I am involved with a survey on expert participation in Wikipedia, aimed at identifying the major reasons why experts do or don't contribute. Most of the issues targeted therein are also relevant to online communities in general, so I would like to encourage OAC members to fill it in: http://survey.nitens.org/?sid=21693 .

Expert Barriers to WP
For background on the survey, see http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Research_Committee/Areas_of_interest... . Thank you!

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Interesting. The only thing I have contributed to wikipedia is correcting the entry on Bananaman, whose address was 29 Acacia Avenue, not Road, as it had previously stated. I still worry that this was wrong, although it felt so right at the time...
The survey is no longer available. At least that's the message I get when I click on the links provided.
Hi John, thanks for trying. Yes, the survey has closed, and we are working on the analysis. Once this is done, the results will be made available via http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Research:Expert_participation_survey . You may also be interested in a somewhat related project, targeted at improving coverage of topics around Open Science and Open Access, and facilitating reuse of Open Access materials by Wikimedia projects: http://blog.wikimedia.org/2011/07/20/joining-forces-with-open-science/ .

I once read that there is more coverage of the geography of Middle Earth than there is of Africa on Wikipedia. I think I read it in Miller-McCune, though I would have to search and see if I still have the article.


Given all of the lit on political geography, I find that thought interesting and disturbing. However, my next reaction is to wonder about the actual data (as opposed to theoretical commentary) available through the lit on political geography. Maybe its simply that I have yet to fully round out my understanding of this theoretical orientation (and the concomitant literature). However, I suspect that many political economists in general in anthropology may shy away from quantitative data as somehow merely utilitarian; and I wonder how we can really do political geography or political economy without that kind of data, on a macro scale.


Are there any instances of commentary from disciplinary geographers concerning the crossing of anthropologists into their modes of research? Any geographer's thoughts on anthropological methods?


Could it be that, in terms of anthropological contributions to real-world geographies on Wikipedia, we are not producing stuff that we would recognize as germane to Wikipedia? Also, could it be that current intellectual trends lead us to suspect any data as provisional, and therefore prone to eventual inaccuracy? Or, do we just automatically expect that our main venue is going to be recognized publications, and the ethnographically generated data is background fodder for our publications?


I certainly don't feel qualified to make a definite claim as a broad statement to these questions.

Justified ego. I believe that experts, no matter the area, do not contribute because of an academically inherited snobbery. An ego-based hierarchy does not allow experts to get involved in lower-varna affairs.

Joel, In a recent seminar with Eliza Darling she presented a paer which she had presented to a geographers' conference, the theme of which had been the "spatial turn" in geography (and other disciplines). She said she was bemused, because while issues of space and place have really invigorated Geographical discourses of late, in a sense, space and place have always been key to ethnographic contexts. The point is, we haven't had a spatial turn, apparently the geographers were surprised.


Another researcher at Goldsmiths, Catherine Alexander mentioned (in seminar) diverging perceptions of method between the two disciplines. She collaborated on this project:




I understand there was a lot of commentary from the disciplinary geographers about working with an anthropologist, however I'm not sure how we could invite them to comment.


In terms of research students, especially in human geography I think they find the existing body of ethnographic literature for their region really valuable, and adopt participant observation with gusto. In fact I do not see a very rigid boundary between that side of geography and anthropology at all. I say this based on personal acquaintance with "human geographers"- (a disciplinary title which always amuses me!)  I think the disctinction may be different for our American counterparts though.


I think the Africa/ Middle Earth question indicates more about who does contribute to Wikipedia. I imagine anyone can be an expert if they know enough about a subject, and I wouldn't restrict expertism to academia, that's a fallacy. For instance, I have "been" to Middle Earth and Africa twice, but I have travelled further in Middle Earth for sure and have a more comprehensive experience of it (not including jaunts courtesy of Mr Jackson either). It might be worth noting that Sudan and Gondor have a similar area, but Sudan has a far larger wikipedia entry, at least in terms of bytes per page.


Joel M. Wright said:\

Are there any instances of commentary from disciplinary geographers concerning the crossing of anthropologists into their modes of research? Any geographer's thoughts on anthropological methods?


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