Online chat on Wikipedia in the Academy

ColloquyThis was behind a pay-wall before now, but the Chronicle of Higher Ed has an article on the relationship between Wikipedia and academia. I was quoted in there, and it focusses a little on the Isuzu Experiment but I guess that’s not all bad. As always, I think that there is space there for missed nuance (the nature of a short article), and I feel like I should hedge some of the things there. For example, although I do mostly make changes anonymously, in part because I am a known wikispammer and I don’t want the name to influence people’s perception of the edit. However, in the case of the Com Theory article, I did do it as myself. It doesn’t show up in the history because the article was moved (from “Theories of Communication”). And I know that traditional institutional scholars do contribute to Wikipedia, and that contribution is often valued.

But, please do challenge the things I said there and elsewhere. I’ll be part of a an online discussion run by The Chronicle titled Wikipedia: Beat It, Join It, or Ignore It? this Thursday, October 26, at 3pm EST (19:00 GMT). Hope you can join in.

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  1. Dan Geiser
    Posted 10/24/2006 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    How did you become a known Wikipedia spammer?

  2. alex
    Posted 10/24/2006 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

    That was a bit tongue-in-cheek. I didn’t have the link right on the “Isuzu Experiment,” but it’s there now. Some folks were not happy about me inserting wrong info into Wikipedia. Very few people really noticed one way or the other, but those who did had some strong opinions. They saw–in some ways correctly–this as an issue of defacing a public good.

    In practice, I hope people saw some of the value of it, but if I had it to do again, I probably wouldn’t. WIthout my fore-knowledge, some of my students did the same thing to an article recently. I have a feeling that it is a pretty natural thing to try–in fact, that particular page has a continuing history of vandalism before and after.

  3. Posted 10/28/2006 at 1:11 am | Permalink

    I did a similar experiment a while ago and got mixed results. I blogged about it at

    Mark H.

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