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Understanding Information Work in Large Scale Social Content Creation Systems (SIGs SI, DL and BWP)

Besiki Stvilia, Phoebe Ayers, Dan Cosley, Noriko Hara, Prina Shachaf, Linda Smith and Michael Twidale

(Submission #26)


Large scale continuously evolving open collaborative information systems such as Wikipedia have become increasingly popular, slowly replacing traditional, centrally controlled closed models of information creation, collection and distribution. The establishment of a dynamic grid of large scale open information systems is fueled by the active participation of the general public in content creation and quality assurance activities. While providing valuable information services to the users, this new information grid also poses new significant challenges in many areas of information organization and information assurance (quality, privacy, security, etc.).

While opening information content creation processes to the general public attracts valuable, high quality content (Giles, 2005) and enables direct quality feedback from users, it also makes the systems vulnerable, exposed to vandalisms and malicious attacks. One way to disrupt decisions and activities is to reduce intentionally the quality of the information that informs them.

The quality and sustainability of large scale social content creation systems depends on active, continuous participation from the general public. However, the sociology and the economics of this participation are not fully understood. Researchers need to study and improve understanding of the information processes, architectures, social structures and economic incentives currently in place, and develop strategies for long term sustainability and continuous improvement of the effectiveness of public participation.

When systems contain millions of items open to continuous modification and changes, manual inspection or evaluation of these items is unrealistic. There is a need for developing and deploying effective automatic information monitoring and assurance services.

The panel will discuss some of the problems, strategies, models and social arrangements for information work in large scale open collaborative content creation systems such as Wikipedia. The panel will also attempt to identify how these information models and practices can help improve the information models used in traditional databases and information repositories.


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