CIS in wiki
I’m interested in whether links (internal and external) are added to talk pages, and if so whether they then ‘flow’ into the main-page. I know I park links on talk pages, sometimes because I’m not qualified to assess them, sometimes because I’m busy, sometimes because although it’s a good source of information (e.g. a repository) I don’t have a direct link to relevant information, etc. This is about collaborative information seeking. That study would be relatively easy – track link inserts on the talk page, and then see if the link is moved into the article space. In fact, even the suggestion of new subheadings, etc. on the talk page is a way of thinking about the sorts of epistemically salient distinctions we should be making between types of information on the article page – some of which may be new, some of which could involve restructuring already present information.
Subsequently, I have also thought about other ways to support such collaborative information seeking on the talk page – would a chat function beyond the current wiki markup be useful? How could we facilitate the meaningful sharing of results? Should talk pages have a ‘useful resources’ section, or ‘queries you might like to try’? Some of this could be automatic given, for example at a very basic level, we know when pages “link in”, a suggestion might be made to “link out” too.
So, here are some preliminary notes on some related wiki-research:
Information seeking in wiki
Some work has been done on research in this area.
- Suggests semantically related links http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Research:Consus_-_Advanced_content_suggestion_for_Wikipedia
- Content suggestions targeted at users who select particular content to track, and then receive suggestions for pages to edit based on that content (I think?) http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Research:Using_information_sources_to_drive_contributions_to_Wikipedia
- Information Seeking and Use Survey (Wikipedia and beyond) http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Research:Information_Seeking_and_Use
- Wikipedia Use Analysis I think tracked incoming searches http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Research:WUA
Collaborative talk in wiki
Of course Wikipedia talk page collaboration is also hugely centred on…well, ‘talk’. Given my interest in dialogue as a mediating context for collaborative information seeking, that’s pretty interesting. And indeed, there has been some nice research in this area:
- Kaltenbrunner and Laniado look at the time evolution of Wikipedia discussions, and how it correlates to editing activity, based on 9.4 million comments from the March 12, 2010 dump. Peaks in commenting and peaks in editing often co-occur (for sufficiently large peaks of 20 comments, 63% of the time) within two days. They show the articles with the longest comment peaks and most edit peaks, and the 20 slowest and 20 fastest discussions. They find that “the fastest growing discussions are more likely to have long lasting edit peaks” Includes a suggestion for network analysis http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Research:Newsletter/2012/April#Time_evolution_of_Wikipedia_discussions
- “Dynamics of Conflicts in Wikipedia”, develops an interesting “measure of controversiality”, something that might be of interest to editors at large if it was a more widely popularized and dynamically updated statistic. The authors look at the patterns of edit warring on Wikipedia articles, finding that edit warriors are usually prone to reaching consensus, and the rare cases of never-ending warring involve those that continuously attract new editors who have not yet joined the consensus. http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Research:Newsletter/2012/June#Dynamics_of_edit_wars
- Some people have wondered whether Issue Based Information Systems (IBIS) might also be interesting in Wikipedia http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Research:The_role_of_IBIS_in_Wikimedia (including bibliography)
A lot of this is based on http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Research:Data…which I really ought to play with at some point (when I’m feeling a bit more competent perhaps).
There’s also an (incomplete) list http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Academic_studies_of_Wikipedia of studies on Wikipedia, including:
- detection of dialog acts to match talk page actions to article space changes (http://scholar.google.co.uk/scholar?hl=en&q=Behind+the+Article%3A+Recognizing+Dialog+Acts+in+Wikipedia+Talk+Pages&btnG=&as_sdt=1%2C5&as_sdtp=)
In addition to that one there’s a compilation at http://wikipapers.referata.com/wiki/List_of_research_areas – usefully categorised. I’m also aware there’s a fair bit of education research on wikipedia (e.g. From Wikipedia to the classroom: exploring online publication and learning) – another area for another time!