<CPOV> RS: On Transparency

Fuster, Mayo Mayo.Fuster at EUI.eu
Wed Jun 2 15:16:16 CEST 2010

Hello everybody!

I hope that you are happy and fine!

Thank you Juliana for your post in the e-list. 

>I have gathered some of my thoughts on the subject.
>Foremost, what I find very important to keep in mind is that “active and
>organized minorities often prevail over the uncoordinated majority of
>others”. Transparency is not so transparent after all

I think this is related to two issues: the generation of groups inside big processes and the 90/9/1 distribution of participation.

The generation of groups of affinity is large processes is not characteristic only of Wikipedia, but it is common in social movements organizing for example. In my view in some degree is logical and also in some degree is a sign of vitality of the processes. Also in moments of congregation such as the Wikipedia CPOV conference you could notice start to emerge affinities around common interest or common views. To me the problem came when it is ignore its existence and it is not integrated in the Governance of collective processes and regulate not only on individual behavier, but also groups inside collective processes.
In this regard, for example, in last Wikimania (main annual meeting point of Wikipedians) there was a panel which address the issue on how to adapt the Arbitrarian Committe funtioning in conflict resolution to the dynamic of clusters against clusters conflicts. 

Then on the issue of 1/9/90 again this is not something characteristic only of Wikipedia, but widely spread in online groups and also in social movements organizing. For example in this e-list there is a small part of people who is contributing a lot and a large part does not. Again, I think the issue is to address it and not ignore it. Then to think what is the part of it that is linked to inequalities (such as how the 1/9/90 is reproducing inequalities in resources distribution in society: people with larger resources on time, skills, connectivity, etc will be able to contribute more which people without resources be limited). This needs to be consider and adapt the methodologies in order to not reproduce this sources of unequal participation. But there are also other reasons which could explain 1/9/90 distribution of participation which are not necessarily a sign of inequality. If you are interested, in this paper I reviewed the literature on 1/9/90 in online communities and try to explain which organizational characteristics of this are could explain the 1/9/90 distribution of participation: http://politicsofopensource.jitp.net/sites/politicsofopensource.jitp.net/files/papers/Fuster_1.pdf

Have a nice day! Mayo

«·´`·.(*·.¸(`·.¸ ¸.·´)¸.·*).·´`·»
«·´¨*·¸¸« Mayo Fuster Morell ».¸.·*¨`·»
«·´`·.(¸.·´(¸.·* *·.¸)`·.¸).·´`·»

Research Digital Commons Governance: http://www.onlinecreation.info
European University Institute - Phd Candidate
School of information Berkeley Visiting researcher
Phone Italy: 0039-3345440747 or 0039-0558409982
Phone Spanish State: 0034-648877748
E-mail: mayo.fuster at eui.eu
Skype: mayoneti
Identi.ca: Mayo
Postal address: Badia Fiesolana - Via dei Roccettini 9, I-50014 San Domenico di Fiesole (FI) - Italy 
Fax [+39] 055 4685 201

-----Missatge original-----
De: cpov-bounces at listcultures.org en nom de Juliana Brunello
Enviat el: dc. 02/06/2010 11:43
Per a: cpov at listcultures.org
Tema: <CPOV> On Transparency
I have recently read a good article about governance in Wikipedia
exemplified by the deletionists vs. inclusionists affaire, which I

I have gathered some of my thoughts on the subject.
Foremost, what I find very important to keep in mind is that "active and
organized minorities often prevail over the uncoordinated majority of
others". Transparency is not so transparent after all.

I believe this is very harmful in a number of ways:
First, people who join the project enter with a false idea and are later
demotivated, which leads to less contributions, not just as a whole, but
especially from people with different interests and opinions. This, I
believe, will end up leading to a lack of diversity and a more "POV"

Secondly, choosing which articles are worthy or not to be included in WP
generates another unbalance. I am not talking about self-promotion or
vandalism cases, but topics that are not popular or "obscure", but are
nevertheless important for a minority. Should just the majority benefit
from WP?

Third, by choosing articles based on their "notability", together with the
fact that these decisions might be run by an organized minority, won't the
effect be that readers of WP will only get the information this minority
thinks is notable, and not "the sum of all knowledge"? Can anyone truly
decide what is notable to belong to this "sum" or not and still be
neutral? Or maybe should the "sum of all knowledge" be called the "sum of
what we think is notable knowledge"?

Lastly, at least for now, I would like to point out to the harmful effect
it has on the world due to its large influence. Is our knowledge going to
be, this way, standardized?

Looking forward to hearing your opinions.

All the best,

Institute of Network Cultures
HvA Interactive Media
t: +31 (0)20 595 18 66
f: +31 (0)20 595 18 40

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