Research:Grounding NPOV pillar in post-censored information ecology
Grounding NPOV pillar in post-censored information ecology is looking at what are the constrains and limitations new Wikipedia contributor have in understanding and adhering to the the neutrality principle on Wikipedia, one of the core principles of this endeavor. In the past years more than 50 librarians have been editing and improving articles in Wikipedia in Romanian language but without fully adhering to the neutrality point of view (NPOV) principle. This research project looks for causes of this situation & ways to provide better training for future Wikipedia editors about NPOV.
|Since the project has just started, this page is still incomplete. All sections will be filled soon.|
Grounding NPOV pillar in post-censored information ecology is the first research project coordonated by Wikimedians of Romania and Moldova User Group (WMROMD). The project was implemented in 2022- 2023 in partnership with Făgăraș Research Institute.
Focusing on the Neutral Point of View (NPOV) principle of Wikipedia, this project mapped the practices in relation to NPOV from Romanian language Wikipedia. The project aimed at finding better ways to help new editors adhere to this principle and understand how librarians who edit Wikipedia are positioning themselves as professionals in relation with NPOV.
In preparation of this project WMROMD hosted a workshop at Wikimedia + Libraries International Convention 2022 and discussed the NPOV principle with an international group of librarians and Wikipedia editors. The discussions that emerged from Wikimedia+Libraries/Program/Submission/Neutral point of view and librarians:keep at it! session pointed out that for librarians interested in editing Wikipedia, their initial experience as Wikipedia editors is influencing their willingness to invest more time and energy into volunteering on Wikipedia.
This research project had three main directions:
- Research and analysis
- Improving NPOV related training materials and experiences for new editors
- Create and diseminate a policy paper about the importance of learning about and practicing a more neutral style of writing
Research and analysis
This qualitative study collected and analyzed data from the Wikipedia editors in Romanian.
We are collecting original data from Romanian Wikipedia articles that have been NPOV challenged in order to:
- Identify experienced editors in the community that have been active in NPOV discussions
- Identify topics of dissent or agreement in relation to NPOV
- Understand the induction/learning process for new editors in relation to NPOV (lead page for NPOV, courses, trainings on NPOV)
We will host a focus group with the most active editors involved in NPOV who would agree to participate in such online event (no more than 7 people) We will also conduct semi-structured interviews with experienced Wikipedia editors. The selection of editors will be made based on:
- Experience of editing
- Identified NPOV interest
- Information professional background (at least 50% of participants)
The plan is to have at least 10 interviews with editors with extensive experience (successful users, with over 500 edits, automatic patrol). Interviews will be conducted in Romanian, recorded and transcribed. All texts collected in the project will be organized and analyzed using a qualitative analysis tool. The analysis will create and use categories in English.
- September- October 2022 - Creating the design of research
- November - December 2022 - Literature review and writing of the article documenting the context of our research
- November 2022 - February 2023 - Applying the research design and documenting the results: Doing interviews with experienced editors, with editors who are librarian
- December 2022 - January 2023 Collecting source materials from NPOV pages and coding the collected texts in HyperResearch
- March - May 2023 Transcribing and analyzing the interviews and looking for common patterns & practices. This phase includes writing and publishing a paper on the lessons learned.
- March - May 2023 - Creating and deploying updated training materials related to the NPOV
- April - June 2023 - Producing and disseminating a policy brief addressed to GLAM institutions, schools and universities
We have selected and collected the NPOV marked wiki pages that will be analyzed using HyperResearch. These include all of the pages found at the Romanian Wikipedia version of the NPOV Disputes Category. For the purposes of this study we have decided to focus on our attention (and code) only the content available on the talk pages of these articles and not the actual articles. This resulted in 107 NPOV (from the total of 150 discussion, 43 did not have any reference to NPOV). The dimension of these discussions varied between ones that only had a few replies to on with 62 NPOV-related replies. We have extracted all the NPOV-related conversations from these page and coded them in HyperResearch together with the ten interviews we held with Wikipedia editors (both experienced editors and new librarian-editors) on the topic of NPOV. This first round of coding resulted in 91 codes from which three categories main themes emerged.
Policy, Ethics and Human Subjects Research
Interviewees will be presented with an informed consent presenting the research project and the implications of participating in this research. The right to privacy will be respected according to the consent form signed by participants.
Initial phase of the results including literature review and first analysis of the dynamic in Romanian community of editors that cover NPOV topics were presented at the International Conference on Virtual Learning(ICVL), Bucharest and published in the proceedings of the conference.
The main findins of our study are:
- NPOV in Romanian language Wikipedia brings forth a diversity of opinons from a difference of understanding its basic definition to more subtle differences. Of cours, the differences in understanding and defining NPOV vary from individual to individual
- New Wikipedia editors lack a process designed to help them understand and practice NPOV. This leads to a variety of first Wikipedia NPOV experiences from some more positive to some less so and makes the entire learning process a lonely one.
- Experienced editors have a understanding of NPOV that has grown in time and participate in a sort of community practice around the way NPOV is enforced. However, these practices are not necesarily easily understood or available to new users, especially those that lack a education and cultural background that allowed them to view neutrality and multiple points of view as important.
- 25.11.2022 at ICVL Claudia Șerbănuță, Mihai Constantinescu - Learning by Wikipedia’s NPOV principle – an online dynamic experience
- Presentation accepted for Wikimania 2023: A room with a view: inside NPOV reasoning in a Wikipedia community
Our research resulted, so far, in one article: Claudia SERBANUTA, Mihai CONSTANTINESCU, "Learning by Wikipedia’s NPOV principle: an online dynamic experience", International Conference on Virtual Learning, ISSN 2971-9291, ISSN-L 1844-8933, vol. 17, pp. 205-216, 2022. https://doi.org/10.58503/icvl-v17y202217 Besides this, we are waiting for the review on our second article and plan to publish one more (focused on librarians and NPOV).
Learning materials and instruments
The research results were used to create and update materials taht help Wikipedia editors develop their understanding of and abilities to write according to NPOV principle.
The team developed a guide for learning how to write on a more neutral tone (NPOV Guide).
Piloting NPOV Guide
This material was tested in workshops and learning sessions with media trainers, librarians and volunteers in București, Sibiu, Râmnicu Vâlcea. (May-June 2023)
Practicing NPOV exercises at the training Mediawise4All: Media Education through Community - Bucharest, May 18, 2023
Wikipedia workshop with librarians from Lucian Blaga University Library - Sibiu, June 6, 2023
Workshop for Librarians and volunteers on editing Wikipedia - Europe Direct Vâlcea, Râmnicu Vâlcea, June 7, 2023
We developed a policy brief on how learning about NPOV can be used in formal education for helping with developing media skills and critical thinking
- Original project proposal
- Neutral point of view and librarians: keep at it! presentation at Wikimedia+Libraries International Convention 2022