Wikimedia Ethics/Suggested essays

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The following are suggested essay subjects. What makes for a good essay subject in this project is something that is revealing concerning ethical management of the English language Wikipedia, but yet has no clear cut "answer". If it did, then we should not tease you by not simply giving you the answer. So, the first clue to writing an essay on any of these suggested topics is that there is no right answer.

Note that all essays hosted within this project are subject to editing by others, as is usual with the Wiki ideal. However, we would like to suggest that those with different viewpoints from those expressed in essays already written contribute new essays to express this differing view point. After a certain number of viewpoints are expressed, then an additional subpage can be created with summaries of all essays' viewpoints and possibly a synthesise of them, which may or may not express consensus. The main project page then will have a link to this subpage with the summary containing links to each essay summarized, thus keeping the main project page manageable no matter how many essays are written.


Who founded Wikipedia?[edit]

Clues:

  1. Define "founded" and "wikipedia" and what counts as a "who".
  2. Ask what is more important: a general idea, a specific idea, implementing an idea, paying for the implementing of an idea, or something else?
  3. Is the "real" father the one who raised you or your biological father or both?
  4. What ethical issues do you encounter while researching this question?

Suggested google possibilities:

  • Jimbo Wales,
  • Larry Sanger,
  • Bomis,
  • Richard Stallman,
  • Clifford Adams,
  • Magnus Manske,
  • Lee Daniel Crocker,
  • Ward Cunningham,
  • volunteers around the world.

Further reading:

What can governance models teach us about the ethical management of Wikipedia?[edit]

Clues:

  1. How many distinct governance models do you know about?
  2. Can you recognize which governance model is in operation at any given juncture in an online community?
  3. What are the ethical issues associated with any given governance model?

Suggested google possibilities:

  • Monarchy
  • Autocracy
  • Oligarchy
  • Plutocracy
  • Bureaucracy
  • Hierarchy
  • Republic
  • Democracy
  • Ochlocracy
  • Anarchy

Further reading:

How can models of ethical (or non-ethical) behavior present on English Wikipedia be projected on a general understanding of the Internet and vice versa?[edit]

Clues:

  1. How are disputes handled on the Internet? How are disputes handled on Wikipedia?
  2. What issues are involved with ethical issues on the internet? What issues are involved with ethical issues on WP (for example, is anonymous or pseudonymous editing a negative or positive force on the internet? On Wikipedia?)
  3. What processes can be identified as non-ethical or ethical on the Internet? What processes can be identified as non-ethical or ethical on Wikipedia?
  4. How have such processes evolved over time on the Internet? How have such processes evolved over time on Wikipedia?

Further reading:

Essays written:

How would you change this project?[edit]

Clues:

  1. What further reading material can you suggest? Where would you put it?
  2. What additional learning resources would be good? Why? What would you title it?
  3. What here would you recommend others read? Why?
  4. What here would you recommend be altered? How?

Suggested google possibilities:

Further reading:

What is a good way to balance ethics and pragmatism?[edit]

Clues:

Suggested google possibilities:

Further reading:

Under what conditions should a Wikipedia admin lose their adminship?[edit]

Clues:

  1. Do you believe in a limited term in office?
  2. Should consensus rule on this? How should that consensus be identified?
  3. What is the current practice?
  4. What proposed practices have been suggested?

Suggested google possibilities:

Further reading:

MediaWiki Software and Edit Wars[edit]

  1. Write a short essay to recommend a new feature for the revision history web page.
  2. Research the Internet for developments that would help automate detection of edit wars or other such events, and source it in your essay.
  3. Include in your essay how the new feature may affect ethical issues.
  4. Estimate the total amount of space required to store every revision of AN/I since it was created.

Resources

See also[edit]