Wikipedia and the Neutrality Principle

José van Dijck

in The Culture of Connectivity

Published in print January 2013 | ISBN: 9780199970773
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199307425 | DOI:
Wikipedia and the Neutrality Principle

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Chapter 7 traces the history of Wikipedia, which started out as a collaborative project in 2001 to grow into a professionally run, volunteer-based, non-profit organization whose goal is the online production of an encyclopedia. Wikipedia is one of the few examples of nonmarket peer-production in an overwhelmingly corporate ecosystem. Over the years, content contribution to Wikipedia has gradually become a protocolled interaction of human editors and bots steered by the platform’s hierarchical content management system. A complex procedure of negotiation, based on five basic principles—of which neutrality is the most important one—necessarily results in consensual entries. The neutrality principle is also mirrored in Wikipedia’s nonprofit organization: the encyclopedic project is separate from the Wikimedia Foundation that secures its funding and operating power. But can a nonprofit enclave of neutrality exist when it is woven into the corporate fabric of connective media? And how does Wikipedia’s neutrality principle relate to the sharing logic and popularity rankings fostered by Facebook and Google?

Keywords: Wikipedia; content management; nonprofit peer-production; online knowledge construction; collaborative co-creation

Chapter.  9004 words. 

Subjects: Sociology

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