Hi All,

My name is Ken Holmes and I am a MFA Candidate in Design Management at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia. I am currently beginning my thesis work which will be looking to create a "design framework" by which an argumentation mapping method called IBIS (Issue Based Information System) could thrive in Wikimedia products. Ill be using this user page to test out editing and writing in wiki, as this level of interaction with the Wikipedia/Wikimedia brand is completely new to me. Did I mention that I consider myself not that technologically literate. So this will be an experience.

As for the thesis it is a far out vision that I want to show could be very tangible and valuable to the communities and brands of Wikimedia. Its not that I know how exactly it could work, that is in fact the point of the thesis, but I think there is much merit and promise of such a argumentation method implemented here. The thesis will review and explore the possibilities with this. It was inspired by coursework and a subsequent final project in a multi-universtiy collaborative team based class that focused on the intersection of collaboration science and the social dynamics for collaboration and innovation enabled by the Web. We worked on client based projects that would have some aspect of using the diversity of the team as well as dynamic Social Network Analysis tools to help provide solutions to the problems at hand, which were focused around issues of collaboration and "coolfarming". We affectionately called the class the "COINS class" which is short for Collaborative On-line Innovation Networks. It was hosted by Peter Gloor of MIT's Center for Collective Intelligence in conjunction with the Sloan School of Business. Sometime I will put up more on what my team actually was doing, what we found, and how that translates over to the thesis that I am focusing on now.

Below is the current working thesis statement, statement of purpose, and research questions for the thesis. I am currently in the process of putting together my literature scan and an annotated bibolography that will lead me to a full on lit search and then finally on to full literature review. This being said the below documentation for the thesis is by no means anything but a starting point. I expect it to change.

Additionally there will be some form of primary research that I will be performing for the thesis. My expectation is that it will be some kind of ethnographically based design research on the subject of community interaction as well as future design issues around the implementation of IBIS within the Wikimedia foundation projects. Please don't take these two directions as locked down or serious as my literature review and ongoing work will definitely determine what this kind of research looks like. I would put money on this changing dramatically.

Stay tuned for changes to this page as well as a soon to be added page on the Wikimedia Research:Projects Index. --Ying ding 20:33, 26 October 2011 (UTC)

Envisioning IBIS and Large Scale Argumentation in the Wikimedia Foundation: the development of a design strategy.

Working Thesis Statement

While Wikipedia emerged on the internet as a crowd-sourced, collaboratively created encyclopedia that anyone, at any time could add to and edit, an encyclopedia is no longer the singular mission and vision of the Wikimedia Foundation, the organization that maintains the site.

Its current vision is to “Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge.” This is carried out under the following mission statement: “The mission of the Wikimedia Foundation is to empower and engage people around the world to collect and develop educational content under a free license or in the public domain, and to disseminate it effectively and globally....”

Currently Wikipedia is the fifth most visited entity on the web. It has emerged as an extremely powerful broker of factual information after sites such as Google and Yahoo, and the content holders Facebook and YouTube. And yet the Foundation has identified challenges in critical areas concerning sustaining community collaboration, creating more credible influence, growing readership and reach, fostering innovation, and the very generation of knowledge on the site itself. What is clear to them is that in dealing with these challenges the future may not look at all like the past. This attitude is reflected in vision and mission statement and yet any change, let alone innovation, may be difficult to diffuse due to an active community size of over 100,000 editors.

Issue Based Information Systems (IBIS), is an argumentation notation method designed to reduce the social complexity of issue focused collaboration. IBIS may be key to creating a more sustainable future for Wikipedia that meets its vision, mission, and recently articulated strategic goals. With the right design strategy, IBIS can be integrated into a Large Scale Argumentation System (LSAS), a technology that works with IBIS to bring focus in participation. With this strategy IBIS along with LSAS could attend to an environment of crowd sourced collective intelligence such as the Wikipedia community.

Working Statement of Purpose

This thesis will create a design framework that will support the grafting of Large Scale Argumentation and its underlying IBIS methodology as a valuable innovation to the brands and communities of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Using MIT Center for Collective Intelligence’s current LSAS system (sometimes referred to as the Deliberatorium) as a starting point, the thesis will create a roadmap for understanding the opportunity specifically for the communities of practice in Wikipedia and create a vision and follow-able strategy for the diffusion of IBIS and/or LSAS technology to the Wikipedia/media multi-brand platform.

This will be done with careful attention to current Wikimedia strategic activities and challenges with the intention of supporting those activities as well as uniquely contributing to growth and sustainability for the current community and brand.

Finally the work of this thesis will frame how the potential seen in the research can be reached. Elucidating a strategy not simply for diffusion of an IBIS system but for the initial momentum and seeding of the relationships between the potential stakeholders so that the actual work of creating that system may be possible; with the expectation that the larger challenge in gaining support is found with the communities of Wikimedia and Wikipedia.

Research Questions

  1. What is the value of integrating IBIS and Large Scale Argumentation into the Wikimedia Foundation, its flagship project Wikipedia, the chapters that have formed over time, and the Wikimedia “community?”
  2. What are the conceptual frameworks used to describe the issues faced by the projects and their communities? Are there other frameworks to be aware of that are not represented within the internal community discourse?
  3. How could an IBIS based system be integrated to create sustainable practices and futures for the community and its projects such as Wikipedia, specifically addressing issues identified in the Wikimedia Strategy Research and 2010-15 Strategic Plan?
  4. How could LSAS/IBIS system be envisioned and introduced to the community so that the adoption and diffusion of the systems occur and support the larger mission and objectives of the Foundation?
  1. What could such a system look like in the community interaction?
  2. Are there multiple ways in which the adoption and diffusion could occur, and this multiple strategies that could be developed?
  3. How could the stakeholders be engaged and brought to the table to work on this?


This is a working bibliography that comprises my current literature scan, and is a wide shot at creating the base that this thesis work will stand on. This will be sifted and reduced during the process of critique and review of the literature. What I am finding is that a vast majority of the information that looks useful in terms of understanding the collaboration gene in the Wikipedia community will be in academic papers and sources. This is partially framed not just by the young age of Wikipedia but that a cursory review of the literature shows post 2005-07 editor communities and their interactions dramatically changed.

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