Wikipedian identity stronger than U.S. political partisanship, says study

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Wikipedian identity stronger than U.S. political partisanship, says study

Mark
Somewhat interesting new journal article:
* http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0060584

The researchers found that political discussions among openly
Wikipedians who declare a U.S. party affinity on their user pages don't
follow some of the common patterns observed in other online communities.
For example, researchers have documented that among bloggers, those
affiliated with the same party tend to discuss amongst each other much
more commonly (what they gloss as " cyberbalkanization"); and they also
reference the "other side's" in a way that's much more likely to be
argumentative, dismissive, and/or negative. But on Wikipedia neither
appears to be true: those who declare a U.S. party affiliation don't
seem to either segregate into more discussion with others on "their
side", or to have a clear pattern of more acrimonious interactions with
the "other" side than with "theirs".

Taken for whatever it's worth, of course. One hypothesis is the one the
paper offers, that our Wikipedian community identity trumps partisan
affiliation when it comes to guiding on-wiki interaction patterns. A
more skeptical hypothesis could be that the D/R split is actually,
unlike in the U.S. political blogosphere, not one of the more vicious
ones among Wikipedians to begin with, so is in a way an easier case. A
guess: a different fault line, like Israel/Palestine, might turn up less
positive results.

But in any case, it's an interesting read.

-Mark

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Re: Wikipedian identity stronger than U.S. political partisanship, says study

Steve Bennett-8
>We found that a subset of users on Wikipedia publicly proclaim their political affiliation through userboxes, and users who proclaim their affiliation for a particular party tend to have high numbers of userboxes that are ideologically aligned with that party. However, these ‘political’ users also had equally high numbers of Wikipedia userboxes. That is, boxes that espoused an identity of being a ‘Wikipedian’. The results indicate that the social identities of being a member of a political party and of being a Wikipedian may be equally important.

IMHO this is borderline moronic. Analogy: "We found that amongst
mechanics who were Republicans, the number of tools carried was
similar to the number of political stickers on their vehicles. This
indicates that the social identity of being a mechanic was similar to
that of being a Republican".

Wikipedia isn't some random place that people who like encyclopaedias
hang out. It's a workplace for encyclopaedia writers. The authors seem
to have completely missed the rules of behaviour that Wikipedians are
subject to. Did they even read
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:UPYES#What_may_I_have_on_my_user_page.3F
?

Steve

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