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Good Faith Collaboration
Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, is built by a community—a community of Wikipedians who are expected to “assume good faith” when interacting with one another. In Good Faith Collaboration, Joseph Reagle examines this unique collaborative culture.
Wikipedia, says Reagle, is not the first effort to create a freely shared, universal encyclopedia; its early twentieth-century ancestors include Paul Otlet’s Universal Repository and H. G. Wells’s proposal for a World Brain. Both these projects, like Wikipedia, were fuelled by new technology—which at the time included index cards and microfilm. What distinguishes Wikipedia from these and other more recent ventures is Wikipedia’s good-faith collaborative culture, as seen not only in the writing and editing of articles but also in their discussion pages and edit histories. Keeping an open perspective on both knowledge claims and other contributors, Reagle argues, creates an extraordinary collaborative potential.
Wikipedia’s style of collaborative production has been imitated, analyzed, and satirized. Despite the social unease over its implications for individual autonomy, institutional authority, and the character (and quality) of cultural products, Wikipedia’s good-faith collaborative culture has brought us closer than ever to a realization of the century-old pursuit of a universal encyclopedia.
About the Author
Joseph M. Reagle, Jr. is Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Northeastern University and the author of Good Faith Collaboration: The Culture of Wikipedia (MIT Press).
Table of Contents
- Good Faith Collaboration
- History and Foundations of Information Science
- Edited by Michael Buckland and Jonathan Furner
- Human Information Retrieval
- by Julian Warner
- Good Faith Collaboration: The Culture of Wikipedia
- by Joseph Michael Reagle Jr.
- Good Faith Collaboration :
- The Culture of Wikipedia
- Joseph Michael Reagle Jr.
- Foreword by Lawrence Lessig
- The MIT Press
- Cambridge, Massachusetts
- London, England
- © 2010
- Joseph Michael Reagle Jr.
- All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form by any electronic or mechanical means (including photocopying, recording, or information storage and retrieval) without permission in writing from the publisher.
- For information about special quantity discounts, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
- This book was set in Stone Sans and Stone Serif by the MIT Press. Printed and bound in the United States of America.
- Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
- Reagle, Joseph Michael.
- Good faith collaboration : the culture of Wikipedia / Joseph Michael Reagle Jr. ; foreword by Lawrence Lessig.
- p. cm. — (History and foundations of information science)
- Includes bibliographical references and index.
- ISBN 978-0-262-01447-2 (hardcover : alk. paper) 1. Wikipedia. 2. Electronic encyclopedias—Case studies. 3. Wikis (Computer science)—Case studies. 4. Communication in learning and scholarship—Technological innovations—Case studies. 5. Authorship—Collaboration—Case studies. 6. Online social networks—Case studies. I. Title.
- AE100.R43 2010
- 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
- To my family, a barnstar.
- Foreword by Lawrence Lessig ix
- Preface xiii
- 1 Nazis and Norms 1
- 2 The Pursuit of the Universal Encyclopedia 17
- 3 Good Faith Collaboration 45
- 4 The Puzzle of Openness 73
- 5 The Challenges of Consensus 97
- 6 The Benevolent Dictator 117
- 7 Encyclopedic Anxiety 137
- 8 Conclusion: “A Globe in Accord” 169
- Notes 175
- Index 235
—Jimmy Wales, Founder of Wikipedia
—Clay Shirky, NYU, author of Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing without Organizations
—Jonathan Zittrain, Professor of Law, Harvard Law School and Kennedy School, Professor of Computer Science, Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and author of The Future of the Internet—And How to Stop It
—Sue Gardner, Executive Director, Wikimedia Foundation