- Facebook refused to take down this blackface page for four months 6 Years Ago
- Tom Holland rescues fan getting squashed by autograph hounds Tuesday 7:14 PM
- What is incel ‘Chadfishing’? Tuesday 6:36 PM
- Facebook to give France data on users suspected of hate speech Tuesday 5:29 PM
- This 89-year-old man is stunned by all the technology around him—in 1930 Tuesday 5:21 PM
- Wayfair refuses to stop furnishing migrant detention centers Tuesday 4:48 PM
- Woah! How did Keanu Reeves get so small? Tuesday 4:37 PM
- The centrist argument against Sanders’ student loan plan is getting ripped apart Tuesday 4:08 PM
- Jonathan Frakes confirms that you’re right in yet another meme Tuesday 3:56 PM
- Meryl Streep, Ariana Grande set to star in Netflix’s ‘The Prom’ Tuesday 3:35 PM
- ‘Stranger Things’ Season 3 goodies are here just in time Tuesday 3:01 PM
- Kim Kardashian’s shapewear line Kimono is already getting called out Tuesday 2:11 PM
- ‘Aggretsuko’ tones down the rage in season 2 Tuesday 1:13 PM
- TikTok is being used to call out predators Tuesday 12:41 PM
- Republican congressman wants to defund PBS over the gay rat wedding Tuesday 12:39 PM
Unlike every other place on the planet, Wikipedia is not a cesspool of partisan bickering.
On the Internet, political ideologues live within echo chambers of their own making. Conservative blogs link to other conservative blogs, liberal blogs link to other liberal blogs. Reddit’s r/ronpaul upvotes libertarian opinions, and punishes socialists who poke their heads in with a storm of downvotes. But there’s at least one place on the Internet that doesn’t deteriorate into ideological, warring fiefdoms.
On Wikipedia, users aren’t afraid to talk to their political enemies. And perhaps most intriguingly, according to a new study, they care as much about being “Wikipedian” as they do about being a Republican or a Democrat.
Welcome to the nation state of Wikipedia.
The study, published by a team of researchers from the University of Southern California and Barcelona Media, looked at the behavior patterns of self-identified Republican or Democratic Wikipedia users. There’s a box you can show on your public user page that will advertise your party allegiance. Wikipedians who reveal their political leanings are a lot more likely to edit articles on politics, the researchers found. But when they discuss those articles they don’t shy away from ideological opponents. In other words, unlike everywhere else on the Internet, they don’t seek out people they agree with and shun people they disagree with. Instead, both sides are highly engaged in the debate.
There’s also a box you can check that will publicly identify you as a “Wikipedian.” Perhaps predictably, a lot more users check that box than any party affiliation box.
“The results indicate that the social identities of being a member of a political party and of being a Wikipedian may be equally important,” the researchers concluded.
“The results of our analysis show that despite the increasing political division of the US, there are still areas in which political dialogue is possible and happens.”
That conclusion actually correlates with another recent story. Earlier this year, researches examined more than Wikipedia 70,000 articles using an analytical technique intended to discover bias in newspaper articles. They discovered that Wikipedia articles have become less and less biased over time. Whereas the encyclopedia once leaned Democratic, it now leans neutral. The researchers concluded that’s because the userbase has become a lot more diverse than it was in the early days. But maybe its also because conservative and liberal Wikipedians aren’t afraid of actually talking to each other.
Kevin Morris is a veteran web reporter and editor who specializes in longform journalism. He led the Daily Dot’s esports vertical and, following its acquisition by GAMURS in late 2016, launched Dot Esports, where he serves as the site’s editor-in-chief.