OII SDP 2007 (XXXI): Wikipedia & Peer Production

Leads: Jonathan Zittrain, John Palfrey

We don’t know who uses Wikipedia, we don’t know what values does it vindicates

How do people actually use/abuse it?

  • many kids use it without participating/understanding; are kids plagiarizing
  • how easy is to become a Wikipedian: try participating earnestly; experiment with particular forms, like deleting articles; concerns about “going native”

Is wikipedia egalitarian?

  • who is participating, excluded
  • control of code – control of content
  • abuse of those who give freely?

Does peer production make us into the Borg?

  • effects of lack of singular authorship

Is Wikipedia accurate?

  • citing Wikipedia as a source

Why did not Academia came up with Wikipedia? Is Academia losing the sense of what’s important? And what’s important right now? Maybe the health of the Network is an issue that should be urgently addressed (disclaimer: I fully agree, but it’s Jonathan Zittrain who says this at the gates of the publication of his next book The Future of the Internet – and How to Stop It ;)


Zittrain, J. (2007). The Future of the Internet – and How to Stop It (Chapter 6). [forthcoming]. New Haven: Yale University Press.

More info


SDP 2007 related posts (2007)

If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:

Peña-López, I. (2007) “OII SDP 2007 (XXXI): Wikipedia & Peer Production” In ICTlogy, #46, July 2007. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
Retrieved month dd, yyyy from https://ictlogy.net/review/?p=597

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4 Comments to “OII SDP 2007 (XXXI): Wikipedia & Peer Production” »

  1. Maybe Academia didn’t came up with Wikipedia because the core of the matter is that knowledge peer-production model could now be based on tools like wikis, that rewrite somehow the rules of who’s the expert and why (like in Open Source development, every participant has the chance of winning that position -degrees apart- strictly by the amount or quality of what they write/do/help for a certain project).

  2. I agree, but this explains only we the non-experts came up with Wikipedia. But the stress of Zittrain’s question was not on why Wikipedia had its origins in the “wise crowds” but WHY NOT had it had its origins in Aacademia.

    I know it is more or less the same thing, but the focus is not on the success of those crowds, but on the “failure” of Academia not to envision those changes taking place in the society and the new technologies empowering them.

  3. Ok, let then stress the question on the tool aspect (& excuse the simplification): since that type of crowd collaboration has been only possible with tools like wikis, completely OS generated, their appropriation has been faster in hands of techie and hacker-minded people, those guys/girls still far from have an important “official” weight in Academia (and a majority of companies).

    The answer should be around the life cycle of some tools, and its distance from many departments guided by digital immigrant’s grandfathers (with all my respects).

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