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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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Trust in People and Trust in Procedures

Trust in People and Trust in Procedures

The Truth Is Out There

5 Trust in People and Trust in Procedures
Common Knowledge?

Dariusz Jemielniak

Stanford University Press

This chapter delves into a puzzle: How can a community that is so strict in terms of procedures and rules be so lax in terms of verification of credentials? A case study of a major scandal on Wikipedia (i.e., a well-known Wikipedian claiming to be a professor but turning out to be an impostor) shows that the Wikipedia community does not care much about true identities or credentials for a reason: the possibility of building one's credibility only within the community, irrespective of real-world status, encourages nonexperts to participate. However, this process naturally results in lower interpersonal trust, which the community addresses by substituting trust in procedures for trust in people.

Keywords:   trust online, credentials on Wikipedia, enactment of online personas, trust in procedures, credibility online

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