A political history of Wikipedia?
July 17, 2006 7:38 PM   Subscribe

Does there exist a political and/or sociological history of Wikipedia? I'm fascinated by the explosive growth of that community and would like some insight on how it has evolved. I'm not so much looking for Jimbo-in-the-news type controversies as I am interested in learning how contributors "rise through the ranks" of the bureaucracy and garner support for side projects and policy changes.
posted by Saucy Intruder to Computers & Internet (3 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: No, it doesn't exist - I looked for about a year.

You might wish to check my user page, though. It contains a summary of my year of observations, my opinions, and links to a number of relevant things, including a very good historical essay by Larry Sanger (the co-founder of the project).

I'd also recommending perusing the ArbCom archives, the AfD (articles for deletion, previously VfD (votes for deletion)) archives, and the deletion review archives. You can also look at the debates about the prod (proposed deletion) templates. I used inclusion/deletion as a model to learn how Wikipedia policy is formed and works - and I discovered that there is no Wikipedia policy and it doesn't work.

Even pages that say they are community policy only say so because some user wrote it there. The several pages that claim to define what "official Wikipedia policy" means are contradictory and constantly in flux.

There exists almost no official policy; the closest thing to it is the extremely rare case in which Jimbo or the Arbitration Committee will take an action.
posted by ikkyu2 at 7:46 PM on July 17, 2006 [2 favorites]

Best answer: You may enjoy this FPP if you missed it - Jason Scott rants about wikipedia, devoting some time to the bureaucracy, politics, evolution etc. I also recommened ikkyu's wiki page, some good reading.
posted by MetaMonkey at 8:50 PM on July 17, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks for the links - Jason's speech could turn into a damn good book. It's amazing that the entire community could come close to imploding over something as ridiculous as Brian Peppers.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 10:26 PM on July 17, 2006

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