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Us vs. them: understanding social dynamics in Wikipedia with revert graph visualizations


Wikipedia is a wiki-based encyclopedia that has become one of the most popular collaborative on-line knowledge systems. Like any large collaborative system, as Wikipedia grows, the necessity for coordination and management also increases dramatically. Recent characterization studies show that conflicts and coordination costs increase dramatically over time in Wikipedia. Conflict resolution, therefore, will increasingly play an important role in Wikipedia. To address these challenges, there exists a need to identify and understand the process that generates these conflicts and coordination needs. In this paper, we introduce a model for understanding user disagreements in Wikipedia articles. This model relies on users' editing history and the relationships between user edits, especially revisions that void previous edits, known as "reverts". Based on this model, we constructed Revert Graph, a tool that visualizes the overall conflict patterns between groups of users. It enables visual analysis of opinion groups and rapid interactive exploration of those relationships via detail drill-downs. We present user patterns and case studies that show the effectiveness of these techniques.


Suh, B. ; Chi, E. H. ; Pendleton, B. A. ; Kittur, A. Us vs. them: understanding social dynamics in Wikipedia with revert graph visualizations. IEEE Symposium on Visual Analytics Science and Technology (VAST '07). 2007 October 30 - November 3; Sacramento, CA. Piscataway NJ: IEEE; 2007; 163-170.