Research:The role of IBIS in Wikimedia
- Kenneth Holmes- MFA Candidate, Design Management at the Savannah College of Art and Design
My name is Ken Holmes and I am a MFA Candidate in Design Management at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia. I am currently beginning my thesis work which will be looking to create a "design framework" by which an argumentation mapping method called IBIS (Issue Based Information System) could thrive in Wikimedia products, helping to develop the communities and brand along vision, mission, and strategy directions. Below you will find my working thesis statement, statement of purpose, and bibliography, all of which will undergo changes as the thesis develops. Currently I am scanning for pertinent literature to build my literature review.
Currently methodology is not set and will not be approachable till completion of a literature review. However the work that we do within the Design Management program of study is based in user centered design, thus there will most likely be an ethnographic approach taken for primary research methods. This may or may not involve the Wikimedia/Wikipedia community.
The standing of dissemination will remain to be seen as school requirements for submission and publication might conflict with the spirit of open access publishing. Currently no resources that would require open access publication are being used. It is my intent to make this thesis and its findings public and publish them.
Benefits for the Wikimedia community
The output will be a strategy that will help Wikimedia reach is goals for 2015 as outlined in the Strategy Wiki.
Current Guiding Statements
Envisioning IBIS in the Wikimedia Foundation: a design strategy.
Working Thesis Statement
Wikipedia emerged on the Internet as a crowd-sourced, collaboratively created encyclopedia that anyone, at any time, could add to and edit. However as the encyclopedia has matured in community and as a destination on the Internet, it is no longer the singular mission and vision of the Wikimedia Foundation, the organization that maintains the site.
Wikimedia’s current vision is to “Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge.”  This is embodied in the following mission statement: “The mission of the Wikimedia Foundation is to empower and engage people around the world to collect and develop educational content under a free license or in the public domain, and to disseminate it effectively and globally....”
Currently Wikipedia is the fifth most visited entity on the web. It has emerged as an extremely powerful broker of factual information after sites such as Google and Yahoo, and the content holders Facebook and YouTube. And yet the Foundation has identified challenges in critical areas concerning sustaining community collaboration, creating more credible influence, growing readership and reach, fostering innovation, and the very generation of knowledge on the site itself. What is clear to them is that in dealing with these challenges the future may not look at all like the past. This attitude is reflected in their vision and mission statement; and yet any change, let alone innovation, may be difficult to diffuse due to an diverse community size of over 100,000 editors.
Issue Based Information System (IBIS), is an argumentation notation method designed to reduce the social complexity of issue focused collaboration. IBIS may be key to creating a more sustainable future for Wikipedia and the Wikimedia Foundation that meets its vision, mission, and recently articulated strategic goals. With the right design strategy, IBIS can be integrated into a Large Scale Argumentation System (LSAS), a technology that works with IBIS to bring focus in participation. With this strategy IBIS along with LSAS could attend to an environment of crowd sourced collective intelligence such as the Wikipedia community.
Working Statement of Purpose
This thesis will create a design framework that will support the grafting of Large Scale Argumentation and its underlying IBIS methodology as a valuable innovation to the brands and communities of the Wikimedia Foundation.
Using the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence’s current LSAS system (sometimes referred to as the Deliberatorium) as a starting point, the thesis will create a roadmap for understanding the opportunity, specifically for the communities of practice in Wikipedia, and create a vision and adoptable strategy for the diffusion of IBIS and/or LSAS technology to the Wikipedia/media multi-brand platform.
This will be done with careful attention to current Wikimedia strategic activities and challenges with the intention of supporting those activities, as well as uniquely contributing to growth and sustainability for the current community and brand.
Finally the work of this thesis will frame how the potential seen in the research can be reached. Elucidating a strategy not simply for diffusion of an IBIS system but for the initial momentum and seeding of the relationships between the potential stakeholders so that the actual work of creating that system may be possible; with the expectation that the larger challenge in gaining support is found with the communities of Wikimedia and Wikipedia.
- What is the value of integrating IBIS and Large Scale Argumentation into the Wikimedia Foundation, its flagship project Wikipedia, the chapters that have formed over time, and the Wikimedia “community?”
- What are the conceptual frameworks used to describe the issues faced by the projects and their communities? Are there other frameworks to be aware of that are not represented within the internal community discourse?
- How could an IBIS based system be integrated to create sustainable practices and futures for the community and its projects such as Wikipedia, specifically addressing issues identified in the Wikimedia Strategy Research and 2010-15 Strategic Plan?
- How could LSAS/IBIS system be envisioned and introduced to the community so that the adoption and diffusion of the systems occur and support the larger mission and objectives of the Foundation?
- What could such a system look like in the community interaction?
- Are there multiple ways in which the adoption and diffusion could occur, and this multiple strategies that could be developed?
- How could the stakeholders be engaged and brought to the table to work on this?
This is a working bibliography that comprises my current literature scan, and is a wide shot at creating the base that this thesis work will stand on. This will be sifted and reduced during the process of critique and review of the literature. What I am finding is that a vast majority of the information that looks useful in terms of understanding the collaboration gene in the Wikipedia community will be in academic papers and sources. This is partially framed not just by the young age of Wikipedia but that a cursory review of the literature shows post 2005-07 editor communities and their interactions dramatically changed.
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- Adrian Groza, Sergiu Indrie. "Enacting Social Argumentative Machines in Semantic Wikipedia." Ubiquitous Computing and Communication Journal, no. Special Issue on RoEduNet (January 2011 2011): 672-80.
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