Tag Archives: # collaboration

Nazis and Norms in Wikipedia

Joseph Reagle finally published his book Good Faith Collaboration: The Culture of Wikipedia (2010, The MIT Press). It has a foreword by Lawrence Lessig and praises by Jonathan Zittrain, Clay Shirky and Jimmy Wales. Wow!
The first chapter is titled “Nazis and Norms” and start with the following epigraph:

Show me an admin who has never been called a nazi and I’ll show you an admin who is not doing their job. —J.S.’s Second Law

which sort of resembles Godwin’s Law:

As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.

Note for myself: it is good to start a book with a strong, emotional point (in this case Nazism) in order to get a grip on the reader from the very first lines.
Ok, now I need to reserve some time to read the book by Joseph Reagle. A pity the book is not released under Creative Commons so that I could download it and print it straight away.

What is the status of Wikinews?

Wikinews is a free-content news source wiki and a project of the Wikimedia Foundation, just as the more known Wikipedia. The site works through collaborative journalism.
Some people claimed it failed in its attempt but I was not able to find a report about this (evolution over the years, quantity of editors involved, news produced, … and more interestingly health and diversity of the active community).
Ironically, the only relevant information I found is in a Knol, the Google alternative to Wikipedia.

Wikinews has been in existence for several years now, and yet the English-language version has only 15,000 articles. Considering that Wikipedia has already surpassed three million articles, that is a sad testimony to the effort to keep Wikinews alive. Wikinews for the most part merely regurgitates news already covered elsewhere, and no other news outlet, to my knowledge, quotes Wikinews. Wikinews never fulfilled it’s objective, and should be allowed to die a graceful death.

In addition to that, Wikinews has been allowed to be taken over by a clique of individuals pushing a power play to silence any opposition, either to their own point-of-view or the point-of-view of their e-friends. That is anathema to any free society project. Whenever one group uses power to punish opposition, and that opposition has no actual and effective recourse (there is no appeal process), than the project must be shut down. When a conflict occurs and it is deemed useful to dole out punishment of any sort, the entire conflict must be reviewed and all sides punished in an equitable fashion. Wikipedia learned this rule, only after creating thousands of vandals, some of which are still going strong.

Do you have any experience with WikiNews?

The Elsevier Grand Challenge – Knowledge Enhancement in the Life Sciences

Cross-posted on my blog on nature.com and surely of interest for my friends of sci.bzaar.net.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention that “the first place winner will be awarded a cash prize of US$35,000 and the second place winner a cash prize of US$15,000.”

The Elsevier Grand Challenge: Knowledge Enhancement in the Life Sciences is a contest created to improve the way scientific information is communicated and used. The contest invites members of the scientific community to describe and prototype a tool to improve the interpretation and identification of meaning in (online) journals and text databases relating to the life sciences. Specifically we are looking for new ways to:

  1. improve the process/methods/results of creating, reviewing and editing scientific content
  2. interpret, visualize or connect the knowledge more effectively, and/or
  3. provide tools/ideas for measuring the impact of these improvements.

While the traditional functions of peer-review, quality control, dissemination and archiving remain at the heart of scientific publishing, it is clear that new technologies are creating opportunities to facilitate interpretation of data. In initiating the Elsevier Grand Challenge, we hope to interact with the scientific community to discuss changing modes of publishing and knowledge sharing with innovative groups who are interested in changing the way science is published. The objective is to generate useful new ideas that could have a widespread impact on scientific publishing in general.

Abstracts are now invited. Submissions will close on July 15th, 2008.

(via Paolo Avesani)