User:Green Cardamom

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Iron Law of Oligarchy: An empirical study of 683 Wikia wikis found support for the claims that the iron law of oligarchy holds in wikis; i.e. that the wiki's transparent and egalitarian model does not prevent the most active contributors from obtaining significant and disproportionate control over those projects. In particular, the study found that as wiki communities grow 1) they are less likely to add new administrators; 2) the number of edits made by administrators to administrative “project” pages will increase and 3) the number of edits made by experienced contributors that are reverted by administrators also grows. The authors also note that while there are some interesting exceptions to this rule, proving that wikis can, on occasion, function as egalitarian, democratic public spaces, on average "as wikis become larger and more complex, a small group – present at the beginning – will restrict entry into positions of formal authority in the community and account for more administrative activity while using their authority to restrict contributions from experienced community members".[1]


From a book review of Dariusz Jemielniak's Common Knowledge: "Declaring the notion of an administrative cabal is laughable on the surface.. but there is a grain of truth to it – admins talk to one another, including privately, "secretly" and off wiki, and they act, more or less consciously, as a part of a group that holds power over regular editors. Jemielniak argues that the notion of editor equality is a subconscious, invisible and unrealistic pillar of Wikipedia, one that when confronted with the reality of editors not being equal leads to problems and growing divisions within the community. Thus the inequality between editors, which in the "ideal Wikipedia" would not exist, subconsciously annoys editors, and is significantly responsible for the problems with retention of editors, electing new administrators, and cohesion of the community, of whom a significant portion entertains some notions of the existence of a "real cabal" (see WP:CABAL). In this, his research fits into the wider paradigm of scholarly literature concerned with social inequality, and with its common conclusion that inequality is the major cause of the vast majority of problems in human society.[2]