Category Archives: Proceedings

Posted Academic and Other Historic Data

As part of an on-going discussion on academic transparency and openness, we have decided to publish the historic academic data (no. submissions, acceptance rate, etc.) for WikiSym, now OpenSym. Please find it on the Historic Data page. This data has always been made available as part of the foreword to each year’s proceedings, but now it is available at one glance and not hidden away in some archive.

We intend to ensure a high quality of publications (which implies selectivity). We believe that the combination of a high quality of community events at OpenSym (workshops, tutorials, panels, demos, etc.) together with a high-quality academic program is the way to go to keep building a vibrant community at the conference. We believe this will support the scope extension from the more narrow WikiSym to the broader OpenSym in 2014.

OpenSym Impact Factor, Metrics, etc.

The renaming of WikiSym to OpenSym and the scope extension from “everything wiki” to “everything open” has invalidated various metrics of scholarly assessment and so we wanted to ask your opinion on how to position the revamped conference.

In the past, WikiSym was a computer science conference. The influx of Wikipedia researchers has benefitted the conference and the community and extended our scope. Still, WikiSym had a strong computer science focus. The expected influx of open access, open data, open source, open educational resources, open innovation, etc. research will further sharpen the profile of the conference. We certainly won’t be a pure computer science conference any longer.

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Posters Preview

Last but not least, the posters session will feature the 15 posters listed below, along with 8 more from the doctoral consortium selectees, with authors available and excited to chat with you about their work. See the schedule for details on when and where to go.

  • Wikipedia Category Visualization Using Radial Layout. Robert P. Biuk-Aghai and Felix Hon Hou Cheang.
  • Wiki Refactoring: an Assisted Approach Based on Ballots. Oscar Diaz, Gorka Puente, and Cristóbal Arellano.
  • Visualizing Author Contribution Statistics in Wikis Using an Edit Significance Metric. Peter Kin-Fong Fong and Robert P. Biuk-Aghai.
  • The Center for Open Learning and Teaching. Pete Forsyth and Robert E. Cummings.
  • “G1: Patent nonsense”: Participation and Outcomes in Wikipedia’s Article Deletion Processes. R. Stuart Geiger and Heather Ford.
  • Wiki Architectures as Social Translucence Enablers. Stephanie Gokhman, David Mcdonald, and Mark Zachry.
  • Failures of Social Production: Evidence from Wikipedia. Andreea Gorbatai.
  • TWiki: A collaboration tool for the Large Hadron Collider. Peter Jones and Nils Hoimyr.
  • A Scourge to the Pillar of Neutrality: A WikiProject Fighting Systemic Bias. Randall Livingstone.
  • Places on the Map and in the Cloud: Representations of Locality and Geography in Wikipedia. Randall Livingstone.
  • Exploring Linguistic Points of View of Wikipedia. Paolo Massa and Federico Scrinzi.
  • Personality Traits, Feedback Mechanisms and their Impact on Motivation to Contribute to Wikis in Higher Education. Athanasios Mazarakis and Clemens Van Dinther.
  • CoSyne: a Framework for Multilingual Content Synchronization of Wikis. Christof Monz, Vivi Nastase, Matteo Negri, Angela Fahrni, Yashar Mehdad, and Michael Strube.
  • Incentivizing the ASL-STEM Forum. Kyle Rector, Richard Ladner, and Michelle Shepardson.
  • Wiki as Business Application Platform: The MES Showcase. Christoph Sauer.

Demos Preview

The demos session will feature four awesome demonstrations. See the schedule for details on when and where to go.

Wikiotics: The Interactive Language Instruction Wiki

Ian Sullivan, James R. Garrison, Matthew Curinga

While most existing wiki systems are geared toward editing text documents, we have built Wikiotics to enable the collaborative creation of interactive multimedia materials most needed in language instruction. In our demonstration, we will show several types of interactive lessons that can be created from simple multimedia elements. We will also show the lesson creation/editing interfaces and how our smart phone app can simplify the process of capturing local media and integrating that new media into existing lessons.

PukiWiki-Java Connector, a Simple API for Saving Data of Java Programs on a Wiki

Takashi Yamanoue, Kentaro Oda, Koichi Shimozono

Experimental implementation of SDK for Java Programs, PukiWiki-Java Connector, which makes an illusion that wiki pages as persistent data store, is shown. A Java program of them can be running on a wiki page and it can save its data on the page. The Java program consists of PukiWiki which is a popular wiki in Japan, the plug-in which starts up Java Applets. A Java Applet with default access privilege cannot store its data at the local host. We have constructed the API for the applets to ease data persistent at a remote host. We also combined the API and the wiki system by introducing a wiki plugin and tags for starting up Java Applets. Applet generated persistent data resides in wiki texts side by side. We have successfully ported useful programs such as a simple text editor, a simple music editor, a simple draw program and programming environments in a PukiWiki system using this connector.

Collaborative Video Editing for Wikipedia

Michael Dale

Collaborative video for Wikipedia faces several challenges from social and community adoption to technology limitations. This presentation explores how each of these problems are being addressed. The presentation focuses on building a collaborative educational video community and how the html5 technology platform has evolved to better support rich media applications such as HTML5 video editing in the browser and standardization around the royalty free WebM video format. Finally we propose a in-browser collaborative video sequencer to enable broad participation in video editing within Wikimedia projects.

Wiki4EAM – Using Hybrid Wikis for Enterprise Architecture Management

Florian Matthes, Christian Neubert

Enterprise architecture management (EAM) is a challenging task, modern enterprises have to face. This task is often addressed via heavy-weight and expensive EAM tools to collect, structure, visualize and analyze architectural information. A major problem in EAM is the mismatch between the existing unstructured information sources and the rigid information structures and collaboration mechanisms provided by today’s EAM tools.

To address this mismatch, researchers at Technische Universität München established in 2010 a community of experienced enterprise architects from 25 large German enterprises to pursue a different, wiki-based approach to EAM. The idea is to start with existing unstructured information sources captured as wiki pages (e.g., derived from Office documents) and then to incrementally and collaboratively enrich the wiki pages with attributes, types and integrity rules as needed for architecture modeling, visualization and analysis.

An off-the shelf commercial enterprise wiki (Tricia by infoAsset AG) provides the required incremental information structuring capabilities as so-called Hybrid Wikis. Customizable in-browser visualizations are provided by the System Cartography Tool developed at Technische Universität München.

Doctoral Consortium Preview

The WikiSym 2011 Doctoral Symposium will be held as a pre-conference event on October 2nd, 2011 on the campus of Stanford University. Accepted PhD students have been invited to present their dissertation work and participate in discussions and feedback sessions with three faculty mentors:

  • Loren Terveen, University of Minnesota
  • Coye Cheshire, University of California at Berkeley
  • Robert Biuk-Aghai, University of Macau

Students will also present their work as a poster during the conference, to encourage more feedback and discussions with the WikiSym research community.

Doctoral students studying any aspect of open collaboration were invited to apply for a position in the symposium. Applications were reviewed by the panel of faculty mentors and accepted students received travel support and conference registration courtesy of the National Science Foundation.

Eight students were accepted to participate. Their names, affiliations, and research titles are as follows.

  • Daniel Araya, University of Illinois. Learning and Education in an Age of Collective Intelligence
  • Adam Fish, UCLA. Liberalism & Neoliberalism in Internet & Television Convergence
  • Helge Hemmer, University of Wuppertal. Bridging the Gap between Research Lab, Student Experiments and Business Reality
  • Mohammad Hossein Jarrahi, Syracuse University. Social Networking Technologies and Information Knowledge Sharing in Organizations
  • Brian Keegan, Northwestern University. Breaking News on Wikipedia: Dynamics, Structures, and Practices of High-Tempo Collaboration
  • Katherine Panciera, University of Minnesota. The When and Why of User Participation
  • Heather Willever-Farr, Drexel University. Who Are We? Family History Peer Production on the Web
  • Shun Ye, University of Maryland. Truck, Barter, and Exchange: An Empirical Investigation of P2P Barter Markets

Session Preview: Sustaining Open Collaboration

The technical session Sustaining Open Collaboration will feature three presentations. See the schedule for details on when and where to go.

Don’t Bite the Newbies: How Reverts Affect the Quantity and Quality of Wikipedia Work

Aaron Halfaker, Aniket Kittur, John Riedl

Reverts are important to maintaining the quality of Wikipedia. They fix mistakes, repair vandalism, and help enforce policy. However, reverts can also be damaging, especially to the aspiring editor whose work they destroy. In this research we analyze 400,000 Wikipedia revisions to understand the effect that reverts had on editors. We seek to understand the extent to which they demotivate users, reducing the workforce of contributors, versus the extent to which they help users improve as encyclopedia editors. Overall we find that reverts are powerfully demotivating, but that their net influence is that more quality work is done in Wikipedia as a result of reverts than is lost by chasing editors away. However, we identify key conditions – most specifically new editors being reverted by much more experienced editors – under which reverts are particularly damaging. We propose that reducing the damage from reverts might be one effective path for Wikipedia to solve the newcomer retention problem.

Mentoring in Wikipedia: A Clash of Cultures

David R. Musicant, Yuqing Ren, James A. Johnson, John Riedl

The continuous success of Wikipedia depends upon its capability to recruit and engage new editors, especially those with new knowledge and perspectives. Yet Wikipedia over the years has become a complicated bureaucracy that may be difficult for newcomers to navigate. Mentoring is a practice that has been widely used in offline organizations to help new members adjust to their roles. In this paper, we draw insights from the offline mentoring literature to analyze mentoring practices in Wikipedia and how they influence editor behaviors. Our quantitative analysis of the Adopt-a-user program shows mixed success of the program. Communication between adopters and adoptees is correlated with the amount of article editing done by adoptees shortly after adoption. Our qualitative analysis of the communication between adopters and adoptees suggests that several key functions of mentoring are missing or not fulfilled consistently. Most adopters focus on establishing their legitimacy rather than acting proactively to guide, protect, and support the long-term growth of adoptees. We conclude with recommendations of how Wikipedia mentoring programs can evolve to take advantage of offline best practices.

“How Should I Go from __ to __ Without Getting Killed?” Motivation and Benefits in Open Collaboration

Katherine Panciera, Mikhil Masli, Loren Terveen

Many people rely on open collaboration projects to run their computer (Linux), browse the web (Mozilla Firefox), and get information (Wikipedia). While these projects are successful, many such efforts suffer from lack of participation. Understanding what motivates users to participate and the benefits they perceive from their participation can help address this problem. We examined these issues through a survey of contributors and information consumers in the Cyclopath geographic wiki. We analyzed subject responses to identify a number of key motives and perceived benefits. Based on these results, we articulate several general techniques to encourage more and new forms of participation in open collaboration communities. Some of these techniques have the potential to engage information consumers more deeply and productively in the life of open collaboration communities.

Session Preview: Wikis in the Workplace

The technical session Wikis in the Workplace will feature three presentations. See the schedule for details on when and where to go.

The Success of Corporate Wiki Systems: An End User Perspective

Zeeshan Ahmed Bhatti, Serge Baile, Hina Mahboob Yasin

With the ever increasing use of Web 2.0 sites on the internet, the use of Web 2.0 based tools is now employed by organizations across the globe. One of the most widely used Web 2.0 tools in organizations is wiki technology, particularly in project management. It is important for organizations to measure the success of their wiki system implementation. With the advent of new technologies in the market and their deployment by the firms, it is necessary to investigate how they can help organizations execute processes in a better way. In this paper we present a theoretical model for the measurement of corporate wikis’ success from the end-user’s perspective based on the theoretical foundation of DeLone & McLean’s IS success model. We extend the model by incorporating contextual factors with respect to wiki technology in a project management task. This study intends to help firms to understand in a better way, how they can use wikis to achieve an efficient, effective and improved end-user performance. This would also be helpful for companies engaged in wiki development business to improve their products keeping in view the perceptions of wiki end-users.

ICKEwiki: Requirements and Concepts for an Enterprise Wiki for SMEs

Stefan Voigt, Frank Fuchs-Kittowski, Detlef Hüttemann, Michael Klafft, Andreas Gohr

Extensive empirical studies of the use of Web 2.0 applications in small and medium-sized enterprises, together with requirements analyses among pilot users, served as the basis to compile requirements for a wiki knowledge and collaboration platform. This experience report discusses the requirements and their implementation in a new wiki engine (ICKEwiki). Initial field experiences with the ICKEwiki implemented among three pilot users are analyzed and potentials for the use and refinement of the platform are presented.

Wiki Scaffolding: Helping Organizations to Set Up Wikis

Oscar Díaz, Gorka Puente

Organizational wikis are framed by an existing organization. This makes these wikis be especially vigilant upon (1) facilitating the alignment of the wiki with organizational practices, (2) engaging management or (3), promoting employees’ participation. To this end, we advocate for the use of “wiki scaffoldings”. A wiki scaffolding is a wiki installation that is provided at the onset, before any contribution is made. It aims to frame wiki contribution along the concerns already known in the hosting organization in terms of glossaries, schedules, organigrams and the like. Thus, wiki contributions do not start from scratch but within a known setting. This paper introduces a language to capture wiki scaffolding in terms of FreeMind’s mind maps. These maps can later be mapped into wiki installations in MediaWiki. The paper seeks to validate the approach in a twofold manner. Firstly, by providing literature quotes that suggest the need for scaffolding. Secondly, by providing scaffolding examples for wikis reported in the literature. The findings suggest that wiki scaffolding can be useful to smoothly align wiki activity along the practices of the hosting organization from the onset.

Session Preview: Wikipedia as a Global Phenomenon

The technical session Wikipedia as a Global Phenomenon will feature three presentations. See the schedule for details on when and where to go.

Hot off the Wiki: Dynamics, Practices, and Structures in Wikipedia’s Coverage of the Tōhoku Catastrophes

Brian Keegan, Darren Gergle, Noshir Contractor

Wikipedia editors are uniquely motivated to collaborate around current and breaking news events. However, the speed, urgency, and intensity with which these collaborations unfold also impose a substantial burden on editors’ abilities to effectively coordinate tasks and process information. We analyze the patterns of activity on Wikipedia following the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami to understand the dynamics of editor attention and participation, novel practices employed to collaborate on these articles, and the resulting coauthorship structures which emerge between editors and articles. Our findings have implications for supporting future coverage of breaking news articles, theorizing about motivations to participate in online community, and illuminating Wikipedia’s potential role in storing cultural memories of catastrophe.

Collective Memory Building in Wikipedia: The Case of North African Uprisings

Michela Ferron, Paolo Massa

Since December 2010, a series of protests and uprisings have shocked North African countries such as Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Yemen and more. In this paper, focusing mainly on the Egyptian revolution, we provide evidence of the intense edit activity occurred during these uprisings on the related Wikipedia pages. Thousands of people provided their contribution on the content pages and discussed improvements and disagreements on the associated talk pages as the traumatic events unfolded. We propose to interpret this phenomenon as a process of collective memory building and argue how on Wikipedia this can be studied empirically and quantitatively in real time. We explore and suggest possible directions for future research on collective memory formation and controversial events in Wikipedia.

Wikipedia World Map: Method and Application of Map-like Wiki Visualization

Cheong-Iao Pang, Robert P. Biuk-Aghai

Wiki are popular platforms for collaborative editing. In volunteer-driven wikis such as Wikipedia, which attracts millions of authors editing articles on a diverse range of topics, contributors’ editing activity results in certain semantic coverage of topic areas. Obtaining an understanding of a given wiki’s semantic coverage is not easy. To solve this problem, we have devised a method for visualizing a wiki in a way similar to a geographic map. We have applied our method to Wikipedia, and generated visualizations for several Wikipedia language editions. This paper presents our wiki visualization method and its application.

Session Preview: Wiki Tools and Interfaces

The technical session Wiki Tools and Interfaces will feature three presentations. See the schedule for details on when and where to go.

Vandalism Detection in Wikipedia: A High-Performing, Feature-Rich Model and its Reduction Through Lasso

Sara Javanmardi, David W. McDonald, Cristina V. Lopes

User generated content (UGC) constitutes a significant fraction of the Web. However, some wiki–based sites, such as Wikipedia, are so popular that they have become a favorite target of spammers and other vandals. In such popular sites, human vigilance is not enough to combat vandalism, and tools that detect possible vandalism and poor-quality contributions become a necessity. The application of machine learning techniques holds promise for developing efficient on-line algorithms for better tools to assist users in vandalism detection. We describe an efficient and accurate classifier that performs vandalism detection in UGC sites. We show the results of our classifier in the PAN Wikipedia dataset. We explore the effectiveness of a combination of 66 individual features that produce an AUC of 0.9553 on a test dataset – the best result to our knowledge. Using Lasso optimization we then reduce our feature-rich model to a much smaller and more efficient model of 28 features that performs almost as well – the drop in AUC being only 0.005. We describe how this approach can be generalized to other user generated content systems and describe several applications of this classifier to help users identify potential vandalism.

Autonomous Link Spam Detection in Purely Collaborative Environments

Andrew G. West, Avantika Agrawal, Phillip Baker, Brittney Exline, Insup Lee

Collaborative models (e.g., wikis) are an increasingly prevalent Web technology. However, the open-access that defines such systems can also be utilized for nefarious purposes. In particular, this paper examines the use of collaborative functionality to add inappropriate hyperlinks to destinations outside the host environment (i.e., link spam). The collaborative encyclopedia, Wikipedia, is the basis for our analysis.

Recent research has exposed vulnerabilities in Wikipedia’s link spam mitigation, finding that human editors are latent and dwindling in quantity. To this end, we propose and develop an autonomous classifier for link additions. Such a system presents unique challenges. For example, low barriers-to-entry invite a diversity of spam types, not just those with economic motivations. Moreover, issues can arise with how a link is presented (regardless of the destination).

In this work, a spam corpus is extracted from over 235,000 link additions to English Wikipedia. From this, 40+ features are codified and analyzed. These indicators are computed using wiki metadata, landing site analysis, and external data sources. The resulting classifier attains 64% recall at 0.5% false-positives (ROC-AUC = 0.97). Such performance could enable egregious link additions to be blocked automatically with low false-positive rates, while prioritizing the remainder for human inspection. Finally, a live Wikipedia implementation of the technique has been developed.

NICE: Social translucence through UI intervention

Aaron Halfaker, Bryan Song, D. Alex Stuart, Aniket Kittur, John Riedl

Social production systems such as Wikipedia rely on attracting and motivating volunteer contributions to be successful. One strong demotivating factor can be when an editor’s work is discarded, or “reverted”, by others. In this paper we demonstrate evidence of this effect and design a novel interface aimed at improving communication between the reverting and reverted editors. We deployed the interface in a controlled experiment on the live Wikipedia site, and report on changes in the behavior of 487 contributors who were reverted by editors using our interface. Our results suggest that simple interface modifications (such as informing Wikipedians that the editor they are reverting is a newcomer) can have substantial positive effects in protecting against contribution loss in newcomers and improving the quality of work done by more experienced contributors.

Session Preview: Designing for Open Collaboration

The technical session Designing for Open Collaboration will feature three presentations. See the schedule for details on when and where to go.

A Meta-reflective Wiki for Collaborative Design

Lu Zhu, Ivan Vaghi, Barbara Rita Barricelli

This paper presents MikiWiki, a meta-reflective wiki developed to prototype key aspects of the Hive-Mind Space model. MikiWiki is aimed at supporting End-User Development activities and exploring the opportunities to enable software tailoring at use time. Such an open-ended collaborative design process is realized by providing basic boundary object prototypes, allowing end users to remix, modify, and create their own boundary objects. Moreover, MikiWiki minimizes essential services at the server-side, while putting the main functionalities on the client-side, opening the whole system to its users for further tailoring. In addition to traditional wikis, MikiWiki allows different Communities of Practice to collaboratively design and to continuously evolve the whole system. This approach illustrates the meta-design concept, where some software collaboration between professional developers and end users is made possible through communication channels properly associated with the environment. As such, the MikiWiki environment is presented as a ‘concept demonstrator’ for meta-design and end-user tailoring.

Wiki Grows Up: Arbitrary Data Models, Access Control, and Beyond

Reid Priedhorsky, Loren Terveen

Ward Cunningham’s vision for the wiki was that it would be “the simplest online database that could possibly work”. We consider here a common manifestation of simplicity: the assumption that the objects in a wiki that can be edited (e.g., Wikipedia articles) are relatively independent. As wiki applications in new domains emerge, however, this assumption is no longer tenable. In wikis where the objects of interest are highly interdependent (e.g., geographic wikis), fundamental concepts like the revision and undoing must be refined. This is particularly so when fine-grained access control is required (as in enterprise wikis or wikis to support collaboration between citizens and government officials). We explore these issues in the context of the Cyclopath geowiki and present solutions that we have designed and have implemented or are implementing.

Design and Implementation of the Sweble Wikitext Parser: Unlocking the Structured Data of Wikipedia

Hannes Dohrn, Dirk Riehle

The heart of each wiki, including Wikipedia, is its content. Most machine processing starts and ends with this content. At present, such processing is limited, because most wiki engines today cannot provide a complete and precise representation of the wiki’s content. They can only generate HTML. The main reason is the lack of well-defined parsers that can handle the complexity of modern wiki markup. This applies to MediaWiki, the software running Wikipedia, and most other wiki engines.

This paper shows why it has been so difficult to develop comprehensive parsers for wiki markup. It presents the design and implementation of a parser for Wikitext, the wiki markup language of MediaWiki. We use parsing expres- sion grammars where most parsers used no grammars or grammars poorly suited to the task. Using this parser it is possible to directly and precisely query the structured data within wikis, including Wikipedia.

The parser is available as open source from