Nathan Drezner
Montréal, QC

Everyday Specialization on Wikipedia

September 30, 2020

A paper I wrote studying specialization on Wikipedia was just published through the McGill .txtLab and is available there: The paper focuses on how editors on Wikipedia cluster around different topics—if that interests you, check it out!

The code to generate the dataset is open source and accessible from my Github, and I wrote a brief blog post about it. The dataset itself is accessible on Harvard Dataverse.

From the synopsis of the paper on the .txtLab site:

One of the students in our lab, Nathan Drezner, has a new collaboration out entitled, “Everyday Specialization: The coherence of editorial communities on Wikipedia.”

In this paper, Drezner studies edit histories of over 30,000 Wiki pages across four different cultural domains (science, sports, culture, and politics). He finds a nuanced story of how in some domains, like Sports and Culture, people tend to focus more on particular subdomain, like books or film or a particular sport, while in politics there is a great deal of balance in the partisan identity of editors’ behaviour. Science is somewhere in between, not as balanced as politics but not as siloed as sports and culture.

Drezner’s work gives us a great look into how editorial communities behave on Wikipedia, helping us see the dynamics of lay users when it comes to knowledge formation. His work highlights the value of this new kind of data — the edit history — as a fascinating resource to better understand editorial behaviour.

Shout out to Simon DeDeo whose paper on editorial conflict and resolution on Wikipedia was the inspiration behind this project.

Feel free to reach out to me about the paper, or dig around on my Wikipedia user page to see more on my work with Wikipedia.