Submissions/Reflecting knowledge diversity

From Wikimania 2011 • Haifa, Israel

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Title of the submission

Detecting and dealing with knowledge diversity in the Wikipedias

Type of submission (workshop, tutorial, panel, presentation)


Author of the submission

Mathias Schindler, Angelika Adam, Denny Vrandecic

E-mail address or username (if username, please confirm email address in Special:Preferences)


Country of origin

Germany, Croatia

Affiliation, if any (organization, company etc.)

Wikimedia Deutschland, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

Personal homepage or blog
Abstract (please use no less than 300 words to describe your proposal)

Wikipedia's goal is to provide the sum of all human knowledge for free to everyone. Its success hinges on the support of its volunteer contributors. Although the guidelines set up at Wikipedia aim for a balanced coverage, systemic bias is introduced by the individual views of the actual contributors, the numbers behind each opinion among the Wikipedians, and the procedures defined for creating and editing articles. The growing complexity of these procedures, in addition to the sheer effort required to keep a balance on the basis of the procedures in place, hamper the work of the Wikipedia editing team. Whereas in early years it was easy and straightforward to start a new article, today this basic task has become significantly more difficult. These factors have an impact on Wikipedia’s growth rate both with respect to the number of new editors, and new content.

One way to overcome the current unsatisfactory state of affairs is to revise the existing Wikipedia processes. Activities such as the editing of conflicts, the organization of the content, the checking of inconsistencies (both within Wikipedia and with respect to external sources), and the integration over different languages are very demanding in terms of the amounts of human labor they require. Elaborated procedures that cover some of these aspects, including edit conflict resolution, arbitration committees, and banning policies, and a growingly complex hierarchy of readers, contributors, editors, administrators, bureaucrats, ombudspersons, trustees, and so on, are in place, but their operation, given a declining number of active Wikipedians, is not sustainable. Also, the outcomes of these costly processes are not always positive; the meritocratic approach of Wikipedia often finds champions for specific opinions, but not necessarily for a generally balanced, diversity-minded depiction of a topic.

The EU-funded research project RENDER started recently, partnering with the German Wikimedia chapter. It is aiming to help building a truly diversified Wikipedia. Wikipedia editors need support in discovering useful content and the diversity of viewpoints within a topic to encourage large-scale participation and sustainable growth. Using the massive amount of metadata available within Wikipedia, as well as a series of structured and semi-structured external information sources, we will provide representations, techniques and tools to discover, understand, and use the following types of information: the multitude of opinions and viewpoints, the points of dissent, content that would otherwise disappear from view, the quality of articles, and controversies surrounding specific topics. Information sources that are useful in this context include, but are not limited to, the complete edit history of each article, change comments, user contribution logs, social networks in the user contribution logs - as in, who works with or against whom on which articles - the content of articles, including comments and previous versions, access logs and various external data sets such as Eurostat,, Twitter, Linked Open Data, Freebase, True Knowledge, and archives of scientific publications.

In this workshop we will present the current state of work in RENDER and discuss our plans and use cases for the future. Our aim is to inform the Wikipedia community of our work, and to offer them to be involved, especially in order to use their expertise and experience with dealing with the topics of knowledge diversity in Wikipedia.

Technically we propose a workshop in order to allow the program committe to integrate other submissions with relevant topics, so that we can provide a longer session around the common theme of knowledge diversity in Wikipedia and issues surrounding it. This is expected to create a more interactive and rewarding session during Wikimania, where we can discuss and work together towards how to deal with this topic inside the community, and to plan the further research and tool development in the area.

Track (People and Community/Knowledge and Collaboration/Infrastructure)

Wiki Culture and the Community

Will you attend Wikimania if your submission is not accepted?

No, due to funding issues.

Slides or further information (optional)

Interested attendees

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  1. Yaron Koren 22:16, 2 May 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  2. Vibhijain 16:37, 7 May 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  3. Amir E. Aharoni
  4. Amazing. Nemo 22:24, 30 July 2011 (UTC)[reply]
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