Report of ACM Hypertext 2011 conference

Past week I attended the Hypertext 2011 conference in Eindhoven where I presented the paper “Social networks of Wikipedia” discussing two different algorithms for extracting networks of conversations from User Talk pages in Wikipedia and evaluating them against the manual coding of all messages in User Talk pages of the Venetian Wikipedia. The main point was listing all the many details in Wikipedia practices and formatting styles that you need to be aware of if you want to derive realistic results from your quantitative analysis. The code of the algorithms is available as open source and some network datasets extracted from Wikipedia as well.

The conference was smaller than what I expected but interesting. There were some people working on Wikipedia and I had many interesting conversations with them.
The best talk was hands down the one by Noshir Contractor titled “From Disasters to WoW: Using Web Science to Understand and Enable 21st Century Multidimensional Networks”. He spoke about the many different great works is doing in an entertaining and funny style. The main methodological take-away message I got is that he is looking at networks at the edge level, considering the “motivation” for each edge (positive/negative links, in fact) and seeing how much different established sociological theories such as homophily, social balance, winner takes it all, etc are able to explain the topology of the network. For example 4 networks extracted from 4 different kinds of interactions of the same users of an online massive multi player game (I think “who fights with whom, who is in guild with whom, who exchanges messages with whoms, who trades goods with whom) exhibit different patterns and the particular orientation of a certain network can be explained by the balance of the motivations explained by the different theories. In particular the network of “who trades goods with whom” has special “motivations” that are influenced by the presence of so-called goldfarmers, people typically in China or other average-low-income countries who play online games doing repetitive tasks with the goal to acquire in-game currency that is usually sold against real-world currency to other players. One of their paper about this “Mapping Gold Farming Back to Offline Clandestine Organizations: Methodological, Theoretical, and Ethical Challenges” won the award for Best Paper at the recent Game Behind the Game conference. What I was really surprised to hear is that he is working as well on Wikipedia!
In fact, in his keynote, Noshir presented some recent work he has been doing with one of his students, Brian Keegan, about Wikipedia’s coverage of breaking news articles such as the Japan earthquake. Interestingly Michela Ferron and I wrote a paper titled “Wikipedia as a Lens for Studying the Real-time Formation of Collective Memories of Revolutions” in which we highlight the richness of the phenomena of collective memory building on Wikipedia about the current north-African revolutions (all the Wikipedia pages get created few minutes or days after the events and receive an incredible number of edits from many different users, what we interpret as a process of collective memory building) and we discuss research directions (more info about this in a next blog post). Out article was recently accepted in the “International Journal of Communication” and we are of course delighted by that. Actually the editor of IJoC is Manuel Castells, who will be giving a keynote at the upcoming ICWSM about … guess what? Social Media and Wiki-Revolutions: The New Frontier of Political Change. I guess it is really a hot topic nowadays, which is both conforting (we are doing cool stuff) and worrying (because these guys are really good and it is hard to do better … but we will try ;)
Actually in two weeks Noshir will come to Trento to give a one week course on Social Network Analysis which I’m really looking forward to attend and I hope to gather further insights via discussions with him.
The other guys who presented works about Wikipedia at Hypertext conference were David Laniado and his colleagues from Barcelona Media who presented “Co-authorship 2.0: Patterns of collaboration in Wikipedia“, an interesting analysis of networks of coediting on Wikipedia and its comparison with networks of scientific co-authoring. He was also there with a poster about “Automatically assigning Wikipedia articles to macro-categories”, joint work with Jacopo Farina and David Laniado.
There was also another very interesting work titled “Social Capital Increases Efficiency of Collaboration Among Wikipedia Editors” presented by Keiichi Nemoto of Fuji Xerox who was working with Peter Gloor and Robert Laubacher of MIT Center for Collective Intelligence. They found the more cohesive and more centralized the collaboration network of Wikipedia editors and the more network members were already collaborating before starting to work together on an article, the faster the article they work on will be promoted to good or featured article.
Overall it was good to discover interesting projects and meet good people working on Wikipedia which I hope I’ll keep meeting at future conferences.

Sociable nets and twitter clouds and participation

Attending the great conference Le reti socievoli (sociable nets) at Larica group of Univ Urbino.
Behind the speakers, the beamer shows live tag clouds of twitter posts (hashtag: #retisocievoli) by visibletweets (embedded below). Good example of audience live-participating to a conference!
I’ll make my first try to livetwitter a conf. Follow me at http://twitter.com/phauly.

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First International Conference on Reputation: Theory and Technology – 18-20 March, 2009 – Gargonza, Italy.


1st International Conference on Reputation: Theory and Technology – ICORE 2009 aims to become a point of convergence in the multidisciplinary study of reputation.
It will be held in Gargonza Castle, Italy, in the heart of Tuscany, halfway between Siena and Arezzo, March 18-20, 2009

The role of reputation as a social artefact and its practical applications are coming more and more clearly to the attention of the scientific community. The study of reputation and gossip is important in many fields of the social sciences, for example organization science, policy-making, (e-)governance, cultural evolution, social dilemmas, socio-dynamics and sociobiology. Interest in reputation is increasing in philosophy, psychology, social psychology, sociology and cognitive science; formal models appear in game theoretical, mathematical and physics journals; computational reputation systems are among the most studied subjects in multi-agent technology and social simulations.

All this attention is timely, since reputation is an old concept for answering a new challenge, the regulation of complex, global, networked societies. Innovation demands that the potential of old instruments are fully understood and exploited, in order to be incorporated into novel, intelligent technologies.

However, there is a number of ad hoc models, and little integration of instruments for the implementation, management and optimisation of reputation. On the one hand, entrepreneurs and policy makers deem it possible to manage corporate and firm reputation without accessing a solid, general and integrated body of scientific knowledge on the subject. On the other hand, researchers believe they can discuss, design and implement reputation systems without investigating what properties, requirements and dynamics of reputation in natural societies are, and why they evolved.

Reputation deserves a full role as a scientific topic, a focus on its specificities, i.e., its potential as preventive social knowledge and selective mechanism of transmission.
Topics

We invite papers from all scientific communities working on reputation, including multi-agent systems, social simulation, economics, organisation science and management, e-governance/learning/business, virtual societies and markets, social cognition, (evolutionary) game theory, social psychology, sociology, social and collective dilemmas, social dynamics, cultural evolution and business ethics.

Topics for ICORE 2009 include but are not limited to:

* Theory of reputation
* Simulation of reputation
* Computational models of reputation
* Agent reputation models
* Ontologies of reputation
* Logical formalization of reputation
* Experimental evidence of reputation diffusion
* Reputation-based e-government, e-learning, e-business
* Reputation in p2p systems
* Reputation in grid environments
* Reputation for partner selection
* Incentives in Reputation Mechanisms
* Image and reputation
* Reputation management and optimisation
* Reputation and social networks
* Reputation and norms
* Reputation and altruism, reciprocity, and cooperation
* Reputation and trust
* Reputation for sabotage tolerance in large-scale applications
* Reputation and exchange
* Reputation and institutions
* Reputation and social capital
* Corporate and firm reputation

Submission instructions

Electronic submission will be added later to this website.

All submissions should be no longer than 15 pages, in pdf format.
Review criteria

Papers should present novel ideas related to reputation, clearly motivated by problems from current practice or applied research.
We expect claims to be substantiated by theoretical or formal analysis, experimental evaluations, comparative studies, and so on. Authors are also encouraged to submit application papers. Application papers are expected to address an indication of the real world relevance of the problem that is solved, including a description of the deployment domain, and some form of evaluation of performance, usability, or superiority to alternative approaches.
Important dates

* Abstract submission: September 15, 2008
* Paper submission: October 1st, 2008
* Notification: November 10, 2008
* Camera Ready Version of Accepted Papers: December 10, 2008
* Conference: March 18-20, 2009

Sponsors

The conference is organized with the support of the eRep project under the 6th FP of the European Community.

Italian Free Software Conference this weekend in Trento

Trento, 16-17-18 May 2008.
Check the program (in Italian) at confsl.org.
There will be an Invited talk by David Hakken of Indiana University “Free Software as Virtual Organization”, other very interesting talks and many local experiences by enterprises, school and public administration. And there will also be an OpenStreetMap mapping party in Trento.
I can only attend on Friday because on Saturday I’ll be in Milan for Sci.bzaar.net. See you there in one of the two occasions!

Report of Conference on Business Information 2008

Business Information Systems conference logoI spent the beginning of the past week in Innsbruck for the 11th International Conference on Business Information Systems.
My presentation went well but I’ll post about it later. Overall the conference was interesting and worth the trip.
Many talks were mentioning Semantic Web. What extremely positively surprised me was that the approach to Semantic Web was very very pragmatic in all the presentations, a sort of Pragmatic Web or, as I prefer, a lowercase semantic web.
The peaks of the conference were a great keynote speech by Fabio Ciravegna titled “Challenges and Methodologies for Acquiring and Sharing Knowledge in Large Distributed Environments”. He presented the approach of his group at the University of Sheffield on knowledge capture, which is very very pragmatic and just makes sense. Among others, he reported how noting that what workers in a big company (Rolls-Royce) were doing was creating word and excel forms and passing them around via email, they decided to provide a simple web interface for creating forms. This simple change allowed a lot of interesting services on top of it, services which use semantics when it adds value and not for the sake of it. I cannot resume his very interesting many points here but you might want to check his slides (from a different presentation) at around page 71 or just his Web page with a list of the many projects in which semantics is used in a pragmatic and reasonable and adding value way.
Another peak was a great tutorial by Emanuele Dalla Valle titled “RSWA 2008 – Realizing a Semantic Web Application”. He explained how to develop step-by-step a Semantic Web application that expects a music style as an input; retrieves data from online music archives and event databases; merges them and let the users explore events related to artists that practice the required style. He challenged the Semantic Web technologies on the Web 2.0 ground of realizing a mash-up that reuses, transforms and combines existing data taken from the open Web (namely MusicBrainz, MusicMoz and EVDB). Again a clever use of semantics when semantics can add some value and a clear explanation.
I suggested him to record this tutorial next time and put the video somewhere on the Web because it is really a great example (the first I’ve seen) in which Semantic Web really add value over more simple way of developing applications (Web2.0). For now you can just check his slides (released under a Creative Commons license). And also check the Semantic Web Activities group at Cefriel which has many interesting projects and ideas.
And there were few other peaks: Couchsurfing is always a great experience which never ceases to amaze me. We were 6 people (Khrista and Sarah, 2 canadian girls, Bruno, a dutch guy which is spending one year traveling around Europe , see useuropeans.com, myself, and Manuel and Yvonne, our 2 lovely hosts) sleeping in a small house with mattresses everywhere.
And I started twittering thanks to the push by Andre’ Passant at the conference, who also helped me to make my foaf file to remain always up to date by automatically including the results of export of facebook, flickr and other web2.0 services. However for now the foafing didn’t really work out though.
And I also started geocaching thanks to jailway: after the conference dinner we found my first cache near the Golden Roof.
Summaryzing: lowercasesemanticwebbing, couchsurfing, geocaching, twittering, foafing, and some more *ing …

Recommender Systems conference in Minneapolis

I’ll be in Minneapolis for the Recommender Systems 2007 from October 18th until October 22nd presenting a paper titled Trust-aware Recommender Systems which is a summary of a part of my PhD thesis. I’ll be hosted by Renee, couchsurfing as usual. If you are around and would like to discuss anything, let me know, k? See you soon, on the other side of the pond!

I’ll be at New Network Theory Conference since tomorrow

I’m going to be at the New Network Theory Conference in Amsterdam from tomorrow until 1st July. Check the program, it is gorgeous. And if you are going to be there as well, it would be great to speak network a bit. Of course hospitality will be courtesy of Couchsurfing once more, and this is amazingly networky by itself.