Day 5 Predictions

From Cyberlaw: Difficult Issues Winter 2010
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Victoria: My prediction is that the speakers are going to be extolling the virtues of Wikipedia and explaining that although the site has gone under some transformations it is still a vibrant force. I would concede that I think it is. Most people I know still immediately turn to Wikipedia for a quick run down of a topic or an answer to a quick question. However, as time moves on the site is becoming less innovative and more standard. I would like to ask them about their understanding and personal experiences in trying to keep Wikipedia young. Moreover, having read that 85% of the contributors to Wikipedia are male I'd specifically love to ask Phoebe whether she feels that the articles are written from the male gaze and lack the other gender's perspective.

Sharona: Like Vickie, I was also struck by the statistics on the demographic breakdown, and I would love to hear their thoughts on whether they feel wikipedia really does represent a wide range of views, or more specifically (especially in the US) that of a white male. Another thing I think they will likely discuss - and probably not have a good answer for - is the question of privacy and defamation on wikipedia and other wikimedia projects. Can, or should, the website and/or its users or editors be held accountable if allegedly defamatory posts are not removed? Who makes that call? And what standards are used? It seems to me that there's no easy answer to this: while they may not run into strictly legal issues, it could definitely affect reader's trust in the information or fear that they too are vulnerable.

Bruno: I expect our guests to focus their comments on the strategies Wikipedia is adopting to address two of what seems to be the main problems of the project: (i) quality/accuracy of its articles, and (ii) issues concerning vandalism. After reading the materials, I was struck by the fact that Wikipedia doesn't seem to be worried about increasing its user base. The increasing amount of rules, the hostility of veteran users to newbies and the efforts to attract more scientists to participate in the project suggest that in fact they would be interested in less, but more qualified participation. Just like the attitude of our guest from CrowdFlower, perhaps a sort of procrastination to address a problem that is not yet so concrete might be operating here: with over 40 thousand contributors it's not clear when more means actually less.

Sheel: I'd be interested in hearing Wikimedia's reaction to this: what if people started using CrowdFlower or MechanicalTurk, if they don't already, to pay people 10 cents or so to go edit Wikipedia pages? I know they weren't okay with MyWikiBiz, but this is much more under the radar. Finally, I'd like to hear where the debate is on inclusionists v. exclusionists (meaning those who want to produce the 'integrity' of the encyclopedia and shy away from what may be deemed as frivolous by some portion of editors). My guess is that there is still no concrete answer---if enough editors are passionate about editing/creating a new page, then it'll stay.