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Submissions/Norm emergence in the Wikipedia Community

From Wikimania 2012 • Washington, D.C., USA

This is a rejected submission for Wikimania 2012.

Submission no.


Title of the submission

Norm emergence in the Wikipedia Community

Type of submission (workshop, tutorial, panel, presentation)


Author of the submission

Tomasz Raburski

E-mail address

raburski at gmail.com


Tomasz Raburski

Country of origin


Affiliation, if any (organization, company etc.)

Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland

Personal homepage or blog
Abstract (at least 300 words to describe your proposal)

As every community, Wikipedia can be seen as driven by social norms. In this presentation I will analyse how new norms are proposed and accepted in the community.

Wikipedia community is low-institutionalized environment. That means, that many areas of Wikipedia lack explicit norms or procedures and the existing ones are feeble and unstable. The enforcement of norms often rests on strong personalities rather than impartial procedures. Analysis of the Wikipedia’s normative system is not only crucial for the community, but it is also very interesting from the sociological point of view. Although we are often described as a great example of spontaineous order, the studies showing how the creation and maintenance of order is happening are still scarce.

In this presentation I will show only one aspect of the normative system of Wikipedia community: how new norms emerges. I will focus on explicit norms and analyse the beginning of their “life cycle”. Most of them emerge either through the formalization of the latent norms, or are deliberately created as a response to some urging problem. The crucial part of this process is the discussion about the proposed norm.

I will analyse some of the important factors that may have decisive impact on the norm emergence. I will focus not on the content of the discussions, but rather iluminate other factors, such as the form of the discussion (its lenght, the number of the threads and disputants) and the role of editors that proposed the norm or regard themselves as involved in the process of norm emergence. Those “norm entrepreneurs” are crucial in the process of successful norm emergence, as they can revitalize degenerated discussions (too long, too many threads, to many off-topics), by recapitulations.

The empirical data for this presentation will be taken from English and Polish Wikipedia (enwiki, plwiki). I will be glad to meet editors from other language versions to confront my analysis with their observations and experience. I am also interested in getting in contact with other researchers interested in the normative system of Wikipedia community.


Research, Analysis, and Education

Length of presentation/talk
25 Minutes

25 minutes

Will you attend Wikimania if your submission is not accepted?

I will attend Wikimania only if I get a scholarship.

Slides or further information (optional)


Special request as to time of presentations

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