Historical Social Research

Csilla Rudas & János Török: Modeling the Wikipedia to Understand the Dynamics of Long Disputes and Biased Articles. [Abstract]

The Internet has provided us with a number of online collaborative environments, including platforms for open software developments and online encyclopedias such as Wikipedia. Conflicts may arise in the course of such collaboration, but despite differences of opinion consensus can be reached. By investigating the consensus-building processes, we can shed light on the dynamics of social behavior. In Wikipedia, it is not always easy for editors to agree about article content, especially considering people’s different tolerance levels towards others and for whatever may be written. In this paper, we focus on how the editors' attitudes, namely being broad-minded or stubborn, affect the consensus-building process in a model of Wikipedia. We further investigate how banning editors affects the speed with which conflicts or debates can be resolved. For the analysis, we use an agent-based opinion model developed to simulate different aspects of Wikipedia. We show that, in most cases, banning agents from editing an article slows down the consensus-building process, and increases the system’s relaxation time. We show further, and counterintuitively, that with large groups of “extremists” who hold other than the central opinion, consensus can be reached faster and the article will be less biased.

Order this Article (PDF)
Access via EBSCO for Registered Users
Free Access to Full-Text via SSOAR (available from September 14, 2018)