"Is Wikipedia Ethical"
Is Wikipedia Ethical? Sharman Lichtenstein School of Information Systems Deakin University A popular characterisation of the Wikipedia (The Age) Today’s agenda Why is this topic important to information security? Background Participatory model of expertise/experts in Wikipedia Ethical Challenges Conclusion Why is this topic important for information security research? (1) In 2006, Sophos discovered that hackers had created an article on the German edition of Wikipedia containing false information about a new version of the Blaster worm, together with a link to a fix. However, the fix was malware designed to infect visitors' PCs. Why is this topic important for information security research? (2) Australian federal public servants have been systematically “sanitising” Wikipedia articles on federal politicians and have been teaching MPs how to change their articles. Source: Sydney Morning Herald, 25th July 2008 Does Wikipedia have information integrity? Why is this topic important for information security research? (3) In 2007 a popular pseudonymous Wikipedia contributor trumpeted by The New Yorker magazine as a tenured professor of religion turned out to be ... a 24 year old who used the book "Catholicism for Dummies" to write and edit Wikipedia entries! Does Wikipedia have information integrity? Why is this topic important for information security research? (4) Malicious modification of the biography of a living person: John Seigenthaler Sr. was the assistant to Attorney General Robert Kennedy in the early 1960's. For a brief time, he was thought to have been directly involved in the Kennedy assassinations of both John, and his brother, Bobby. Nothing was ever proven." — Wikipedia Does Wikipedia have information integrity? Why is this topic important for information security research? (5) Does Wikipedia have information integrity? Why is this topic important for information security research? (6) Lawrence Solomon, author of The Deniers, made several attempts to edit the Wikipedia article on global warming and to delete mistakes, for instance, about British scientist Bennie Peiser, only to find his entries deleted time and time again. He says…. … on global warming, Wikipedia offers consensus, Gore-style - a consensus forged by censorship, intimidation, and deceit. Does Wikipedia have information integrity? Is Wikipedia Ethical? Web-based participatory models of experts and expertise are subject to manipulation, as are all knowledge management systems (Land et al. 2007). Research question What are the ethical challenges associated with the use of the Wikipedia (Wikipedia.org) as a Web- based participatory model of experts and expertise? Traditional definitions of expert and expertise Expert - a person who has developed the knowledge, skills (analytical, creative and practical), and abilities to succeed in a particular domain (Sternberg 2000). Generally recognised by credentials and/or experience. Expertise - the optimal level at which a person is able and/or expected to perform within a given domain (Swanson 1999) Gatekeepers decide on who is an expert and whose expertise is best Individual models of experts and expertise have been heavily criticised in recent years Experts frequently disagree Experts make subjective judgements Loss of public confidence in scientific methods Value of innate cognitive abilities vs. practice Unreliable use of information by experts Experts are elitists, or represent elitists Lack of public understanding of scientific research Expertise is increasingly distributed New models of participatory expertise and experts Pluralistic expertise has been labelled “collective intelligence”, “crowd- sourcing”, or the “wisdom of crowds” The individuals (lay citizens) who contribute to pluralistic expertise have been termed: lay experts (Nowotny et al. 2001) Web 2.0 and Wikis Web 2.0 offers useful participatory tools and structures for lay experts to produce knowledge collaboratively Wikis offer conversational collaborative media for knowledge creation (Wagner 2004) Wikipedia Popular free online encyclopedia 9th most visited web site in January 2008 (Alexa statistic) In December 2007 the English Wikipedia had 2,129,379 million articles Commonly used as a source of expertise by members of the public, students, even many academics Wikipedia article Wikipedia article growth slows Wikipedia participatory model (Lichtenstein & Parker, 2008) Wikipedia model of expertise/experts: quality and ethics (1) Any internet-connected member of the global population may collaboratively create, edit and delete articles Articles are supposedly based on principles of neutrality (NPOV), Notability, no original research (NOR) and verifiability. Wikipedia model of expertise/experts: quality and ethics (2) Is Wikipedia expertise/knowledge produced by this model of high quality? Is it accurate, reliable, and credible? Is Wikipedia ethical? Ethical Challenges for Wikipedia 3. Lack of 1. “Undemocratic” 2. Elitism/ accountability knowledge new oligarchy due to anonymity Ethical challenges for Wikipedia 4. Most edits done by a 5. Role switching 6. Administrators have few powerful people depletes editor pool too much power Future research involving IT and IS (1) Information seekers must have ways to determine whether they can trust the information on Wikipedia to have information integrity (accuracy, reliability) Reputation-based algorithms may have potential Example: Adler and Alfaro (2007) developed “lay expert” reputation system for the Wikipedia, based on whether an editor’s words persist over time Need improved reputation algorithms Future research involving IT and IS (2) Complementary software tools are needed Are there algorithms which can analyse the Talk and History pages to identify when a user who claims to be an expert is being systematically excluded? What other complementary tools are possible? I hope you have enjoyed this presentation! email@example.com