<CPOV> [Fwd: RE: Community run or royal decree?]

Juliana Brunello juliana at networkcultures.org
Tue May 4 18:21:05 CEST 2010

---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------
Subject: RE: <CPOV> Community run or royal decree?
From:    T.Koenig at surrey.ac.uk
Date:    Tue, May 4, 2010 6:11 pm
To:      cpov-bounces at listcultures.org

> An interview with only 11 "chosen" individuals can barely testify to
> the
> fact that WP is more and more decentralized. Maybe this research should
> contain also interviews with individuals like Mr. Kohs in order to
> analyze
> both sides.

I don't think the fact that there were only 11 interviews (from the table
in the document, it's not clear, if there were not additional interviews),
is the most problematic point. Instead, the fact that almost all
interviewees came from the very people, who are firmly rooted in the
formal power structure, makes this a problematic study.

The studies sets out by claiming:

"In order to understand what regulates behavior in Wikipedia, we
interviewed individuals who had experienced those regulating influences
first hand."

But in fact they interviewed those people, who had exercised, not
experienced "regulating influences". It's like, as if you would have
interviewed in 1960 people from the Soviet nomenclatura, and then
concluded that a "decentralization" process is taking place. It's as banal
as it is obvious that with the growing complexity of Wikipedia, there is
some "decentralization" in the sense that there is differentiation of the
social system, but at the same time, hierarchies have become extremely
rigid, which is bad, if you follow either Luhmann, or Habermas, or even
Popper for that matter. /Digital Maoism/ is becomes more and more an
appropriate metaphor for the Wikipedia system, I think.

It's also curious, how uncritically the authors adopt Wikipedia lingo,
they speak of "consensus", when in fact they are dealing with hegemony in
sociological terms.


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