Case studies

This case study focuses on contentious consensus building on social media platforms specifically wikis, and primarily focuses on Wikipedia with a few exceptions.

This study broadly focuses on consensus building with individuals or groups of individuals with particular psychological and personality types who make three distinguishable choices or assertive behaviors;

  1.  individuals who practice deception in an online consensus.
  2. individuals who attempt to influence an online consensus through intimidation, non-resolving communication, or bullying.
  3. individuals who attempt to control all the permissions (access to participation) in a consensus building process.

This event travels across three of the main controversies on Wikipedia; Biographies of a Living Person (BLP), Fringe subjects (WP: Fringe), and Paid/Agenda Editing. 

This case study presents both first-person narratives along with third-party evidence detailing “harassment”, as defined by the Wikipedia community editing guidelines, which is referred to in this study as editor suppression.

Editor suppression is a  community strategy to control editing permissions on Wikipedia.

This study details how an agenda group can control an article on Wikipedia, and influence perception of a topic via various MediaWiki platforms.

This study focused on two well-publicized and well-known wiki wars occurring on Wikipedia, the biographical articles about Rupert Sheldrake and Deepak Chopra, and I worked directly with these subjects through the entire process.

To show the distinctions between genuine editing and all possible choices editors can make, and genuine editor suppression, this case study solely focused on editing solely biographical and non-controversial information about the subjects, and neither engaged in nor initiated any editing or discussion into their “theories” or claims.

Employed, tested, and piloted was a methodology of collaborative consensus building designed to be employed in contentious environments for the purposes of achieving a resolution, expressed as a completed article.

More will be published on this methodology and platform (aiki wiki) when time permits.

This study continually grows in scope primarily because of one component of my methodology; I document and respond directly to each instance of targeting or harassment I have received over four years while I attempt to find recourse for a resolution.

I did not predict that I would be a target of harassment when I began this study. Nor did I realize it would ever extend into the darker depths of “wiki” communities that it did, and never in my wildest dreams did I believe it would continue to give me a unique insight and deeper understanding of the psychologies that lurk under the surface of the internet for the past four years since it began.

Therefore, this study is still a work in progress, apologies in advance for any incompleteness or in many cases – too much.


Internet Drama: A consensual field study into online consensus building

What is a wiki war?

Part One: Collaborative consensus building in a contentious editing environment.

Biography of a Living Person; Rupert Sheldrake

Editing accounts: Tumbleman (talk | contribs), Philosophyfellow (contribs)

Biography of a Living Person; Deepak Chopra

Editing account: SAS81 (talk | contribs)

Case study commentary

Part Two: “Wiki war craft”: Editor suppression, stalking, targeting, character assassination, impersonations, email threats, and blackmail.

Part Three: Comparative study; other “troll farms”