Transparency and social responsibility issues for Wikipedia

Abstract

Wikipedia is known as a free online encyclopedia. Wikipedia uses largely transparent writing and editing processes, which aim at providing the user with quality information through a democratic collaborative system. However, one aspect of these processes is not transparent—the identity of contributors, editors, and administrators. We argue that this particular lack of transparency jeopardizes the validity of the information being produced by Wikipedia. We analyze the social and ethical consequences of this lack of transparency in Wikipedia for all users, but especially students; we assess the corporate social performance issues involved, and we propose courses of action to compensate for the potential problems. We show that Wikipedia has the appearance, but not the reality, of responsible, transparent information production.

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Correspondence to Adele Santana.

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This paper’s authors are the same as those who authored Wood, D. J. and Queiroz, A. 2008. Information versus. knowledge: Transparency and social responsibility issues for Wikipedia. In Antonino Vaccaro, Hugo Horta, and Peter Madsen (Eds.), Transparency, Information, and Communication Technology (pp. 261–283). Charlottesville, VA: Philosophy Documentation Center.

Adele has changed her surname from Queiroz to Santana

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Santana, A., Wood, D.J. Transparency and social responsibility issues for Wikipedia. Ethics Inf Technol 11, 133–144 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10676-009-9193-y

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Keywords

  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Ethics
  • Higher education
  • Information
  • Transparency
  • Wikipedia