Wikipedia is basically just another giant bureaucracy, study finds
Every time we think about the future of digitization, digital ventures like Reddit and Wikipedia that focus on decentralizing power and offering every person an opportunity to create and spread knowledge must come into our mind. According to the findings of a recent study, Wikipedia is slowly shifting from an open-source community to a conformist and corporate bureaucracy controlled by an elite few.
The findings of the research might surprise the fans of the online encyclopedia. Wikipedia has failed to include the editors and contributors in the management structures. Active editors earn ranks like super-contributor, which is accompanied by editorial privileges, but does not include power over other editors or contributors.
Indiana University’s researchers Bradi Heaberlin and Simon DeDeo scrutinized over 5 million articles and Wikipedia data of the last 15 years that were posted by tens of thousands of editors. They discovered that the website is controlled by something known as the Iron Law of Oligarchy, which means that the once-decentralized system is governed by elite few.
The data found out that despite the community growing from 100 users to 30,000 people, the norms that guide how people network or how they choose and edit content is still the same. These rules include “be neutral”, “verify everything”, as well as “don’t type in all caps”. These norms were supposed to function as loose guidelines, which could be ignored as the website evolved.
The team established that 89 percent of the rules have remained unchanged for the past decade, and they are currently achieving a myth status. Explaining the iron law to Gizmondo, DeDeo said that Wikipedia started as a decentralized democratic system, but over time, a leadership class that enjoys the freedom of accessing social network and information emerged. The original version of this article is available on Science Alert; http://www.sciencealert.com/wikipedia-is-basically-just-another-old-fashioned-bureaucracy-study-finds
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