I’m part of a Wikipedia research group called “Critical Point of View” centered around the Institute for Network Cultures in Amsterdam and the Centre for Internet and Society in Bangalore. (Just a disclaimer, the term ‘critical’ is more like critical theory as opposed to Wikipedia bashing for its own sake.) We’ve had some great conferences and are putting out an edited book on Wikipedia quite soon. My chapter is on bots, and the abstract and link to the full PDF is below:
I describe the complex social and technical environment in which bots exist in Wikipedia, emphasizing not only how bots produce order and enforce rules, but also how humans produce bots and negotiate rules around their operation. After giving a brief overview of how previous research into Wikipedia has tended to mis-conceptualize bots, I give a case study tracing the life of one such automated software agent, and how it came to be integrated into the Wikipedian community.
The Lives of Bots [PDF, 910KB]