You are cordially invited to attend the following School of Informatics
Date: Friday, February 6, 2009
Time: 3:00 p.m.
Place: Informatics East (I2), Room 130
New York University
"In Good Faith: Wikipedia Collaboration and the Pursuit of the Universal Encyclopedia"
Abstract: In 1990 Mike Godwin coined his "Law of Nazi Analogies" to capture the common devolution of online discourse into insulting comparisons with Nazis or Hitler. Eleven years later, Jimmy Wales wrote that it was important that the Wikipedia community "preserve and extend our culture of co-operation, with all of us standing as firmly as possible against the culture of conflict embodied in Usenet." I argue Wikipedia is a realization -even if flawed-of a long-held vision for a universal encyclopedia: a technology inspired vision seeking to wed increased access to information with greater human accord. And I claim Wikipedia's collaborative culture is a big factor for this
success: the norms of "Neutral Point of View" ensures that the scattered pieces of what we think we know can be joined and good faith facilitates the actual practice of fitting them together.
Biography: Joseph Reagle is an adjunct professor at NYU's Department of Media, Culture, and Communication where he studies collaborative cultures, specifically Wikipedia. As a former Research Engineer at MIT's Lab for Computer Science, he served as a Working Group Chair and Author within IETF and W3C on topics including digital security, privacy, and Internet policy.