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Text & Talk

An Interdisciplinary Journal of Language, Discourse & Communication Studies

Ed. by Sarangi, Srikant

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Volume 35, Issue 5

Issues

Sociotechnical interaction at work: an ethnographic study of the Wikipedia community

Shing-Chung Jonathan Yam
Published Online: 2015-10-08 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/text-2015-0016

Abstract

With much of Wikipedia’s research centering on the encyclopedia’s articles, less is known about the way its editors confront issues through computer-mediated talk pages. I present a novel attempt to investigate the diversity of discursive, sociotechnical interactions in the community with a data-driven online ethnography. I detail three issues: (i) how human editors collaborate with bots; (ii) what kinds of sociotechnical interaction are used in the discussion of article development; and (iii) how these interactions sustain the project. Notable differences emerge as to how human editors interact with other humans and bots during both article construction and personal interactions. With eight dimensions of interaction in cooperative knowledge generation identified, I proceed with a discussion of Wikipedia’s sociotechnical authorship, hierarchical order, and protocological operations.

Keywords: cooperative knowledge generation; bot; free information; sociology of communication; sociology of knowledge; crowdsourcing

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About the article

Shing-Chung Jonathan Yam

Shing-Chung Jonathan Yam is a PhD candidate of The Chinese University of Hong Kong. His research interests include information sociology, sociology of the Internet, and the philosophy of social science. His recent publications include “Incremental knowledge: Legitimization of cooperative knowledge generation” (ATINER’s Conference Paper Series SOC2013-0408) and “Invitation to information sociology” (Global media Journal – American Edition).


Published Online: 2015-10-08

Published in Print: 2015-09-01


Citation Information: Text & Talk, Volume 35, Issue 5, Pages 669–694, ISSN (Online) 1860-7349, ISSN (Print) 1860-7330, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/text-2015-0016.

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