Peaceful consensus, or all out, never-ending war? Dr. Taha Yasseri of Budapest University of Technology and Economics, and his colleagues, investigated the dynamic nature of editorial wars in Wikipedia articles. Yasseri’s findings promise to illuminate the broader nature of conflict.
Yasseri divided Wikipedia articles into three categories: consensus, sequence of temporary consensus, and never-ending wars, depending on the nature of the editing.
Research uncovered that while “burstiness,” or a large increase in edits in a short time-period, and the sheer number of edits were weakly associated with conflict, redactions or “reverts” were most strongly related. Eventually, over time, even contentious articles would settle down, with a consensus emerging. New conflict would emerge when either outside events occurred (the example given was the death of Michael Jackson in articles about the singer) or when new ”actors,” or new editors, would take up the cause, often reinvigorating, or dredging up, old arguments.
Conflict Resolution and Consensus Building: Real World Applications
Decoded Science had the opportunity to interview the author, and asked him what type of real-world application he envisioned for this research. Yasseri replied, “All kind of collective and collaborative activities aiming at a common product can be seen as a field of application. From open source software developing to scientific collaborations of scientists in large projects, one could see the emergence of the common product (in first example the software package and in the second one, scientific reports and publications) from the initially scattered ideas and opinions. We believe there are similarities between all these examples, such that the dynamical model could apply on many of them.”
Pages: 1 2