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  1. ‘What are these researchers doing in my Wikipedia?’: ethical premises and practical judgment in internet-based ethnography.Christian Pentzold - 2017 - Ethics and Information Technology 19 (2):143-155.
    The article ties together codified ethical premises, proceedings of ethical reasoning, and field-specific ethical reflections so to inform the ethnography of an Internet-based collaborative project. It argues that instead of only obeying formal statutes, practical judgment has to account for multiple understandings of ethical issues in the research field as well as for the self-determination of reflexive participants. The article reflects on the heuristics that guided the decisions of a 4-year participant observation in the English-language and German-language editions of Wikipedia. (...)
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  • Trustworthiness and truth: The epistemic pitfalls of internet accountability.Karen Frost-Arnold - 2014 - Episteme 11 (1):63-81.
    Since anonymous agents can spread misinformation with impunity, many people advocate for greater accountability for internet speech. This paper provides a veritistic argument that accountability mechanisms can cause significant epistemic problems for internet encyclopedias and social media communities. I show that accountability mechanisms can undermine both the dissemination of true beliefs and the detection of error. Drawing on social psychology and behavioral economics, I suggest alternative mechanisms for increasing the trustworthiness of internet communication.
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  • The use of software tools and autonomous bots against vandalism: eroding Wikipedia’s moral order?Paul B. de Laat - 2015 - Ethics and Information Technology 17 (3):175-188.
    English - language Wikipedia is constantly being plagued by vandalistic contributions on a massive scale. In order to fight them its volunteer contributors deploy an array of software tools and autonomous bots. After an analysis of their functioning and the ‘ coactivity ’ in use between humans and bots, this research ‘ discloses ’ the moral issues that emerge from the combined patrolling by humans and bots. Administrators provide the stronger tools only to trusted users, thereby creating a new hierarchical (...)
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  • From open-source software to Wikipedia: ‘Backgrounding’ trust by collective monitoring and reputation tracking.Paul B. de Laat - 2014 - Ethics and Information Technology 16 (2):157-169.
    Open-content communities that focus on co-creation without requirements for entry have to face the issue of institutional trust in contributors. This research investigates the various ways in which these communities manage this issue. It is shown that communities of open-source software—continue to—rely mainly on hierarchy (reserving write-access for higher echelons), which substitutes (the need for) trust. Encyclopedic communities, though, largely avoid this solution. In the particular case of Wikipedia, which is confronted with persistent vandalism, another arrangement has been pioneered instead. (...)
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  • NAVIGATING BETWEEN CHAOS AND BUREAUCRACY: BACKGROUNDING TRUST IN OPEN-CONTENT COMMUNITIES.Paul B. de Laat - 2012 - In Karl Aberer, Andreas Flache, Wander Jager, Ling Liu, Jie Tang & Christophe Guéret (eds.), 4th International Conference, SocInfo 2012, Lausanne, Switzerland, December 5-7, 2012. Proceedings. Springer.
    Many virtual communities that rely on user-generated content (such as social news sites, citizen journals, and encyclopedias in particular) offer unrestricted and immediate ‘write access’ to every contributor. It is argued that these communities do not just assume that the trust granted by that policy is well-placed; they have developed extensive mechanisms that underpin the trust involved (‘backgrounding’). These target contributors (stipulating legal terms of use and developing etiquette, both underscored by sanctions) as well as the contents contributed by them (...)
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