Governance in Social Media: A case study of the Wikipedia promotion process

  • Leskovec J
  • Huttenlocher D
  • Kleinberg J
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Social media sites are often guided by a core group of committed users engaged in various forms of governance. A crucial aspect of this type of governance is deliberation, in which such a group reaches decisions on issues of importance to the site. Despite its crucial though subtle role in how a number of prominent social media sites function, there has been relatively little investigation of the deliberative aspects of social media governance. Here we explore this issue, investigating a particular deliberative process that is extensive, public, and recorded: the promotion of Wikipedia admins, which is determined by elections that engage committed members of the Wikipedia community. We find that the group decision-making at the heart of this process exhibits several fundamental forms of relative assessment. First we observe that the chance that a voter will support a candidate is strongly dependent on the relationship between characteristics of the voter and the candidate. Second we investigate how both individual voter decisions and overall election outcomes can be based on models that take into account the sequential, public nature of the voting.

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  • Jure Leskovec

  • Daniel Huttenlocher

  • Jon Kleinberg

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