Tue 4th August 2009, 4:27pm
QUOTE(Comments from the Blog)
The editing environment has also changed (it has become more combative and politically charged) though that might prove trickier to gauge by statistical metrics. PARC's ongoing studies of Wiki-conflicts could help shed some light on this aspect of the trend.
Dynamic models of politically charged conflicts are a growth area on the frontiers of Game Theory and Drama Theory.
In response to Somey's comment posted above, Ed Chi writes...
QUOTE(Ed Chi's response to Somey's comments)
I understand your point about measurement of an evolving system being difficult. However, there has been plenty of research in ecology and economics where you can find regularities in collective behavior when viewed both at the macro and micro scales.
I think you'd be surprised at the ability for ecological equations to model population growth, for example, after taking into account of resource constraints, current predator populations, and available food supply and other environmental factors.
Regarding your second point about being territorial, the regularity we observe in the statistics actually relies on the fact that editors are being territorial. This makes their behavior more predictable than random, and results in statistical distributions that we can observe that are different than total chaotic random distributions.
Because Wikipedia offers such a large and continuing sample space, the analysts in Chi's group at PARC are well-positioned to demonstrate the power of mathematical modeling to capture the underlying dynamics of political drama. Elsewhere, Dan Arieli broke new ground with his studies of behavioral economics, demonstrating that people are predictably
irrational in territorial and revenge dramas. I expect Ed Chi to continue building insightful models of Wikipedian political dramaturgy along the same lines.