So, after some talks and research, the topic of my bachelor thesis has been narrowed down a little bit. Together with Fabian Flöck I will look into the mechanisms of collaborative knowledge production on the web, specifically on Wikipedia. Collaborative online plattforms with masses of contributors offer many new phenomena to look at, which has never before been accessible for researchers. Questions like: Who defines what is right? By which criteria will a contribution be accepted or reverted? How does the organization of knowledge and their contributors evolve over time? Are there people, who “own” knowledge? Why do people agree or disagree? How do disputes evolve? Which criteria leads to better quality of the article?
How knowledge appears, evolves and gets communicated are questions coming deeply from my philosophical hassle about what truth is. Especially the last year, as part of my philosophical courses I took at the IFZ in Graz (Einführung in die Technikphilosophie, Technik – Ethik – Politik), these question reflamed and matured through engaging with thoughts from Heidegger, Latour and Nietzsche.
The specific questioning is of course still open, but it will be something around how do editors in Wikipedia work more or less good together to write encyclopedia articles. Looking for specific patterns (they are everywhere¹) on the evolution of an article and the contributions of editors behind it.
Lots of questions now in my head. So next I will try to dive a little bit into Wikpedia and existing literature about it to get an understanding of actual questions and the state of research.
Author: Herbert Wetterauer
License: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported