Wikipedia 'edit wars' show dynamics of conflict emergence and resolution

June 20, 2012

Wikipedia's crowd-sourced content generation has made it the world's largest encyclopedia, but this model also leads to "edit wars" when editors disagree. The dynamics of these conflicts provide an interesting window into collaborative content production and the emergence and resolution of conflicts in an online environment, all of which are explored in a paper published June 20 in the open access journal PLoS ONE.

The authors, led by Taha Yasseri of Budapest University of Technology and Economics, identified pages that are either controversial, such as the articles for homosexuality and George W. Bush, or "peaceful," like the pages for and pumpkins. They found that the majority of pages are peaceful, but that edit wars were commonly waged between a small number of strongly disagreeing editors.

Yasseri adds, "Usually editors act in a rather independent, and uncorrelated manner, while during conflicts their activity becomes more intense and follows a more coherent pattern."

However, they also found that consensus is generally reached in a reasonable time, even for controversial articles. There are a small number of articles where this is not the case, classified as never-ending wars, and these generally have many different active editors who have fought at different times.

Explore further: Report claims Wikipedia losing editors in droves

More information: Yasseri T, Sumi R, Rung A, Kornai A, Kerte´sz J (2012) Dynamics of Conflicts in Wikipedia. PLoS ONE 7(6): e38869. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0038869

Related Stories

Report claims Wikipedia losing editors in droves

November 30, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- The findings of a Spanish study claiming that Wikipedia's editors are leaving at an alarming rate have been refuted by the Wikimedia Foundation and by Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales.

Researchers reveal Wikipedia gender biases

August 11, 2011

Computer science researchers in the University of Minnesota's College of Science and Engineering are leading a team that has confirmed a substantial gender gap among editors of Wikipedia and a corresponding gender-oriented ...

Wikipedia editors question site's blackout

January 18, 2012

Can the world live without Wikipedia for a day? The shutdown of one of the Internet's most-visited sites is not sitting well with some of its volunteer editors, who say the protest of anti-piracy legislation could threaten ...

Wikipedia founder hails role in US

January 26, 2012

(AP) -- The founder of Wikipedia hailed the online encyclopedia's role in helping halt U.S. legislation aimed at cracking down on Internet piracy, saying the proposed bills needed to be stopped because they were flawed.

Recommended for you

Just how good (or bad) is the fossil record of dinosaurs?

August 28, 2015

Everyone is excited by discoveries of new dinosaurs – or indeed any new fossil species. But a key question for palaeontologists is 'just how good is the fossil record?' Do we know fifty per cent of the species of dinosaurs ...

Fractals patterns in a drummer's music

August 28, 2015

Fractal patterns are profoundly human – at least in music. This is one of the findings of a team headed by researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization in Göttingen and Harvard University ...

Pigments, organelles persist in fossil feathers

August 27, 2015

A study provides multiple lines of new evidence that pigments and the microbodies that produce them can remain evident in a dinosaur fossil. In the journal Scientific Reports, an international team of paleontologists correlates ...

Political polarization on Twitter depends on the issue

August 27, 2015

Twitter offers a public platform for people to post and share all sorts of content, from the serious to the ridiculous. While people tend to share political information with those who have similar ideological preferences, ...

2 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

CapitalismPrevails
not rated yet Jun 20, 2012
Why doesn't Wikipedia just post articles from both sides of the issue? Posting one just seems self righteous to me.
ekim
not rated yet Jun 21, 2012
Ah yes, the "fair and balanced" approach. Black versus White doesn't work in the real world due to the prevalence of Grey. The result is either six billion individual articles or a consensus that pleases none.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.