This week, I’m presenting a poster at WikiSym 2009 on “The Social Roles of Bots and Assisted Editing Tools.” Most of the work is distilled from my thesis.
Abstract: This project investigates various software programs as non-human social actors in Wikipedia, arguing that their influence must not be overlooked in research of the on-line encyclopedia project. Using statistical and archival methods, the roles of assisted editing programs and bots are examined. First, the proportion of edits made by these non-human actors is significantly more than previously described in earlier research. Second, these actors have moved into new spaces, changing not just the practice of article writing and reviewing, but also administrative work.
And if you are interested in this topic, check out the full paper, The Work of Sustaining Order in Wikipedia: The Banning of a Vandal.