The Hidden Order of Wikipedia

  • Fernanda B. Viégas
  • Martin Wattenberg
  • Matthew M. McKeon
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 4564)


We examine the procedural side of Wikipedia, the well-known internet encyclopedia. Despite the lack of structure in the underlying wiki technology, users abide by hundreds of rules and follow well-defined processes. Our case study is the Featured Article (FA) process, one of the best established procedures on the site. We analyze the FA process through the theoretical framework of commons governance, and demonstrate how this process blends elements of traditional workflow with peer production. We conclude that rather than encouraging anarchy, many aspects of wiki technology lend themselves to the collective creation of formalized process and policy.


Wikipedia Governance Commons Peer Production 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fernanda B. Viégas
    • 1
  • Martin Wattenberg
    • 1
  • Matthew M. McKeon
    • 1
  1. 1.Visual Communication Lab, IBM Research, 1 Rogers St, Cambridge, MA 02142USA

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