2021:Submissions/WikiBreathing: how communities respond to changes in public engagement with wikis

From Wikimania

Speakers[edit | edit source]

Christian Brickhouse

Abstract[edit | edit source]

In this talk I develop a theory of "WikiBreathing" based on the historical records of three wikis: Ward's Wiki, MeatBall, and Wikipedia. WikiBreathing was first documented on MeatBall as a model for understanding how participants on Ward's Wiki responded to increased attention. Many wikis saw increased engagement from cultural outsiders and bad faith actors which resulted in the wikis "breathing out" by repelling new contributors through technological means before "breathing in" and gradually opening themselves up to new contributors again. Using the English Wikipedia as a case study, I reframe the concept of WikiBreathing by analyzing how readers and editors respond when seven articles are opened to public editing for the first time in 11 years.

Slides, including additional material, are available through Wikimedia Commons.

Session Outcomes[edit | edit source]

Viewers will:

  • Learn the historical context of Wikipedia and its growth, both online and in the wider world;
  • Develop the tools and critical thinking skills to qualitatively analyze data;
  • Understand how readers engage with articles and the effect page protection has on article development;
  • Reflect on their own role in developing a community culture welcoming to newcomers.