Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Wikipedia and Agent Based Modeling

This is something that I had been meaning to do for a while.
I even penned down some of my thoughts on how ABM made sense for understanding Wikipedia:
Understanding the wikipedia phenomenon: a case for agent based modeling
"Wikipedia, the user led and monitored "open" encyclopedia has been an undoubted popular success. Of particular interest are the diffusion process of the innovation throughout the "contributor" community, and the question as to why unpaid, often well qualified, volunteers contribute content and time. Explanations for 'altruistic' contributor behavior based on the positivistic paradigm, and with roots in organizational psychology, while heavily researched and documented, have not been readily transferable to quantitative models of sufficient predictive value, in relation to Wikipedia's metrics. For despite the wide range of types, ages, locations and motivations of its contributors and seekers, investigators on Wikipedia have identified certain definite and often surprisingly universal trends ('laws') in its overall growth curve, organization structure, community and article formation. Models based on aggregated top-level relationships between entities on and around wikipedia suffer from assuming relationships between these entities as inputs to the wikipedia process, rather than emergent phenomena that evolve and change with the output. We argue for an Agent Based Model of Wikipedia, with the end objective of our work being a tool with diagnostic and/or prescriptive value for decision makers in organizations using or planning to use Knowledge Management Systems."

However, ultimately, I think it would still be difficult to make a clear case for the rationale, especially since ABM would only give me 2nd order predictions.

I've since then managed to bark up the right (hopefully!) tree. Have some interesting findings...
Will post lots more on that soon.

...deadlines are making a whooshing sound....

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