Awareness As It Relates To Wikipedia

1861 words - 7 pages

In the paper “Awareness and Coordination in Shared Workspaces” written by Paul Dourish and Victoria Bellotti, the authors describe awareness as: “an understanding of the activities of others, which provides a context for your own activity” (Dourish 107). This concept appears several times in the various Wikipedia research papers. We can also see that as Wikipedia changes and evolves one of the key aspects of successful awareness, passive awareness rather than active awareness, is potentially being eroded. Finally, the definition of awareness as described by Dourish and Bellotti was written almost 20 years ago and certainly was not considering a collaborative effort such as Wikipedia, there are considerations and alterations should be taken into consideration when looking at awareness in an environment such as Wikipedia.

The article “Lifting the Veil: Improving Accountability and social Transparency in Wikipedia with WikiDashboard” discusses the issue Wikipedia faces with quality and accountability while proposing a potential solution. The main focus of the article is the WikiDashboard application that the authors created, however the reason this application is created is to address the transparency issue with Wikipedia.

“Despite their tremendous success, collaborative models of knowledge building are still viewed with skepticism. The quality, accountability, and trustworthyness of the articles in Wikipedia has been debated heavily in the press” (Bongwon 1037).

This distrust is the result of the disconnect of awareness between the Wikipedia readers and the Wikipedia writers, who of course can be the same individuals but in many cases are not. When a reader of a Wikipedia article cannot say for sure who has written the information and for what purpose, there is a hesitancy to accept that what was written is correct. It is possible that the author is being intentionally deceptive, or simply does not posses the knowledge required to write the article. Since the reader is unaware of the author(s) credentials or intentions they must make the additional decision of whether or not they choose to trust what is written. However, Wikipedia does provide the means to know who has made changes and when, which in turn grants the community the awareness needed to track changes and make necessary alterations to, hopefully, minimize mistakes and vandalism. The article itself is attempting to provide a means for the Wikipedia reader, who typically does not bother to look at this awareness data, an easy way to improve their awareness by bringing this information to the forefront. The authors believe that by improving the connection between the readers and the writers through this extra transparency, that awareness can be improved and the reader can better trust the articles, or if necessary be aware that the article is not to be trusted. This type of awareness fits in with the Dourish definition, the user is aware of the contributions of...

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