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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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Between Anarchy and Bureaucracy

Between Anarchy and Bureaucracy

Wikimedia Governance

6 Between Anarchy and Bureaucracy
Common Knowledge?

Dariusz Jemielniak

Stanford University Press

This chapter presents the major internal stakeholders of the Wikimedia movement: the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF), the local chapters, and the Wikipedia communities. It describes the power struggles between them and explains their resources as well as cultural and ideological backgrounds. It reveals the drive of the chapters to professionalize their staff and operations as natural, even if at some point they fill the niche already occupied by the WMF. The chapter shows that even though to a common bystander they may seem as if they were on the verge of splitting (“forking”), the high number of disputes is actually typical for open-collaboration communities, as there is no fear of hierarchy to prevent people from freely expressing their opinions.

Keywords:   Wikimedia governance, Wikipedia forking, power tensions in open collaboration, professionalization of activists

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