For Wikipedia users, being 'Wikipedian' may be more important than political loyalties

Apr 03, 2013

Wikipedia users who proclaim their political affiliations within the online community consider their identity as "Wikipedian" stronger than potentially divisive political affiliations, according to research published April 3 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by David Laniado and colleagues from Barcelona Media, Spain, and University of Southern California.

Previous studies of blog networks have revealed that liberal and conservative blogs tend to link to others with similar political slants rather than to one another, described by researchers as "divided they blog". In the current study, researchers analyzed how users displayed political affiliations and interacted with others who stated different affiliations. Unlike previous analyses of other social media, the authors found no trends indicating a to interact with others of the same political party within the Wikipedia community. As the authors state in their paper, "The results of our analysis show that despite the increasing political division of the U.S., there are still areas in which political dialogue is possible and happens."

Their results suggest that Wikipedia users who declare political loyalties consider their identity as being 'Wikipedian' stronger than their political affiliations.

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More information: Neff JJ, Laniado D, Kappler KE, Volkovich Y, Aragon P, et al. (2013) Jointly They Edit: Examining the Impact of Community Identification on Political Interaction in Wikipedia. PLoS ONE 8(4): e60584. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0060584

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