Powerful Structure: Inspecting Infrastructures of Information Organization in Wikimedia Foundation Projects
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This dissertation investigates the social and technological factors of collaboratively organizing information in commons-based peer production systems. To do so, it analyzes the diverse strategies that members of Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) project communities use to organize information. Key findings from this dissertation show that conceptual structures of information organization are encoded into the infrastructure of WMF projects. The fact that WMF projects are commons-based peer production systems means that we can inspect the code that enables these systems, but a specific type of technical literacy is required to do so. I use three methods in this dissertation. I conduct a qualitative content analysis of the discussions surrounding the design, implementation and evaluation of the category system; a quantitative analysis using descriptive statistics of patterns of editing among editors who contributed to the code of templates for information boxes; and a close reading of the infrastructure used to create the category system, the infobox templates, and the knowledge base of structured data.
- Information science