Friday, March 26
Saturday, March 27
Radical Wiki(pedia) critique: As well as providing a general overview of the topics to come, and with an emphasis on diverse global approaches, the aim here is develop concepts that could be used in further research and that could fit into larger projects about Internet culture and the critique of the free and open. Is it possible to develop a counter-hegemony of critical practices that is situated in the midst of technological cultures? What kind of critical lessons does Wikipedia provide in the face of overwhelming Web 2.0 hype and peer-to-peer utopianism? How can a radical Wikipedia critique be developed that does not present itself as the cynical ‘I told you so’-outsider or mimic the neoconservatist position of Andrew Keen? What kind of insight can Wikipedia offer with regard to the continuing tension between knowledge and information?
Moderator: Geert Lovink (NL)
Ramón Reichert (AU)
Rethinking Wikipedia: Power, Knowledge and the Technologies of the Self
Various forms of communicative user interactions produce Wikipedia. Ramón Reichert examines the main assumptions implied in the predominant conceptions of power in the Wikipedia discourse. He maps the terrain and signposts the boundaries in which Foucauldian-inspired research on the complex and diffuse phenomenon of the relationship between power and knowledge might be conducted. How is power generally conceived in Wikipedia’s discursive structure and how does a Foucauldian approach to power compare and contrast with these perspectives?
In the changing and developing field of computerized data mining techniques, techniques of knowledge and programs for collecting and archiving digital information (e.g. the retrieval modes sorting, counting, ranking and marking) have captured a noticeably large portion. The exponential proliferation of new networking structures on the Internet allows collective relationships that were not previously possible. Alongside this we witness a specific media culture of self-practices which often take the form of self-leadership, ranging from accounting and meticulous benchmarking (i.e. ranking) to experimental self-relation and self-presentation as aesthetic practices (i.e. profiling).
We find cultures of communication based on mutual and permanent evaluation which comprise the entire social and cultural space and often adopt forms of discursive knowledge practices. Therefore, Wikipedia can be understood as a discursive formation that regulates and structures the production of knowledge and social participation. Many areas of Wikipedia are accompanied by a variety of evaluation practices that are not just new versions of a management tool – they are also new forms of self-technologies and external commutation. This entails a shift from legitimacy based on power and prestige within an institution to legitimacy based on knowledge, evidence-making and technologies of the self. Adopting Foucault’s point of view, the goals of power and the goals of knowledge cannot be separated: in knowing we control and in controlling we know.
Jeanette Hofmann (DE)
Wikipedia between Emancipation and Self-Regulation
Internet governance epitomizes the liberal idea of self-regulation. It is based on the belief in the superiority of private or societal organization over bureaucratic authority and related modes of government intervention. Wikipedia is an important offspring of this tradition. Its development is driven by the aspiration for new, emancipatory forms of collective knowledge production.
Against the backdrop of the recent controversy among German Wikipedians, Jeanette Hofmann will address a blind spot characteristic to many self-regulatory efforts. Using the terminology of De Sousa Santos, this blind spot can be described as the relationship between emancipation and regulation or expectation and experience. According to De Sousa Santos, modernity is based on the pillar of emancipation and the pillar of regulation. Whereas regulation provides order, emancipation strives for a ‘good order’. Self-regulatory efforts, including those of Wikipedia, need to balance rationalities originating from experience, with those driven by expectations.
Mathieu O’Neil (AU)
The Critique of Law in Free Online Projects
How do people analyze and critique injustice in free online projects? The online critique of capitalism appears contradictory, as the ability to thrive on the Internet is a manifestation of class domination. And while free information products oppose exchange value, they also stimulate the consumption of proprietary hardware. As for critiques of gender and ethnic domination: most definitions of what is fair and excellent online derive from the all-male and all-white universe of hackers.
A type of online critique which may be less likely to reproduce wider social domination is the interrogation of rules and judgments. This ‘critique of law’ contradicts the offline social order, where most judgment processes are opaque and the powerful laugh at the rules. But this critique must grapple with tensions caused by redefinitions of expertise, with the ethics of online research and, in the case of Wikipedia, with the emergence of a specialized caste of ‘wiki lawyers’.
Gérard Wormser (FR)
The Knowledge Bar
The major evolutions of our society are largely determined by a combination of the marketing of consumer goods and the general spreading of common knowledge. We should assess whether the ‘free encyclopedia’ is on the verge to move the quest for knowledge to a mere utility. In this case, even the most elaborate and relevant content might be used to enforce a ‘global order’.
Since the seventeenth century, dictionaries and encyclopedias have provided the majority of society with representative descriptions of their own vision of the world. They replaced the old Ars Memoriae which were then reduced to being mere registrations of local common knowledge. The new powerful instruments tried either to describe the notions we associate to the words and their meaning or to catch the essence of specific realities framing our behavior and opinions. Dictionaries paved the way to linguistics and hermeneutics. Encyclopedias have brought about the largest philosophical systems such as the Kantian transcendentalism and the Hegelian dialectical system.
The people of our century must understand the value system that supports the process of debate over the major topics of the Wikipedia universe. Is such a ‘knowledge bar’ for use on our computers an accurate common knowledge? Or is it a conventional consensus emerging from restricted specialized communities? Wikipedia is contemporary to a century with a sociological and instrumental approach to science, and as such introduces a new declination of the dictionaries of notions and the encyclopedias of essences which were previously addressed to avert and critical readers.
The word made durable: In this session we want to give an overview of various attempts to create a collection of global knowledge. In order to get a better understanding of the cultural specificity of the underlying code on which Wikipedia is built, this topic seeks to dig further into the histories of the encyclopedia. D’ Alembert’s Preliminary Discourse to the Encyclopedie is often described as the most succinct statement of European Enlightenment, and the encyclopedia itself as the material project of Enlightenment. It is through the Encyclopedie that the Enlightenment becomes durable, tangible and disseminated? What can be learned by examining such historical precedents?
Imaging the world: Encyclopedias have been said to be sources of national images and stereotypes of the self and the other within Europe. In Wikipedia, image construction tends to be both disembogue and masked in favor of a cosmopolitan, global self-understanding. This session might interrogate to what extent knowledge production’s construction of national images is shifting from a discursive to an automatic geo-referencing system of construction.
Beyond the index-card system: This session may also look at historical attempts to revolutionize knowledge through the creation of new technologies and to what extent these alternate histories resonate with Wikipedia specifically, and the technologies of the Net as driven by knowledge imperatives more generally. Examples include the Mundaneum, the Memex, the Galactic Network and project Xanadu.
Moderator: Nathaniel Tkacz (AU)
Jospeh Reagle (USA)
Wikipedia and Encyclopedic Anxiety
The way in which Wikipedia is collaboratively produced has caught the attention of the world. Discourse about the efficacy and legitimacy of such a work abound, from the news pages of the New York Times to the satire of the Onion. Building on the literature around controversies surrounding other reference works, such as Harvey Einbinder’s The Myth of the Britannica and Herbert Morton’s The Story of Webster’s Third, Joseph Reagle makes a broader argument that reference works can serve as a flashpoint for larger social anxieties about technological and social change. With this understanding in hand, he tries to make sense of the social unease embodied in and prompted by Wikipedia by way of four themes: collaborative practice, universal vision, encyclopedic impulse, and technological inspiration.
Charles van den Heuvel (NL)
Authoritative Annotations, Encyclopedia Universalis Mundaneum, Wikipedia and the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Charles van den Heuvel discusses an unfinished project of Paul Otlet who aimed to create the Encyclopedia Universalis Mundaneum, an encyclopedia in visual form that made use of a larger global knowledge infrastructure to update information mechanically and manually ‘beyond the index-card box’. Although Otlet’s architecture of the Universal Decimal Classification system allows for linking top down classifications with socially-constructed information spaces, it will be argued that Otlet’s encyclopedia cannot be read simply as a Wikipedia avant-la-lettre.
However, despite differences with Wikipedia, the hypothesis will be put forward that the instruments and protocols envisioned by Otlet to enhance collaborative knowledge production, can still be relevant for current conceptualizations of ‘scientific authority’ in data sharing and annotation in Web 2.0 applications. The latter will be illustrated by analyzing protocols for enriching the digital Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Dan O’Sullivan (UK)
An Encyclopedia for the Times: Thoughts on Wikipedia from a Historical Perspective
Does Wikipedia have historical antecedents, and if so might a study of these help elucidate the project? What are the salient differences between virtual groupings such as the Wikipedia community and pre-Internet ‘real’ communities? To what extent might it be argued that Wikipedia’s form of knowledge production and dissemination calls into question the very nature of knowledge?
Alan Shapiro (USA/DE)
Gustave Flaubert Laughs at Wikipedia
In novels such as Sentimental Education and Bouvard and Pécuchet, and in his comic inventory of clichés and repeated ideas, Dictionnaire des Idées Reçues, the great nineteenth century French writer Gustave Flaubert made fun of eighteenth and nineteenth century attempts to catalogue, classify, list, and record all of scientific and historical knowledge. To what extent is Wikipedia an unaware continuation of the ‘Enlightenment’ projects that Flaubert so brilliantly mocked? What alternative kinds of repositories of knowledge, science, and history – especially ones based in the potentials of contemporary ‘new media’ and ‘new technology’ – would consciously take into account Flaubert’s correct critique and meet with his approval?
Alan Shapiro will also address the question of how the structure of the database as technological artifact will be upgraded by the New Computer Science to a relationship of pattern, similarity or resonance, to the experience that the user can have in a media-software environment or ‘game’ that gathers its information from the to-be-extended more dynamic Database Structure 2.0.
15.45 – 17.30 > SESSION 3 >
Art at the gates: Wikipedia Art is understood both as artwork and intervention. Taking place largely on Wikipedia itself, the project Wikipedia Art was considered controversial and was quickly removed (see the recent debate on Nettime-l). What does this project reveal about this type of knowledge production? What is the threshold of legitimacy for this type of knowledge and how are the boundaries policed? What is at stake in the rejection of art?
Moderator: Rachel Somers Miles
Scott Kildall (USA)
Wikipedia Art: Citation as Performative Act
Scott Kildall discusses the Wikipedia Art intervention as both a performance and critical analysis of Wikipedia. Using the premise of the performative utterance as proffered by J.L. Austin, he argues that Wikipedia has similar consequences, and indeed, creates a paradox which confounds the construction of truth. The Wikipedia Art project, as a widespread collaborative work, reflects this notion of what ‘is’ by defining itself as all its own discourse. Wikipedia Art has garnered numerous articles in various online and mainstream press and at one time, the attention of the Wikimedia Foundation with a legal threat over trademark usage. Ultimately, the project speaks back to Wikipedia’s formation of online consensus, its populist mythology and Wikimedia’s power more generally.
Patrick Lichty (USA)
Social Media, Cultural Scaffolds, and Molecular Hegemonies. Musings on Anarchic Media, WIKIs, and De-territorialized Art
Community-driven online media like wikis create frameworks for anarchic models of media production. Wiki-based media create grass roots community, social protocols, and delivery methods based on conceptual frames of the site’s mission. The scope of the Burning Man-like potential for cultural location of Wikipedia discourse ranges widely, from Wikipedia to Encyclopedia Dramatica. Also, wiki communities set their bylaws, creating what Guattari might call ‘molecular’, or localized hegemonies.
As wiki-based media expands, what can we learn from the relocation of power structures from the institutional to the communal? Can cogent art or curatorial models arise from emergent communal media? Patrick Lichty addresses wiki-based media production – including Wikipedia and Encyclopedia Dramatica – and the emergence of molecular hegemonies within them. Also, art and ‘curatorial’ sites like Wikipedia Art, 4chan.org, and Patrick Lichty’s Art in the Age of Dataflow wiki-based essay will consider the potentials and evidence regarding communal media creation.
Hendrik-Jan Grievink (NL)
Wiki Loves Art
Wiki loves Art/NL was an initiative of Creative Commons Netherlands, Wikimedia Foundation Netherlands and Amsterdam Museum Night. During the project, that took place between June 1st and June 30th 2009, the visual documentation of art objects in museums and archives was crowd sourced to amateur photographers. This resulted in a huge online database of images, all available under a creative commons license to illustrate articles on Wikipedia. The initiative was a continuation of Wikipedia Takes Manhattan (New York, October 2008) and Wikipedia Loves Art (UK, February 2009
As a follow-up, Hendrik-Jan Grievink is now working on a book about the project, that both documents the process and brings back the works in a physical context, taking the whole project one step further. In his presentation, he will elaborate on his ideas and make a subjective visual analysis of the somewhat tense relationship between visual culture and Wikipedia.
10.00 – 12.30 > SESSION 4 >
Knowledge in the neighborhood of software: Can we start thinking of Wikipedia as interplay of editors and technology, since software and notification systems make up such an important part of the Wikipedia project? Indeed, while humans argue over knowledge statements, ‘bots’ do much of the dirty work and general knowledge housekeeping – a kind of (un)dead labor. The presumption here, of code as politics, is that the wiki principles themselves need to be debated from a perspective of software studies. To what extent has bot politics triumphed over vernacular expertise or lead to an empowerment of the e-tech geeks in knowledge projects? Related to this is the question of the cultural history of Wikipedia as a platform. What is the relation between policy formation and technical protocols? Is Wikipedia knowledge cybernetic?
Wikipedia as a data set: Besides the automation participation in the form of the bot, Wikipedia is an information artifact through and through. What kind of data analysis techniques can contribute to a radical critique or illuminate network regularities beyond human interpretation? What additional anonymized data sets of edit and use history should be released by the Wikimedia Foundation to promote media literacy and education?
Moderator: Nishant Shah (IN)
Felipe Ortega (ES)
New Trends in the Evolution of Wikipedia
Presently, Wikipedia is one of the flagship projects on the Internet, consistently positioned in the chart of top-valued websites. Therefore, it has deserved the attention of researchers, mass media and the general public. Recent research results have shown that Wikipedia is entering into a new stage of its evolution as a dynamic, complex system. Leaving aside any fatalistic claim about the future of the project, Felipe Ortega will present the quantitative results collected on this shift thus far. He will also go into the possible hypothesis that may explain these changes in the evolution of Wikipedia.
Stuart Geiger (USA)
Bot Politics: The Domination, Subversion, and Negotiation of Code in Wikipedia
Recent research in the field of critical software studies has placed much attention on Wikipedia’s software infrastructure, focusing on fully-automated bots, semi-automated tools, and other technological actors essential to Wikipedia’s normal operation. This research trajectory has clearly demonstrated that such systems have significant socio-cultural consequences for Wikipedia. However, Stuart Geiger will present an alternative view by showing how these software agents are contested and negotiated.
Specifically, he analyzes the case of a bot created to enforce what was thought to be a near-universal norm: users should sign their comments in discussion spaces. However, this auto-signature bot was subverted by Wikipedian editors, and the ensuing conflict was only resolved by the creation of new standards that were at once social and technical limits on the behavior of humans and non-humans. Complicating the social and technological determinisms prevalent in software studies, this case illustrates that Wikipedia must be analyzed from a hybridized, socio-technical perspective.
Esther Weltevrede and Erik Borra
Controversy Analysis with Wikipedia
Following Wikipedia’s description of Neutral Point of View (NPoV) as one of its core
principles, articles must represent fairly, proportionately, and as much as possible
without bias, all significant views on a topic. From a controversy studies
perspective the free encyclopedia represents a desire to resolve controversies (the
term used to describe shared uncertainty and disagreement).
Systems are in place, including technical tools and content agents, to adhere to
NPoV guidelines and as such Wikipedia can be seen a controversy-defusing device.
Matters of dispute are sent to the discussion page, controversial articles are
forked and content agents such as bots deal with vandalism and dubious content.
Disentangling the consensus reached on Wikipedia, by analyzing the traces left
throughout the system (in the form of edit histories, forkings, bot activity and
other metrics), Wikipedia may be repurposed to inquire into social controversies.
Hans Varghese Mathews (IN)
Clustering the Contributors to a Wikipedia Page
A Wikipedia page, considered as a dynamic textual object, would exhibit discursive features peculiar to its continuing augmentation and revision, which circumstance may well endow the page with a distinctive discursive history. The sheer volume of the archive that is Wikipedia necessitates – and its digital form abets – the automated assay of its contents for evidence upon which to found such inference and interpretation as is proper to the eliciting of such a history. This should be particularly eventful when the topos or subject of a page admits incompatible founding premises and when the automated routine that will be presented – to cluster the contributors or editors a page has had over a length of time – is meant to uncover evidence of the conflicting agendas that different editors may now be pursuing.
Hans Varghese Mathews will elaborate on the choices that were forced on us: in the design of the routine, by the exigencies of numerization and by considerations of efficiency. He shall insist that the output of the routine is not, by itself, historiographically pertinent knowledge. Our clustering routine is a means only to the discovery of evidence and as such would be useful only to those who bring considerable prior knowledge and discursive agility to the writing of a discursive history.
The epistemological presumptions behind these claims, and the prejudice issuing in the caveat that follows, should be acceptable and natural to those who value qualitative understanding in what are called the human sciences, over such objective consensus on hypotheses as may be obtained by their quantitative testing. Particularly where the formulation of hypotheses is severely constrained by the demand for quantitative consequences, a major focus will be on this great methodological divide.
13.30 – 15.30 > SESSION 5 >
The paradox of neutrality: The ‘Neutral Point of View’ policy of Wikipedia does not always accurately depict the state of debate on topics. The view held by a corporate lobby, using funded research, will find equal space to the opinions of thousands of disadvantaged persons who might be impacted by the actions of the corporate lobby. Would it make sense to replace the Neutral Point of View policy and think about Wikipedia as a space of open political agonality: as a battle for meaning underpinned by the desire for reason?
New crises of authenticity: As Wikipedia gains the status of default reference for other printed textual knowledge artifacts there are emerging challenges of representation: longevity born digital references, digital manipulation of sources and circular referencing. Shuddhabrata Sengupta of CSDS/Sarai says: “Wikipedia encouraged in its community the active exercise of a critical and skeptical attitude towards any received form of knowledge”. In this context the evolving notions of authenticity have to be further interrogated given the rise of peer-produced knowledge and the diminishing cult of the expert.
Moderator: Caroline Nevejan (NL)
Andrew Famiglietti (UK)
Negotiating the Neutral Point of View: Politics and the Moral Economy of Wikipedia
The Neutral Point of View is one of Wikipedia’s most fundamental policies. However, simple understandings of the Neutral Point of View belie the almost baroque complexities of the current Wikipedia policy page that documents it, which runs some dozen pages. More importantly, it overlooks the myriad negotiations that Wikipedia editors undergo as they attempt to interpret the policy and apply it to their daily practices of production.
Andrew Famiglietti will focus on the interpretations of the Neutral Point of View policy that accompanied the production of the politically contentious Wikipedia article documenting Israel’s invasion of the Gaza strip in the winter of 2008/2009. He will show how these negotiations reveal what he dubbed, following E.P. Thompson, the ‘Moral Economy’ of Wikipedia. Like the English peasants described by Thompson, Wikipedia editors are guided by a moral sense of what is and is not a legitimate intervention in their productive process. This ‘moral economy’ shapes the contours of political possibility on Wikipedia, both enabling and restricting resistance to currently dominant economic, social, and political formations.
Teemu Mikkonen (FI)
Kosovo War in Wikipedia, Tracing the Conflict and Consensus in the Wikipedia Talk –pages
Teemu Mikkonen will illustrate how Wikipedia editors are motivated to talk and argue on the Wikipedia Talk pages and how they reach consensus. He will focus on how on the one hand disagreements are solved in an official way according to Wikipedia policies and how on the other hand, unofficial conversation culture in Wikipedia develops. Based on a sociological theoretical framework on power, conflict and objectivity and specifically focusing on the Kosovo War article on Wikipedia, he will demonstrate what role the subjects, discourses, constructions and contradictions play in the multi-national English discussions surrounding this topic. How are the conversations on Wikipedia connected to the cultural and social factors of the Kosovo War and beyond? The Neutral Point of View policy might need to be challenged in cases like the Kosovo War article, in which it is not possible to achieve complete neutrality.
Florian Cramer (NL)
The German WikiWars and the Limits of Objectivism
The Neutral Point of View is often considered a pragmatic tool, a necessary consensus model for unifying divergent editorial voices into one article and, ultimately, one encyclopedia. It is less widely known that Ayn Rand’s “Objectivism”, with its combined belief in free market capitalism and fully objective grasp of reality, provided the initial inspiration and philosophical foundation of the Wikipedia project and its policies. The 2009 crisis of the German-language Wikipedia, which
originated in controversies over an article about a sexual abuse victims non-profit, is a model example for the limitations of the consensus policies and engineering cultural objectivism beliefs. By
implication, it also reveals limitations of open source authoring models.
Lawrence Liang (IN)
Wikipedia and the Authority of Knowledge
Every technological innovation, but particularly innovations affecting knowledge production bring with them a new set of anxieties and concerns. The massive growth of Wikipedia as a collaborative encyclopedia, which can be edited by anyone has raised a number of concerns. This paper seeks to address the debate on the authority of knowledge vis a vis Wikipedia through a slightly different lens, Rather than addressing the concerns of knowledge brought through the emergence of ‘new media’, I would instead like to locate the emergence of the idea of the authority of knowledge itself, through a historical examination of ‘old media’. I will be looking at the early history of the book and the print revolution to argue that the authority of knowledge that one presumes for the book is not something that was inherent to it, and in fact the early history of the book is filled with conflicts around the question of how you could rely on a book as an artifact of authoritative knowledge. By examining the conditions that enabled the establishment of the book and the encyclopedia as stable objects of knowledge, I hope to return us to a different way of thinking about Wikipedia and the debates on its authority.
15.45 – 17.30 > SESSION 6 >
Global Issues and Outlooks
Knowledge in flux: The Western tradition of Enlightenment tends to permeate both common and official understandings of knowledge on Wikipedia. Mirroring the Enlightenment itself, Wikipedia both offers a very particular type of knowledge and simultaneously makes claims upon the universal, e.g. in the formulation of visionary goals, structure of articles, author positions, writing style, categorization of entries, conflict resolution models and so on. The ways in which such ideals persist and continue to bear their mark on the present in often subtle ways requires further attention. Indeed, the ‘grand narratives’ of the Enlightenment that Jean-Francis Lyotard claimed had retreated with the emergence of ‘computerized societies’ continue to inform the popular imaginary in ways largely untouched by the deconstructive moment. Frederic Jameson once referred to this as the “persistence of buried master-narratives”, a ‘political unconscious’ that guides decisions irrespective of philosophical status. Likewise, this resonates with Foucault’s urge “to reveal a ‘positive unconscious’ of knowledge” as that which performs the task of subjugation but operates beyond contention. What matters here is not truth or belief, but operation.
The predominance of textual or even linguistic cultures: The current system of Wikipedia citation prejudices textual systems of knowledge over oral and visual systems of knowledge. This undervalues the knowledge systems of cultural memory and related technique such as Mnemo techniques or oral poetry on the one hand, and illiterate populations on the other hand.
Moderator: Johanna Niesyto (DE)
Mayo Fuster Morell (IT)
Wikimedia Governance: The Role of the Wikimedia Foundation and the Form and Geopolitics of its Internationalization
Mayo Fuster Morell will address the global dimension of Wikipedia, not concerning the ‘content’ and the conception of knowledge it transmits, but she will focus on the organizational processes behind its production. Her approach springs from the recognition that there is a lack of attention in Wikipedia research to the more formal organizational aspects, which also play an important role in the Wikipedia ecosystem.
Wikipedia is not only an online platform to build an encyclopedia on, but it is also the provider of such a platform, a North American foundation in an internationalization process of chapters around the world. How has the Wikimedia Foundation expanded internationally in terms of its organizational form, both concerning the settings of the online platform and the geopolitics of its formal organization?
Amit Basole (IN)
Knowledge Satyagraha: Towards a People’s Knowledge Movement
Equal respect to all streams of knowledge in society is a precondition for the realization of the ideal of equality in the Knowledge Age. As the Church once opposed the idea of equality, the University now contests the idea of equal respect to all streams of knowledge. The walls of the university must come down if a collaborative, self-correcting, non-hierarchical world of Knowledge is to emerge in society. This requires a people’s knowledge movement. The university is the most prized product of the capitalist era and it will not be radically changed without a politics of people’s knowledge.
Struggles are raging today all over Europe over the future of the university and of knowledge production. Those opposing privatization of schools, colleges and universities, those advocating free and open source software, those fighting against patents and patent laws must create links with struggles of the knowledgeable people across the world: the peasants, artisans, and indigenous peoples everywhere. Only then can their struggles create a new world of knowledge. Knowledge Satyagraha is a way to craft these links.
Maja van der Velden (NL/NO)
When Knowledges Meet: Database Design and the Performance of Knowledge
The presentation of knowledge on websites and in digital archives can be understood as a performance of knowledge. By using technology, do knowledge communities lose control over how they perform their knowledge? Maja van der Velden examines how technology design affects cognitive justice. The concept of contact zone is introduced to discuss the meeting between the techno-scientific global knowledge of database technology and the knowledge of local communities. An important challenge in database design is to keep alive the ontology underlying local knowledge systems. Three cases are examined to illustrate different aspects of the relationship between technology and knowledge in particular approaches of managing local knowledge. The relationship between technology and knowledge is explored through a discussion of the meta-design approach, which focuses on designing authoring tools instead of designing an end product. Through a discussion of the cases and Wikipedia, the following question arises: What kind of authoring tools can advance cognitive justice?
Athina Karatzogianni (UK)
Wikipedia’s Impact on the Global Power-Knowledge Hierarchies
One of the most significant changes in the global political system is network forms of organization, mobilization, knowledge production and resistance witnessed in social movements, peer production and open collaborative systems boosting innovation and creativity in stems and nodes of all of our systems. In this environment, Wikipedia and similar endeavors provide a blueprint as well as a battleground for dominance in our global political consciousness. This blueprint or battleground has internal conflicts, competitors within the open software movement and external others in the overall business of knowledge production.
The threat is not Wikipedia’s content, and indeed the battle of edit wars is futile. The threat and promise of Wikipedia and open knowledge production is not an alternative knowledge production, but an alternative to knowledge production. In turn, the threat to Wikipedia and the wider peer production movement is the inability to transfer virtual political practices to the physical world in a coherent way, conscious of other movements, networks and successful practices outside the technopower elite.