Common Knowledge?: An Ethnography of Wikipedia

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Stanford University Press, May 14, 2014 - Business & Economics - 312 pages
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With an emphasis on peer–produced content and collaboration, Wikipedia exemplifies a departure from traditional management and organizational models. This iconic "project" has been variously characterized as a hive mind and an information revolution, attracting millions of new users even as it has been denigrated as anarchic and plagued by misinformation. Have Wikipedia's structure and inner workings promoted its astonishing growth and enduring public relevance? In Common Knowledge?, Dariusz Jemielniak draws on his academic expertise and years of active participation within the Wikipedia community to take readers inside the site, illuminating how it functions and deconstructing its distinctive organization. Against a backdrop of misconceptions about its governance, authenticity, and accessibility, Jemielniak delivers the first ethnography of Wikipedia, revealing that it is not entirely at the mercy of the public: instead, it balances open access and power with a unique bureaucracy that takes a page from traditional organizational forms. Along the way, Jemielniak incorporates fascinating cases that highlight the tug of war among the participants as they forge ahead in this pioneering environment.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
Numbers Rules and Editors
10
A Cabal That Rules the World
29
Why Die for Danzig?
59
Big Brother Is Watching
85
The Truth Is Out There
105
Wikimedia Governance
125
The Pros and Cons of Benevolent Dictatorship
153
8 The Knowledge Revolution at the Gates
181
Methodology
193
Glossary of Wikipedia Slang
203
Notes
227
References
237
Index
281
Copyright

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About the author (2014)

Dariusz Jemielniak is Professor of Management at Kozminski University in Warsaw, Poland, where he heads the Center for Research on Organizations and Workplaces. Beyond academia, he is a heavily-engaged Wikipedian and was elected in 2015 to the Board of Trustees of WIkimedia Foundation

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