Current research focuses on Wikipedia as an encyclopedia, within the history of encyclopedias, focusing on technology, cultural/media studies, and epistemology.
Lately I've been trying to collect/analyze talk page data to try to learn more about the inclusionism-deletionism debate. Messy.
[ENG/COM] 395, Spring 2013
Critical Approaches to Wikipedia, Information, and the Collaborative Construction of Knowledge was an undergraduate course offered in the Spring 2013 semester at North Carolina State University, listed in both the English and Communication departments. User:RM395/Course is the "official" course page.
User:Rhododendrites/ENG 395 is the space in which I developed the course content and proposed it to the college in December 2011. It includes a justification, scholarly narrative, assessment plan, and drafts of several course documents. It is retained here for future course development and research purposes only. Students should refer instead to User:RM395/Course.
Ethos : Procedural Rhetoric and the Wikipedia Project
McGrady, R. (2012). Ethos : Procedural Rhetoric and the Wikipedia Project. In S. Apostel & M. Folk (Eds.) Online Credibility and Digital Ethos.
This chapter examines the credibility of Wikipedia from a rhetorical point of view, using ethos, one of Aristotle’s original modes of persuasion, to assess the community behind the content of the site’s articles. To do so, the author adapts a newer perspective from video game studies, procedural rhetoric (Bogost 2007), to provide a means with which to analyze the site’s community-created rules, which he argues, operates symbiotically with a unified body of editors to shape what the reader sees. By considering Wikipedia within the encyclopedia genre, and by looking beyond the surface content to the archived and easily accessible sets of rules and user data, those who must make decisions about why, how, and to what extent they should use and/or trust the site—or permit it to be used under their purview—may be able to avoid the mire of evaluating constantly evolving pseudonymous documents for factuality.
Gaming Against the Greater Good
McGrady, R. (2009, February 02). Gaming Against the Greater Good. First Monday, 14(2).
Wikipedia has grown to be one of the most visited Web sites in the world. Despite its influence on popular culture and the way we think about knowledge production and consumption, the conversation about why and how it works - or whether it's credible at all - is ongoing. This paper began as an examination of what the concept of "authority" means in Wikipedia and what role rhetoric might play in manufacturing this authority. Wikipedia's editors have functioned well as a community, having collaboratively developed a comprehensive set of social norms designed to place the project before any individual. Hence ideas like authority and rhetoric have only marginal roles in day-to-day activities. This paper takes an in-depth look at these norms and how they work, paying particular attention to a relatively new guideline that exemplifies the spirit of the Wikipedia community - "Gaming the system."
The Teacher's Guide to Wikipedia
In 2007-2008 I worked on a project at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society that intended to serve as a resource for educators to learn about students' use of Wikipedia, how to research with Wikipedia, and how to teach about and with Wikipedia. Unfortunately it was put on hold (indefinitely, though the [empty] websites are still operative) when the project director, danah boyd, had to focus time elsewhere. The information and interactions that came from this research proved invaluable in my own teaching and contributed to some of the design choices I made when preparing my Wikipedia course (see above).