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Conference Blog wikiwars

Attended only the first day of wikiwars CPOV (Critical Point of View) conducted by  Centre for Internet and Society at Bangalore.

Geert Lovink and Nishant

playing key role in the arrangements and proceedings.

Geert spoke of the Role and Purpose of research in getting understanding of networks and critics in the new media(including formation and running of complex sites like wikipedia that was discussed primarily. Critics could be cynical but can still develop new concepts.

The sponsor is an outsider to wikimedia foundation, and has an intention to move research on wikipedia outside of WMF. The feeling I got was like, having 2 parties compete in a constituency (say Congress and BJP) while there are also these independent candidates who compete for the same seat. Restating the purpose is broaden the wikipedia content, architecture and politics.

Anne Goldberg and Rut Jesus gave a twist to Open space technology in creating art, and art was about wikipedia this time around, and it was nice to see it evolve.

Shunling Chen made a nice analogy of wikipedia with Oxford English Dictionary and Richard Trench with a key question of “who decides who is eligible to speak up or edit in a network”. 2 models of common-collaborative versus proprietary-centralized networks with different types of actors was brought forward. Actors now include non-human utilities running on wikipedia systems.  This session was nicely followed by Stuart Geiger’s “Wisdom of bots” and on taking the middle ground between wisdom of crowds and strong societal structure with weak norms. Shocking stuff on bots (like anti vandal, helper, twinke, huggle etc)  becoming more active editors and some sort of 1984 is hierarchy getting formed even with the bots. Polanyi’s speed bump concept was interesting.

Beatriz Martins gave a perspective on remediation as methodological key. Built a picture on starting from

Antiquity where the media took a fluid form, with anonymous existence of narratives, on which no one can claim ownership

Medieval times where it became a little bit more interactive, with commentaries coming in and the authority being collective and proprietorship being common

Modern times as a culture of reason (Kantish) where individual owns.

Key point was made on free circulation of discourse and on gestation of new forms of control.

Dipti Kulkarni’s linguistic view point was totally fresh, which in my mind has made clear on key differences in the language of a wiki and a blog. Defining context of a communication along physical, temporal, dialogue, language, technology enablement, relationship and purpose facets. Interesting to note key points on lack of deictic words, high lexical density, assertive only speech acts, lack of hedge words, and on suppression of ideational interpersonal and textual elements.  Again by excluding speech acts of declarative, interogative, exclamative I felt actually we are losing out on the richness of language  and expression in the new media wikis.

Mark Graham showed disparities and unevenness in development of wikipedia on direction, geo and politics.

Openness as a problem solved by creation of new structures and rules was discussed by Linda. Was further followed by Nathaniel Tkacz on open politics and brought Popper with him.

Erstwhile CC Advisory board member Heather Ford talked about WMF adopting Creative Commons. Interesting classification on how we can regulate by law, market, norms and architecture. CC was put forward as a fashion statement but ineffective way to share as it is still created by lawyers.

Overall rich discussions and really great diversity, but direction was unclear.

 

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