Crime and Security Research Institute (CSRI) PhD student James Ashford recently attended the Wiki Workshop 2019 in San Francisco, California as part of the 30th Anniversary of The Web Conference. At the workshop, James presented a poster of his paper “Understanding the Signature of Controversial Wikipedia Articles through Motifs in Editor Revision Networks”.
Whilst Wikipedia has become a tremendous platform for crowd-sourcing knowledge, the formation of its more controversial articles often involves the jostling for presence of both narrative and counter-narrative within editor interaction and article semantics. In an age of misinformation, there is an increased need to understand the characteristics of such articles to help identify misleading information that stops a neutral consensus emerging.
In the paper, James tests whether the interaction differences between small subgroups of Wikipedia editors is sufficient to distinguish between controversial articles and non-controversial articles. Through analysis of over 21,000 Wikipedia pages, the findings affirm that the sequence of editing provides an important mechanism to understand Wikipedia articles. The research shows how relationships can be uncovered between and within controversial articles regardless of each one’s topic and without recourse to intensive semantic analysis. This helps provide understanding as to how prediction or classification of articles can be enhanced using the latent structures relating to editor behaviour, affirming the revision network as a simple but useful for assessment of Wikipedia articles.