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Common Knowledge?An Ethnography of Wikipedia$
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Dariusz Jemielniak

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780804789448

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804789448.001.0001

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Formal Roles and HierarcHy

Formal Roles and HierarcHy

A Cabal That Rules the World

2 Formal Roles and HierarcHy
Common Knowledge?

Dariusz Jemielniak

Stanford University Press

This chapter describes the functioning of the parahierarchy on Wikipedia and the expectations (and their gradual increase) that the community has for its functionaries. It addresses the paradox of why the members of an egalitarian and ahierarchical organization have strong perceptions of inequality in the organization and alienation. Furthermore, it shows that the quantification of editor input (number of edits) contributes to the increasing bureaucratization of Wikipedia and deters high-quality edits. It links these processes to the fact that the Wikipedia community relies on local power-knowledge differentials as substitutes for formal hierarchies.

Keywords:   hierarchy online, roles on Wikipedia, authority relations online, Wikipedia power structure

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