiguity is at the heart of the policy process on Wikipedia. The overarching conclusion is that ambiguity on Wikipedia is not extraneous, but a central ingredient of this wiki project’s policy making. Ambiguity naturally develops from the pluralist and non-hierarchic values of the culture that brought Wikipedia to life, and this conclusion requires that we reconsider the nature of “neutrality” practiced on Wikipedia.
A first paper that discussed this problem was “Ambiguity and conflict in the Wikipedian knowledge production system,” which in an early version was presented at the International Communication Association Annual Conference in May 2006, in Dresden. In 2009-2010, in collaboration with Caius Dobrescu I conducted more research and we published what is to be considered the final product of our labor:
The older version of the paper, which has been cited by a number of colleagues (see below for links), can be provided upon request, but we would prefer you to use the latest version, linked above. In case your library cannot not provide a copy of the paper, please do not hesitate to contact us. Use the comment box at the bottom of the page to do so…
Shortcut to papers that cite our work
Specific articles that cite our research